Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Rose is a Rose, Part 2 - One Chart for Many Projects

Cross-stitched Rose Quilt Square
Original rose pattern, cross-stitched on beige gingham
When I teach someone to do cross-stitch, folk embroidery, Spanish blackwork, Assisi work, etc., I start with a project on quarter-inch checked gingham because it closely resembles graph paper. This makes it easy for students to follow simple graphs and encourages them to try their own graphs. Graphs are very versatile. It is possible to do the same design in a multitude of sizes, from a covered button to a king-sized quilt. The same chart can be used for many different techniques: afghan stitch, beading, mosaic, latch-hook, piecework, etc. A chart like the one you can download for free today works for a whole rainbow of color schemes. Charts are easy to file for future reference and, laminated, long-lasting.

"Heritage Rose" Latch Hook Rug
"Heritage Rose," a latch hooked rug available in our Etsy shop
I never ask students to do a project unless I do one right along with them; as a result, I accumulate samples. The pink cross-stitch rose on beige checked gingham is one of those. I liked the beige back-ground because it made the colors of the students' roses show up well. Years after I made and filed this sample, I enlarged and modified the same design for the center of a latch-hook rug.

Yellow Rose Needlepoint, Finished
Finished yellow rose needlepoint
 The yellow rose needlepoint I've done for this blog is in tent stitch on plastic canvas. The canvas has 7 stitches to the inch (49 stitches per square inch), as compared with the checked gingham's 4 stitches per inch (16 stitches per square inch), so you can see the needlepoint rose will be considerably smaller than the cross-stitch one. The chart can be scaled either up or down. For instance, imagine that each square on the chart represents a 2-inch-square finished quilt piece. The rose would then be 68 inches at its widest point and 66 inches from top to bottom. With plain squares of background fabric added, that would make an impressive quilt center. Or imagine that the squares are 6-inch ceramic tiles for a floor or wall. Conversely, the rose could be much smaller. In beading, a row of these roses would make a handsome belt. Cross-stitched on fine Aida cloth, it might decorate a collar or a napkin. In petit point, it could be a pendant or brooch.

Plastic canvas with center lines basted
Plastic canvas with center lines basted
Let's say you want to do a rose in cross-stitch or needlepoint. Prepare your background, choosing the color carefully so it does not overpower the rose. Fabric should be backed with inter-facing. Canvas, except for plastic, should be taped on the edges. Find the center of your material. Run a row of basting stitches through the center, both vertically and horizontally, using a bold color that does not appear in your version of the rose.

Yarn for the yellow rose needlepoint
Yarn palette for the yellow rose needlepoint
Now select the colors of your yarn or floss. The pattern will work easily for most colors. A white rose is a bit of a challenge, but can be done with off-whites, cream, ivory, ecru, etc. I've never tried a black rose, but it should be possible with a range of grays, blues, or purples. You will need a range of 7 shades of your main color, plus two greens. Shades of the main color are represented by numbers on the chart, with 1 being the palest one and 7 the darkest one. Capital G represents the darker green and small g the lighter green. Lay your 7 materials out in front of you in light-to-dark order. Tag them with the numbers if you like. (I'll admit I'm a spendthrift when it comes to needles: I threaded a separate needle with each shade of yellow!) Start stitching at the center and work outward. When the rose is complete, pull out the basting threads.

Yellow rose needlepoint closeup
Yellow rose needlepoint closeup, showing back stitching
Because the yellows were not high-contrast, I did a limited amount of back stitching in a dark yellow on the needlepoint. You may not want to do any back-stitching at all. Or you may want to back-stitch all the outlines shown on the chart, as I would probably have done if I had chosen to do a pale yellow rose in counted cross-stitch on a white or light background. I will leave that decision up to you. The more choices you make, the more completely the rose will belong to you.
Rose Needle Arts Chart JPEG
Picture of the downloadable rose chart

The pattern is a “forgiving” one. If you place an occasional stitch in the wrong square, it should not spoil your rose. Small differences are to be expected in handmade items. If you run out of a color, continue with the closest match you can find. The vertical and horizontal center rows on the chart are marked.

Next time, I'll tell everyone how to submit a photograph of whatever project they make from this chart, and I'll show the most interesting results on a future blog.

To download the free chart (in PDF format), just click this link.

Now my rose is your rose. May all of your roses be beautiful.

 Creative Commons LicenseThis post by Annake's Garden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


  1. New fan from Etsy blogger team. I made my first canvas needlework item last year. It was a rooster recipe holder. It was fun!

  2. My blog is

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Marsha. Did you download the pattern? I think it is easy enough for a beginner, but would love to have a second opinion.

  3. Beautiful roses! I don't know how to cross stitch, but my mom does. =0)
    I'm a new GFC follower from Blogging Buddies team. I'd also like to invite you to join us at Meet & Greet and link up your blog!

    1. Thanks for the compliment! Cross-stitch is easy. I'll be giving tips on it in a blog later this month to get new cross-stitchers started. In the meantime, think of something you would like to do in it to surprise your mom. I'm thrilled when my daughter learns a new technique.


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