Rainbow Bricks Free Needlepoint Ornament is based on a quilt layout I found on Pinterest, below, from Felt Magnet. I loved the Lego-like feel of the groups of four bricks, but I wasn’t crazy about the colors.
Adapting to Needlepoint
Because the pattern is made of rectangles, Cashmere Stitch makes a great choice for the project. Depending on the size you want your finished project to be, any rectangular stitch that is 2 units in one direction and one in the other will work. Some possibilities would be Brick (1×2) or Elongated Smyrna Crosses (2×4). The stitch you pick will, of course, have implications for the finished size of the project.
The project is an 18 brick square. That makes it very easy to convert to needlepoint on 18 mesh canvas.
If your stitch is 1 thread in the short direction (Brick), the finished size will be 1 inch.
If your stitch is 2 threads in the short direction (Elongated Smyrna), the finished size will be 2 inches.
If your stitch is 3 threads in the short direction (Cashmere), the finished size will be 3 inches.
Because I wanted the piece to be ornament-sized but still have a strong impact of color, I chose to use the Cashmere Stitch, below, which is 3×6 threads.
Colors & Threads
This project is a Scrap Bag Needlepoint project, meaning that you use what you have for threads. It’s the needlepoint equivalent of a Scrap Bag quilt. These projects allow you to use up odds and ends of threads and make something beautiful from them.
In fact I keep a box of my odds and ends in my studio, several of these were used up for this project. Other threads came from my stash.
I wanted the ornament to be bright and colorful, like kids’ toys, so I picked brighter threads and used no metallics and only a few rayons. This kept the emphasis on color instead of texture.
Because the piece is divided into equal quadrants, I needed to decide what colors I wanted. I substituted red for tan/brown in the quilt and pulled 10-12 threads in each color: yellow/orange, green, blue/violet, and red.
I also, mostly, stayed away from multi-color threads. I only used two multi-colors and these contained only the colors in that quadrant (yellow/orange and pink/red).
I picked threads in different textures but most of them are wool or silk. When you are using scrap threads, you often have a narrow range of texture, but that id OK if the focus of your project is on color, stitch texture or pattern.
I decided that since I had complementary colors, I would arrange the complements across from each other. It also nicely dovetailed that the single color (red and green) and the double colors (yellow/orange and blue/violet) are also complements. This arrangement also divided the project in half along the diagonal with warm colors on one side and cool on the other.
Stitching the Ornament
I used the quilt layout, above, as my pattern and this Cashmere Stitch, below, as the stitch. I started with the green quadrant, placing the first unit horizontally. That makes green a “small” quadrant with 6 complete brick units (4 Cashmeres) and 4 partial units (3 Cashmeres).
The two “large” quadrants are stitched next, completing one before starting the other.
These quadrants have 10 complete units and 5 individual Cashmeres. In these areas because I was using two colors, I alternated the colors row by row.
These two quadrants needed 15 threads if I was not going to reuse the thread, so I pulled additional colors from my scrap bag and thread stash.
Finally I stitched the red quadrant which is another “small” quadrant.
It’s exactly 3″ so it can be put into a 3″ square frame or finished as an ornament. This is the first in a monthly series of small quilt-inspired needlepoint projects that will run through December 2017.