I was reading The Ups & Downs of Needlepoint, a vintage book, a couple of days ago and she had a clever idea for learning Basketweave.
I’ve taken this idea and modified it a bit to give you a charming and practical project you can adapt to your style. The idea is to make coaster, united by background color, edging and theme. You can choose any colors you like. I’ve put in some drawings of possible ideas.
Begin with a square of canvas 6″ square in you choice of mesh. With a permanent, or dye-based marker, like Pigma Microns, mark a square 3.5″ on it. Now inside that square make more 1″ squares, scattered throughout the space. They can be partial, along the edges, or overlap. Make as many as you like. All your coasters will follow this plan, although the placement of the smaller squares can differ from coaster to coaster.
For the coasters you will need a background thread and a metallic to edge the squares. Your metallic can be bold to make the squares stand out, or subtle, to make the colors inside the squares more apparent.If you want it to look like batik, use gold for the metallic and bold bright colors. For stained glass, pick a dark gray metallic against a stone color. A sophisticated look would be all neutrals with brown metallic and a brown background.
Stitch the outline, or partial outline of each square. If you like, stitch the background in Basketweave or another subtle stitch.
Now the fun begins. If you want practice in Basketweave, pick several colors of one thread, such as pearl cotton and fill the sqaures. If you want to learn how overdyes behave, pick several brands and use those, with Continental, to fill the sqaures.
Other ideas would include trying different stitches in a limited palette of colors. You could also use this idea to fill each square with a different thread.
Whatever your goals, at the end you will have a simple and unique sampler that is also a practical bit of needlepoint.