Monday, April 29, 2013

Mini Mystery Monday, April 2013, pt. 3

Okay, have you got your scallop stitched?   Pretty darn easy, huh?  Scallops are easy to stitch, but they add such a different look and feel to a piece.  They definitely soften the edges of any square, geometric design!

 So.... this week, let's add a bit of your accent color to the piece:

Now it's REALLY starting to look like a valentine, don't you think?

Use 1 strand of your darker accent color to make the half-eyelet triangles around the outside spaces, and also for the small Rhodes Diamonds within the center area.  Then add the short diagonal stitches to frame them with 1 strand of your lighter/medium color thread.

By the way, I chose those half-eyelets because now there's a place to add some beads -- always a nice touch on a small ornament!

Next week we'll finish this up, and I'll even present you with the option of adding another outer border to the piece.... just in case you'd like a slightly larger ornament.  See you next Monday!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mini Mystery Monday, April 2013, pt. 2

Did you enjoy working your blackwork flowers in a variegated thread?  Looks pretty different, doesn't it?

The next step is really easy and fast....  Here's the graph to follow:

Work the scalloped edge with 1 strand of your medium solid color. (I was almost going to make it an ecru border, but I thought we'd go with some color; it's always fun to try something new and see if we like the effect.)  Then add the metallic Smyrnas between the scallops. Yes, if you want, you can certainly stitch the Smyrnas first, and then the scallops -- but if you work the scallops first, when you go to stitch the Smyrnas you can push your metallic thread & needle thru your stitched scallops (on the backside) to hide your thread as you move from Smyrna to Smyrna.

Sometimes as you stitch you have to consider your stitch sequences before you dive in and start stitching.  I always try to plan out my stitching so I have something to "tie in to" with my stops and starts and moving the threads around on the canvas.  I use what I have stitched on the canvas to hide my new threads, weaving carefully thru existing stitches.  You know how it goes, Stitchers.... ya gotta be kinda crafty when you work your needlepoint projects!

Ahem... I guess I should warn you that this little design does not have a hard, square, geometric look. Rather, it's got more of a lacy valentine look, or maybe a kind of stitched doily thing going on. Which makes a nice change from the other mystery pieces, don't you think?

Anyway, as you stitch you can see that you've already got the circular floral motifs that you stitched last week.... and now we're adding a softly undulating scalloped edge. 

Stayed tuned for next week's adventure, when we add some more tidbits of color!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Flowers

Here in Northern California Spring is in full swing!

Our daffodils and tulips bloomed way back in February and March, so we're moving on to lots of other flowers now.  But daffodils have always been the flower that everyone thinks of when they think of Spring.
These are the ones I had blooming in my garden this year:

One of the very first flower collages I designed was the DAFFODIL COLLAGE (you can find it in my Secret Garden Collection on my website), and it's still a fresh, bright favorite of mine:

Every time I look at this piece I'm reminded of how much I love using that pale Santa Fe Sage Green canvas. Personally, I think of this sage green as a "neutral" color, since it's slightly cool and slightly warm at the same time, and practically every other color looks good on it.  And in the case of these yellow daffodils, these stitch patterns really POP against the soft and coolish green background.

So as a stitcher, I just love to stitch my flowers, no matter what the season is, or what is (or isn't) growning in my garden.  It's just my way of having all my favorite flowers around me throughout the year.....
Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April Trunk Show

Just wanted to mention that I've got a trunk show going the whole month of April at FIRESIDE STITCHERY in Frazer, Pennsylvania.  If you're anywhere near that great shop, please stop in and visit and see the models and patterns I've sent to tempt stitchers with my latest counted canvaswork pieces.....

Monday, April 15, 2013

Mini Mystery Monday for April

Hey there, stitchers.... I've been buried under an avalanche of orders for my EASTER EGG ORNAMENTS these past few weeks, and now that Easter has passed and I've mailed out all my patterns, I finally have a bit of time to sit down and think up a new little mystery project for April.....

Currently, I'm working on a new springtime sampler design, and just to try something different, I've added a few blackwork patterns within the larger piece to create a rather interesting effect.  So I have blackwork patterns on my mind, and decided to try designing a small mystery piece around a bit of blackwork.   But we're going to use a variegated Watercolours for the blackwork stitches (instead of a solid color), which will make things more interesting - and colorful - to stitch.

Here's what you need:
-  an 8" x 8" piece of 18 ct. mono canvas in a light to medium color (white, eggshell, or a pale color);
-  a few strands of a variegated Watercolours - select one in the medium to dark range (light colors just don't show the blackwork designs very well, so honestly, darker is better);
-  two solid colors of DMC #5 pearl cotton (one light/medium, one as a bright/accent color);
-  a flat, metallic ribbon in a matching color or metal color (gold, silver, copper, etc.)

Here's the graph for the first part of this mini mystery piece:

The actual blackwork element you'll be creating looks like this up close:

And you start by working the dark lines first, using 1 ply of the variegated Watercolours. I recommend using a "Running Backstitch" (shown below) instead of a plain Backstitch for all your  blackwork.


 The Running Backstitch creates crisper corners with no shadowing on the back of the canvas; it also allows the variegated colors to flow more naturally across the canvas as you stitch because you're not skipping stitches, but working each stitch progressively along the design outline.  
Create nine of these floral motifs (leaving the center space empty). Then fill their "petals" with the solid color stitches, as shown in the whole stitched flower above, using 1 strand of your solid color #5 pearl cotton. In the center of each flower create a "poofy" padded center with 1 strand of your metallic ribbon thread.

Traditionally, blackwork is done all in one color (usually black) and if you want to do that with this design, please go ahead and give it a try -- it will definitely have a different look...

I really enjoy doing blackwork; basically you're creating geometric elements and then repeating them within a given area to create a lovely, complex pattern.  It seems to me that stitchers either love blackwork or they hate it.  But really, it's easier than it looks and it goes quickly, since you're not covering every thread of the canvas with stitches (like you do with cross stitch, tent stitch, or any other needlepoint stitch).  I hope you'll give it a try and get started on this small mystery piece today!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Calling All Flower Lovers!

I'm having another "encore" cyber class that will start in June.  It's my favorite CORSAGE, a fun small project with a set of enjoyable stitch patterns.  Here's what the pink version looks like:

CORSAGE is a small piece (8.5" x 8.5") done on 18 ct. sage green canvas.  I'm offering a selection of colorways, so you have the chance to personalize it to your own color taste.  As the thread photos below show, you can choose a PINK, PURPLE, BLUE or RED thread palette:

The PINK palette uses Watercolours 170, "Arabian Nights"; the PURPLE palette uses Watercolours 006, "Amethyst"; the BLUE palette uses Watercolours 153, "Distant Hills"; and the RED palette uses Watercolours 047, "Camouflage."

And no matter which colorway you choose, the focal point of this piece is the flower in the center box.  And again, you'll get to choose which flower center you'd like to put in your piece -- the dogwood/rose version (shown in the pink photo above) or the gardenia/camellia version (shown below in the blue version):

It's a really enjoyable piece to stitch, and the composite stitches aren't difficult - it's just a fun project that shows you how to create complex-looking patterns by layering simple stitches..... 

So if you're in the mood for something different, but not too hard, think about signing up for my CORSAGE cyber class (my website has more information, if you're interested).  Registration runs from now until the end of April; and the class will start at the beginning of June.