Friday, January 30, 2009

An Ornament for Heart Month

I'm not sure, but I think February is National Heart Month - awareness of heart disease, which is the #1 killer of women in this country.

This is my own special cause too, as if I had been aware of the symptoms years ago, I would not have become so ill with it myself. I don't think people realize that heart disease involves more than just cholesterol, blood pressure, etc., but symptoms we don't recognize because we haven't been made aware of them. My blood pressure is normal, as is my cholesterol - and I weigh what I did in college. No health problems at all until this heart valve thing laid me low shortly after my 65th birthday - but I am stubborn, and have things to do and places to go and needlepoint to stitch, so here I am still when my doctor told me three years ago to finish all my projects quickly and put my affairs in order ( or at least my stash of threads and my books)

Anyway, I haven't had time to totally finish this ornament to see what it will look like in its entirety, but this is enough to give you the idea. I have made the chart to include the framework only, as the circle may then be simply filled out with bargello - I used the YLI Ribbon Floss for that, and the center is done in basketweave with DMC perle cotton #5. I left the little warp dips and inserted the Sundance #250 hexagonal beads for a bit of "sugar sparkle."

This pattern would also fit the egg we used here in previous posts. The circle is the same one also as previous posts - the 4 1/4" diameter one. I do like the flowers much much better than the square ones on the first trial of this design!! They are made with smyrna cross "bumps" - or you could simply do them in mosaic stitch. Feel free to play around with your own color choices!!

To draw the flowers onto the canvas, I used my colored Sharpie ultra fine point markers so as not to confuse myself with the diagonal lines, etc.

See the posts below on this ornament for thread choices, etc.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Evolutions of an Ornament

Still playing around with the hearts on canvas - I really like the "4-way" design, but decided it needed to be divided in order to appear as hearts, and not just a red blob. The circle is the 4 1/4" one already showing in a previous post, and marked with the centers of horizontal and vertical, and the four diagnoals.
After stitching a smyrna cross in the exact center, and then the diagonals (Kreinik silver in the Vintage, as I wanted no sparkle, but a nice metallic gleam), I decided to be clever and add some flowers around the heart motif. I got lucky, and it actually made a circular pattern - but after stitching them, again in smyrna crosses for "bumps," all I could see was those awful looking squares - soooo back to doodling on canvas.

Incidentally, I used the Caron Watercolours for the hearts in a very subtle overdye - not too obvious, but interesting.
This time, after marking diagonals on a scrap of canvas, I drew different flowers - some from one of my "laces and trims" collection, and they made a splendid circle around the central motif. I do hope they look as good when stitched! For placement, I first made little marks where the tops of the heart would be.

Now, off to rip out the squares and to paint out the other flowers, and back to work. Tune in tomorrow, as I will have hopefully enough worked to visualize the finished piece - and then the chart for printing and working your own.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hearts and Flowers!! (Valentine Ornaments)

I never use graph paper for designing, except to try out charted Bargello patterns - but in this case, being already familiar with the size and area covered with these small center motifs, I have spent most of the day "doodling" on paper and a bit of canvas too. I don't use graph paper, as I can't visualize the end result according to scale and how it will ultimately look, so just working directly on the canvas has always been the best option.

Anyway - today the subject has been hearts, and I'm sure this phase will last for a few days - so stay tuned. Once the count for the "bargello" hearts is worked out, I can see many many different ways to use them. This first picture is the 4-way type, so if you want to experiment for yourself, it was made with DMC cotton floss - 8 plies to make the smooth upright stitches on 18 mesh canvas. While I was looking at it, I suddenly saw a diagonal of flowers, as I had marked the canvas as I usually do for four-way Bargello - so started that too. After stitching the little flowers, I counted out and marked a vertical line intending it to be the same width as my 4 1/4" circle for making an ornament, and then realized that it would work for a heart also.

One thing leads to another when passing the time playing around with pen, canvas, and paper, and so I made the diamond shape that would fit well around a single heart or the double ones - for a keyring, ornament, or scissors fob - or whatever else use you can think of. A great small project! After drawing the heart onto canvas, and setting it up for 4-way mitered stitching, I realized that divided into the four sections, after stitching the hearts and diagonal trim, one could stitch the four separate sections with a "fabric" replica, such as gingham checks, mattress tick going in different directions - whatever the imagination can come up with.

Notice that this heart has two stitches at the bottom of the V at the top and the bottom of the heart too to accomodate the upright stitches. I counted and marked the place to start the flower trim when using the four heart center - to give you an idea of how it's done.
The chart shows another heart that's fun to use - and you can see how these are developed, and may doodle a bit yourself and see what you can do!!
The grey slanted lines suggest that you can make long, slanted stitches for the background of the little diamond shaped ornament.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"FABRICS" for Patchwork in Needlepoint

I have had inquiries recently, via my article this month in Needlepoint Now, about the houndstooth checks and maybe other fabric replications - so thought it might be fun to practice a few and then use them yourselves on your own projects. Hopefully, I will have more patchwork patterns here shortly. I've been very busy, so am running behind and neglecting Freebies.

The illustrated heart in houndstooth was made with the pattern simply in mosaic stitch. Very simple to do by just following the chart, doing the color first and then filling in with white or a second color if you wish. I have done this one in pink and orange also, and it was stunning. Just be sure there is enough contrast in value (light and dark) to make both colors show up.
The little chart with numbers gives you the direction to take when stitching to make it easy, and also to put the least strain on the canvas and prevent warping. If you know proper basketweave, it will be super easy to understand! The same numbering sequence is also for the mosaic stitch version to make it easy.
You could, of course, follow the pattern and go straight across with the mosaic stitch rows, but this does warp the canvas a bit. ( I always stitch mosaic on the diagonal to avoid it.)
Notice on the heart that I first outlined the whole thing in tent stitch so that there would be no confusion and no ragged edges in subsequent working of the mosaic stitches that make up the pattern.
There is also another way to do the small, "woven" houndstooth - explained in the Plaid tutorial.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Bargello Pattern: 4-way Egg finished!

The egg is finished - and it really didn't take very long. I will be brief on the editorializing, as I have a post on the other blog from yesterday dealing with the threads used and why they were selected. Also, the main instructions for doing this sort of project are in a previous Freebies post -the first 4-way Bargello ornament.

This pattern was put onto an egg shape 5 1/2" high x 4 1/4" wide (on 18 mesh canvas). It would be slightly larger, of course, on 13 mesh.The central motif will also fit, with a little juggling, onto the smaller egg which is included with the previous post, as well as on the 4" circle provided on the circle drawing tutorial. Only a small amount of juggling with the outer color bands would accomplish it. I made one fit by simply leaving out the white ribbon floss frame just inside the magenta/purple band, but leaving the metallic ribbon.
I switched to the light blue Sharpie ultra fine point permanent pen for the centering and diagonals, as it is easier to stitch over and doesn't show through. Also, it was easier to dot out with acrylic paint when clearing the center around the flower for the basketweave background in white so it wouldn't show through, as black might have done. Notice that the horizontal center was marked at the widest part of the egg, and not at the vertical halfway point.
Showing the stitching in sequence illustrates how easy this is to do - one simply fills in around the central, rather square 4-way motif, to fill up space in whatever shape you choose to make the ornament. This scan shows the blue dots I placed for the beads.

The detail illustrates the placement of the pretty purple Sundance beads - but you could substitute just small "bump" stitches with contrasting metallic threads for an accent. I do this by simply making an X in the space. And now the Chart:

ADDENDUM: This has been a very popular design - so I've put two more egg patterns for sale as E-patterns on my web page, ELEGANT WHIMSIES. E-patterns come direrectly to you, and may be downloaded and printed out at your convenience.