Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ideas and Inspiration

I was looking through a new Pottery Barn Catalog (I love those for color schemes, fabrics, accessories) and saw this gorgeous Kilim fabric. If you look at it closely, you will see it is the same graphic format as the little "Quilt Block Ornament" in which I raised the border one thread to create an entire field of squares - to be manipulated in many different ways. You can click on this to enlarge it, and study the colors and the arrangements of the little squares. A whole pillow could be done this way from the same small pattern! It's amazing what you can find if you keep your eyes and imagination wide open and receptive.

As I have said many times, quilt patterns needn't all be "country" decor, but may be quite elegant. This would do for upholstery on a footstool, as it is here - and look at that boxing!! I may have to do this myself in needlepoint - or maybe just order the footstool.

A Great Idea!

It has just been called to my attention by a friend who doesn't needlepoint, that these ornaments would also work as counted X-stitch. In this case, just regard each thread intersection on the grid (as needlepoint canvas is an open-weave scrim) as one little square on cross stitch fabric. I think that would work, as the "bump" stitches certainly would, and the background can be left bare - think of all the pretty color combos that could be done! I know there are very pretty overdyed stranded cottons and silks to work with. Caron has them, as the "Watercolours" is too thick for work on fabric. You would, of course, eliminate the step of drawing on fabric with an ink pen.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Quilt Block Ornament

This simple piece was worked due to my fascination with Caron Watercolours when I first found it several years ago - the color schemes are taken from it - and it was used to work the diamond frame around the center design. This one has the "blocks" colored and arrange to resemble flowers, and was worked entirely in the Watercolours and in Perle cotton.

The chart is very simple to follow - just mark the canvas as illustrated.

The ornament is 3 3/4" from point to point on 18 mesh, so you will need a square of canvas about 6 1/2" - 7". Begin stitching in the center on both ornaments - the green leaf on this one. Then just work from the center out according to the diagrams.

The close-up clearly illustrates the stitching in progress. I used the YLI Ribbon Floss in "Mauve" to make the smyrna cross frame, and also the first row of squares around the center. The background was worked with ecru DMC perle cotton.

While I was getting this ready this evening, it occurred to me that by lifting the inner Smyrna cross border by one thread, it creates a totally different format - lots of squares that could result in all kinds of different designs according to colors and stitches used - lot of possibilities here!!

I am doing something a bit different with these, and offering them as I did patterns in my newspaper article a long time ago - for, as I remember, "$2 and a SASE." However, we had no computers and no internet or anything of the sort back then - so I have now put these on my web page (the link is on this blog) for a minimal fee to cover "handling" as they have to be sent out by e-mail. They are in PDF form, so you can print them out to study - and if you spill coffee on them, you can just print them out again. They are a little more detailed than what I can do here. This is just an option I thought I would offer.

As I stated with the first ornament, these pictures and charts may be enlarged and printed out - just click on each to enlarge - and then print.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Simple Poinsettia for Needlepoint

This little ornament works up really fast - and is fun to do with different kinds of threads. It's one of several I did about ten years ago for a shop that had just opened, and wanted to hand out "freebies" as a promotional thing. The first one was worked with perle cotton - #5 for the slanted stitches, and #3 for the upright ones. The design itself is 3" square on 13 mesh canvas, but would be app. 4" on 13 mesh. The illustrated piece was done with novelty threads - as red YLI Ribbon Floss and red Frosty Rays for the flower, Flair for the green diamond shaped border around the flower, and Frosty Rays for the outer border. Just looking at the picture, I apparently had not discovered white Shimmer blend Ribbon Floss yet, and worked the white background stitches in silk. I would use white R.F. now, as it lies so flat, and is beautifully shiny.

I also, on this version, used a bead wherever I was doing diagonal Scotch Stitch, substituting the bead for #1 stitch in the sequence. This shows on the chart as a little circle where a stitch would otherwise be. The canvas with markings was done with a heavy hand so that you can see the markings necessary. A square 6" x 6" is right for the 18 mesh canvas - and the center grooves vertically and horizontally should be marked for guidance. Then, draw a 4 x 4 stitch square in the center where they meet (this will be the flower center) and make LIGHT dots on the diagonal. Later, you might want to paint these out before stitching a white background, but they are for easy placement of the flower stitches, inner border, and turning the corners. I use PILOT or a SHARPIE ultra fine point permanent pen for this work - they have proven safe over the years. Don't use a pencil, as the graphite will rub off on your threads. Never use a felt marker!
After marking the canvas, you are ready to begin: The center was done on this one with yellow Renaissance Sprinkles. Just follow the simple chart to finish. The arrow indicates the center groove. After stitching the flower and the leaves, the easiest way to start the light green border and have it finish properly at the top and sides, is to just count up two dots from the point of the small petal, and make the first stitch - study the chart!
To print these out for use, just click on the pictures to enlarge - they should print out for you actual size. I'll check it in a minute. If it doesn't work, I'll just practice some more tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Right now I'm playing with decorating the blog - but I do have a project planned - hopefully tomorrow. Please bear with me. I am a crazy lady.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A New Blog for Tutorials and Free Patterns!

Just getting started on this one and trying it out - should be fun!! Now to go design something to show and "how to do it."