What to do next…

This is my year to relax more and finish some WIPs.  So what will I work on now that I’ve finished another rug? Usually, I get to work on another one right away, but I’m doing things a little different this year. I’m not going upstairs to stitch on a large project until next Monday. Taking some time to think about what I want to do. I have 4 needlepoint WIPs that need finishing:

  1. Purple Heron – I haven’t decided what to do for the background and plants behind the herons, so I’ll probably just work on the floral border for a while. This will be my Friday and Saturday project starting next week. Here’s where it is right now:

Heron 4B

2. ASOW tall ship – I need to figure out all the rigging before I can continue with the sky. I’m down to the first cross beam so far:

ASOW canvas

3. Swans – This is on penelope canvas and I’ve changed the green colors a little, but I would like to get it finished. It’s going in the guest bathroom – someday.

Swans

4. Ghiradelli Square by Peter Ash – Love the colors and haven’t touched it in 3 years! Maybe this needs to be worked on next?

Ghiradelli-1One of these will become the Mon-Wed project starting next week.

But while I’m sitting downstairs working on smaller projects, I’m taking some breaks to begin planning on the next rug! I said it would take a long time to design and I’m sure you’ll agree with me. This is a Persian Qum rug.

persian-qum-silk-copy

I saw this on Pinterest and grabbed a copy for my Design Ideas board. I’ve already decided that I will eliminate the large outer border and just do the vase of flowers and the two side panels backed with a rust color. I’ll be stitching it on Congress Cloth to try to keep the overall size smaller – so about 13″ X 17″ maybe. I spent an hour today pulling threads from my stash – solids and overdyes – for color inspiration. Now I’ll play with small borders, lots of flower stitches, etc. and try to create a new wall hanging. You probably won’t my plans for a couple months, but know it’s mulling around in my mind and will slowly find it’s way to the computer.

Tree of Life Designing

This week I haven’t done as much stitching as usual. My mind has been a-buzz with design ideas. One of them sent me searching the Internet and my rug books. How many cultures have rugs with a Tree of Life? I’ve seen many cross stitch projects and quilts with them, but they are all over the world.

Afghan rug

Afghan Tree 2

Persian rug

Persian Tree of Life

Bakhtiari rug (I’d love to adapt this one!)

Bakhtiari Tree of Life

India rug

India Tree of Life

I’d love to do a whole series of Tree of Life rugs and maybe create one of my own too. But I’ll start with the one below from Bijar – an area in northwest Iran. This area has a large Kurdish population, many of whom are rug makers.

Kurd design – There are flowering bushes, willows and cypress tree. I know I want to stay with the same colors – nice and simple – and make it as a pillow. I’m playing with stitches right now and will start on the design soon. Lots of decisions to make before I get to start stitching ( create a border?).

Kurd Tree of Life

Look for another post soon about another rug (from Anatolia) that I’ve already started designing and will be practice stitching with new threads that will arrive in a few days. I don’t know which one I’ll actually be stitching first. Now that I’ve gotten these two projects mapped out and started on the computer, hopefully my designing mind will take a rest and let me get back to stitching my current projects that need to be done.

Photos are from the Internet and the book Tribal & Village Rugs by Peter F. Stone

Phone Apps and Inspiration

Do you have phone apps that you use or refer to when you’re stitching? I do have all the iPhone apps that have needlepoint stitches. I do most of my stitching downstairs while I watch TV, etc. and I refer to them frequently as I stitch.

I also have an app called Punto Croce that is for floss. It does 3 things: inventory of your floss, calculating how much floss you need for a specific size chart on a number of fabric counts, and color conversion. I use the color conversion all the time! I have a lot of Anchor floss that I’m trying to use up, so when I start pulling threads for a project that lists DMC colors, I use this app to convert DMC number to Anchor so I can search for them in my stash. And this app has DMC threads, Anchor, JP Coats and Sullivan so it covers a lot for conversion.

Then, on a lark, I searched the App Store for rugs. I found several from various stores that sell Persian Rugs. Since it was free, I downloaded Pak Persian Rugs. Now, when I need a break from stitching, I browse through 105 Persian rugs by style by collection or design. I’m getting itchy fingers to start working on a new rug design and I’ve always wanted to do a Persian rug. They are very detailed and I needed to work my way up to something more complicated. So here is my inspiration for the next rug:

It’s from the Pak Persian Rug app and is labeled as a Baluchi rug. It’s from the Eastern Iran or Western Afghanistan area. LOVE the center designs and will love stitching them. When I need a break from stitching, I’ll be playing with the various elements and creating my own version of this rug. I won’t be stitching until Oct. or Nov. but just think of all the fun I’ll be having trying to get this one ready to go.

I’ve joined the Petitpointers group on Yahoo recently, so that also helped make the decision to do this rug. With the detail involved, I’m going to create a chart for this design. I might use some specialty stitches but a lot of it will be Basketweave and Continental. I want LOTS of detail in this one. So I have a lot of decisions to make. Do I want to do Silk & Ivory on 13 ct or something on 18 count for a change. And I am very tempted to stitch the same rug on silk gauze at the same time. Won’t that be fun to watch! Let the thinking and playing begin!!

Update on Projects

Chinese Rug – I’ve had a busy week and didn’t have much time for stitching at all. So there’s isn’t enough done on the rug to show you anything this week. I’ll get back to my regular schedule next week and start the center of the rug and have photos for you next Saturday.

Pesrian Iris Mandala – It’s been a few weeks since I showed this piece and I’ve gotten some progress done – buildings are starting to appear next to the mosque. I’ll do a post tomorrow. I have to take photos first.

Desert Tent – I told you a while ago that I now have all my projects in databases. There are about 12 projects in the design database that I want to finish designing and start stitching. Trying to get to sleep last night, one of them kept interrupting my sleep. So I guess it’s time to work on it. It just won’t go away. I’ve done step by step designing for the rugs, so I thought this project might be a good one to explain a more complicated design. Wednesday I’ll do a post on Desert Tent to explain the project and go over the challenges that have kept me from working on it until now. This is still in the very early stages and I probably won’t be ready to stitch it until this summer, so you can see my thinking and practice stitching as I work on a brand new design. For a glimpse of what is to come, check this website. www.e-mosaik.com

Chinese Rug – Decisions Started

I showed you my inspiration for the Chinese rug last month. So Step 1 is complete. Here’s a second look.

On to Step 2 – Decide on a size and fabric to use.

I use 13 count canvas for most of my rugs and I will use it for this rug as well. Size – I usually start with 18″ X 30″ and then start to work on the design. With the Tunisian rug, the Diamond border couldn’t be larger or smaller than it was designed, so that determined the size of the rug. If I added one more repeat of the Diamonds, then I would have had to add to the square border as well. Getting the two to match up again would have added about 4 inches to the length of the rug and I would have run out of room. The Meander border that I want to use on this Chinese rug will determine the size of the rug this time. I’ll have to stitch a practice length of the Meander border and see how many stitches are needed for a repeat of the motif and for the corner for the border.

Step 3 – Choose Colors and Threads

I always use Silk and Ivory from Brown Paper Package for my rugs. I love the feel of the thread and they have a large number of colors. I’m using the colors from the rug shown above. The photo below shows the colors: Cadet, Ahoy, Classic Navy, Natural (for inside background only), Sawdust, Honey, and Dijon.

I only have a few strands of Classic Navy on hand so it’s hard to see – sorry. I won’t order the amount of Silk and Ivory that I need until I have the design more or less finished so I order the right amounts. The natural is what I have on hand to use for the background, but I’m tempted to get a half hank of Honey instead. Will have to think about that. If I use Honey (or Sawdust) for the background then I’ll only have 2 colors to use in the rest of the design and I really want to have 3 colors in that family along with the 3 blues. So final decisions on these two steps isn’t quite finished yet.

Next step will be to decide what motifs I want to use so I can start the actual design. I know I’ll be using flowers and maybe butterflies. We’ll see more about that next month. I’ve also started playing with background stitches for the inside of the rug. Maybe Oriental stitch? Need to try some others before a decision is made. So back to work.

Finding Inspiration

I know the Tunisian Rug isn’t done yet, but I’m already thinking ahead to the next rug. I’ve wanted to do a Chinese rug for a while now, so this week I started reading and researching. I’ve gone through all the rug books and searched online trying to learn about Chinese rugs, styles, and symbols. My mind is set on blue and white and I’ve found that the rugs I’m drawn to are called Peking rugs.

I’m up for a big change and a challenge this time around. So I thought I’d take you along on the whole process I go through as I work toward a new design. The outer border on this is a form of Meander pattern and is found in many Chinese rugs. This one is a little more complicated than most that I’ve seen. That’s an element that I want to use as one of the borders.

I don’t remember seeing a lot of Chinese rugs that have a blue background in the middle, but there are a lot of them. The element that grabbed my attention here was the outer border, again. Each segment of the border has a different, similar design. That might make for an interesting rug to stitch. I also like the center medallion.

Definitely more challenging. I love all the floral decorations. I don’t think I want to use a dragon or phoenix on the rug. So flowers or maybe a crane would be good?

I have over 50 motifs and designs on my computer now to look at and think about. I could do the borders with some special stitches to help it move along nicely. Should the center be done in basket weave this time so I could really have a more complex design? Do I want to stay with just blue and white threads or add touches of other colors? What motifs do I want to include and exclude? This is just the beginning – finding out what I love about the designs and selecting motifs and borders that I like – play with those a little and try to put some of them together to make a new design. It will be several months before anything is ready to start for this project, but once a month I’ll post where I am in the process so you can see what I go through.

Then I saw this rug –

Wow!  I now have my inspiration. These are the colors I will use! And I love the leaves and flowers in the corner of the center too. See you again next month for the next step in the process.

Tunisian Rug – Inspiration

I’ve been working on colors and motifs for a new rug for a month or so. Here’s the inspiration – a Berber rug from Tunisia.

I got this photo off the Internet and when I try to enlarge it to see the details, it just pixelates. So I don’t have any clear photos to work from. That required a little more work on my part, trying to create motifs that will give a similar look to the piece as I stitch.

I needed to start with colors. I originally thought I would do this rug in blues and greens with off-white (natural) as the background. Then I started playing with motifs and it just didn’t feel right. So, back to the drawing board. The Berbers do a lot of their rugs and blankets in the natural colors of sheep wool. I had blankets in Morocco that had a natural background with designs done in brown, gray, and black. But I didn’t like the brown families that I had on hand. This is what I finally ended up choosing.

 The open skein is Mushroom, which will be the background color for the center. Going to the right, I have Toadstool, Portabella, Truffle, and Shitake. On the left are two shades of gray/browns – Mouse and Elephant. These will be used as dividing borders and touches will appear in the center designs.

Now it’s time to cut the canvas, put it on stretcher bars, and get to work. I should have something to show you in a week.