Friday, October 14, 2011

A New Rustic Ornament! And It's Free!

Back before the big Christmas Giveaway excitement, I posted about some unfinished ornaments I had stitched a few years ago, and also about my re-doing of one of them. When I had originally stitched both ornaments, I was so pleased with them that I drew up some co-ordinating patterns in the same style, that I call "rustic", intending to make a whole series! I rediscovered those drawings recently, and still liked one of them enough to sit down and try to stitch the design. And this is the end result :)

While the two original designs were meant to be finished as square "package trim" tree ornaments, I put on my Funky Finishing Fedora and decided that I'd like make a small wall-hanging, a three-panel triptych with "Peace" on the left, "Tis The Season" in the middle, and "Joy" on the right. Originally, I had designed the pattern text to say "Noel", but reconsidered before I started to stitch. I chose "Peace" because Christmas is often said to be the Season of Peace and Joy, and because the image of a lighted candle always brings peace of the spirit and hope for the future to my mind.

After some consideration, I have decided to post up the pattern to share! This is the first time I've ever done anything like this, and I was initially very reluctant to do so, given my inexperience with graphing virtually. When I design for myself, or adjust designs to suit my needs, I do it by hand on blank graph paper.

However, I was recently inspired to download the trial version of PC Stitch Pro 9 (the newest edition), following CrazyStitcher's very helpful and thorough review of the StitchCraft software. My Stitchy Guru Mother used to have the 4th edition, and I had used that to do up the first version of this design many years ago. I was very curious to see how the new features work. Although the demo does not allow you to save your design, I took a screenshot and used it for my graph. However, I had a lot of trouble generating a legend so I made my own. I need to play around with the software a bit more before I can give a review, so look for it in the near future!

Beside working as an example of the PC Stitch graphing software, I thought this might also be a good example of how you can take inspiration from an existing cross-stitch pattern or series of patterns and then design coordinating works for yourself. Although I echoed the originals stylistically, I designed the motifs and lettering. Part of the reason that Tis The Season and Joy have be left unfinished for so long is that I always knew that they needed an extra little something.

While similar in style - the checkerboards, the patchwork elements, the lettering - the pair just didn't feel like a "set". I learned a long time ago in art class that if you put two of anything together, the eye will always be drawn to the small differences between them, resulting in a feeling of tension and discord. However, if you balance the two elements with a third, the similarities will become more apparent and they will "match" harmoniously. With the addition of Peace, this project finally feels just right to me, and the message I wanted them to convey finally feels complete ;)

Here is the pattern, in .jpeg image format. It's designed to fit on one piece of paper:

For some reason, the text looks a little bit blurry here, I think because it's been downsized to fit the post. I've also made this image publicly available in a special Picasa Web Album, so if you have trouble downloading this image please try for the larger size available there. If neither method works (!), then please don't hesitate to e-mail me and I'll send it directly. My address is at the top of my sidebar.

Please note that this design is for personal use only. If you like it, I'd love if you shared it, but please put up a link to this post rather than reposting the pattern on your own site. And if you do stitch it, I'd greatly appreciate it if you'd let me know :)

Like the two patterns that inspired this design, Peace is a simple and quick stitch. The limited colour palette means that you can make colour substitutions very easily, and I encourage you to do so. I stitched mine to match the others, on 14 count Charles Craft Aida in "Oatmeal", a light fabric with darker fibres woven in. I choose this originally, over the beige suggested, to enchance the rustic look.

As you can see, I repeated the checkerboard motif, but in red and green. Although it looks darker in the photograph, my stitching uses the original colour from the other patterns, which is actually a dark coral, but Christmas Red will give you a similiar - and more seasonal - look. I also used one strand of white pearl cottton #8 for the candle, since I had substituted it for the white in the other designs. The backstitching is all done in my all-time favourite, 3371, which I substituted in Tis The Season and Joy for the grays and beiges suggested. The lighter blue on the patchworked glass ball ornament is not backstitched, as it's meant to suggest shine and roundness.

Once again, my buttons came to me serendipitously! I didn't sit down and choose them when I designed the colours, preferring to stitch it first, like I did with Tis The Season and Joy. And I'm really pleased with the way this button trio turned out - I went for colour and texture this time, which is a little bright but I think fits well with the spirit of the design. The light blue and yellow buttons are odd ones from my Great-Grandmother's trusty button tin, and the coral one was part of a four-piece set from my Mother's button collection. Usually I don't like to break up sets, but the colour was so spot on that I made an allowance! All three are plastic.

And as the final step in The Rustic Ornament saga, I decided to fix something that's been bothering me a long time. You may have noticed on Tis The Season that the pearly white button was square and had four holes unlike the rest of the buttons which were round and had two holes. So after some furious rummaging, The Stitchy Karma Gods and The Button Box Karma Gods again brought me just what I needed :)

Here is Tis The Season before:

And here it is in all its new finery:

The yellow button had to go, because it was too light when put against the floss used in the other two designs. The new green and white pearl buttons are both odd ones. The coral one, the only button I kept, was originally from my Grandmother's button basket, as is the new green one. I love how both of them shift from the light to dark colours, echoing the floss perfectly! It turned out that we had plenty of white pearly buttons, but only this one happened to have the same shape and finish, and it's an odd one from my own button tins. So, there are buttons from four generations spread out across these three works, which I think is really neat ;)

This is the placement I'm thinking of, with holiday fabric between and surrounding the squares. My finishing idea is a little ambitious, but I'm looking forward to uniting these three designs and being able to display them - finally, after so many years! - together this Christmas holiday. And I sincerely hope that Peace will be a welcome addition to your own festive decor this year, should you choose to stitch it :)


Mouse said...

ooohhh well done :) it looks lovely as a trio :) and way to go on finding the buttons to re match :) love mouse xxx

Karen said...

Good job! Your Peace ornament fits perfectly with the other two! I love all of the buttons and even liked your 4-holed button you originally had lol. The green one you swapped it with looks great too.

I've often wondered about the design software and really look forward to hearing about what you think of it. I think i will hop over to CrazyStitcher's blog and check out her review in the meantime. :)

PS: I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend!

Aurelia Eglantine said...

Thanks so much for your lovely comments :)

Mouse: Thank you very much! This whole experience has inspired me to try and dig out my other unfinished works and see if I can't re-make them into something I'm happy with ;) We'll see how that goes, LOL!

Karen: Thank you kindly, madam :) I'm so very glad that you the like them, especially Peace! The pearly buttons on Tis The Season look *much* better in person, since they shine from light to dark depending on the angle. I had a lot of trouble trying to catch that in the photo, and the continued lack of Mr. Sun is not helping at *all*, LOL!

Re: PC Stitch - yes, I'm very curious to see how it works out too! I've been interested in purchasing a graphing software for some time now, and I'd like to see what's available. And having worked extensively with one of the much older versions at least gives me some familiarity with the way the program works, which is good because I get confused very easily, as you might have noticed ;)

The great thing with the PCS demo is that the one download gives you BOTH the Basic program and the Professional, so you can flip between the two and compare and contrast the features. I'm really looking forward to playing around with it this weekend ;)

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving too! I did have a nice quiet holiday this year and enjoyed it immensely :)

Aurelia Eglantine said...

QUICK BLOG NOTE: I just realized that my images weren't displaying properly in Blogger's new "Lightbox" format, so I've reset them to open in a new window, as before. If you click on the pattern now, it will open on a blank window, the size it is in the post; click on it once with your mouse for the original size, with the clear text. Hope this helps!

Rainy Day Crafter said...

I just love your new 'peace' design and the three look just wonderful together - I'm looking forward to seeing the finished item :) Oh, and I think you were spot on again with your button changes on 'tis the season' btw! :)

CrazyStitcher said...

I'm starting to think that I ought to get myself a Funky Finishing Fedora. Peace looks wonderful, and I think that Tis the Season now looks even more lovely.

Good luck with your plans to make a three-panel triptych. I don't suppose it will be easy to do, but it's certainly going to look fantastic! :-D x

Aurelia Eglantine said...

Sorry this reply is late (again)!

RD: Aw, thanks :) I'm so glad you like Peace!

CS: LOL! Yes, you totally should! Although, I must admit, my Fedora lacks a Super Speed Warp function, and as such, my actual Finishing is rather sloooooow. But it helps me *think* up great ideas all the time, and that's the fun part anyway, right?! *rolls eyes* Thank you for your kind words about my nefariously complicated plans. We'll just have to see how that goes. *looks dubious*

Jeanne Dansby said...

Thank you for the pattern. I've downloaded it and look forward to stitching (and buttoning) it.

I'll send a pic when I get it done.

Aurelia Eglantine said...

Jeanne, thank you so much. I know you've already got the e-mail I sent you, but I wanted to just say again, here, how flattered I am that you've decided to stitch "Peace". I wish you the best of luck, and really hope you enjoy stitching it, and can't wait to see how it turns out! :)