There's something about starting a new project that just makes your heart go pitter patter.
As a punch needle designer I often times will just stop in the middle of whatever I'm doing to draw something out. That's mostly because of my age.....if I don't write it down it may never come back, lol, but sometimes it's because if I don't get it out it might also nag at me and cause me to lose sleep. Yes, that has happened.
Some designs are better than others. Some designs are my favorites and other, well, just eh. But every once in a while there is one that just makes your heart skip a beat.
Lenny's Garden is named for my Grandmother Lenore. Unbeknownst to me (my mother tells me) my Grandfathers pet name for Mamie (what we called her), was Lenny. Grandpa always had amazing vegetable gardens. He was really quite a man, very talented. Things you never know when you are a young child. Grandpas are just grandpas. But, my Grandfather had amazing gardens, was a great cook, an accomplished wood worker and as I am adult and look back, was madly in love with my Grandmother. I remember him always giving her a kiss and buying her random gifts. At the end of Grandpa's vegetable garden, my Grandmother, Mamie, Lenore....or Lenny, always had a large section for her flowers. Mamie loved flowers and every year they would travel to the Boston Flower show. So, with that, when this design was coming to life, I wanted to call it Lenore's Garden, then Mom suggested "Lenny's".
I'm always filled with excitement when I see the empty pattern in front of me. Color planning was relatively easy because Mom had already hooked the Hooked Rug Version. Sometimes I punch the design first and she goes from my colors and vice versa.
I thought the vines, stems and leaves might be a bit tedious, but they weren't. It was fun to see them take on life. When I do berries I punch 3 to 4 times quite close together. Berries never look good until you start putting the background in.
When I first put this design on fabric I was trying to keep it within the 8/10 inch size but I just wasn't feeling it so I ended up enlarging it to a nice size of 8 x 16 inches. It does extend over the edge of my punch needle frame but I've never had a problem with loops pulling out. The trick is to simply be gentle and make sure to pull to the outside of the frame lifting out and up to get the punched portion off without hurting the loops.
When I am trying to color plan a design to be similar to the woolens that my mother has chosen for the hooked rug, it can be difficult sometimes. I have a color palette for my designs and the threads I use sometimes don't match a plaid wool that Mom may have used. She used multi colored woolens so I needed to come up with threads that would resemble those woolens. When this happens I sometimes will combine two different Valdani colors. When I punch with Valdani #8 perle cotton, I double thread it through my medium tip. I pull the strand from the outside of the ball and from the inside of the ball and thread both strands. This idea means that I can easily mix two colors by using just one strand of each.
The outer blue/green edge of the scallop edge below is the end result.
My mother used our hand dyed Maple Sugar and Honey Wheat woolens for the background in her rug. It's a mix of very warm tan/gold colors so Valdani's H205 will be the perfect color for my background.
In this piece it's very important to punch up close to the subject matter. The stems, leaves and most importantly, the berries need the background punched right in close so they will take shape. When I punch background I go around the subject matter 2 to 3 times, then move to the outer frame or in this case, the scalloped edge and punch around that 2-3 times until eventually the inner subject matter and edges meet, then it's all about filling in.
You can see below the point at which the two parts meet and then filling in was done.
And here's the right side. How beautiful! I'm afraid I do not have the finished product to show you just yet. You'll have to visit our website in about another week (or facebook) to see it finished.
I did think though that you might like to see how the punch needle design and punching process happens. All of our designs have a personal story to them. Here's Mom's hooked rug....a beautiful tribute to her Mother I think.
Until next time.......