Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Ho, Ho, Ho: New Miniature Holiday Quilts!

Hey, Stitchers: I've got some sweet new MINIATURE HOLIDAY QUILTS for you, and they look just like traditional American quilts with fun, festive centers:


 
I had so much fun stitching these cuties up -- I worked the set shown below on 18 ct. canvas in eggshell with the gold flecks.   What's fun about using the shimmery gold canvas is you don't really need to stitch the background because the canvas is so sparkly, it adds an extra elegance to the small quilts (and it also makes them faster to finish!)  As you can see below, I stitched two of the quilts WITH the quilted background and two of them WITHOUT the background, so you can see the different versions and decide which you like best....


And please note that I couldn't decide which color border I liked best - red or green - so I did two of each!  You can stitch all the quilts with one color border, or alternate them like I did.   I also couldn't decide if the little quilts would look better on 18 ct. (5" x 5") or 24 ct. Congress Cloth (3.75" x 3.75") so I stitched up one of the quilts on Congress Cloth just to see how cute they would look on the finer canvas:


For the smaller quilts, I used Gentle Arts Simply Shaker Sampler Threads, which gives them a slightly vintage look.  By the way, the pattern includes the complete thread list for either size of the miniature quilts, as well as a bead pack with red, green and gold seed beads.

Super cute, super fun, super easy!!!   And these quilts would also be great way to highlight a large holiday charm, button or bead in the center -- wouldn't that be eye-catching??

So if you're in the mood for stitching up some quick holiday pieces, you might want to add this new MINIATURE HOLIDAY QUILTS pattern to your stash.... Please visit my website to see the thread list and complete ordering information.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

An Elegant New Cyber Class for the New Year!



Over this past year I've printed and mailed out lots of my large pink ARABESQUE patterns, and at one point, I stopped and wondered what a small version of that piece would look like.  Once I had the idea, I simply couldn't rest until I stitched up a smaller version, and I must say.... I totally enjoyed working on the small 8" x 8" piece, especially since I was able to use Watercolours' Bark (in subtle browns and purples) with DMC 333 and 340 (that yummy periwinkle family).  And Oooh, La, La -- here's what the whole piece of the new PETITE ARABESQUE looks like, stitched on Santa Fe Sage Green 18 ct. canvas:



This smaller piece has all the same elements as the larger one, but it's not so intimidating to stitch; and because it's smaller, it's easier to stitch, too, since you don't have to bend and stretch across a large canvas to work into the middle!   To make the cyber class piece even more enticing, I've created several different color palettes (all equally luscious) for the class stitcher to choose from:



All of the colorways use the same antique greens for the borders, as well as the same vintage gold Kreinik and Ribbon Floss metallics (including chunky gold Hot Wire to make the curleques).  An additional soft metallic Ribbon Floss thread will match the main color of each palette.

So, Stitchers, to kick off the beginning of 2018, I thought PETITE ARABESQUE would make the perfect new cyber class for the New Year.  If you're intrigued by this unusual geometric piece, and want something different to stitch after the hectic holiday season has ended, please stroll on over to my website and see all the color choices and cyber class information... Pssst: Think of it as a pre-season present for yourself, to enjoy in the New Year!!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Odd Fellows' Cross, revisited & revamped



Dear Stitchers: Can I just confess to you that I've been enjoying a quilt-stitching renaissance this season??  After working lots of projects with varying composite stitches and complex compositions this past year, it's been so very relaxing to return to the joys of stitching geometric quilt designs with simple diagonal satin stitches!

One of my favorite quilt blocks is called "Odd Fellows' Cross" with a combination of lone star and wild geese motifs. (I don't know what it is, but I just LOVE making those stars and triangles!!) Anyway, I thought it would be fun to revisit this old pattern of mine, revise it with color graphs, changed "quilting" background patterns and newer, fresher colors, and then reissue it as the new, improved ODD FELLOWS' CROSS.

For the cover model, I decided to use Watercolours 120 - "Forest Fire" (ironically, I was stitching this model while the wildfires raged all around me in Sonoma County, getting uncomfortably close at times).... along with a handful of vibrant fall colors (red, orange, teal and rust) and a splash of gold metallic Ribbon Floss.  Here's a close-up look at the different elements in the piece:


I stitched the main elements in the variegated Watercolours and DMC #5 pearl cottons, but worked the background areas in 4 ply DMC floss.  I love that this particular colorway has a distinct autumnal feel to it, but also a more masculine and western/southwestern flair as well....

And after I finished the ORANGE version, I wondered how it would look as a BLUE version, and couldn't rest until I threaded up my needle again and whipped this up:



Totally different feel to it, done in blues -- very wintery, actually!  For this version, I used Watercolours 281, "Hudson Bay" with matching #5 DMC blues and a blue metallic Ribbon Floss.  Very Cool!!  So for all you blue lovers, I've included the BLUE version thread list on the pattern as well.

But I have to tell you, if you like creating your own color palettes, you will have a ball working with this quilt design.  It's endlessly fascinating to mix and match colors!  I suggest finding a variegated skein you really like - and if you can match up four different solid colors to it, you can replicate the ORANGE quilt in your own colorway.  Or, for another option, this design can be stitched in just ONE color - say RED - using one variegated color and one solid color, for a more monochromatic and dramatic effect.  All I can say is: this one is Fun, Fun, Fun!!  And to give you a sense of the metallic shine that isn't seen in the flat scanned images, here's a tilted look at the ORANGE version:


So, if you're craving a soothing, seasonal stitching project, please shuffle through the falling leaves to my website and see all the ordering particulars for my new ODD FELLOWS' CROSS!
And Happy Weekend Stitching, everyone....

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!!