This is the third and final installment of  Stitched Blooms author Carina Envoldsen-Harris’s Color Workshop. You can read the first two posts here and here.

This week, you can enter for a chance to win one of TWO projects from Stitched Blooms — the English Cottage Tablecloth or a copy of the bookSee the end of this post for details on how to enter. UPDATE: YOUR CHANCE TO WIN HAS BEEN EXTENDED THROUGH THIS FRIDAY, MARCH 7. SEE THE END OF THIS POST FOR MORE DETAILS! 

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winners, Mita and Stacy!



Selecting Colors for Your Projects



Choosing colors for your own projects is “easy” — you can just pick the colors you love and all is well, right?  Well, to a degree. If you love a certain combination, green and pink, for example (guilty!), by all means go for it. But I’m a big fan of trying new things in the colors you use. Pushing yourself out of that comfort zone which it is so easy to get a little stuck in.

I am always suggesting that people should try using the colors they least like a bit more. Because this will train you to make it work even if you don’t like it all that much. And I think that pushing your choices is also a great way to learn more about color and about what works for you, and why.

Purple or lilac are probably my least favorite color, but I will often try and add a bit of it when deciding on colors for a new pattern. Experience has taught me that sometimes colors I don’t like make the rest of the color scheme really ‘pop’ in ways it wouldn’t have if I hadn’t used it.


Selecting colors for gifts 

 When you are making a gift for someone else, getting the colors right can be a challenge. Especially if what you’re making is a surprise and you can’t ask them exactly what they like!



Maybe you’re making a skirt or a blouse for your friend but the colors she actually wears aren’t necessarily her favorite colors. For example, you would think that I wear a lot of bright colors, and I do occasionally wear a top in a bold color, but I actually mostly wear more plain dark or light colors.  So if you’re making clothing for someone, pay attention to what they actually wear or take a sneaky peek in their wardrobe (that’s mine up there) if you can.

When making a larger project for someone else, a quilt for example, getting the colors right is really important. You don’t want it to overpower a whole room. Even if you use all the colors you know your friend loves, it might not fit in the room/house. She may love bold colors — lime green, zingy orange etc — but does she actually use those colors in her home?


Again, I’ll use myself as an example. I use a lot of strong colors in the things I make, but the colors in our home are actually quite subdued. Our bedroom for example, has very neutral, calming colors going on there. Although I would love a quilt in my favorite colors, I think I would soon put it somewhere I didn’t have to look at it all the time. Color overload is not a good thing if you’re not into that.

So when selecting colors, think about the colors in the room where it is most likely to be used. If your friend already has an overall color scheme there, select the overall colors to go with it. But of course there’s nothing stopping you from using a cheeky pop of pink in a few places!

If you’re making a smaller thing, like a bag or maybe a piece of jewelry, it is a lot easier to make a statement with color. But again, pay attention to what someone uses/wears, not just what they like.


Working with colors selected by others

Since color is such a subjective thing, sometimes people will ask you to make something for them in a specific color or color combination. This can be a fun aspect of a project, but it can also be really challenging. If the chosen colors are far removed from your own taste it can be difficult to work with them, because if you usually avoid them, you may not be familiar with how to get them to play well with other colors. (That’s another reason to experiment with color in the things you make for yourself!)

Hopefully the person who has chosen the colors trusts you enough that you have some freedom to add a little bit of your own taste to the project. One way to make a color combination easier to work with is to add just a tiny amount of an accent color that you do like/love. Here’s an example:

Purple-ish colors combined with yellow is probably my least favorite combination. There is just something about this complementary pair that feels really unpleasant. I’m not sure why — I like other complementary pairs. To make it more comfortable for me to work with, I would probably add some pink or orange. Even if it’s just a little bit, either of these colors will help soften the harshness of the yellow + purple combination.

So if you can, work with the colors you have been given, but try and add some of *you* into the mix.

I hope you’ve found my Color Workshop to be fun and informative! Please do stop by my blog, Carina’s Craftblog, where you can find lovely embroidery patterns, learn about projects I’ve got in the works, and catch up on all sorts of embroidery-and craft-related things. Don’t forget that you can buy Stitched Blooms at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or wherever craft books are sold!


This week, you can enter for a chance to win one of TWO Stitched Blooms prizes — the English Cottage Tablecloth (46 inches [116.8 cm] square), or a copy of Stitched Blooms! Leave a comment on this blog post by 9 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 27. You can leave any comment you’d like, but it would be really fun to hear about any color combinations you’ve tried in your embroidery that turned out to be disastrous! Two winners will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and announced on Friday, February 28. Click here for the official rules. Special note: This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, but residents outside the U.S. can enter for a chance to win a copy of Stitched Blooms on Carina’s blog! Click here to go to Carina’s Craftblog



English Cottage Tablecloth, 46 inches (116.8 cm ) square




Carina Envoldsen-Harris, author of Stitched Blooms, is leading a special Color Workshop in three parts here on the Lark blog. From reviewing basic color theory to showing us how to select colors for our projects, Carina will share her expertise of all things color. You can find Carina’s first Color Workshop post here.

This week, you can enter for a chance to win one of TWO projects from Stitched Blooms — the PJ Pocket Pillow or the Every Day Carry Case! See the end of this post for details on how to enter. UPDATE: Congratulations to our two winners: Kay and Cindy! 


Hello and welcome to the second part of the color workshop! Today we’re looking at different color schemes that you can create from the color wheel.


The basic idea is that according to their relationship on the color wheel, colors impact each other. We’ll look at two of them: complementary and harmonizing. But there are several others that are included in the color section in Stitched Blooms.

Harmonizing colors are right next to each other on the color wheel — for example, red, red-violet and violet. The colors have more or less one color in common (in the example above, the common color is red). A color palette like this is tranquil.

Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel, like blue and orange. Complementary colors have nothing in common. Blue is a primary color and orange is made up of red and yellow, the two other primary colors. You could also think of these as contrasting colors, because they are exactly that — in contrast to each other. If you want your color scheme to “pop,” go for a complementary one.

Until now, we’ve focused on the (basic) colors on the color wheel, and maybe you’re wondering about where pink (personal note: I looove pink!) or pastels or darker colors fit into this.



Pastels and shades, the colors on the color wheel mixed with either white or black, can be used in exactly the same way as the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. The same rules apply to the different color schemes. Pair a pale orange with a pale blue and it will have more ‘zing’ than pale orange with a pale red (a.k.a. pink).

You can, of course, combine color across the different schemes. In this last example, I have used three harmonizing greens with a pink color, so this scheme is basically a complementary pair where one of the colors is a pale version.

I call the schemes ‘rules’ but they’re more like guidelines. They are a place to start if you’re unsure how to select colors for a project. With practice, you will get more confident, and that is when it’s time to throw caution to the wind and just have fun with color!

To train your color eye, have a look around your home: Do you spot any of these schemes in things you own or in the decor? Think about the clothes you wear – do you go for quieter, harmonizing colors, or do you pick contrasting colors? An orange t-shirt with blue jeans, for example? What about the colors you choose for projects? Maybe you’re always subconsciously picking harmonious colors or…maybe not?

To see examples of Motif 99 from Stitched Blooms in different color combinations, click here. You can download this free motif from last week’s post here

Tune in next week for the third and final installment of Carina’s Color Workshop and for a chance to win more free stuff! And don’t forget to enter for a chance to win one of two projects from Stitched Blooms: the PJ Pocket Pillow or the Every Day Carry Case! Leave a comment on this blog post by 9 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 20. You can leave any comment you’d like, but we’d be interested in knowing what you’ve got planned for future embroidery projects! Two winners will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and announced on Friday, February 21. Click here for the official rules.     This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winners! 

You can see more of Carina’s totally awesome (and colorful!) motifs and projects at Carina’s Craftblog.

PJ Pocket Pillow


Every Day Carry Case


Carina Envoldsen-Harris, author of Stitched Blooms, will be leading a special Color Workshop here on the Lark blog once a week for the next three weeks. From reviewing basic color theory to showing us how to select colors for our projects, Carina will share her expertise of all things color.

You can stitch the same motif shown in this blog post (plus a bonus motif!) by downloading them here for FREE: Stitched Blooms Motifs. Also, be sure to find out how you can enter for a chance to win a FREE copy of Stitched Blooms at the end of this post.

Update: Congratulations to Beth T., who won a free copy of Stitched Blooms! 


Hi! Welcome to this workshop about color. We’re going to cover a few things in these posts, but obviously, it’s an introduction to all things color. You could spend a lifetime studying these things, and that would be fun, I’m sure. But you wouldn’t have much time to do any embroidery!

The workshop is split into three sections: introduction to the color wheel, introduction to color schemes, and working with/selecting colors. Today we start with an introduction to the color wheel.

You have probably come across the color wheel before? In school, perhaps? If you haven’t, here’s a quick explanation of what the color wheel can do: It is a pie chart of sorts that shows how, with three basic colors (the primaries), you can mix all the other colors. Along with primary colors, you will often hear people talk about secondary and tertiary colors.

The three primary colors are red, yellow and blue, and they can’t be made from other colors. By mixing the primary colors, you will get the three secondary colors. These are orange (red + yellow), green (yellow + blue), and violet (blue + red).

There are six tertiary colors, each of which is mixed from a primary and a secondary color: red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet.

There are of course lots of colors besides these — millions in fact — but they all start with this basic principle of mixing, starting with the primary colors.

When it comes to embroidery, though, “mixing” perhaps isn’t the best term to use, because we can’t physically mix two colors of stranded floss. No matter how tightly you twist them together, red and yellow floss will not turn orange — they will always remain red or yellow. But they may look orange from some distance and that is very important to keep in mind.


Colors are very much influenced by their neighbors. Yellow and red next to each other will make each other look slightly orange. The same thing goes for any color — if there’s another color sitting next to it, each will impact the other, even if it’s just a little bit.

This can create unfortunate, unwanted effects, like a yellow that looks very nice on its own, but when placed next to a green takes on a green tinge. But we can also use it to our advantage, to make it look like we’ve used more colors than we actually have. Much like Impressionist painters who often would mix colors not on the palette but by putting small dots or strokes of paint next to each other on the canvas (called Pointillism), creating the illusion of a third color.

This is called partitive mixing or optical mixing. And this effect is exactly what we’re doing when we put thread colors together in a piece of embroidery. You could even recreate a Pointilist effect in embroidery by using French knots — when seen from a distance, the individual colors will start to disappear and the “in between” colors will appear.

And the number of colors that can be created using the colors on the color wheel can of course be multiplied even more by mixing them with white or black —to make a pink or peach or pale blue, for example.

The color wheel is a great reminder of the relationship between the colors. And the color wheel can do so much more for us! Next week we’ll look at how the color wheel can help us choose color schemes.


Enter for a chance to win a FREE copy of Stitched Blooms and try your own hand at color combinations with the 300+ motifs you can find in the book! Leave a comment on this blog post by 9 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 13. Any comment will do, but why don’t you tell us your favorite color combination? One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and announced on Friday, February 14. Click here for the official rules. This giveaway is now closed.

Don’t forget to check back next week for part 2 of Carina’s Color Workshop and for a chance to win more free stuff! You can see more of Carina’s lovely, colorful motifs and projects on Carina’s Craftblog.




Show Your Love….in Stitches!

February 07, 2014, 15:26 pm  Posted by Amanda Carestio

Ah….stitched Valentines: what could be sweeter? Whether you’re in the market for a major commitment, a quick bit of romantic crafting, or looking to purchase a special thing for a special someone (two-legged or four-legged), here are some fabulous ideas to get your ideas flowing. From top to bottom, left to right, with links:

 Rustic Heart Ornaments

Felt Heart Balloon

Heart Cufflinks

Love Birds Stitch Pattern

Cross My Heart Cross-Stitch Pattern

Xs and Os Gift Tags

Love Pouch

Embroidered Lyrics

Love Lab Cross-Stitch Pattern

Nordic Heart Cross-Stitch Pattern

Heart Bunting Flag Stationery

Boston Terrier Cross-Stitch Pattern


Happy (stitchy) New Year: A Crochet To-Do List!

January 01, 2014, 09:21 am  Posted by Amanda Carestio

Watch out, 2014: I’ve got BIG plans….this year is going to be bigger, lacier, crochet-ier! I know what you’re thinking: I’m gonna need more necks! Or maybe, wow, your dog must be excited. But after a year of crocheting, I’m ready to take my arsenal of skills to the next stitchy level. Lace? Yes, indeed. Textured stitches? But of course! And yes, pretend project planning on Ravelry is EXACTLY as much fun as pretend shopping on Etsy. Here are some of my plans, left to right, top to bottom:

Girl’s Crochet Cardigan Shrug by Luz Mendoza

Delicate Air Lace Cowl by Luz Mendoza

Totally Triangles Multi-Use Bag by Lily Sugar’n Cream and Bernat Design Studio

Dory by Liza Gutierrez

Winkle Vest by Tracy St. John

Granny Bandana by Shela Zachariae

Belmont Bag by Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby

Morticia Chevron Cowl by Erin Chastain-Harris

Euphorbia Dress by Rita Taylor

What are your crafty plans for 2014?


A Holiday Etsy Wish List for My Dog, Part 2

December 20, 2013, 13:46 pm  Posted by Beth Sweet

Certified Coziness Expert

The other day I shared a post on behalf of my sweet little dog, who has been working on her own Christmas wish list all year long. Her first post focused on gorgeous dog portraits made by Etsy artists, and this second post shines a light on the warm, cozy, and fashion-forward items she loves on Etsy. As an expert in coziness (see photo), she’s a good curator for this kind of thing.

These projects!! Don’t you just love that heart sweater? Have you ever seen a bow tie look so dapper? And, c’mon, I think we all can agree that a cozy fleece-lined snuggle sack bed is basically what every single one of us needs in the new year.

Thanks to these talented artists for creating such awesome stuff for our dear little pups!

Happy Pawlidays, everyone.

[Pictured from left to right]

Burrow Dog Bed :: BBeds

Dog Bow Tie :: charliebegood

Pet ID Tag :: CaliforniaMutts

Chevron Dog Bed Cover :: thefoggydog

Knit Heart Sweater :: Willieratbag and MrSoftTop

Cozy Scandinavian Dog Sweater :: BobbieGlue

Snowflake Dog Sweater :: Charliecloset

Chihuahua Pillow :: YveborgDesign

What Does the Fox Say Dog Collar :: StinkyandSweetPea

Aluminum Pet ID Tag :: woowooworkshop

Red Rhinestone Flower Dog Collar :: PawshAccessories

Minky Snuggle Sack Bed :: rendachs

Wine Barrel Dog Bed :: RockCreekFurnitureCo


Dear Etsy…from Ruby

December 19, 2013, 09:57 am  Posted by Amanda Carestio

As much fun as I have on Etsy shopping for myself, it’s fun to imagine what my 17-month-old daughter Ruby might pick for herself. (Have you seen Willow’s list??) At this point in her young life, Ruby’s preferences are simple: her puppy sidekick, her dinosaur lift-the-flap book, her pop-up tent set, cheese, shoes (including mommy’s cowboy boots), dancing, and all cell phones/remote controls/small electronic items. I’m quite certain, though, and mainly because she has no choice, that she’ll learn to love all things handmade. (And the Ikea kitchen set that’s waiting for her on Christmas morning!) With that in mind, from left to right, top to bottom, here is Ruby’s Etsy wishlist:

Wooden Dinosaur Toy Set from Imaginationkids

24 Piece Memory Game Set by fourthavenue

Pitbull Baby One Piece by Oliver Blu Designs

Sally Dress Sewing Pattern by VeryShannon (for mommy to make!)

Girls Hooded Cape by April Scott

Flower Hair Clips by Small Talk Shop

Wooden Toy Phone by OutsideEverywhere

Bunny Slippers by Jay’s Boutique Crochet

Play Pizza Felt Food Set by Our Childrens Earth

Kids Chef Set by Gift for Kids



Last-minute Gift Idea: Low-Sew Fleece Cowl

December 17, 2013, 14:51 pm  Posted by Amanda Carestio

Have your joyful intentions for a homemade holiday turned you into an over-caffeinated crafty stressball with cramped fingers? Me, too! And despite my best efforts at self-preservation, the crafting to-do list keeps growing. Sound familiar? The perfect low-sew unisex accessory for all ages does exist: it’s the Woven Chevron Cowl! Designed by Cynthia Shaffer and made with only a single seam from soft and lovely fleece, this project will save you from yourself (well, maybe). Make 2, make 5, they’re perfect in every color and for every last-minute giving situation.

Download the instructions here free: Woven Chevron Cowl

Be on the lookout for more no-sew and low-sew fun early in 2014 with my new book, Never Been Stitched!


A Holiday Wish List for My Dog

December 04, 2013, 10:16 am  Posted by Beth Sweet

See? My dog loves Etsy.

Boy, do I love Etsy: that mecca of handmade, creative, inspiring wonderfulness. The walls in my home are adorned with prints from Etsy sellers, I sport jewelry made by incredible Etsy artists, my friends have received gifts I’ve purchased on Etsy, and there’s even an Etsy-sourced jar of hand balm and lip gloss rolling around in my purse.

But I’m not alone in that love, and I’m guessing you aren’t, either: my dog loves Etsy. (She does. She told me. Stop rolling your eyes.)  She especially loves Etsy during the holidays.

Seriously, my own holiday wish list pales in comparison to the gifts my dog has starred from these amazing designers, so I’m giving the floor to my Little Gal, who has made TWO wish lists on Etsy. Here’s the first of her holiday finds: a collection of dog-loving portraits.

Thanks to the amazing artists featured here for creating such awesome work! Individual photos and links listed below.


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If you’re ready to deck the halls with merry felt creations, we’ve got you covered…and your hall and your mantle and your doorway! Here’s a handful of our favorite Christmas felt projects, perfect for your pumpkin-pie-fueled, Christmas-music-inspired crafting! From left to right, top to bottom:

Penny Rug Bouquet by designer Lisa Jordan

Mistletoe Kissing Ball by Me!

Hexy Stocking by Me!

Paisley Power by designer Cathy Ziegele

Woolen Tree Trio by designer Lindy Cline

String of Stars by Catarina Filipe

Felt Blooms Wreath by designer Jennifer Fitzsimmons

Cheery and Bright Stocking by Laura Howard