Back to work!

After a busy summer traveling here and there, and a new grandbaby, I’m back into a more normal routine. This time of year means a lot of planning – new designs, stitching models, thinking of class proposals (deadlines are approaching!). So I’m in the planning stages for several things, but I’m also stitching a design that will be released as soon as I get it finished.

winter-blues-progress

Winter Blues is the latest in the series I’ve designed as inserts for trays from Patches n’ Planks. I love blue, and very seldom get to design a whole entire project in just blue!

I’m making good progress on this design and hope to get it finished in the next day or two, so it will be released in plenty of time for winter decorating. Not quite a holiday piece, unless you have a blue color palette, but it should be a nice touch for after the holidays. The house always looks somewhat empty after the Christmas decorations come down, and something new to take us into the winter months should be a good thing.

The design is small, 6″ x 6″, and symmetrical. Of course the colors I’ve selected are easily changed to other colors if you prefer. So far I’m mostly using floss, with a couple of other threads to make it interesting. Nothing too complicated like Jessicas or walnetos in this one, just some nice satin stitch patterns.

I’ll let you know when it’s finished and available. Thanks for looking!

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ANG National Seminar report!

I’m back from the American Needlepoint Guild National Seminar in New Orleans. I always love going to seminar, and this year was awesome!

First of all, New Orleans! I absolutely love NOLA, even the heat and humidity this time of year. I visited Cafe Du Monde 3 times for beignets and cafe au lait – my fav! I ate some spectacular food, including a muffaletto in the French Quarter, and a memorable visit to Emeril’s restaurant. I ate shrimp more times than I can count. My husband joined me for the last part of the week, and we spent some time at the beach in Gulfport, MS, including a stop to the John Stennis Space Center. The Stennis Center is where they test fire the rockets for NASA, and although they weren’t test firing when we were there we saw where they do it. We also viewed the exhibit of embroidered mission patches, one for each NASA mission, all stitched by member of ANG. I had a great time looking for names of stitchers I know, and found quite a few. We wrapped it up with a visit to the World War II Museum, an awesome museum with fabulous displays.

Second, this was my first time to teach for ANG National. I taught Building Blocks for one day, and Angles for four days. Great classes, wonderful students, and I learned lots about how to teach these classes the next time I teach. It’s always great to have feedback and ways to tweak my presentation, so I really appreciated that.

Third, I won ribbons in the exhibit! I’ve exhibited before, but this is the first time I’ve won ribbons. I got a First Place for my 2015 Needle Arts Mystery Retreat piece, and Honorable Mention for Glitz & Glamour Citrine!

citrine-with-ribbon2015-namr-with-ribbon

Lastly, I have friends from all over the stitching world, and it’s so much fun to reconnect, share a meal, chat in person. I made some new friends, spent time with long-time friends and just generally had a great time.

So here’s my plug for stitching seminars – if you have opportunity to go, GO! You will learn more than you think possible in just a few days, make a lot of friends, and have a great time!

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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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