Cross Stitch for Fathers Day

Hello world!

I must apologize for my terribly long absence. I’m hoping you will forgive me when you hear my reason for being AWOL. I was determined that the next time I touched base with you I should have something to show you. So although it meant considerably more time between posts than I would have liked, I return bearing a finish… my very first finish for 2015!

With Father’s Day just around the corner, I was trying to figure out what I should do to make the day extra special. Now as many of you will agree, shopping for a man is a pain in the you know where. No matter how much I exerted my poor overworked brain I simply could not come up with a WOW! gift. So this year I decided to try and make something instead of a store-bought gift. And what would I make? Why, a cross stitched piece of course!

So I got to work searching for small, quick Fathers Day patterns. And while I readily found some really cute Mothers Day patterns (already bookmarked for next year!), sadly there weren’t too many Fathers Day options out there. The pickings were so slim that I finally decided to just use a simple, elegant font and design my own pattern. Perfect for pulling together a last-minute gift. I must insert here that my father is by no means a cross stitch aficionado. But I love it. So he should love what his precious daughter loves right? Or am I the only one who gifts other people things that I like? Hmmm… just me? Okay then… MUST work on that.

Anyhoo… I pulled out some supplies that I already had in my stash – DMC Ecru floss and some 36 count Cognac linen. And here is what the piece looked like as I stitched it up.

A deceptively simple design
A deceptively simple design

When I first started, I expected it would take me no more than a few hours. Funny how I always seem to over-estimate my powers. I wound up working on it for roughly 6-7 hours – NOT including the time it took me to figure out the pattern and layout. Designing a pattern is not as simple as it looks. I finally did manage to finish it without losing too much hair in the process and while it is not as glorious as it looked in my head, it is passable. Dad will simply have to love it (whether he likes it or not. Get it? Haha).

My initial plan was to add a backstitched border but instead I added a smattering of french knots. I was quite pleased with how they turned out initially. The french knots (which a lot of stitchers seem to hate with a passion) came out perfectly for me. Sadly however that didn’t last long. By the time I finished stitching the linen was horribly creased. No amount of ironing could seem to work out the wrinkles. I was finally forced to dampen the piece (GASP!) and give it a good iron on high heat. I can still see the phantom hoop marks (Or am I just being paranoid?) but what is worse is that the french knots which once looked like pouf-y little snowflakes before now resemble deflated pancakes. Lesson learnt. Next time I will finish any washing/ironing BEFORE adding any french knots. Funny how every piece seems to teach me a new lesson.

Sigh... my smushed french knots :(
Sigh… my smushed french knots 😦

I now need to decide how I am going to finish the piece. I will be on the lookout for a white frame and can just imagine how pretty it would look matted and framed. If I can’t find a suitable frame I will make it into an aperture card. I’ve never done that before so it will be an interesting experiment. This piece is a lot of firsts for me – my first time stitching on 36 count linen and my first time (sort of) designing my own pattern. Maybe I can add making a card to the list too?

The glorious (?!) finished piece
The glorious (?!) finished piece

Are you working on any gifts for Fathers Day?

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Cross stitch for the home

So in my last post we covered how I got into the fascinating world of cross stitch. Today I’m going to talk about one of the very first projects I attempted that was intended for myself –  or at least for our home. A project that was not driven by a class grade or a deadline for a birthday/farewell gift but simply an urge for a handmade piece to decorate our first home as a couple.

Even before I completed my Praying Hands project, cross stitch had me hooked. I immediately wanted to sink my teeth into a new WIP and I stumbled upon this beautiful freebie while trawling the world wide web.
His Name is Jesus by Martha Pilgrim
His Name is Jesus by Martha Pilgrim

What I love about this pattern is that nothing is set in stone. You could pick any fabric/floss your heart desires. The possibilities are endless.

After much agonizing, I chose green and yellow as my color scheme to match my living room decor. So it was that I started the pattern with some 14 count white aida (the only fabric I owned at the time) and some DMC I had lying around. Here is how far I got with this project.
Can you believe this beautiful pattern is FREE?!
Can you believe this beautiful pattern is FREE?!
Looking back now there are so many things I would have done differently for this pattern.
  • For starters, I really wish I hadn’t been lazy and had gone out shopping instead for some better color combinations. (How could I have foreseen that in a few more months I would start building up my DMC stash?)
  • I’ve now outgrown the white 14 count aida I started it on. (I had no clue back then about linens and evenweaves. And those higher count fabrics with perfect coverage even when using 2 strands. And don’t you just love how they make your stitches look like nice, plump little morsels?)
  • I now know this pattern would have looked stunning on some hand-dyed fabric or even on a plain fabric with variegated threads. (Omiguness! Why didn’t anyone tell me about dyed fabrics/threads before? I love how they can elevate even the simplest of stitches to a whole other level)

I must confess that this project has now become a UFO. But I am not going to frog and re-do the bits I’ve already completed. Instead I am tempted to pick it back up some day and finish it simply because in spite of all its shortcomings this was one of my first projects.

I still love the pattern just as much as the day I started it. In the short time that has elapsed since then I can already see how much I’ve grown and how much more I’ve learnt about this craft. And since I don’t have any of my other beginner pieces, it will be nice to have this one completed exactly as I first envisioned it to document my growth as a cross stitcher. So here is my promise to myself and to all of you… I WILL finish this someday (Note how I cleverly omit to mention exactly WHEN that will be).

 Do you look back at your old projects too (whatever craft they may be) and reminisce on how much you have grown? Would you change something on an old WIP if you had the chance?
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My cross stitch journey

I must confess that up until a couple of years ago I disdainfully considered cross stitch as something only a grandmother would take up to fill in those idle moments. Now before you cross-stitchers grab your pitchforks (ummm… needles?) and have a go at me, let me present my defense that the only patterns I had been exposed to until then were old fashioned, flat and repetitive. I have since been enlightened that cross stitch is an incredibly modern and constantly evolving craft form. Today’s patterns somehow manage to re-create stunning pieces of art ranging from Van Gogh to Whitney and everything in between. Easy now… gently place those needles down. My eyes have been opened to the truth.

This post is going to be a flashback of sorts. A look at how I first got into the craft of cross stitch and how I have grown by leaps and bounds over the past year or so. Seeing as how cross stitch is my current favorite hobby you can expect to see a LOT of posts on the subject in the days and weeks to come.

Continue reading “My cross stitch journey”