Tuesday, March 29, 2011

One May Night - First Band

I'm very happy with this first band. It has the movement that I find so pleasing in a band sampler.

I wanted something that would bring a garden's architectural ironwork to mind and found this image in an old Edwardian era filet crochet book printed in 1912. It was a book that itself took older motifs and as it says in its title, represented them in a new way, and now I'm representing it in yet another new way :)

While the book is rather difficult to find, thankfully, it is among the free scans of old needlework books online at the Antique Pattern Library

Go down the page to BrownFiletCrochet.pdf
The New Filet Crochet Book: Original Designs Which May Be Used Also For Cross-Stitch and Beadwork, With Patterns Represented in a New Way by Hugo W. Kirchmaier. Toledo, Ohio, Cora Kirchmaier, printed 1912

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sanctuary - First Pic of Work In Progress

What a thrill! To find this beautiful photo in my email this morning. Dianne Frayne from Calgary, Alberta Canada shared a photo of how she is interpreting Sanctuary. She is using a 32 count linen in "French Lace", with the centre a DMC 356, and the border is DMC 502 and 503 She is stitching two threads over two squares.

Thank you, Dianne! I can't wait to see this finished and I hope others will send me their WIP pics and then photos of their finishes for a gallery.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

One May Night - Border

My goal for the overall effect of One May Night is to be lushly romantic, so the bands will predominantly be softer and flowing. But I want to contrast that with something more geometric and 'harder', but not too hard.

I chose a 'Greek Key' design for the border since, to my mind, it meets that criteria of hard but still flowing. Did you know that the name used for such a symbol is a 'Meander'?

From an article about the "Greek Key" design on Wikipedia

"In art and architecture, a meander or meandros is a decorative border constructed from a continuous line, shaped into a repeated motif. Such a design is also called the Greek fret or Greek key design, although these are modern designations. On the one hand, the name "meander" recalls the twisting and turning path of the Maeander River in Asia Minor,..."

After composing One May Night I sat looking at the border thinking, that might be a stinker to stitch~ but I'm happy to report that it really has gone very quickly and is surprisingly easy to follow, thankfully!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

One May Night - Fabric & Floss

What fabric and floss to choose to depict a garden at night under a full moon?

I tried a lot of combinations and finally decided to use Zweigart aida cloth in the color Steel Gray.

The floss I'm using is from three different companies, they were simply the ones that worked for me. The first is Cream by HDF. For the green shade I've chosen a Carrie's thread called Fresh Grass and for the first time I'm using some Gloriana silk, Dried Pink Roses for the roses and one called Hydrangea, wait for it, for the... hydrangeas.

I've just stitched the top border and a bit of the first two bands.

It really is fun to start a new one, isn't it? :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

One May Night - Inspiration

One May Night was inspired one January night. A very snowy evening, I was settling in for an evening of stitching and decided to watch a dvd, the 1979 production from Covent Garden of Charles Gounod's Romeo & Juliette. It features two of my favorite singers in their prime, Roberto Alagna and Leontina Vaduva. There are so many arias in this that just leave me breathless, but the one that struck a deep chord this night was 'On Nuit Divine', one divine night.

Romeo has come into the garden beneath Juliette's bedroom, he doesn't know if she will love him since she now knows who he is. She steps out on the balcony and as she sings he knows that indeed, she loves him.

I couldn't find a video of this scene on you tube with English subtitles, but if you have a heart at all you'll know what they are saying.

Suddenly I was back in time, young newlyweds ourselves, my DH and I used to visit a wonderful garden in Miami called Vizcaya. We were there one night when the moon was full, so large and so very near, the breeze was blowing in from the ocean and the fragrance of the night blooming flowers was ravishing. That was one May night neither of us will ever forget.

Hopeless romantic that I am, a vision of a lush romantic garden with ironwork, roses and hydrangeas came to mind and it was my pleasure to be able to try and capture it in a design. Hopefully, I have :)

Next post, we'll start stitching One May Night~

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hortulus Finished & Framed

I almost hate to see this one finished, it was a lot of fun to stitch!

It is so exciting to see that empty expanse of fabric turn into something that you imagined and then put into a chart, tweaked, corrected and finally stitched. And I'm immensely happy with Hortulus, the Little Garden, though that monk will forever be gazing into the fire pondering.

Here the piece is framed. And now I am itching to get the fabric on my frame tomorrow and get to stitching One May Night. It was January when I 'saw' it and I want to see it grow on that empty expanse of fabric too! I hope you'll join me!

Monday, March 14, 2011

New Design - Sanctuary

Jacqueline Holdsworth has so very kindly listed this design as a download on her wonderful Needleprint site asking that donations be made in exchange to whatever charity one chooses to help those suffering so greatly in Japan. Thank you, Jacqueline!

After watching the images of the terrible tragedy unfolding in Japan these last days, I've found it difficult to spend my time on the usual projects. I had been thinking for some time of a companion piece for Hortulus and this weekend it came together for me and I'd like to present it as a permanently free pattern. I hope it will evoke the same feeling of peace for others that it has for me.

I'm posting it in two color schemes. As I worked on it I kept seeing it in grays and terra cotta, but think it would also work using similar colors to Hortulus or for that matter in whatever color it might speak to you.

I hope to finish Hortulus in the next day or two and begin One May Night next, but wanted to offer 'Sanctuary' to you first.

I would love to set up a gallery of this design as everyone has stitched it! I'm happy to send either color chart, just specify your preference in your request.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hortulus & Next Design

I didn't get as much done on Hortulus as I had hoped this last weekend, but the piece is progressing and I'm very happy to see it is looking like the woodblock type of effect I was after.

Though it also has started to remind me of something else, a stained glass window. So I did some reading about medieval stained glass and found this quote from Angela Wainwright's book on Medieval Cross Stitch Samplers. 'Subject wise, the 13th century window became highly narrative...As the design of the window shape became wider and deeper, these figures were often surrounded by geometric shapes and/or intricate, foliage-based borders."

The next design I will be introducing and starting to stitch after Hortulus is complete, is One May Night.

I'm in the process of picking out fabric and floss for it and I'm really looking forward to seeing this one growing before me. When I begin the piece it will go up for sale, so if you want a free copy now is the time to request it.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hortulus Progresses & Medieval Monks and their Medicines

I've finished the top portion of the outer border as well as the inner border and the image of the monk warming himself by the fire. I've really enjoyed stitching this piece. Hopefully, I'll make some good headway on the outer border and have this design finished before too very long.

Hortulus has made me curious about the medicine of medieval herbalist monks and I came across an article I hope you'll find interesting Anesthetics...Used By Medieval Monks!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hortulus, Stitching in Progress

My apothecary monk is growing on my fabric and I'm quite happy with the fabric and floss choices for him. I'm stitching one strand of silk floss over each square of 18 count aida in the color Parchment, after all what else would a monk use? :)

The brown floss is a gorgeous brown from HDF called Exemplar Cocoa Bear, the gold is Soie d'Alger #2526 and the smoke is also HDF Earth-Stars #5219.