Friday, March 27, 2009

Set a Safari Table - animal skin napkin rings! (or bracelets)

My favorite - the leopard spots! I've been painting animal skin patterns for almost the entire 40 years I've been designing hand painted canvas. The classic, natural beauty of them never really goes "out."

I was looking at these two pieces this morning, and visualized a "Safari" table with animal skin napkin rings - including the leopard, zebra, cheetah, tiger, and giraffe. They could be stitched either subtly or really jazzed up with beads, etc., as the hat crown just under the mini-stocking.

You can see on the "hat" where I had stitched every other row in basketweave - and then inserted black Sundance hexagonal beads for some real glitter - plus the gold ones for the centers of the spots. Napkin rings made this way would be fun - as the other patterns could also be stitched with sparkling threads and beads. Even blue zebra!.

Several years ago, I made myself several pages of templates for the skin patterns in different sizes, so all I have to do is put a shape over one in the appropriate scale, and trace the pattern by moving the tracing paper around until it looks right. Then it may be traced onto the needlepoint canvas with the correct drawing pen, and painted if you wish. I am too lazy to paint them if I'm going to do them myself.

I'm very fond of Zebra also, with the drama of the pattern and the black and white. The drawings are made the correct size for you to print them out and trace your own onto canvas.

The leopard spot napkin ring is 5 1/2" long, and the pattern for the cuff bracelet is 7" long. I like to make the ends of the cuff bracelet rounded, as this is much more attractive than squared. Both are 1 1/2" wide.

If you want to make a bangle bracelet, you need to draw the shape about 8" long, as you will lose a bit in the finishing. Leave the ends square for this one. I have used 18 mesh canvas for these, as they get a bit "thick" on larger mesh.

For the cuff bracelet, just cut the canvas about 4" high x 10" long, mark two places 7" apart, and find the center with your thumbnail to make sure it comes out right. Then it's a very simple thing to do - just draw in the edges and place the canvas over a pattern of whichever animal skin you wish.

Try this for yourself - painted canvases are quite pricey these days, and there are many many things you can do for yourselves - and have more money to spend on fun threads and beads!! At the present time, I'm working on a "booklet" for my web store E-Patterns on the five animal skin patterns I enjoy most - in several sizes, along with patterns for stockings etc.. Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Heart for Independence (in Needlepoint)

I've been digging in the old boxes again, and found this piece - made a number of years ago for a shop here as a practice piece for using beads and textured stitches.

As I remember, the inspiration for the design was a little enameled pin I saw in a catalog. It looks lopsided only because it has been wadded up under a pile of other things for at least 8 years. Oh dear.

I had not finished the stars yet, but decided to show it this way so as to make the method simpler to understand. Stars, at best, are not easy in needlepoint, and I wanted the effect of the misshapen and irregular look anyway - so worked this out for the stitching.

I used YLI Ribbon Floss because it is perfectly flat (and shiny) so it easily cover the canvas. The background stitching needs to be done first, (I used #5 pearl cotton in a bright navy) right up to the edge of the drawing of the stars. Then it's a simple matter to just "draw" with needle and ribbon floss as we did as children, the five pointed star. Follow the diagrams, and just continue making the star "motion" until the area is covered. You can see one in progress where the black line ends.

To draw your own, simply start with the counted outline as described on previous posts. This piece is 5" x 5" on 18 mesh canvas, so you will need to center it on an 8" square of mono-canvas.

The second scan of the drawing on canvas is the actual size, so you can simply trace the stars onto your drawing. (It might be easier if you first outline them with black ink so they show up better through the canvas.)

The red stripes are 9 stitches wide, and the white ones are 7. You can see the correct placement of the dots for the beads, which also make the Hungarian criss-cross stitch easier to do in this narrow space.

The little bracelet is outlined with Kreinik metallic gold 002 #12 braid, and the bump stitch "silver beads" are made with Kreinik metallic silver #12 braid.

The red stripes are worked with a stitch I thoroughly enjoy using, but have no idea what the name is or where I found it - I've been using it for many years, and something shiny could be inserted instead of beads if you wish. I'm showing it in two colors simply to illustrate the construction. This post is a bit of a mess - I have no idea where all that blank space at the bottom came from or how to get rid of it.

Oh well - Enjoy!! I was thinking earlier, that the stripes might be worked in bargello instead of with these stitches.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Wonderful Bargello blog

I just found a blog this morning that I was unaware of - this is a great one, and can answer a lot of questions I see from people who are unfamiliar with Bargello.

I've not "invented" anything new for Freebies just yet, as I've been busy elsewhere - so do go look at this and be entertained and enlightened!! It's called Bargello Needlepoint.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ornament Instructions

It took me quite a while to figure out what I did on this thing - where to begin, etc. It seems, after some careful study, that the best way is to start on the inner part of the border, in order to place it well on the canvas and leave space for tracing the holly - or whatever else you might want to put there.

I'm showing the picture again, but with arrows showing the importance of being careful of placement of lines when tracing - so as to leave those small spaces OPEN when stitching. It's very simple once you've formed the habit, and will make stitching so much easier for you.

As I said in the previous post, the canvas has little sparkles already built in - but you could easily just do an open canvas stitch with blending filament to imitate it - or even paint on a very thin, watered down layer of Liquitex "Liqui-gems" which is what some designers use to make snow sparkle on painted canvases. (this is T-shirt paint from the craft store).

The ornament is app. 5 3/4" from point to point, and then I added a little bit when I folded it under, as I thought it looked better with a border. Your canvas needs to be cut in a 9" square.

Stitch the inner border, at least, following the scan of the canvas and the chart - and then trace the drawing carefully on to the canvas (place it under the canvas square) centered. I sized the tracing so it should fit as it is when you print it out.

For stitching, I used YLI Ribbon floss in Honey/Copper instead of using metallic gold, as I like the effect better for this than metallic gold.
The berries are "bump" stitches (different sizes) with something red and sparkling - I did this one a number of years ago, so can't really tell what it is. Perhaps Flair. The leaves are done with two shades of green Flair - but cotton floss or the new DMC Satin Floss would work beautifully.

My idea of "counted canvas" is to count the stitches onto the canvas with a pen, so as not to have to think or count while stitching. You can see there are 14 little pointed things on the inner border - easy.

On the chart, you can see the gold stitches marked - do these first, and then add the beads. I placed the red and green ones end to end rather than side by side as I usually do, as this makes them appear to be a string of beads. I used my favorite Sundance beads in the hexagonal cut for extra sparkle.

The blue circles indicate the gold beads.

This is an easy project to do - make several, and enjoy!

Monday, March 2, 2009

A New/Old Ornament

Not being too logical tonight. I had planned to put the instructions for this ornament here today, but got caught up in finishing my March "Crazy for Birthdays" Heart. It makes a pretty header - but the ornament is for Christmas. Oh well. Spring is a good time to start!

Anyway - I'll do this tomorrow. The canvas prompted the piece about 8 years ago (another one I found in the box), as it's one of those that has the little sparkle speckles in it - so the background doesn't have to be stitched. A really pretty effect, it is. There is also an ivory one with gold flecks.

This is a simple one, and good for practicing your new drawing skills - as well as a little bit of beading.