This is the first in a series of posts called "Story of the Stitch". In each post I hope to give a little background on what inspired the design and how it goes from being an idea to a finished piece.
I have always loved color. My Mom used to tell the story of one my earliest coloring projects in which I was coloring a birthday cake and put together almost all the colors from my crayon box on the cake and, she says, made it look great. Of course your mother always likes everything you do but as I grew up I did notice that others would come to me for advice in choosing colors for their own artistic endeavors. My Mom considered it a bit a coup if she could have me along for the choosing of fabrics/colors for any new quilt project.
And my favorite class in design school was color theory.
With that said, the inspiration behind my Modern Love Birds pattern was a very colorful bird tray that I purchased at IKEA. The birds on it are lovely bright colors that makes one think of a fiesta. In fact one of my favorite things to serve on it are the toppings for tacos. Yum!
IKEA Bird Tray
I wanted very much to capture the spirit of that tray and somehow translate it into a cross stitch pattern.
I sketched out a lot of ideas before I landed on the idea you now see. In looking back at my idea book I think what helped me get there was the fact that near my sketches of the birds I had sketched some more traditional (as in tole painting traditional) motifs. The thought occurred that I could maybe marry the two in some way.
The colors were inspired by Valentine's Day. But I didn't want it to seem too Valentine-y so adding the blues, yellow and green help keep it from being exclusive to any one season.
When I choose colors I usually begin by coloring my sketches with my Prismacolor pencils (absolutely my favorite!) and then using my DMC Thread Book to help me find just the right shade of thread. This particular pattern uses only DMC thread but my personal selection of "fancy threads" is growing and I'm beginning to draw from them more frequently for new projects.
Choosing color feels very intuitive to me but I know that it is also informed by my color education. I can at least explain why some colors work together better than others and how their value and hue play a part in that. (For more on color theory stay tuned for future posts!)
I did not end up stitching this piece as at the time I was working hard on a couple of other projects and was keen to get more than five patterns in my Etsy shop. My sweet Mom, who has since gone to heaven, stitched it for me, which, of course, makes it all the more special to me. I even recall her saying to me, "Cyndy, I would have never put these colors together but they work." She may have even told me the coloring book story again.