long overdue post

Wow, I knew I’d been gone awhile, but hadn’t realized it was this long!  Work has continued on my ‘1 Year of Stitches’ project, which has pretty much evolved into t a ‘1 Year of Flowers’ project, as I can’t seem to put the piece down after one stitch.  So, here are images of my work through the end of February.

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I have four of these table napkins, and they’ve become my embroidery canvas. The plan? To fill one up every three months. At the end of the year, I’ll have four of these pieces, and then I’ll decide what to do with them. I’ve several ideas for finishing, but it will depend on where these all go as the year progresses and if they actually tie together come the end of 2017.

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Each morning I pick the piece up, and I think of it as my warm up for what is often a day of designing and model stitching with my cross stitch designs. I have a plastic shoebox full of miscellaneous threads and I just pluck a few out and start to ‘paint’ with them.

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I’ve also been busy with new cross stitch designs, most of which are inspired by quilt designs.  Last year I did a cross stitched interpretation of Jane A. Stickel’s 1863 intricately pieced quilt, and titled it Jane’s Joy,  and have since decided to do additional versions based on seasons.  I just finished Petals. 

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And just released at the end of February, my cross stitched interpretation of the traditional applique quilt, Baltimore Album. 

Also completed in the early part of the year, the fourth and final Garden Labyrinth

Now I’ve started a new piece,  Bees Knees,  which is a combination sampler and  labyrinth type piece which I hope to have finished early next week.

So, yup. Been crazy busy here, but a good crazy busy!

1 Year of Stitches, Week #2

Another week whisked by, and the flower garden has grown.  I’m already half way through one hoop. I have a feeling this project will be much bigger than I planned. I do have four of these napkins, so maybe my goal should be to fill one up completely every three months!

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The February Daily Art Challenge is right around the corner as well, so I anticipate even more stitching as I plan on making 2017 the year that I really focus on cross stitch and embroidery; learning new technique, exploring stitches and creating new and unique pieces by my hand for the hands of others.

Today I am grateful for inspiration. For good, strong coffee, and the dreams of new designs that are with me still when I wake up so I can scribble them down!

A Year of Stitches

I had already decided before the start of the new year to focus on needle and thread, hoping to explore all things “stitch”; from my usual cross stitch design work to traditional embroidery, needlepoint, and any other form of handwork that I might discover along the way.  So when the A Year of Stitches Project popped up on my Facebook feed, it was, of course, an immediate ‘why yes, I think I should do this!’

The goal is to do a stitch a day and fill up a hoop with whatever you are moved to put down with needle and threads. I tend to work pretty big, so I know I will more than likely find myself with more than one hoop filled by year’s end. I have four linen napkins that I scored at the Thrift Shop some time ago, and they are my cloth for this project.

Here is Week One (plus a couple of days!)

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the garden labyrinth, spring

So I finally finished it, the last in the Garden Labyrinth Collection, Spring.  The piece finishes at 140w x 140h, or 10″ x 10″.  Recommended fabric, Citrus Splash Lugana, 28ct. (stitched over two threads) from Silkweaver Fabrics.  The design uses all DMC threads.

The spring labyrinth as well as the other three seasons can be found on my website as well as your local needlework shops.

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I have also been continuing on with the crocheting as well. This is a smaller receiving blanket made with cotton crochet cotton, so it is very delicate and fine. It measures at 22″x 22″  I have several other blankets started as well, as I use my scraps of yarn for most of them and have been building on each as suitable colors come available, left over from other projects.

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Today I am grateful for a head full of new design ideas. I am for the change in seasons, even if it is colder, and I look forward to the arrival of snow.

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I realized this morning that I haven’t stuck up a blog post in awhile!  There is a reason for that. I’ve been busy creating!

This month saw the end of the Cross Stitched Crazy Quilt Block Collection,  with the release of the December block.  This series of designs has been so much fun to create and stitch. So much so that I’ve decided to do another monthly block collection that will be ‘crazy quilt’ themed and based on Folklore and Fairy Tales. I have a sketchbook filled with starting concepts that I am excited to get into in upcoming months.

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I also released another of the Whiskerkins Trio designs, the December kitties, Holiday Trio.

These guys join the other Trios that were released through May, and I have plans to release June through November in 2017.

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I have always been crocheting something. My focus for a long time had been on creating smaller embellishments and recycled art yarns, which I do still dabble with if the right yarn presents itself. However, in honor of my Grandmother who taught me how to crochet, I decided to work through all my scraps of yarn to make baby blankets. They’ll each measure 36″ x 36″, more of a receiving blanket size than crib size for now.

Here is the first of those blankets, done in a combination of soft cottons and acrylics.

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Over Thanksgiving weekend I started a few more. My process is to build on each with appropriate colors as I pull them from the basket. I just love granny squares, always have, and making these is so relaxing and satisfying for me.  Because I am making them with scraps, they seem to build fast, and it is a good way to use up those bits of yarn that are too small for bigger projects.

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I also hope to dive into some crazy quilting and embroidery projects as well in upcoming months.  I have baskets and drawers full of lace and silk and satins, unique threads and bins full of fabric scraps.  I won’t even get just how many jars I have of buttons and beads and other fun embellishments. There is just so much nostalgia in crazy quilting and hand embroidery, and it is something I really want to delve further into.

Today I am grateful for the opportunity to create. I am grateful for those that have supported this venture and the drive they give me to continue to create designs they love to stitch.

For my cross stitch patterns, visit http://www.carolynmanningdesigns.com.  Always something new popping up there!  The blankets and a few other crocheted tidbits can be found in my Etsy Shop,  https://www.etsy.com/shop/carolynmanningdesign

Snow

We don’t have any of the white stuff up here yet, in fact the temperatures have been far too-unautumn-ish.  Emphasis on the ‘ish’.  I love the cooler weather up here in Minnesota, and yes, I welcome the really-holyhell-cold along with that four-letter word, snow.

I finished up the first of four designs that will join the Jane’s Joy Collection,  which was the first design inspired by the 1863 quilt by Jane Stickle.  This first new installment is titled Snow,  complete with a flag border and 36 snowy  and iced blocks that measure 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ each. The entire piece measures just under 12″ x 12″ square.

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The design uses DMC cotton flosses and Kreinik #4 braids for some snowy twinkle. I stitched my model over two threads on Wichelts 28ct. hand dyed jobelan in cornflower.

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Now I’m moving on to the last block, December, in the Crazy Quilting Cross Stitch Blocks series, with another year long series in the works inspired by crazy quilting, pulling in some of my fascination with folklore and fairy tales.

 

meditating over crop circles

I found a bit of time this morning to work another small meditative piece using scraps of variegated cotton thread and a bit of stormy grey hand dyed jobelan. After watching an episode of Ancient Aliens that focused on the formation of crop circles, I found myself on Pinterest looking at images, and reading a few articles about their validity.  Interesting stuff, as I am  a believer in there being something ‘out there’– something or someone that we may or may never really be made fully aware.

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I have always been tugged in the direction of mythology and folklore and every now and then it finds way into my art, but lately, I have been feeling that pull even more, and I think there will be more work, both in my free form stitching and my pattern designing, that will emulate symbolism and concepts from a variety of pantheons.

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To peek at all the new stuff, visit my website  www.carolynmanningdesigns.com

Today I am grateful for the sound of leaves blowing around outside. I am grateful for the return of better sight, and I am grateful for a few days to decompress and find my center again so I can come back to my art with a new eye. (No pun intended!)