Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Road Report: Watch out for Black Ice

For anyone doing any holiday (or even in-town) travelling in the colder climes, black ice is a definite road hazard. For anyone who stitched last year's ornament, Celtic Ice, and is prepping for the upcoming holiday, this Black Ice is much less hazardous.

I used Carrie's Threads in: Irish Kiss, Hunter, Masquerade, and Boysenberry on black Belfast linen to make this new version.  Since the fabric didn't have "windowpane" stripes on it, I added my own.  Also, since I could, I made the squares SQUARE so that the ornament can hang on point without being lopsided.  (I was totally depressed when I found last year that my 6 yards of this checked fabric was not symmetrically woven - really, weavers - what's with that!)

Strikingly different than the original, wouldn't you say.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Like Children...

Every one is special.  Every one is beautiful. Every one is unique.

This is Tanya's beautiful baby.  She stitched in on black Belfast linen using a Threadworx color called Honky Tonk, 2 over 2.

Won't you join her in her Honky Tonk Happy Dance for this Cirque des Carreaux?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Circling the Globe

Susan in Melbourne, Australia, reports happily that her Cirque des Cercles is done!  It was a Happy Dance heard round the world.  She used a variegated DMC on 22 count hardanger fabric. 

Did you know that stitchers in the southern hemisphere are required to stitch their Cirque des Cercles rounds in an anti-clockwise direction, whereas we in the northern hemisphere taken them on clockwise?  Unless of course, you are a south-paw!  The rules are completely reversed for left-handed stitchers.  Yup, those are the rules.  Seriously, some stitchers think there is a secret list of rules for stitching that include things like only stitching a piece in the colors shown, only stitching the entire piece, no personalization allowed - the list goes on.  Spoiler: there is no list; there are no rules.*

This would be a very boring blog and a very boring world without people like Susan to inject a little local color.

* Not to be confused with rules regarding copyright material. There are rules against copying others works and claiming it as your own, photocopying/scanning charts without permission of the author, etc.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Enabling by Example

So, we have all seen the lovely hand-dyed silks by Vikki Clayton, right? It's been a bit of a recurring theme in this blog.  One of the hardest things for a stitcher, can be to visualize what a variegated thread will look like when it's all stitched up.  When Vikki decided that an old firehouse in Pennsylvania was going to be a new retail location for her silk business, it was only natural that she needed some examples for the walls. 

Carol in Edmonton, AB, stepped in to help her out.  This is Ink Circles's Growth Rings (available in the March/April 2009 Just Cross Stitch magazine.)  Carol used HDF Indigo Ocean and Ricordia on 28 ct Monaco.

Not that these silks don't sell well on their own, but this sure makes a nice hook.

Carol also made up the Croakworth and Quackworth pieces and finished them as quilted hangings.

These are both fun little pieces that can be done as monochromes or polychromes.  They'd be a great way to try a new color or use some of those left over bits of silk, or Detritus Bags (for those like me who collect those HDF carrots.)

So, if you're in the neighborhood gathering silk skeins, you can see Carol's pieces in person!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This Is NOT a Tumbleweed

Regardless of what my son says, this ornament does not feature a tumbleweed.  When I told him to look at the bead in the center, he merely thought my tumbleweed had been decorated - it was, after all, a Christmas ornament.

I do like the fact that it takes the eyes a second or two to process the image. If you are still only seeing tumbleweeds, perhaps the ornament title will help.

This is the new Christmas Ornament Kit available from Ink Circles.  I'll be putting it up on my site for sale later today.  I'll be offering 3 fabric count choices.  It comes with 8 different colors of brown silk by Carrie's Threads and a few little red beads, for Rudolph's nose. $14

Wishes for peace and happiness in this season, regardless of how you choose to celebrate (or not!)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend

I cite that old stereotypical line with a bit of caution, because a lot of Ink Circles stitchers are guys. There's something about the bold graphic appeal that really doesn't limit their popularity to just the girls.

But, in this case, the diamonds belong to Peg.  This is her version of Cirque des Carreaux. That's French for "Circus of the Diamonds" and it's the third in the series that started out with Cercles, which looked a bit lit a big three-ring circus.

Peg's Carreaux is stitched in variegated Mermaid Blue, which was a custom color of Vikki Clayton's Hand-Dyed Silk.   She stitched it on 40 count white Ricamo linen - all the better to show off that amazing blue silk.  I salute you, Peg, on this fabulous finish!

A bit more background on the silks:  There is a fun and slightly rabid group of silk lovers that play on Vikki's forum, feeding her their wants and wishes and enabling each other.  If enough people gang up, I think Vikki could be talked into dying about any you could dream.  You should (and can) see the lovely colors and combinations over at her site.  Highly recommended.

Needle Show Retail

Something interesting is happing on a website just around the corner.  The folks who produce the Online Needle Show, a twice-a-year wholesale show, are trying out a retail show.  Many, many vendors have each set up booths with up to 20 products.  Some booths are run by designers and vendors who will sell product directly to you, some are by designers or vendors  just as advertisement for their product (Ink Circles is in that group), and others are set up by shops.  Check it out HERE before Nov 8th, when it's over.

Perhaps you are lucky enough to have a real brick and mortar store nearby. If so, support them every chance you get!  Maybe you've found an online store that carries the things you like and gives you the service you deserve. By all means support them too.  If you don't have a LNS or ONS to call your own, use this show as an opportunity to "peek" inside the hundred plus shops there ( I count about 160 booths!). Every shop has it's own personality and it's own style of merchandise.  Twenty products won't be enough to see everything, but it should be enough to see if the shop is a good match for you.  Each shop has an email address (and probably a phone) where you can ask about availablity of those other things you might need.  You may just find your perfect match!

If you need to see which shops carry Ink Circles charts - just ask them, or check out my retailers page on the main site.  Charts are available on my website for purchase, as well.

Visit the Ink Circles booth at the show to learn how you can win a swell door prize!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mel Flashes Her Bloomers in Public!

The first two questions out of Mel's mouth when I show her a new design, are
  1. What Carrie's Threads would you use?
  2. What would it look like stitched on black?

Some designs end up looking quite awesome on black fabric.  This is her Bloomers in Carrie's Thread, on black - almost unrecognizable from the original pastels on brown that I had chosen.  Carrie's Threads includes a number of options that are really vibrant and make this piece "pop" on the black.  The colors that Mel used are not exactly the same placement as the list on the web I suggest because I was ditzy and forgot to write down what I sent her and floss-tossed it a second time.  Consider this Exhibit A to means there are MANY possibilties in any piece and you can relax and pick what colors YOU like. It'll be smashing! Be sure to send me a picture.

Now, that free chart that was posted a few days ago...after considerable playing around with colors, I decided it really didn't look great on black in the five color version.  As a monochrome, it looked neat in any of many colors.  Not wanting to squelch anyone's attempts, I would love to be proven wrong and be shown a super conversion on black.  Meanwhile, I'll just post the answer to Mel's first question.  The Carrie's threads I like for this are: Soot, Peach, Pina Colada, Dried Sage, and Garnet.  I like the slightly dusky palette on this piece and picked muted shades.  It could easily be pepped up to Raven (Black) and a full-on Rainbow for the highlights.  It could also be done as a monochrome using a variegated thread.  You decide.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Speaking of Colorful...

EeKoon sent me a picture of her beautiful and vibrant version of Nine Lives.  Where I used some boring grays, she chose to really liven things up with this bold Oriental color scheme- which is not hard if you have a bag of HDF silk to inspire you.  She used black, a mystery gray, Sea Wrasse (green), Dragon's Blood, and Terra Potta in the centers.

The centers are actually the Chinese character "shou" for long life.  She tells me this is one half of her anniversary piece, so we all wish her a long and happy life and marriage.  And, we eagerly await the other side of this tapesty, which, I am told, is Perigrination done up in an equally stunning alternate colorway.  An unexpected pairing, you might say, but the symbolism is strong and represents their marriage of East to West. Perfect.

Getting Flakey

The new issue of Gift of Stitching came out today.  It includes a flakey new ornament by Ink Circles that was stitched back earlier in the year when our Aussie friends would have actually been seeing snowflakes.  Snowflakes are a very popular theme in ornaments - but why are they always silver and white, I asked.  When you hold a snowflake up to the sun you can see a whole rainbow of colors.  My husband, the physicist, would give a very technical explanation that involved reflection and refraction of light.  I prefer to just say, "wow."

Here is my tecnhnicolor snowflake.  Get the pattern for "Sherbet Flake" in the November Gift of Stitching magazine.