Thursday, February 16, 2012


At Homewood Embroiderer's Guild we've been playing Sudoku. Needlepoint Sudoku!
We ran the project as a mystery and finally revealed the last bits last night, so I can show what I've been doing. The idea came from Needle Pointers Magazine article by Marilyn Owen. Needle Pointers is the publication of the American Needlepoint Guild (their site is a treasure trove).
In September we handed out two sudoku puzzles to complete (I'm not good at this, I went right to the cheat sheet!). In November we handed out instructions for the borders and materials lists. Last month we took a shopping trip to Designer's Desk for those needing supplies. And finally last night everyone received a copy of the magazine with complete instructions and final tips and ideas.

One puzzle becomes your guide for what color or group of colors you place in each square of the design. The second puzzle is the guide to what stitch goes where. You list your fibers 1 to 9.  You may have one color, two, three, whatever.  For my final sampler instead of color I listed type of fiber--#1 is wool, #2 floss, #3 perle, etc. since I have basically slight variations of one color.  You can use nine different colors or, say two shades of blue, two of green and cream--then you can select light blue (1), dark green (2), cream (3), dark blue with light green (4), and mix them up until you have nine combinations. Puzzle one tells you what color combination to stitch in what square.

Then you select nine stitches. Each little square is twelve threads by twelve threads, so any stitch divisible by three or four will work.  Cashmere, alternating Scotch, basketweave, laid and couched designs, or more complex stitches. The magazine provided a nice variety. I used them all in the ornaments at the bottom. For my sampler I used stitches from the magazine and some others I like and did my own thing.  Puzzle 2 tells you what stitch to use in what square.
I began my borders with Watercolors thread, in the center above. It looked mild in the skein but turned out quite bright once stitched.  Too bright for the colors I'd selected to use to fill in the squares--I felt the borders and fillings would compete too much.

So I regrouped and searched my stash for navy threads. I ended up with a mix of shades of dark blue and navy with a blue metallic. (the surprising thing about color is that when I selected the Watercolors, I didn't see any blue in it at all, purple, aquamarine, and a brownish-orange, but not blue. I was shocked by how large the patches of medium blue were! Looking at the photo now, I wonder what I was seeing--the blue's obvious to me now. But not in the store. And that brownish-orange? School bus yellow in bright light.)
I'm still not sure I like it but I think it's better than the wild mix I had before. It also amazed me how many skeins of "navy" I selected only to find that they were all very different colors. They range from purplish to greenish. I added the midrange blues to provide a bit of contrast, but they, too, vary a bit. I decided I liked the variety. 

Stitching the squares is like popcorn! I can't stop once I begin. The braid-stitch borders worked up quickly, too.  This is a really fun project.
While I was regrouping, I decided to experiment. I made two "nine patch" designs using the sudoku games as the basis, with two very different palettes.  I followed the stitch designs in the magazine for these, but must say I "cheated" some on the colors to make the red and green ornament come out balanced.  But, hey, it's my game, my rules!


Ginger said...

What a fun project. I might have to make up my own as a practice piece. Thanks for sharing!

marymac said...

Love your colors. The red one looks like you could make it into a Christmas ornament.