Last new release, Touch of Spring

Touch of Spring Final

OK, I know this is totally off for this time of year. I designed this way back in the spring but didn’t get to stitch it until June. So I decided to go ahead and release it now rather than wait until spring.

This is another in the tray series, that all fit in the same size tray for easy holiday and seasonal decorating. And like all geometric designs, the colors are very easily changed if you want. And Touch of Spring has a very limited thread list, which makes it even easier to change the colors.

I love these soft green colors, like early spring when we start seeing green after the drabness of winter. I used cotton and rayon floss, #8 pearl cotton and #8 braid, so nothing too out of the ordinary. I also use a DMC variegated thread for the first time, and I liked it, so I’ll probably be using DMC variegateds in more designs as I deem appropriate.

The tray is from Patches n’ Planks, and is available in 3 finishes, oak as shown here, walnut and cherry. These are beautifully made trays, very easy to change the designs for decorating. The tray is deep enough to hold the piece mounted on foamcore, which comes with the tray, and the acrylic to protect the stitching, also included. Dennis Mulhearn, maker of the trays, even includes a little screw driver for the mounting, perfectly easy!

That’s all of my new releases for now, but I do have new pieces in the pipeline, including Winter Blues for the tray series. Hopefully I’ll be able to get it stitched and released before next summer!

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A Heart Piece, A New Star!

Today’s new design is a little bit different, not counted canvas! Yes, I do other forms of needlework. I don’t do much counted cross stitch because it’s so much slower than counted canvas, and the threads aren’t as interesting, and no fun stitches. But I digress!

A New Star! is for my grandson’s nursery. Jaxton was born June 5. His nursery is the cutest ever, decorated with an undersea theme. So I was inspired to create this little birth announcement.

A New Star FinalThe design is all cross stitch with some back stitch and french knots. I had fun designing this one. It went through a couple of design changes before the finished piece. I added little eyes to the sea creatures, made a few color changes for the fish so they’d be more colorful, and added a little depth to the waves with some shading and a whitecap curl.

Jaxton is my third grandchild. Of course, my grandchildren are the most spectacular, smartest, cutest, funniest, and whatever other superlatives you can think of! I’m sure you feel the same way about your grandchildren.

Bob and Jaxton

This sweet baby is my son’s first son. I don’t know what it is about mothers and sons, but Bob has always been my sweet baby, even in his thirties and now that he’s a father himself. I got to be there when Jaxton came into the world and spend a little time snuggling him before I had to go home.

I hope you enjoy my little tribute to my new grandson.

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Santa’s Tray, another new release

Continuing with my posts about new releases, the next one is Santa’s Tray.

Santa's Tray FinalThis design first appeared in an issue of Needlepoint Now. I’ve released it as a separate chart with expanded stitch diagrams and instructions.

I had fun designing and stitching this one! I used several favorite patterns and stitches.

Flat pattern is at the top of the design. I’ve employed this pattern in several designs, as a single band, horizontally and vertically. The construction of this pattern lends itself to several different textures and filling stitches. Here I’ve stitched it with Rainbow Gallery Splendor and Kreinik metallic braids.

Along the left side is a tumbling blocks pattern, taken from quilting. I used Rainbow Gallery Splendor for this section, and it was challenging to keep all the stitches and colors straight!

Next I stitched a border of waffle stitches, using Caron Collection Waterlilies. I love using a variegated thread for waffle stitches, because most of the thread is on top of the canvas and the color changes are more evident and interesting.

Across the bottom I used two rows of layered cross stitch. I’ve used layered cross stitch in several designs before, and I love it every time for the look of it. It’s simple to do, just big cross stitches offset, but it creates an intriguing pattern.

In the remaining area I used two different crescent stitches, a nautilus crescent and a curved crescent. To provide a place to anchor the crescents I used several small filling stitches – I hate not having a place to anchor! I did use Rainbow Gallery Hi-Lights for one or two of the crescents, but I think DMC Satin Floss twisted with Kreinik Blending Filament would be a good substitute for the Hi-Lights. Silk Lame’ Braid or Entice would also be a good substitute; to maintain the look of the Hi-Lights I would remove some of the strands before stitching, to keep it a little lighter and not quite so bulky.

I put the design in a Sudberry House Small Tray in the red finish. Sudberry Trays come with a piece of glass (or is it acrylic?) to put over the stitching to protect it. I did make one little change – instead of the mat board that comes with the tray, I used foam core to mount the stitching. It’s easier to center on the foam core, but the glass won’t fit if you use foam core. And if you plan to use the tray for more than just decorative purposes, you’ll want to use the glass.

I envision this little tray as a perfect way to serve Santa’s milk and cookies on the big night. If you prefer something a little less wet, it could also be a great way to display your Christmas cards, small ornaments, or other decor.

I hope you enjoy Santa’s Tray!

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New Designs – Blazing Stars

Blazing Stars

Today I’m going to start a brief series on new designs, available now through the NordenCrafts online show to retailers, and hopefully coming soon to a local needlework shop near you.

Blazing Stars was inspired by an awesome quilt I saw at a stitching retreat. I couldn’t take my eyes off it, hanging in the dining room for every meal. The more I stared at it, the more I thought it would be wonderful stitched as a counted canvas design. So I began contemplating how I could recreate some of the feel of the quilt.

First, how to mimic the quilt squares and textures of fabric. As I thought about this, I decided that an overdyed or variegated thread would be the best option. I selected Caron Collection Watercolours, mostly because I didn’t want to have to lay threads. And I decided a little bit of sparkle would be appropriate for the night sky, and added Kreinik #8 braids. The design is accomplished with just 5 colors of Watercolours, 2 yellows and 3 blues, with matching colors of metallics.

Then I began thinking of how to create the “quilt squares”. To keep things simple, I used several 8 x 8 stitches or stitch composites, then laid them out in a grid. There are just 10 stitches in the design, repeated several times to form the pattern. The graph is in color to aid in placement of the different colors.

Now for the astronomy purists, let me assure you that I do know the difference between meteors, comets and stars! This large central motif is more comet-like than star-like, but the quilt pattern is called Blazing Stars so I went with it.

The size is not especially large, about 8″ x 10 1/4″ on 18 ct. Antique Blue canvas. It should stitch up fairly quickly. So if you love quilts and counted canvas, this design is for you!

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And it’s finished!

Finished SonataOf course, this isn’t the beauty shot that we’ll get when Sonata is framed, but it’s finished!

Back to the Rainbow Gallery Flair – I found a place to use it since I really like it as an interesting texture. I stitched the last stitches, the Rhodes squares in the corners, with Flair.

I normally don’t introduce a new thread at the very end. For economy’s sake I prefer to use threads I’ve already used in the design. I made an exception to my usual economy, though, and added the Flair at the very end. I love the way it looks as Rhodes stitches, so I followed my heart and used it.

The little filling stitches at the corners are Sprat’s heads in two different sizes, stitched with three different threads, and mosaic stitches in alternating rows of cotton floss and Satin Floss.

What a satisfying piece! It stretched me as a designer to come up with the look I wanted to achieve, and I’m pleased with the way it turned out. Now to work on a kit price, writing the instructions, and adding it to the proposal circuit!


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