Thursday, December 12, 2019

WOO HOO...A New Holiday Wreath!

I was soooo in the mood to stitch a new Christmas design this season, so I came up with something that is very fun, festive and (relatively) fast to stitch.  I'm calling it my GINGERBREAD WREATH  (for obvious reasons) and I gotta tell you, it's a very happy stitching project with lots of fun ornaments to stitch:

I chose a limited color palette of red, white and green, but sprinkled in a few shimmery metallic threads to mix with the flat matte DMC #5 pearl cottons... and there's a handful of beads placed on the ornaments wherever I could fit them.. This would also look great with a few Christmasy charms or buttons placed where some of the candies are positioned - for added fun and dimension - so please embellish to your heart's content on this wreath!  Here's a closer look at this new design:

I deliberately used easy stitches for this design, so honestly, there's nothing hard or elaborate about this piece.  Just the counting to get the ornaments placed right (which is true about ANY counted canvaswork piece).... Then filling in the evergreen wreath is a bit tedious, but actually it's perfect to stitch while watching TV in the evenings  - preferably Hallmark holiday movies - grin!

And I had to create a gingerbread tree for this the traditional gingerbread house:

You'll notice I added a bit more clothing to the gingerbread boy and girl, just to add some colorful patterns to the wreath, although I thoroughly enjoyed stitching up the snowflake cookies, the bell and the white dove, too:

Anyway, if you love baking gingerbread cookies this time of year, maybe this is the wreath for YOU!!  Please ski on over to my website and see all the ordering information for this new GINGERBREAD WREATH........  HAPPY HOLIDAY STITCHING, EVERYONE!!

Friday, November 22, 2019

My Next Cyber Class

The start of the holiday season is fast approaching... all that shopping, baking, decorating, socializing...  Not to mention last-minute stitching projects to finish!  I don't know about you, but I also look forward to the quieter times AFTER the holiday season has wound down and I can get back to focusing on new stitching projects.

With that in mind, I've just posted my next cyber class on my website.  It's an encore offering of the very popular "PETITE ARABESQUE" I debuted in January 2018.  I thought it was definitely time to offer it as a class again -- for all of you who missed it last time!

It's a very elegant geometric design, that is small in size (8.25" x 8.25") but packs a lot of interesting stitches and threads within its borders.  It's definitely a challenging piece -- I rate it for intermediate-to-advanced stitchers.  Here's a look at it up close:

If you notice, the actual canvas color is Santa Fe Sage green, but you'll be stitching a colored background within the piece (the purple background shown above).  Also, you'll get to choose your color palette from several options - all of them luscious and rather exotic combinations:

Kinda hard to decide, huh?

Anyway, if you'd like to give yourself a unique present to enjoy in the coming New Year, please
waltz on over to my website and see all the class particulars!

Happy Weekend Stitching, Everyone.... 

Thursday, October 31, 2019

A Fiery New Design for Autumn

It's been a while since I've been in the mood to create a geometric design, but recently I pulled out a handful of threads in vibrant fall colors and began to play with various layouts and stitches.  Little by little, stitch by stitch, I got more and more enthused about this new creation and couldn't wait to see what the final result would look like.  And here it is, my new "AUTUMN TRAILS":

If any of you stitchers have worked on my "JEWEL BOX" or "NORTHERN LIGHTS" you'll see the similarity to this new piece, except this time around I've used rich autumnal colors.  It's a 10" x 10" design stitched on sandstone mono canvas, using a handful of #5 pearl cotton colors, a few shimmery metallic Ribbon Flosses, and of course a variegated Watercolours thread (120 - "Forest Fire") that ties all the colors together... A few gold beads, and a large diamond-shaped jewel add extra sparkle and shine!

As complex as this design looks at first glance, I must tell you that only the simplest of stitches are actually used -- which I confess makes this a very fun piece to stitch!  Below are two up-close photos to show you some of the details.  The first one shows those fun variegated "flying geese" triangles that I just LOVE to stitch....

And the second photo shows you some of the details around the central diamond block:

And I must tell you, as I was in the final stages of getting this pattern graphed, written and printed,
I went outside last Wednesday evening around 11:30pm and saw this heart-stopping sight to the east of where I live in Cloverdale, CA, at the northern edge of Sonoma County:

This is a shot of the beginning of the horrific Kincade Fire in Sonoma and Lake Counties.  I stood mesmerized, the only person on the street at midnight, watching this fiery cloud show light up the eastern horizon.  I called my sister, who lives on the other side of this fire in Healdsburg, and we talked about what to do if fire approached.  Ultimately, she and her daughter, two dogs and a cat evacuated south (since Hwy 101 to the north was closed), waiting for the fire to be contained.  I stayed in my home, like most of my neighbors, waiting to see if the winds would shift and move the fire in our direction.  We were incredibly lucky, as the winds never moved towards us.... and the next morning, this was the same fiery view:

For the next five days we lived without power, heat or internet service.  No stores, gas, restaurants available, but plenty of smoky air!  Here's what last Friday looked like, when all that smoke was blowing to the south and east, so that the San Francisco Bay Area got it's share of the fire smoke:

During the daytime I was able to sit and stitch in the afternoon sunshine.  In the evenings, I sat in my kitchen nook with lots of candlelight and crocheted while listening to audiobooks.  You can see Mellie in her bed under the table, my constant companion..... Cozy but slightly creepy at the same time, as it was totally pitch black outside!  Needless to say, we went to bed early each night, and woke up to check the skies and wind direction each morning...

As I write this, the power is restored in most of northern California, the fire is still being battled by thousands of very brave firefighters from all over the West, and MOST OF ALL, we are all truly grateful that the high winds have died down, this fire is starting to be contained, and Sonoma County residents are being allowed to return to their homes.

As for my new "AUTUMN TRAILS" in fiery reds and golds and teals, if you're interested in starting a fun fall design, please leap on over to my website and see the ordering information for this vibrant new geometric pattern! 

Friday, October 18, 2019

FYI: Spooky Stitchers...

Hey, All You Stitchers who have purchased my newest "SPOOKY HALLOWEEN SQUARE":
Just wanted to alert you to the fact that the sparkly black Kreinik #4 Braid 5008 I used for the spider web and spider is no longer available.    Rats.

It was actually called "Leprechaun" because it was a black metallic thread with flecks of green and gold in it.  But don't panic -- just use any fine black metallic you have in your stash, and if it has colored flecks in it, so much the better!  Kreinik still has 5001 and 5002 - both black metallics with colored flecks - and they would also work for spider webbing (and oh, yeah, I also used the sparkly black thread in the ghost's eyes and mouth).

You might also use some of Rainbow Gallery's fine Treasure Braid #4 size, such as the dark multi color TR79/ TR99 -- or really, any fine black metallic thread you have on hand.

So go looking in your thread stash, and I bet you can find something perfect for that little bit of spooky black sparkle in your piece!


Monday, October 14, 2019

Some Spooky Fun

 OOOOOOHHH.... it's so nice to see the trees in the neighborhood starting to turn colors...and while the days are still warm, the nights are definitely cooling down and the comforter has reappeared on my bed.  

To celebrate the changing seasons, I was also craving a new Halloween design to stitch, but I wanted it to be fun and fast to work up.  So I combined my love of ribbons with a bunch of Halloween elements that bring a smile to my face - cats, bats, witches' hats, pumpkins, candy corn, spider, and even a cute little ghost.  It's called "SPOOKY HALLOWEEN SQUARE":

The new 10" x 10" SPOOKY design is worked on 18 ct. canvas in the brown color (what I privately call the "old-fashioned" color of canvas).  It uses Watercolours 231 - "Ethiopia" and a fat bunch of DMC #5 pearl cottons, an orange Very Velvet, plus a few specialty metallics.  I enjoyed working all the zig zag or scalloped borders, then filling them in with lots of fun stuff.  And it DID work up fast, without having to work the background!  Here's a close-up of the center square:

Lots of seasonal treats, plus plenty of purple and orange colors - right?!?

So if you want a really fun Halloween project to get you in the right "spooky" seasonal mood, please hop on your broomstick and fly on over to my website, and check out the pattern information!


Friday, September 13, 2019

An Ode to Sunflowers

These are the only types of sunflowers I have growing in my yard this summer, but their sunny faces were inspiring enough for me to decide to create a fast and fun quilt design that features the same type of small sunflowers -- I'm calling the new pattern "SUNFLOWER DAYS":

I wanted to incorporate that traditional sunflower star block with a few easy peasy borders (stripes and checkers, 'cuz how fun are those to stitch??), and then add in something a little different: lots of tiny sunflowers (or black-eyed susans, if you prefer) using Lazy Daisy Stitches and French Knots.  Here's what those different elements look like up close:

Doesn't that look fun to stitch?  Nothing difficult in this design.... just pure sunflower fun!  Can you spot the lovely variegated thread in the photo above?  It's Caron Watercolours' 251 - "Sunflower Seed", appropriately enough.... You can also see that while the main parts of the design are stitched with #5 pearl cotton colors, the itty bitty sunflowers are worked with 3 ply of DMC floss. I also added a touch of shimmer with a soft wavy border done in creamy yellow Ribbon Floss!

I decided to make this 8.25" x 10" design as a rectangular piece, mostly for a change from working squares, squares, and more squares (!), but also because one of my other rectangular designs, "SUMMER DAYS" (see photo below)...

has been so popular over the years, I thought this new SUNFLOWER DAYS would make a lovely companion piece to it, but in a different yellow colorway.  (These rectangular designs make lovely pillows, by the way...)

So if you're in the mood to stitch up an armful of sunflowers to celebrate the end of summer, please mosey on over to my website to see all the ordering information on this new SUNFLOWER DAYS pattern!  And as always, HAPPY FRIDAY, Stitchers!!

Monday, September 9, 2019

It's Pumpkin Time Again!!

Are you ready for Autumn to arrive? 
Craving some pumpkin spice latte??
Looking forward to wearing sweaters again??? about stitching your very own PUMPKIN PATCH to celebrate the changing seasons??

I just posted an encore cyber class on my website offering the popular PUMPKIN PATCH again!
If you missed it last year, now's the time to sign up for this colorful project:

Yup... It's chock full of small, medium and large pumpkins.  
And a lot more besides: crows, squash blossoms, leaves, crows, and even a smiling scarecrow! 
Here's a look at the octagonal centerpiece:

It's just bursting with Autumn's colorful bounty, isn't it?

You can read more about the class particulars over on my website... and  psssst:
I guarantee you that this sweet 8" x 8" piece is just the thing to get you in 
the mood for Autumn!!

Friday, August 2, 2019

Happy Summer Flowers!!

Here we are in the heart of hot summer days.... and while my outside garden is struggling under high 90+ weather, at least my inside stitchery gardens are doing great!

In between working on several new projects for the rest of the year, I've been reworking a design I originally did for a Nordic Needle Club several years ago.  It's taken a while to combine all the class lessons, color graphs and diagrams into a condensed but comprehensive pattern that I can finally share with all of you.   And TA DA: this new pattern is finally ready and available on my website, so you too can stitch up a summer garden that doesn't wilt in the heat.  It's called PRAIRIE FLOWER GARDEN:

Yup.... it's another long panel piece that is truly a joy to stitch, with lots of sunny floral patterns to work up, section by section.  The overall design size is 7.25" wide by 18.25" long, and it's stitched on 18 ct. eggshell canvas.  I stitched the above model in the PINK colorway, but the pattern also includes a thread palette for a BLUE colorway as well.  You can see the two basic colorways below:

There are a few other threads included in each palette - two Ribbon Floss threads, as well as a finer gold Kreinik #8 Braid - which gives this panel a subtle sparkle throughout the piece.

And the fun focal point of this piece is the fantasy flower garden you'll stitch -- oh, there are lots of bright, happy flowers for you to create!  The small Mill Hill bee button is not included in the pattern, but your favorite stitchery store can order the bee button for you.   I've also included a stitched bee version that is very fun to work and add to your piece...  And pssst: here's an up-close look at the garden section:

Pretty Cute, huh??
So if you love stitching gardens, this is a GREAT counted canvaswork piece to add to your collection.
Please buzz on over to my website to see all the threads needed, as well as ordering information..... then get a piece of long canvas and look forward to stitching a very happy summertime garden!!  Happy Weekend Stitching, Everyone...

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Cool Blue Pinwheels!

I've stitched lots and lots of needlepoint quilts over the years, and recently when I had an urge to stitch up another one, I had the idea to blend my usual satin stitch quilt design with a little bit of the hopes that it might look somewhat like an appliqued quilt.  You don't know if you don't try it, right??  So here's what I came up with:

I call it PERIWINKLE PINWHEELS, since it uses the traditional pinwheel quilt design, and I also used a yummy variegated Watercolours 295 called "Mountain Haze" in soft periwinkle blues and sage greens.

Below is an up close look at some of the pinwheel triangles and the blackwork flowers worked inside some of the open spaces....can you spot the triangles with the softly variegated "Mountain Haze" thread??  The body of the actual quilt is stitched with #5 pearl cottons, but the floral blackwork motifs use 2-3 ply of DMC floss, which creates a lovely lacy look to the flower inserts.  And if you look again, you can see that the flower colors alternate between light and dark flowers...and pssssst: I've even added some cream beads (included in the pattern) just for extra texture and charm!

I have to say I REALLY enjoyed working on this easy 8" x 8" project, with the diagonal satin stitching blended with sections of delicate blackwork flowers (done in 2-3 ply of matching DMC floss).  It makes a refreshing change from stitching the whole quilt in diagonal satin stitch, let me tell you!  And I've even included a pink thread palette as well as the cover model above, done in periwinkle blue.  I stitched my piece on the sage green mono canvas for a soft vintage feel, but you could easily stitch it on eggshell or even white, for a brighter, more contemporary look.

Honestly, I had so much fun stitching this sweet piece, I've got a few others planned in the same style, and I hope I can get them stitched up later this year.  Until then, if you want a really fun no-brainer project, please visit my website and see the pattern particulars for this new PERIWINKLE PINWHEELS design!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Stitch Some Friendly Flowers!

Who doesn't like a friendly bouquet of daisies?
And what could be better than stitching up your own bouquet in your favorite colors, so you always have some daisies in your house!!

Here's DAISY CHAIN, my next summer cyber class offering (I haven't offered it since 2016, so I thought it was time to bring it out again...):

This sweet 9" x 9" design is stitched on 18 ct. sage green canvas and features lottsa daisies - small, medium and large!  All the stitches are quite easy, and you'll be stitching some fun borders as well, which creates the look of several types of daisy ribbons all rolled into one square piece that would make a terrific pillow!  Here's an up close look at the different borders and daisies you'll be stitching:

Can you spot the variegated Watercolours thread that runs through the piece above and creates the color palette background for all your daisies?

 And to make it extra special, each stitcher gets to choose their favorite daisy kit color - 
YELLOW, PINK or BLUE - for added fun: 

So if you're a daisy lover, or just love stitching flowers as much as I do, please tip toe through the daisy patch and visit my website to see all the class information....  Happy Summertime Stitching, Everyone!!

Friday, May 24, 2019

It's Sweet Pea Time!

Earlier this year I started learning how to crochet....specifically because I saw the lovely afghan my sister was stitching called the "Sweet Pea Afghan" designed by ATTIC24 (pssst: check out ATTIC24's blog for some truly delicious crochet inspiration and designs).  After a long grey winter, I was totally smitten by the colors and pattern, and right away wanted to learn how to make one....

As I was working on this springy afghan, it got me dreaming about a fragrant bouquet of sweet peas, and I realized, "Hey, it's been quite a while since I created a flower collage. Wouldn't a Sweet Pea Collage be fun to stitch?"  YOU BETCHA!!  So I immediately set aside my crochet project, cut a piece of sage green canvas (my favorite for doing floral pieces), pulled out a handful of pastel threads, and started working on a  new floral collage.  And TA DA -- here it is:

Oh, this SWEET PEA COLLAGE was such fun to stitch!  I loved stitching small blocks of different stitches with #5 pearl cottons, adding a few floral ribbons, tent stitching the sweet pea centerpiece in DMC floss, and finally filling in the variegated background with a simple four-way stitch, using a springy ThreadworX Overdyed Floss.  

Working with the variegated Watercolours 270 - "Easter Eggs" was perfect for this piece, since it has the soft pinks, purples, and greens that remind me of a patch of sweet peas.  And the particular challenge of this design was creating small flowers that looked like ruffly sweet peas, which are so different from most symmetrical-petaled flowers.  Here's an up-close look at a few of the stitch patterns I chose:

There are individual sweet pea flowers, bargello flowers, and even twisty sweet pea vines.  Neat, huh??

 So if you too are a fan of sweet peas, and would like to add this design to your stitchy garden, please run through the meadow and over the stream to my website to see more information about this new Spring pattern: SWEET PEA COLLAGE.

And HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND, everyone!  I hope you get a lot of stitching done!!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Stitch Up A Spring Garden!

Here in Northern California, I'm seeing irises starting to bloom in the neighborhood gardens.

And that reminds me that it's time to release a design that's only been available as a cyber class project for the past few years.  The popular "FLEUR-DE-LIS" is a very sweet floral sampler measuring 8.5" x 8.5" on 18 ct. sage green canvas.  I love stitching these floral pieces, since they're not too large, not too small -- but JUST RIGHT for a pleasant bit of springtime stitching!

The woven borders and dappled variegated background evoke a latticed garden, with squares of irises done in fun composite patterns.  And the pattern has thread palettes for either a BLUE or PURPLE version, as shown by the main pearl cotton threads below:

I LOVE thinking up fun stitch patterns that mimic the flowers highlighted in each of my floral designs, so if you look closely at the photo below, you can see some of the irisey stitches I've created to use in the pattern squares.  You can also see a bit of the variegated Watercolours that is used in each of the four boxes, which provides a lovely wash of soft colors that compliments the main flower colors:

So, Stitchers, if you're in the mood to stitch up a quick spring garden, please tip toe through the iris beds and head on over to my website, and look under the Secret Garden Collection to see all the ordering information for this newly released "FLEUR-DE-LIS" pattern! 

Friday, March 29, 2019

Something Different for Easter....

I've always had a special fascination with hand-dyed Ukrainian eggs, with their exquisite detail and unique craftsmanship. Many years ago, I worked with a woman who dyed Ukrainian eggs every year, and she shared many of her egg books and pictures with me.  I was so inspired, I designed and started stitching up a project that featured Ukrainian eggs, but eventually I reached an invisible design wall, and stopped - because I was stumped and couldn't think up a good border for the piece.

Recently, I dug around in my project vault to find that original piece.... then used it to graph it and stitch it anew, and also figure out a border that pleased me!  Here's the design I stitched and now offer as a new 2019 spring pattern for you - my UKRAINIAN EGGS:

I wanted my piece to have a vintage or folk art feel to it, so I stitched it with traditional primary colors on 18 ct. brown canvas.  I think it would look brighter and much more contemporary if it were stitched on eggshell or sandstone canvas.  And if you are REALLY brave, you could even stitch it on black canvas for a truly traditional folk art look!!

This piece uses just a handful of #5 DMC pearl cottons - and there are no variegated threads in this piece - gasp!!  And while I considered adding a bit of gold metallic, I ultimately decided that the folk art eggs don't have gold on them, so mine should just have traditional colors and no metallic on the eggs.  Although I did add a sprinkling of translucent gold beads around the wrapped roses in the corners of the borders - just for a festive surprise element.

Working interesting geometric patterns with #5 pearl cottons and then placing them into the curving egg shapes was the real challenge.  The stitches themselves are not difficult at all, but counting and fitting them into the egg shapes require close attention to counting and using the graphs.  I even created a larger Main Graph (as I always do) but decided that each egg needed a separate and larger graph so you can easily see all the stitches.  Here's the Top Egg up close: 

Pretty different from my usual pastel springy stuff, huh??  Using these bolder colors was fun, actually.... and I created the golden lattice and the green boughs in the border to be motifs that are reminiscent of Faberge eggs.  As you can see, the outer scalloped border was the one I finally chose to finish off the piece, with tiny bits of primary egg colors peeking out around the border.  The scalloped border softens the piece and adds a bit of lacework to compliment the folk art theme.

If you are a fan of Ukrainian Eggs like I am, please gather up your egg basket and skip on over to my website, which has all the information about this new UKRAINIAN EGGS design.
........ and Happy Weekend Stitching, Everyone!! 

Friday, March 22, 2019

Another Springy Thing!

Craving a new geometric project that gets you celebrating the spring season in soft pastel colors?
How about my encore SPRING PATCHWORK cyber class??  I offered this fun class several years ago, and it was so popular I decided to offer it again this year, for those of you who might have missed it.... or maybe would like to stitch it in another colorway:

It's a 8.75" x 8.75" design stitched on 18 ct. eggshell mono canvas, with a handful of luscious threads that include a variegated Waterlilies, a few Splendor silks and a soft metallic ribbon.  Each stitcher gets to choose between these kit color palettes:

All of these lovely floral colorways are mixed with a soft green border that create a patchwork design that reminds me of a traditional quilt block, as well as a stylized knot garden.  The stitch patterns really aren't difficult, and as with so many geometric pieces, once you set up the borders all you need to do is fill in the spaces with the appropriate repeating pattern....something that can be done at a leisurely pace and in your own good time -- perfect for a soft and sweet spring afternoon!

If you're in the mood for a new counted canvaswork design that celebrates the heart-lifting colors of spring, please skip on over to my website to the SPRING PATCKWORK cyber class registration information.  And I hope your first spring weekend is filled with lots of sunshine, flowers, and stitching!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

A Western Valentine!

Dark, dreary February is the perfect time to stitch something in warm colors - like deep rich REDS! And I was actually craving some puffy red hearts..... so I took an old favorite quilt design of mine (Arizona Star) and revamped it a bit.  I added some metallic red hearts that would brighten the grey days of February ---  and came up with a new quilt I've decided to call "WESTERN HEARTS":

It combines a more complex quilt design with a rather limited color palette, plus I've included some small padded hearts as well as the larger Rhodes Hearts, done in metallic Ribbon Floss. (They are very fun to stitch and add a bit of whimsy to the traditional quilt!)  The photo below gives you an up-close look at those shimmery hearts:

I wanted a old-fashioned, vintage look to my piece, so I worked a two-tone background in cream and tan, which you can see in the above photo.  But if you want a brighter, more contemporary look, I recommend working the whole background in just the lighter cream color.  

As I was stitching this piece in reds and browns, I also thought it would look great in a more masculine blue and brown palette, so the pattern gives thread lists for a RED or BLUE colorway.
I didn't stitch up a blue model, but the Watercolours thread used is 018 - Peacock (one of my favorites) with the solid color blue being #5 DMC 825.  Equally yummy!!

So if you too are craving to stitch a sweet western valentine, please mosey on over to my website and check out all the particulars for my new "WESTERN HEARTS" pattern....
Stay warm and cozy and stitching, Everyone!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

A Wintry New Cyber Class

HAPPY NEW YEAR, Stitchers!

I've got a lovely new cyber class piece to share with you today, called BLUE IRIS SQUARE.
Many years ago, I designed this piece and stitched it with Bravo! A102 on 24 ct. Congress Cloth and it looked like this:

I've done a lot of blackwork, but always with colors or variegated colored thread.  I enjoy seeing the surprising watercolor wash that appears when you use a variegated thread in any project.  For blackwork, using pale colors isn't terribly effective since it makes the patterns harder to see.  For this piece, I used medium toned threads, so the patterns are softer, but still visible.

Recently, when I pulled this small project out of storage, I was curious to see how this blackwork design would look on 18 ct. canvas.... so I went ahead and stitched it up in another soft pastel thread, BRAVO! A119 - bouquet.  Here's what the new piece looks like:

This is not a difficult piece, Stitchers; the floral stitch patterns are pretty simple and there are really only a few types of stitches used: a diagonal satin stitch (for the borders), smyrnas, cross stitches, and a backstitch variation that works best for blackwork.  Easy Peasy!!   And I LOVE the larger 9" x 9" size on the 18 ct. eggshell canvas.... it makes is easier to stitch, and easier to see the color progression of cool blues and lavenders that wash over the whole design.  Take a look at the blackwork patterns up-close:

So, Stitchers, if you've been curious about trying some blackwork -- or you'd like to work on a light and airy piece at the start of the year  -- please consider signing up for this fun new project.   I'm offering this BLUE IRIS SQUARE as my first cyber class of the New Year -- and also keep in mind that you get to choose between the two kit colors -- BLUE or TEAL!

If working on a pleasant blackwork/geometric project tickles your fancy, please saunter on over to my website and see all the class registration information....