Friday, January 31, 2014

Ready for Some Spring Flowers?

I've had so much interest in the PURPLE DAISY class I offered last year, I'm going to offer it again this spring. 

If you'd like to try your hand at doing some "messy beading", this is a really fun, small project to make!

You'll stitch the 6" x 7.5" design on a 10" x 12" canvas that I print out myself, using a flower image I drew on the computer (using a photo of a purple daisy).  There's a fun "shadow stitched" background (easy peasy!), and a bold set of borders that are very fun to stitch, and frame the bright purple daisy with bright colors, checks and oh yeah, some beads! 

It's not a hard project, or a long one either;  four emailed lessons will be sent to you starting in mid-April. And the kit includes the printed canvas, all the necessary threads, and a packet of mixed gold beads for your beading.  If you've ever been curious about doing some "messy beading", here's your chance!!

So if you're interested in joining this next class, please visit my website: and click on the LJP CYBER CLASSES menu for all the class and ordering information.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A "Cool" Oldie

I was doing some printing this week for my distributor, and was updating an old quilt favorite called SNAIL'S TRAIL: 

In my early designing years, when I was doing lots of needlepoint quilt designs, I did quite a few of them in "Amish" colors - blues, greens, purples - that simply GLOW when they are finished.  This is one of those... (although the scanner can never get the right mix of blues and purples, no matter how I try!)

There are lots and lots of squares and triangles on this one, and you really have to pay attention to the graphs to get your swirly snails right!  You can see in the detail photo below how the "snails" are constructed.

And this one was different because the variegated thread almost becomes the background color, as it recedes behind the turquoise, blue and purple swirls.  I've never seen it stitched in other colors, but it would be fun to pick a favorite variegated thread plus three different colors, and stitch it up in a totally unique colorway.  The only stitch used throughout the whole piece is the Diagonal Satin Stitch, so you only have to worry about getting all your snail trails going in the right direction!

Anyway, I'm adding SNAIL'S TRAIL back onto my website (under the American Quilt Collection), so if you're interested in this very cool "optical illusion" quilt design, that's where you'll find it!

Monday, January 13, 2014

A New Floral Stitch Guide

Another model I sent to the TNNA show in San Diego this year was PRETTY (by Sandra Gilmore), done this past autumn...

I absolutely loved all the soft pastel colors in this canvas, and I found myself proceeding very carefully to render all the different shades of pinks and yellows.  Because the background colors were so lovely, I didn't want to cover them up with solid stitching, so I chose some blackwork patterns that provided interesting texture, but didn't hide the painted colors.

I like to think that the large "wall" area could be wallpaper, drapes, or even ironwork.  Then the middle section could be carpeting or the back of a sofa (I was envisioning a chenille sofa!).  Then another blackwork pattern for the white lacy tablecloth.

When I got to the bowl and flowers, I did a LOT of Tent Stitching (or Basketweave, where possible) in a variety of colors.  I added irregular Mosaic stitches over the bowl, to give it a rough-ish texture, hoping to contrast it against the soft petals of the flowers. You can't see it in the photo, but all the bowl stitches have a slight sparkle, since I mixed in some Kreinik Blending Filaments with each stitch...

And then I tackled the flowers. (Are they roses or peonies?  I still can't decide.)  First I Tent Stitched everything, then went back and added Diagonal Satin Stitches on just the petals I wanted to highlight.  I used rayon Ribbon Floss and Neon Rays, since I wanted a soft sheen on my petals.

Slow work, but very, very satisfying when everything is done.  And after all the flowers were stitched, I decided they needed some deliciously full bullioned and beaded centers!  (And I've included a packet of beads with the stitch guide, by the way).

So if these soft pastel flowers appeal to you (deep in the heart of winter) you can check out the stitch guide for PRETTY on my website.... or ask your local stitchery store to order the canvas and stitch guide from Fleur de Paris.  Either way, it's a wonderful project to get you in a flowery spring mood!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

To Market, To Market....

Although I'm not traveling to San Diego for the first TNNA show of 2014, I have sent my models for the stitch guides I've created for four Sandra Gilmore canvases. I had a blast working on painted canvases for a change, and I look forward to doing more of them in the coming New Year.

But I wanted to share with you my recent holiday stitch guide, for Sandra Gilmore's NUTCRACKER.

 He's a very handsome fellow, isn't he?  I especially love the raspberry and green colors, and couldn't wait to get stitching on him!

Because I was thinking this wooden nutcracker was shiny, I decided to stitch him in the shinier rayon threads of Ribbon Floss and Neon Rays.  Rather slippery threads, those rayons!  But I didn't have any problems with them, and they are so soft, they work nicely for the Elongated Tent Stitches I used for his hat and body.  I used regular Tent Stitches (or Basketweave) for his whole face. I also decided this nutcracker is so regal looking, his crown needed a tiny Swarovski crystal in the gold cross at the top of his hat. That's included with the pattern, by the way...

I padded his nose, and of course, his eyebrows and mustache (with soft Bella Lusso).  I left his fuzzy hair for last, mixing 2 strands of white Wisper with 1 strand of white Bella Lusso.   Personally, I didn't want super fuzzy hair, but if you did, you could always tackle some Turkey Work for those areas.

Since I wanted the nutcracker to be the focal point of the piece, I chose a quiet background, so it receded  behind - but not competed with - the nutcracker. I used a simple but elegant blackwork pattern, but enlarged it to fill the large background space, sorta like wallpaper, I guess...

 And, to tell the truth, I think my favorite part was stitching the ribbon border!  I've slightly padded the pink raised ribbon sections so they look like they're moving in and out of the canvas.  The white scalloped border is done with DMC #8 perle, and the green stripes are 1 strand of DMC Floche.

So if you are a nutcracker collector (and I know there are a lot of you out there!), or just want something fun to stitch for next year's holiday season, please visit my website for the stitch guide.  Or contact your local stitchery store for them to order both the canvas and stitch guide from Fleur de Paris, the distributor of all Sandra Gilmore canvases.