Whew! I'm back :) Thank you all so much for understanding, and for the very lovely comments about my Pansy ;) She's gotten so big over the last sunny week that I had to transplant her to a nice new pot today, and I noticed several new buds so hopefully she will bloom again soon! But I'm still behind in blog reading and e-mailing, sorry :(
This is also not the post I intended to write today - I'm sensing a trend here lately - but I have the most wonderful news to share and simply couldn't wait - a new SAL Finish!!! And what an absolutely gorgeous and unusual finish it is too :)
Erica, who blogs at Erica's Stitches and is currently on hiatus, always crafts very creative projects, and her bookmark is no exception! I actually consider it a Spring Garden Variation, and her work is a fantastic example of how you can easily adjust a pattern to make it truly "yours", something that fits your own personality!
Erica is not a fan of hearts, and so she replaced them with geometric floral elements:
Isn't it stunning?!!! The flowers she designed remind me of Chrysanthemums, and along with the pretty colour palette she put together (more about it here and here!), the bookmark has a crisp Autumnal feel, which is very apt given the time of year:
Here's a closer view, where you can see that the innovative layering of the light and dark oranges lends the two motifs their depth and helps give the impression of a large, many-layered flower in what is actually a very small design space!
Erica also replaced the simple spacer bars with lines of incredibly elegant eyelets!!! This is definitely something I want to try stitching in future, and I really like the way she incorporated all her palette colours, alternating light and dark shades!
With so much added detail, Erica minimized the other Specialty Stitch elements - namely the Center Diamond and Algerian Crosses - by working simplier versions, which I think was very smart, as it keeps the eye on all the elements instead of just the center tulip motif. Her bookmark is also a great example of how a few small changes in a design can make a really BIG impact, and the result is so impressive :)
And as the perfect finishing touch, Erica chose this lovely classic botanical print with an inquisitive little birdie, which ties together all her Autumnal colours:
Finally, I really admire Erica's even finishing, and she explained her method to me:
"To finish, I didn't do the sew and flip right sides together - when I do that I can never get nice corners. Instead, I backstitched around the edges of the main design and basted the extra cloth to the inside while mitering the corners. Then I cut some heavy duty fusible interfacing to the same size and fused it to my backing fabric and basted and mitered again. Then I was able to whipstitch the two sides together."
(I'm sharing her own words because her instructions are great, so clear and concise!)
This is most definitely a technique I would like to try in future! My corners, as you have likely noticed, are always wonky - and I thought that you may want to try it out too! If you do, please let me know :) For me, though, I will have to conquer one of my most dreaded Stitchy Foes, The Whipstitch ;) Although a more recent opponent than my staunchest longtime enemy The French Knot, my first effort did not go well.
For that, I will have to work up some courage, methinks, although I do have my poor Blackwork Bookmark (abandoned but not forgotten!) just waiting for its Final Finish. Or perhaps I'll have to stitch up an Autumnal Garden of my own...
Thank you so much Erica for sharing your gorgeous work and lovely pictures!