Friday, September 29, 2017

A NEW QUILT: Sagebrush Stars!

Are you feeling the arrival of Autumn where you live?  Are you enjoying the cooler weather and getting out your flannels and sweaters?   Is it also time to start some fun Autumn Stitching Projects??

I'm so happy to share my latest quilt design, SAGEBRUSH STARS, as a fabulous new fall piece:

Woo Hoo, was this a fun stitch! I deliberately chose to use the same thread/color palette as my popular INDIAN SUMMER and INDIAN AUTUMN patterns show below:

This counted canvaswork piece is done on sandstone 18 ct. canvas (you can also use eggshell, since you fully cover the canvas with your stitching), and the finished size is 10" x 10".  There's just something about that Watercolours 168, "Rainforest" in combination with the muted blue, green, lavender and terra cotta colors that makes me happy.  And while the colored elements are done in #5 pearl cottons, the background is stitched with 4 ply DMC floss, which is a nice change and easy on your hands - I love that, too! 

And then there are the stars.... don't you love stitching stars?  I had fun making different star centers in each of the smaller stars, which added a bit of surprise "scrappiness" to the overall look of this piece.  Here's a close-up look at the stars, plus the various triangles (or flying geese motifs, as I like to think of them):

 So, if you're itchin' to do some Autumn Stitchin', please saddle up your pony and trot on over to my website and check out the rest of the information on this new SAGEBRUSH STARS pattern!  And Happy Weekend Stitching, Everyone....

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Some Early Autumn Fun

With all the crazy hot summer weather we've had in Northern California, I'm soooo looking forward to fall!  Acorns are starting to fall from the oak trees in the area, and some of the first Chinese pistache trees are turning red and gold.  So I got into the early autumn mood and stitched up some fun HALLOWEEN ORNAMENTS:

Well, they're a little larger than ornaments - 5" x 5" on 18 ct canvas - but they make cute little squares that I'm planning to hang around the house or maybe insert one in an accent pillow.  You could also stitch them in a long row, to create a festive banner, or stitch all four of them on one piece of canvas as a combined pillow top. 

As you can see in the photo above, I stitched two of the designs on orange canvas and two of them on the old-fashioned looking brown canvas; but you can stitch them up on any color canvas you want.  Zweigart no longer makes the lavender-colored canvas, but if you can find a piece of it, they would certainly be fun to stitch on that, as well.

I used Watercolours 231 - "Ethiopia" for my foundation variegated thread (it has a great mix of orange, purple and pink) with a handful of #5pearl cotton solid colors, plus some zingy metallics.
And the pattern includes a bead pack of gold and dark rainbow seed beads, that you can use interchangeably around the borders.  Oh, and for an optional thread, I used a bit of black Fuzzy Stuff for the black cat's tail!!  Here's a close- up look:

And honestly, they were all a blast to stitch - especially since I used four different colorful borders and ribbon edges to keep the stitching interesting.  Actually, they are ALL fun to stitch, and they offer so many opportunities for extra fun embellishments -- such as adding Halloween ceramic beads, charms, or buttons.... What a fun way to show off those cute little Halloween buttons so everyone can enjoy them!  (Or if you're a real Halloween enthusiast, you can stitch them on black canvas with glow-in-the-dark threads!!)

So if you're itchin' to get started on some Halloween stitchin', mosey on over to my website and check out my new HALLOWEEN ORNAMENTS pattern.  And I hope you all enjoy the long last weekend of Summer with good friends, good food, and good stitching!

Friday, August 18, 2017

It's Harvest Time!

Just this morning when I was walking my dog Katie, I stopped to look at the first tree in the neighborhood that is starting to turn color -- wow, is Autumn already sneaking up on us?

Which got me thinking about which project I would offer as my next cyber class.  One of my class stitchers recently asked me about HARVEST TIME, and I was shocked to discover that I hadn't offered it in several years!  (My, how the time keeps flying by, huh??)

Anyway, I decided that HARVEST TIME is a terrific class piece to offer right now, so here it is:

It's a small (7.5" x 7.5" on 18 ct. canvas), elegant piece in green and burgundy, with LOTS of grapes - small, medium and large!  Here's a peek at the various sizes of grape clusters:

It's another one of my "tapestry" designs, since I seem to keep finding fun flowers and such to fill into the sweet lattice that forms the tapestry of this layout.  I am endlessly fascinated by how various variegated threads look when you work the heavier #5 pearl cottons against the finer stranded cottons, and how it creates an illusion of depth and complexity.

This design uses a favorite Watercolours thread of mine - 047 - "Camouflage" with a handful of #5 pearl cottons, as well as two metallic threads.   The stitches aren't difficult; I would rate this project as a "beginner-to-intermediate" piece, but you definitely need experience in working from a graph!

So, if you're a lover of grapes, vineyards, wine, or all things autumn, you might like to join this fun Fall class!  Please visit my website and see the particular details of this next HARVEST TIME cyber class....

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Totally Cool Classics

I always find that on hot summer days working on projects that have lots of blues, greens and purples are especially pleasing.  Here are a few of the coolest American Quilt Collection patterns that are truly classics, in that they are my versions of traditional Amish quilt designs.  With their rich, deep jewel colors, Amish quilts never fail to please and never seem to be outdated....

Here's one of my absolute favorites, SHINING STAR, because the complex variegated thread palette makes this look difficult but really, the stitching is quite easy once you work the rows of diamonds and set up one quarter of the design, then use that first section as a reference to work the other three sections:

Another cool classic is SNAIL'S TRAIL, which is more of a stitching optical illusion where you really have to focus on which color of whirling "snail" you're stitching on, because of the confusing interlocking arms.  I used a variegated #5 pearl cotton for the background color, which further complicates things, but you could definitely stitch a pale solid color background so your main swirly snails would stand out!

You can change the color palette on this one by first picking out a variegated Watercolours thread you love; then use it to pick out four different solid colors of #5 pearl cotton that coordinate.  The tricky part is finding a variegated thread that actually has four different colors in it -- sometimes that's the most challenging part of pulling/changing threads in a design!

Another classic quilt pattern called Tumbling Blocks prompted me many years ago to create a small wall quilt in an assortment of jewel-tone colors.  After staring at the small quilt (which looks exactly like the pattern below) it occurred to me that it would make a terrific geometric design as well, so I designed and stitched up this TUMBLING BLOCKS beauty:

I just recently revamped the pattern a bit (enlarging the color graph so you can see it better) and then added it to my website, under the American Quilt Collection (scroll down the sidebar on the left).  I originally stitched it on light blue canvas with the darkest navy blue thread I could find, and alas, you can see the canvas peeking through a bit.... but working it on a darker canvas with dark blue (or even black, if you're a purist) pearl cotton would eliminate the canvas "dandruff" you see in the photo.

So if you're in the mood to create your own American classic, please put on your bonnet, hitch up your buggy, and trot on over to my website to see these traditional quilt beauties!!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Time for a New Cyber Class!

When I decide which projects to offer for cyber classes, I try to alternate a new class with an old/encore class.  Since the last RIBBONS & MONOGRAM class was an encore presentation, I thought I'd bring out a new design that I haven't shared with you before, "CALIFORNIA GOLD":

I actually taught this as a class 'way back in 2008 up in the Gold Country at Kelsey's Needle Krafts in Placerville, California.  Since then I've MEANT to offer it as a cyber class for other stitchers, but other projects and other classes took up most of my time while the piece languished away in my closet, and the years have just galloped along.  So now, finally, I'm offering it as a class, and you can have the fun of working on a bunch of really bright flowers that bring a smile to your face just looking at them!

What gave me the most pleasure in designing this piece was creating small, medium and large poppies that frankly, were a blast to stitch!  And the large, center poppies are slightly padded for additional texture and surprise... (and yeah, those are bullion knots in the poppy centers!)
Here's a close-up of the different sizes of flowers so you can see how cute those mini poppies are:

This brilliant tapestry piece measures 7.5" x 7.5" on 18 ct. canvas in my favorite Santa Fe Sage green -- which I love to use for floral pieces so the colors really "pop"-- which is certainly the case with this piece and those bright yellows and golds.  The thread palette of this piece uses Watercolours & Waterlilies 076, "Woodlands" another of my favorite green/gold/yellow variegated thread combinations.  A handful of #5 pearl cottons and two metallic threads (one a thick coppery ribbon and one a fine gold braid) make up the rest of the threads. 

So if California poppies are a favorite flower of yours (as they are mine) and you want a fun new project for late summer/early fall, please sashay on over to my website and see the cyber class information.... Happy Weekend Stitching, Folks!!

Monday, July 17, 2017

A Cool Summertime Quilt

Aloha, Summertime Stitchers!
During our California heat wave this summer I was really craving something cool and breezy to stitch.  Not too hard or too complicated. Something fun and bright and tropical....

And I decided to play around with the traditional "pineapple" quilt block and see if I could create a modern looking design using more contemporary colors.  Here's what I came up with - the TROPICAL PINEAPPLE QUILT, using happy turquoise and tangerine colors:

Boy, was this fun to stitch!!
I've stitched a zillion quilts with traditional colors and ecru backgrounds, but it struck me recently that I have never worked a quilt pattern on white 18 ct. canvas with a WHITE background - Sheesh!! So this summer seemed the perfect time to try something new.... and the pineapple block is a perfect way to play with these tropical colors.  I used two variegated threads for the quilt blocks - Watercolours 208, "Tangerine" for the oranges, and Watercolours 331, "Summer Fields" for the tropical mix; then I added a few cool solid color #5 pearls, with two metallic ribbons in blue and orange for a sassy bit of stitchy bling!   Here's another view of those fun and easy pineapple blocks, showing how the interlocking blocks create a dazzling graphic look that's surprisingly modern, especially with the white background:

And as I was stitching with these happy beachy colors, I also was imagining how gorgeous this would look in other colors. Doing it all in reds and whites would be wonderful for a Christmas pillow.  Or how about all in beachy blues, for yet another summertime look?  Lime green and sky blue?  Purple and green??  The possibilities are endless with this cutie, and if you're interested in picking out your own colors, I recommend finding a variegated thread (or two) that you love, then building your thread palette around them.

So, Stitchers, if you're sweltering in your own heat wave summer, and looking for something to keep you cool, please splash on over to my website and see the ordering information on this refreshing new TROPICAL PINEAPPLE QUILT

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Grand & Glorious Fourth!

Hooray for the red, white and blue today!
I hope you're celebrating Independence Day with a little stitchin  -- mixed in with 
parade-watching, good-food eating,
not to mention just plain lazing, laughing, and fireworks oogling. 

Here are some of my favorite Fourth of July pieces that I bring out every year
 to celebrate our nation's illustrious birthday:

 Sandra Gilmore's LIBERTY



  Sandra Gilmore's PATRIOTIC



And this year I'll add the new PATRIOT'S WREATH to the collection:

Enjoy your Fouth of July celebrations, everyone!!