Sunday, May 29, 2011

Glorious Gracewood Spring!

Due to an emergency dash to the vet across the mountains, thankfully all is well with our dog, Jubal, now - I didn't get as much stitching done as I had hoped to this weekend. So I thought I'd share another glorious spring with you with shots from our small orchard. This shot is through the blossoms of one of our heirloom apple trees. You can see the recent snow on our mountain tops. Down here it was blessed rain and the fruit trees are outdoing themselves.

These blossoms are from a wonderful old heirloom apple called Calville Blanc D'Hiver. It was grown in King Louis XIII's gardens at Orleans. It is a superb dessert apple.

The Wickson crab apple is also covered in blossoms and that makes me very happy because I cook them down for their pectin to make our jams and jellies with all sorts of other flavorings, including lavender and rose.

And not to forget my favorite, the blossoms on our Comice pear tree are also exploding this year. Lord willing, it will be a good harvest on Gracewoods this fall!

Now if everyone will stay well I'll try to get more of the cross stitch Glorious Spring! done :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Glorious Spring Begun & drat! a Small Correction

Drat! I started stitching Glorious Spring and found that the corner didn't quite line up, it is off a square, but I found that a few additional stitches helped and though it doesn't quite make it perfect I am going to go with it since it represents lace and handmade lace isn't always perfect either ;)

Cutting an angle on something that has to be square can be more than frustrating and sometimes it just isn't possible. I do think it is close enough not to interfere with the flow and only the eagle eyes of a certain friend of mine will probably notice it.

Here are the corrections and if anyone who has requested a chart wants a new one please feel free to email for one. (That's why these are free till the stitching is done!)



Correction aside, I have to say I'm happy with how it is looking. The camera washed the dark teal fabric out a bit, but those are some happy dancing violets and daffodil :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

One May Night Finished & Framed!

It is very rewarding to see something go from a vague idea trying to express an inspiration to seeing it stitched and hanging on the wall.

From struggling with a meandering border that made my eyes cross trying to get everything to line up lol, to placing hydrangeas and roses so they looked like they didn't care, this design has been a pleasure.

I hope anyone who stitches it has as much enjoyment as I've had in bringing it to you and I always hope you'll share photos of your rendition of it. Never fear to offend by changing your choices of colors and fabric, I love seeing what others do with a design.

Now to get the teal fabric on the frame so I can see Glorious Spring! grow up while it is still spring :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Life Intervened!

Man proposes but the good Lord disposes! I had hoped to bring you a photo of One May Night finished and framed by today, but we had a huge storm blowing through for almost 24 hours and while that would usually mean time to sit inside and stitch, this storm took down a very large cedar tree beside our home and took out part of our fence. Since we're having bear incursions and two dogs we don't want wandering it meant getting the tree limbed and cut and fencing repaired in the midst of the storm.

Today as the rain has died down and the wind slackened a bit it was time to assess any more damage and I took the camera with me. The violets above were this perfect little bouquet by our fencing before the storm hit, thankfully enough of them were left for me to be able to show you that indeed wood violets are abundant this time of year.
I also took a few photos of our daffodils and they were definitely dancing in the wind when I took these.
To the right is a lovely white trillium that was a little sheltered from the wind so it still has it's flower.
And I couldn't resist sharing this photo of some wild strawberries that are coming up tucked into the root of a stump.
Or the early spring mosses covering this log.

Such is spring in the Rockies, the creeks and rivers are rising so much flood warnings are out and though we have to make a trip across the pass to the nearest town this week, I'm hoping to have a photo of OMN for you soon!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Floss & Color Choices for Glorious Spring!

I'm on the last row of One May Night! I hope to have it finished and framed by the end of the weekend, if life doesn't intervene. And while I was going to stitch Sanctuary next, it just has to wait till I can complete Glorious Spring! :)

Spring is exploding like cannons here in the mountains. I look out the kitchen window to the forest which is only a few feet from it and the daffodils are just dancing in the breezes! We've had a raccoon raiding the cat's food and a bear came a couple of nights and raided the seeds and suet in our bird feeding area, so we know spring has indeed arrived!

I did take some time out to select my fabric and floss and wanted to share that with you. I also decided that that top row of daffodils that are bent over as they are rising up and blossoming, should be slightly darker yellow than the bottom with slightly darker leaves. So if you have the charts already you can either keep them as they are or make that change.

The fabric is an 18 count Zweigart aida in a dark teal green, and I'll be stitching it with one thread over one square and will be using all Vikki Clayton's HDF silk floss. Her floss has such a lovely quality to it and stitches so easily. Her prices are VERY good and she is happy to ship internationally so don't hesitate to check her products out.

Colors - (and I'll probably only need one skein of each except for the Cream for the border)

For the border & snow in the center motif, I'll be using - Cream

Violets - flowers will be Ultra Violet #2123 & leaves will be Hemlock #3111

Top Row Daffodils - flowers will be Liquid Gold #4175 & leaves will be Isle Green #3213

Trees, Initials & Date - bark and initials will be Bewitched & leaves and date will be Wrasse Green #3315

Second Row Daffodils - flowers will be Gold Rush #4227 & leaves will be Isle Green #3211

Bluebells - flowers will be Fugue Blue #2241 and leaves will be Hemlock #3113

Butterflies - Outer border will be Terra Firma & inner area will be Yellow Spice #4163

Now, off to try and get One May Night done and start Glorious Spring! while it is still spring.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Vikki Clayton of Hand Dyed Fibers is sponsoring her first Needlework Exhibit!

The First Annual Needlework Exhibit will be held June 17 – July 4. There will be needlework pieces galore to gaze upon.
Weekends include teaching and demonstrations, and every day there will be hands on dyeing classes. Bring your own fibers and fabrics!

Want to exhibit a piece? Just want to show up and enjoy? Information on the show and how to submit exhibits can be found at Vikki's site.

I’m happy to say I’ll be submitting three of my stitched designs to the show, Heart Note Alley, Northern Nights and Hortulus. I’m sure she’ll have lots of great exhibits, don’t hesitate to participate. Best wishes on your first show, Vikki!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Glorious Spring, How it Came Together - Part 2 & OMN Update Pic

Now that the 'fever' of designing Glorious Spring is abating :) I have completed the second row of hydrangeas on One May Night. Hopefully, I'll be able to get those last two rows and bottom border done soon and I can start stitching Glorious Spring.

I've almost completed choosing the HDF floss I'll be using for it. I have ordered a few colors from Vikki and when they get here I'll let you know which I've chosen for the piece.

I last spoke of the lacy border and the challenges of changing a small piece of motif into a border, corners and all. It also takes a good bit of maneuvering of software to get the proper lengths on sides and bottom to 'fit' around the inner motifs, but I think the effect it gives is worth the effort.

As I was looking for the flowers I was trying to find images that looked like they veritably danced with that joy I want the design to convey. I think I found them and the one thing I would say to anyone trying their hand at using designing software is SAVE each motif! I had the piece in what I thought was its final working design but when I was in the act of saving the alphabet I hit the wrong key and lost the whole thing!!!

After the shock and dismay died down, and a cup of strong tea and DH saying, 'you can do it again', lol. I began to rebuild and I was only able to do that, because I had saved each of the motifs to a file. And believing that all such things happen for a reason, I am even happier with the final design. It was meant to be ;)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Glorious Spring!, How it Came Together Part 1

Since this is a blog about cross stitch design, I thought I'd try to recap the steps I went through and the frustrations I encountered, lol, with Glorious Spring!

I began turning the inspiration into the design by starting a search through my own books of filet crochet patterns, as well as the books at the Antique Pattern Library. It was obvious I needed some spring flowers but I also needed something for the center of the design that would give it that anchor that I like to see in a piece.

I found this wonderful motif of the trees
in this old DMC Dillmont book
The DMC Dillmont books/booklets are another post all of their own.

The tree image really spoke to me and so I 'drew/stitched' it into the software and began assembling the piece. I took the trees and expanded them across the center and loved their flowing nouveau feeling. I also decided that a dark green or teal background would convey the dark forest best and chose the colors for the trees. If you know how lovely trees are in the spring with their light colored leaves and shining bark, you'll understand why I picked these colors.

I've also come to love the lacy type of motif you see as the border and you'll definitely see more of them! :) I've also learned the trick of using a mirror to be able to 'see' what the corner should look like if the image doesn't alredy have one. Set the photo down flat, take a mirror and hold it approximately where you'd like a corner to begin and then angle it to the left until you see the image fold up rather like a ribbon would until it comes together into a corner. When you draw the lacy motif into your software you'll only have to draw a portion of it then you can repeat the image as much as you need for the length you'll need. Then you can call up a new page and this time you copy and paste that piece of 'lace' twice and with the eraser you 'cut' the angle of the image from right to left on one of the pieces to give you your upper corner and then you rotate the next full image to bring it close to where the first image sits and cut that piece also from upper right to lower left so that the two will be able to be brought together and form the corner.

I know that might be confusing, if it is indeed clear as mud, I'll try and show step by step with photos. Just let me know if you need to understand more clearly what I'm attempting to explain :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Glorious Spring! - Introducing New Design

After being inspired by our intoxicating spring day last weekend, I began trying to capture that feeling in a design. It has taken a good 24 hours of work, but I am happy with the end result.

I see it on a dark green or teal fabric to portray the forest backdrop for this spring bouquet. Using the flowers of spring, violets, jonquils/daffodils, bluebells and the center motif of brightly barked and leafed trees with an art nouveau sweep to them, I believe it reflects the joy and the glory of spring after a long hard winter.

I have created an alphabet for this piece that will be added to the chart. Keeping in mind that this has not yet been stitched and there may be corrections, I'd like to catch the 'wave' of spring and offer this as a free pattern until the model is stitched. If you look to the right of the page under Sanctuary, you'll see a place to click to email a request for the pattern. If that doesn't work for you just email me at

I am so glad this one is done ~ I'll try and describe all the things that went into my decisions and the challenges I had, but I'm too tired right now after all that work to recall it at the moment! LOL

Sunday, May 1, 2011

One May Night Progresses & New Design

I thought I'd be further along in stitching this week but life intervened and I've only completed one of the 'ironwork/lace' rows and part of the last row of hydrangeas. I must say I am very happy with this design and as always, can't wait to see it completed and in its waiting frame!

Another reason I've not gotten as much stitching done as I'd hoped is a new design has been crowding my brain and not giving me any rest until it is ready to present to you :)

Spring is such a magnificent time here in our Selkirk range of the Rockies. After six months of snow and cold every glimpse of spring is exciting! Yesterday, we spent a good deal of time in our small orchard and fruit gardens and as the air swept down the still snow covered mountain peaks it was nothing short of intoxicating. Terry worked hard to clean out the leaves and mulch from last year's berry beds and to make some new ones for new plants we have coming.
The rose beds are also cleaned and he's made a new raised bed for some new especially fragrant roses that will be here next week and the woods are full of green things poking their way to the sun! After an especially long winter our two tuxedo cats found one of the first things to come up each year, catnip, and have been rolling around in it and staggering back to the house to flop down in the sun and sleep it off.

We're all drunk with spring and that is how the new design was 'born' :) As soon as I finish polishing it, I'll post it as a free pattern until it is stitched.