Thursday, January 21, 2016

Colorful New Quilt Design!

I can't wait to share this new quilt design with you -- it's CALICO STARS, and boy, is it a fun and colorful project!  It combines traditional quilt blocks with fun colors and easy stitch patterns to create a very special counted canvaswork piece:

 It's larger than most of my other quilts, being 12.5" x 12.5", but that just makes it a bigger feast for the eyes (and fingers).  And speaking of your stitchy fingers, I decided to combine #5 pearl cottons (which make up the main textured sections of the quilt) with the easier-on-the-fingers DMC floss colors that are used for the background areas.  I don't know about you, but as I get older, and after having stitched dozens and dozens and DOZENS of pieces with #5 pearl cotton, my fingers are getting a bit tired of pulling it through the 18 ct. canvas.  So I've found mixing in cotton floss offers a nice break for my hands!

Anyway, this was a very happy piece to stitch up.  I built the PINK palette around the pastel colored Watercolours thread 048 - "Far Horizons."

Then I decided to include a BLUE palette as well, featuring Watercolours thread 236 -"Appalachia", shown below.

Both colorways are equally yummy, but for those of you who love blue, I hope you'll enjoy the threads I've picked out.

My philosophy for designing these small quilts is to make them look as if they were real quilts.  I love the idea of stitching precisely pieced miniature quilts (much easier to me than sewing itty bitty snips of fabric!), and for that reason I avoid using stitching "gimmicks" like beads or fancy composite patterns in my quilt designs.  The most I'll do is add some metallic ribbon, if I want a bit of sparkle. And as you can see in the detail photo below, just using a few easy stitches can create quite a bit of textural variety:

So if you'd like to stitch up your own miniature quilt for the new year, please skip on over to my website and get all the ordering info on this new CALICO STARS pattern! 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Friday Flowers: Stitched Nasturtiums

One wonderful way to keep summer in your heart all year long is to stitch a bouquet of your favorite flowers.  A Sandra Gilmore canvas I fell in love with last year was the absolutely stunning FLEUR FETE, which features a huge bouquet of spicy nasturtiums.  The canvas celebrates Fleur de Paris' 40th anniversary, with nasturtiums (the 40th flower) and a ruby (the 40th stone)....

 It's a large canvas - 15" x 17" - and ahem, it took awhile to get it completely stitched.  Not that the stitching was hard; the stitches were actually very easy, but there was so much canvas to fill!  Lots of wooden table (done with blended threads), lots of background (done in a large, variegated blackwork pattern), and LOTS of different colored nasturtiums to stitch!  Here's a look at the flowers up close:

I decided to work all the leaves in matte DMC Floche, and all the flowers are done with DMC Floss.  I selectively chose some of the petals to pad, while most of them were done in simple diagonal satin stitch.

The antique vase, shown above, was stitched in simple tent/basketweave stitch, but worked entirely with metallic ribbon threads (Ribbon Floss and Neon Rays+)  to replicate a shimmery antique vase.  Then I went back on top and padded just a few of the vase lines to delineate the sunflower motif.

The last thing I stitched was the big ruby jewel in the lower left corner of the vase.  I debated whether to attempt it in beads, but there were soooo many colors in the ruby I chickened out decided against it, and instead worked it all in plain tent stitch, but using extra sparkly Kreinik 1/16th Ribbons.  And I'm glad I did -- it ended up looking surprisingly sparkly and remarkably like beads, so it turned out great!

So if you love nasturtiums as much as I do, and would like to have a bouquet hanging in your house all year round, please consider Sandra Gilmore's gorgeous FLEUR FETE painted canvas, as well as my new stitch guide (which is now available on my website).  In any event, both of those items can be ordered for you from your local stitchery store, so call them to get more information!


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Sneak Peak at a New Quilt Design

I've been busy this week polishing up my next quilt design in the AMERICAN QUILT COLLECTION.  This one is a rather large design (12.5" x 12.5") done on my usual 18 ct. canvas.  I'm calling this new design CALICO STARS, which seems appropriate, as you can see below:

It's been fun working on snippets of patterns that replicate calico fabric
 (all done in #5 pearl cottons),
then adding the background colors in DMC floss.  I stitched the model shown above 
with a PINK palette using Caron Watercolours 048 - Far Horizons as the foundation,
 but the Materials List also includes a thread list for  a luscious BLUE palette
 that features Watercolours 236 - Appalachia as well! 

IN any event, I'm sending out the patterns to my distributors this week, 
and you'll be able to view the whole CALICO STARS piece and purchase it next week 
on my website. 
 So stay tuned, Stitchers, for more quilty fun for 2016!!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A Springy Cyber Class!

Deep in the dreary wintry days of rain and snow, it's nice to dream of spring.  With that in mind, I've chosen LILAC TIME as my next cyber class, to begin in March 2016.

It's a sweet 8" x 8" counted canvaswork design, done on santa fe green 18 ct. canvas.
The palette is based on yummy Watercolours 064 - "Pale Lilac" and has a nice range of different types of threads, with #5 pearl cottons, floss, a bit of floche, and metallic ribbons making up the rest of the thread palette.

The stitches are easy and fun, using a handful of soft pastel colors....

And you get to dream about sweetly scented lilacs while you stitch -- how nice is that?!?

So if you're in the mood to start thinking about springtime flowers, please snowshoe on over to my website for ordering information on LILAC TIME!