There has been a new cross stitch project arrive on my kitchen table in recent months.I have been cross stitching for over 25 years now and still get as much enjoyment out of creating something from a blank canvas as I did all those years ago. I can't draw or paint so for me cross stitching is the only way I can create my own little masterpieces. I suppose it is a bit like painting by numbers but in this case colouring by stitches.
I love starting a new project and all the preparation it entails to start. This kit is a Hannah Dale of Wrendale designs and has been produced by Bothy Threads. I've not stitched any kits from Bothy Threads before. This little hedgehog is going to be for my new grand child's nursery when they arrive in the autumn.
Included in the kit is a piece of 14ct aida and in keeping with Wrendale designs it has the spotting already included on the aida, a detailed instruction leaflet, all the silks you require to make your project and of course the chart to follow and a cross stitch needle.
The edges of aida can fray very easily from where it has been cut off a role. To prevent this I use masking tape around the edge. This will come off easily once finished, I usually take it off when I wash the finished cross stitch at the end, alternatively you could put a running stitch around all four edges it won't stop it fraying altogether but it will prevent it fraying past the running stitches. For those clever people who machine sew you could over-lock the edges if you wanted but I am not one of those clever people.
In most cases your chart tells you to start in the middle and work your way out. Only in very large projects will you be advised to do otherwise and by the time you start a large project you will be a much more experienced stitcher or a braver women than me. To start stitching you will need to find the centre of your aida. I find the easiest way to do this is fold into four put a tea towel over the top and rub a warm iron across that will then give you a clear definition as to where your centre is. Some people then put a running stitch across the centre so they know where to start but unless I'm using a very high count evenweave I don't tend to bother and work by eye.
Even after all these years of stitching I still use a pencil to gray out the squares on the chart once I have stitched them so I know where I am up to, and it makes it easier to follow the chart. I use pencil so that should I ever want to stitch the chart again for someone else I can rub out the pencil markings and start the process again. I once made the mistake of using a coloured pencil and that doesn't work in the same way and I never use a highlighter or felt tip as you won't be able to reuse at a later date and I have been known to stitch the same chart more than once if its a gift, but usually only with smaller projects.
Every chart will have arrows at the side and top/bottom to help you define where the middle of the chart is. You can either follow from the top and side with your fingers to find your middle stitch. Some charts, like this one, will have it marked out for you or you could use a ruler and put a feint pencil line from the top and from the side till they meet in the middle and then you will be able to see where to start.
On the chart there are little icons, each little icon depicts the colour yarn you should be using. Some kits you are supplied all the silks needed but you will need to sort them into colours and match to the icon on the chart, with this chart all the silks are sorted for you on the silk holder supplied and has the matching icon printed onto the card but not all suppliers do this. The instructions tell you how many strands you need to stitch with. Most are two strands for cross stitching and one strand for back-stitching but I always check the instructions before I start as I've can be caught out before.
I find the centre of my chart and using the colour that matches the icon on the chart I make my first stitch on the aida. I continue to stitch any stitches with the same icon/colour working from the centre out. I try where possible to complete one quarter at a time.
This is at just over the halfway point
and after almost four months the last cross stitch went in last weekend just leaving the back stitching to do.
Not everybody likes back stitching but it does make the picture pop. There isn't a lot of back stitching to this particular project and I managed to finish it over a couple of evenings.
Yesterday I took myself off in to Grantham to see a lovely lady called Linda at Belvoir Gallery. Linda and her husband Andrew have been running a bespoke picture framing service since 2012 and we have used them many times over the last two years since discovering their little shop.
|Photo courtesy of the internet|
These days a lot of cross stitches are put onto adhesive board when framing but Linda does it what I call the right and proper way by lacing the cross stitch and gives it a much better finish.
I explained to Linda who the cross stitch is for and the colour scheme of the room and together we picked out a border and frame and I think we have done rather well.
He won't ready for three to four weeks so I will bring him back and show him off to you once he has returned. I can't wait to see him in all his glory.
In the meantime looked who arrived yesterday and yes I have already made a start. Isn't he just the cutest little guy? I'm rather tempted to keep him myself but as I have already shown him to my son's partner and it's her favourite out of the three we have picked to make for the nursery I'm not too sure I would get away with that.
Well as the rest of the house is now stirring and will be wanting breakfast I best be on my way. The sun has got his hat on again this morning and it looks like its going to be hot, hot, hot again today.