Saturday, December 6, 2008

Patchworking again! (in Needlepoint)

I discovered the joy of drafting patchwork patterns to size about 135 years ago (1973), when I was a young wife and mother with lots of energy and enthusiasm, and had learned to piece and quilt with a group of elderly neighbors on adjacent farms. This was very absorbing, but I soon began the process on needlepoint canvas, as I had scant patience with the hand sewing and quilting required, except as a social event at Miss Minnie's house.

This pattern was one of my favorites - "Stepping Stones" - and I made several pillows with it in different colors, which I used in my little book on patchwork pillows.These ornaments are worked on 18 mesh canvas, but would work as well on 13 - just a bit larger proportionately.
This first drawing on canvas is for a 4" patch, and as the pattern is a "four-patch," I made each square 36 stitches. Examining the design shows that each of the four squares is divided into four more squares - so each little square within the big ones is 18 stitches. This is just to illustrate the format and construction of this quilt pattern. I didn't actually draw all these squares when I put it on canvas, as I would have had to white out (with acrylic paint) a lot of black lines that would have shown through the background stitching.

The next drawing is the pattern itself on canvas and ready to stitch. You can "read" the elements as 9-stitch squares. simple!! The next pattern (same quilt pattern, but smaller) is based on 24 stitches square instead of the 36 on the larger one. This makes the little squares within it 6 stitches. Adding the border made it 3 3/4" square.

The partially drawn canvas illustrates starting in the center with the 12 stitch square. If this is a bit vague, just look closely at the drawings and it will become clear.

When this was lying on my work table one day, I started to see what it would look like if I rotated it 45 degrees and chopped off two corners - one of my favorite ornament shapes!

As for stitching, you can just look at the picture at the top and fairly well see what I did. The red pattern is made with long slanted stitches in Kreinik metallic ribbon - 1/16" width.

On the very small version, the center square is made with green metallic braid (Kreinik) in Leviathan stitches (four stitches square each), and the little gold bumps were made with smyrna crosses, which adds some interesting texture. For background on the little one, I used YLI Ribbon Floss in basketweave, and the same thread on the border, but in long, flat stitches - you can see the texture is different because of the way the light strikes the surface. It looks like two different fibers. Wonderful effect that I use often!

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