Friday, December 13, 2013

A New Holiday Pattern

I've been stitching as fast as I can to finish this new pattern in time for the holidays, so now I can finally share it with you!

It's called "HOLIDAY WREATH", and guess what?  It's a big ol' wreath made up of lots of sparkly wrapped packages.... and it looks like this:

It's a nice large design, 11" x 11" on 18 ct canvas (I used the eggshell with gold flecks, so the background is all sparkly and festive).  I had soooooo much fun stitching each of the packages - they're all done with simple stitches - and then getting them wrapped with whatever kinds of easy stitchy ribbons I could think of.  Here's a close-up of some of the packages:

I've used just two #5 pearl cottons: a Christmas red and a Christmas green, mixed with a handful of metallic ribbon threads for the packages and the ribbons.  And that big red bow?

It's done in long stitches, using the very yummy Very Velvet threads. (I've added just a few padding stitches under the bow areas, so that's what's making it look puckery on the scanned image, but in reality the bow is Very Rich looking and will "poof up" a bit when it's finally framed!)

After I stitched all the packages, I went ahead and added lots of irregularly stitched evergreen boughs peeking out behind the packages.  And there's a bit of tent stitching between the packages using the same variegated green ThreadworX Overdyed #5 pearl cotton.  I've added a sprinkling of round gold beads on some of the packages.... but you know, I'm thinking that a few fun buttons or embellishments (like tiny candy canes, bells, stars, snowflakes or gingerbread men) might be very appropriate to add to the packages - that's something you might like to do on YOUR wreath!!   All in all, it's a very fun and festive piece to stitch....

So, if you want to stitch up a new holiday piece that will surely become a family favorite, please visit my website: Laura J. Perin Designs for all the ordering information.  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Join the Club!

I've been meaning to tell you about a special project I designed for NORDIC NEEDLE, in Fargo, North Dakota.  You all know about Nordic Needle, right?  About their fan-tas-tic  store, website, and catalog??   If you haven't visited them, go hop, jump, skip over to see their amazing range of stitching merchandise -- virtually everything that the stitcher or embroiderer could ever wish for!!

Well, a few months ago, they asked me to design something really special: an exclusive project that they could use for their first-ever CANVASWORK CLUB!  They've got a Hardanger Club and a Cross Stitch Club, and they wanted to start a canvaswork club too.   So I did some super-marathon stitching and worked up a really fun 10-month project that uses fresh, festive "Nordic" colors of red, blue and green.  Here it is, and it's called NORDIC PANEL:

It's a long piece, about 7" wide by 18" long, and each section has a different and very fun stitch pattern to work up.  I specifically used different canvaswork techniques, such as bargello and blackwork, so the stitcher would get a taste of lots of interesting stitch patterns, and have the fun of trying new techniques in small sections.  Additionally, each separating border pattern uses different stitch elements, so there's a nice variety of unusual stitches to experience within this panel piece.  Here's an up-close look at part of the bargello section and below it, the blackwork section:

I focused on using traditional Nordic elements, like the classic star and floral motifs, combined with a happy checked border.  And the colors I chose remind me of those bright Nordic sweaters you see in the winter months... Happy, happy, happy, don't you agree??   (Although I think this project can be displayed equally well in spring, summer, fall and winter!)

 Because I wanted to create a project that would appeal to beginning stitchers as well as intermediate stitchers, I kept the stitches simple.... Really, it's just the way that they are combined (and with the use of a variegated thread and a handful of metallics) that makes this piece LOOK complex!

When you sign up for the Nordic Needle Canvaswork Club, you'll initially get the full thread kit (it's only available in this one red/blue/green colorway), which also includes the first lesson. (You'll be using scroll bars on this long piece, so if you don't have a set, you can purchase those from Nordic Needle as well.)  After that, you'll need to sign up for the monthly lessons, so you can work on your panel month by month.  In addition, as a special club bonus you'll receive four small ornament designs that will come throughout the remainder of the stitching year.  The ornaments can be stitched up as separate pieces with threads from your stash, so you have the added pleasure of a few more fun projects to enjoy throughout the year. 
What more can I say, except: This is fun, fun, fun to stitch, I gotta tell you!  So if you're looking for a fantastic new project to inspire you in 2014, please visit Nordic Needle's website and find out all about their new Canvaswork Club.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Just a Quick Follow-Up...

It's been lovely to read the comments coming in about the Little House books, and how they touched our childhood lives and I just wanted to say:

I'm sure all of you will really enjoy reading the story behind these beloved books!  After reading Susan Albert's A WILDER ROSE, I was profoundly moved by the quiet drama (and heartache) that was involved in getting these books published.  Susan's descriptions of life during the Depression were particularly moving and brought home to me how HARD life was during those years.  And yet, and yet.... people survived and were grateful for what they had; a valuable lesson, no matter when or where you live.

Finding out about Rose Wilder has made me think so much about the books themselves (I even went to the library and checked out a few of my favorites to reread)...but mostly I found myself thinking about Rose Wilder A LOT, and how she struggled to take care of her parents, yet forge ahead with her own art (writing) and try to build her own independent life at a time when the publishing industry had virtually crashed to a halt, and no one had money to buy books.  And I think wistfully how nice it would have been to sit and stitch with her, and talk about all the places she traveled during her life.

And another thing I found interesting: the Little House books came along JUST at the time when the publishing world was beginning to create separate children book lists, and editors were on the look out for material that would appeal specially to children.  The timing was nothing short of providential, I think, and ultimately added to the unique success of those special Little House books.

So, if you want a special treat for yourself or perhaps for a reader on your Christmas list, please visit Susan Albert's website:  www.A Wilder  You'll also be able to see photos of Rose Wilder and read more about her life.....

Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday Flowers: Another Type of Rose

I'm going to take a wild guess and say that a lot of you stitchers out there are also readers. If so, did you grow up reading and loving the LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE books? I know I did.

This summer I had the privilege of reading an advance copy of a book by Susan Wittig Albert called A WILDER ROSE, that tells the fascinating story of HOW those wonderful Little House books actually got written and published. You may think you know all about Laura Ingalls Wilder and how, as an older woman, she sat down and wrote all those charming books about her early pioneer life. Well, come to find out, there's an entirely different story about the writing of those books that has been hidden from readers all these years.

In A WILDER ROSE, Susan Albert has meticulously researched and written about Laura's daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, the behind-the-scenes author and editor of all her mother's famous books. Rose Wilder Lane was a well-known writer whose books and stories were widely published during the 1930s and '40s and on into the 1960s. [And here's an interesting fact for us stitchers: being an accomplished needlewoman herself, Rose Wilder wrote the Woman's Day Book of American Needlework in 1963. Who Knew?!?] 

But back to the Little House books.... Throughout the 1930s and '40s, Rose took on the challenge of editing and shaping her mother's stories so that they could get published, and never asked for or received any public recognition of her work. A WILDER ROSE reads like a fictional novel, with lots of wonderful details about life in those Depression years; yet there's also the building drama of Rose's struggle to shape her mother's books and still be true to her own needs and visions as an artist and writer.  I found the book to be an absolutely riveting story of a relationship between a strong-willed mother and an independent but dutiful daughter.

I have to tell you, I am a great fan of all of Susan Albert's books; I love her Beatrix Potter Cottage series, her Darling Dahlia series, her China Bayles mysteries.... the list goes on and on.  But what really impresses me in ALL of her books is how respectfully she treats her characters.  The same thing applies in A WILDER ROSE; she treats mother Laura and daughter Rose with the greatest respect and dignity, and above all, truthfulness.  Reading about Rose Wilder Lane made me a little sad, to realize how her contributions to the Little House books were unknown for so many years. Yet now that I've read Susan's book, I'm glad to know the real story behind the Little House books, and happy that Rose's part in those classic books has finally being revealed. I'm exceedingly grateful to Susan for telling us this very important story.

So, if you're a fan of those Little House books, or just love a good true story about an independent woman trying to make her way during those hard Depression years, you really must read this book...

And psssssst: following in the footsteps of all her independent women characters, Susan Albert is herself traveling into uncharted territory by self-publishing this book.  You can find it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or better yet, go visit Susan's website dedicated to Rose Wilder Lane, called