Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bands 9 & 10, 2/3 rds of Heart Note Alley Done

Band 9 echoes band 4, in that it is simply the outer border of 4 turned inside out and done in the dark mauve. I like to repeat something in the design with enough change to make it not a copy but something that makes you say, I've seen that before. Something that makes your eye move back and forth over the images helps to create interest in the design.

At this point in the sampler I decided to do two smaller bands instead of just one as I'd done before, again to give variation and interest. Band 10 is done in the lightest mauve and the border band beneath it is done in the lightest green.

Now i'm beginning the 'heart' of Heart Note Alley, the large Iris band with the date and 'signature'. I've been looking forward to this one and hopefully will soon be back with a completed picture of it.

Note: If you click on the photos they should enlarge for you.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Heart Note Alley Bands 7 & 8

Band 7 is one of those tweener ticking type bands that I selected to give a little bit of lightness to the design after the heavier band above it. For band 8 it seemed time for a larger band again, but one that included a good bit of 'empty' area as well. An open background in a design is as much a part of a design as any image you use.

Band 8's tulip type of floral, the grass and butterflies give the design the lighter feeling I was seeking at this point. I used the medium mauve with the lighter purple for the flowers, the dark mauve for the butterflies and the darkest green for the flower stalks and the grass and border.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Heart Note Alley Band 6

Heart Note Alley is moving along rather quickly and Band 6 is completed. It is quite a sturdy image with some good movement to it. Like most motifs in samplers it is of ancient origin but it has a rather modern geometric feel to it. As I'm relating this piece to fragrance notes I'd have to say it makes me think of one of my favorites, incense. I even wore my favorite incense fragrance while stitching it, the gorgeous Paestum Rose.

It is done in the dark and light shades of mauve, not only to balance the colors in the sampler, but it is the color I 'see' Paestum Rose. Here is the band isolated in the software and I have to say that after downloading and trying a few other types of software for cross stitch, the Greenoff software I obtained from Needleprint is what I'll be using. Its ease of use and intuitive functioning is why I find it the most user friendly of all I've tried.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Patterns and Modelbuchs

Band 6 was slightly delayed this weekend, due to my spending stitching time online having a fascinating time discovering 'Modelbuchs'. Here is an introduction from the first site I want to recommend - Patterns and Modelbuchs

"The 16th Century saw a proliferation of pattern books or modelbuchs aimed at the domestic embroiderer as well as the professional craftsman. In addition to pattern books designed specifically for artisans, many other books were used by the domestic embroiderer as a source of embroidery designs."

This site has some extensive links for both original works and more modern reproductions of some fabulous patterns. I also spent a good deal of time at bibliOdyssey
Here you'll find links to original pattern books in European libraries that you can download for free.

How fabulous is it that we can see and download books of patterns from the early 1500s? I'm more enthused than ever to try and bring some of these images to new designs, combining motifs from different centuries to express the vision I have for cross stitch designs.

Next post, Band 6, I promise!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Heart Note Alley Band 5~

This band was most definitely inspired by fragrance! I had put a preliminary band in when first designing HNA as a bit of a place keeper, knowing that when it came its turn that it would be replaced by something more interesting. And as I looked through images in books and online of old filet borders this little gem popped up and said 'Escentric Molecules' to me.

No, the snow hasn't driven me buggy, not yet anyway! Escentric Molecules is a rather interesting niche perfume company that has become wildly popular among fans of scent. None more than their strangely titled '01' - here is a blurb about it from one of my favorite etailers, Luckyscent, "Escentric Molecules 01
Prepare yourselves, fragrance adventurers! We’ve found a line so unusual and provocative we couldn’t help but bring it to you on a silver platter. How many times have you tried a perfume, only to find you love one aspect of it but not the others? If you could just take out a few notes, it would be your perfect personal scent?"

Does Escentric Molecules 01 work for me as a fragrance? Sadly no, though many others buy it by the boatload, lol. But I saw this motif and thought THAT is an escentric molecule if I've ever seen one. So into the software it went and I gave it a little extra circle to separate them and 'Bob's your uncle', it worked.

I chose the dark green color for it and I have to say, it was fun sniffing, uh, stitching this band :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Heart Note Alley 4th Band ~

I've been looking forward to this band, it reminds me of a vintage French ribbon. I love vintage textiles and some of the beautiful old ribbons definitely set my heart racing :)

This band introduces the darker purple in its edges and I used the lightest green and the lighter purple for the little flowers with a bit of an orchid shape to them.

Our fragrant piece grows and this pretty little floral begins to end the top notes as we descend into the sturdier heart notes.

And the next design is already afflicting me! I can't stop thinking about it and playing with the software to see what effects I can get. It is such fun, but it can also be sooo distracting! :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Heart Note Alley Band 3

More snow, more stitching! One of the things I love about winter is spending more time inside stitching without the guilt of "I should be doing something in the garden".

Band 3 reminds me of a happy little row of clubs. It is a motif that I'd place somewhere between geometric or floral and I'm pleased with the scale of the row in reference to the first two bands and with the colors - light and medium mauve with the darkest green.

Now if the neighbors will just stop dropping by and demanding food, I hope to get band 4 going! :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Heart Note Alley 2nd Band

Floss arrived just before a snowstorm, now how is that for timing?

With snow whirling about the house, the fire crackling in the woodstove and husband skilled in the making of tea, these last few days were perfect stitching time. I finished the 2nd band, first large floral image of HNA.

One comment I forgot to make when telling you about the first band is that I made some changes in the number of colors due to finding that there would have been too many little fiddly floss changes if I had included more colors. I want these designs to be a pleasure to stitch as well as a pleasure to look at, and having to change floss for colors that are few and far between do not make stitching pleasurable to me. After making the adjustment to the two main colors of the band - the lightest green and the lighter purple, I think it looked better too.

I love band 2, it is one of the bands that inspired the design and I was really looking forward to seeing it stitched. It didn't let me down.
Here it is isolated in the software -

And this is on the fabric -

I used the darkest mauve and darker green for this band and I apologize that my photos aren't better for they are definitely more vibrant than they appear in the photo. This band made me realize that it could also be reminiscent of musical 'notes' as well as fragrance. You'll notice that I positioned the motifs a bit off center, with the large lily type figures not quite evenly spaced at the beginning and end of the band. I think that gives more motion to the piece.

More cold and snow is predicted so hopefully, I'll be posting the next bands soon.

Monday, January 3, 2011

First Band

Floss did not arrive, but with a weekend ahead of me with endless football games I could not resist getting started with the small amount of sample floss I had on hand. New Years Eve I began stitching the first band of Heart Note Alley.

Since fragrance inspired Heart Note Alley I wanted the top band of the design to reflect the top notes of a perfume. Many scents open with a bit of a sparkle, often due to the aldehydes used to give a bit of brightness and scintillation. So I chose the lighter colors in the palette along with some symbols that seemed to radiate those top notes in the top band.

Here is the band isolated from the rest of the chart in the Infinity software
This is how it appears partially stitched

Here is hoping the post office comes through today and I find my floss order in the box!