This Autumn I rediscovered cross stitch. I used to do a bit of it in my late teens, just simple stuff - I wonder what happened to the things I made? Oh well, lost in one of my many house moves, no doubt.
I can't remember what sent me off looking for patterns, but I recall reading an article somewhere about Dame Judy Dench who starts a piece of some kind of needlework - embroidery? needlepoint? can't remember - every time she begins a new play or film, that she presents to the director at the end, and it always has the word 'fuck' worked into it in an elaborate font somewhere. I remember thinking what a brilliant idea that was. Then I came across 'Subversive Cross Stitch' (which does exactly what it says on the tin) and discovered their website where you can buy kits.
Going there just now to find and post the link, I see they have a whole lot of new Christmas kits, and this one made me hoot with laughter, as it's how I generally view the season:
There are ones you can get that are just rude phrases stitched in a modern typography which is fine, but I also really like ones that look like old fashioned cross stitch designs but say something unexpected (and not necessarily rude) like this one which has a sentiment I think we can all agree with:
And I've just discovered this one which I rather like and shall add to my future projects file:
Then there's ones like this which are more Scandinavian in style and use a single colour (like the one above):
And how about quotes from Charlie Sheen. This one is magnificent and so totally sums up my life:
Hmm - seems I'm going to have to add ALL these to my queue.
However, I wanted to show you the ones that I HAVE actually finished. While searching for patterns on Etsy, I came across quite a few that tickled my fancy. So I bought a few and got started. You get a .pdf file sent electronically that you print out that give you the graph and also lists the colours of DMC embroidery thread that you'll need. You'll also need to get a size 24 needle (or at least a big one with a large eye), some Aida fabric (14 holes to the inch is the standard size) and although I didn't use one for this design, an embroidery hoop is a good idea (I used one for the others I did).
This was a very simple one to start with, only using about a dozen colours. I got the pattern from Steotch's store on Etsy - check some of their other patterns out, they're brilliant. I've not got round to framing this one yet.
Then while I was wandering around on Etsy looking for other patterns, I found Bombastitch's shop, and instantly fell in love with the Mexican Sugar Skull designs there. I selected four of them. The designs are more complex and I love them all. And I've just seen from going to her page that there are a couple more designs there that weren't there before! But I think I'll leave them there, I've enough crafty things (including some crochet owls, birds and christmas stars) in my project queue as it is, without adding any more.
I also decided I wanted to frame them in a suitably black, gothic and ornate frame - sleek and contemporary wasn't quite right for these, I felt. Searching on the intertubes brought me to Ayers and Graces who do fantastic mirrors and picture frames, and who had exactly what I was looking for and at a ludicrously affordable price as well.
Each one took a week to do and kept me busy while sitting in front of the gogglebox. I framed them myself. I got that really thick card stuff that are used to make 'mats', i.e., the inner flat frame that you put over pictures before putting them in a proper frame (does that make sense?) and cut it to size. Then I used double sided sellotape to secure the finished cross stitch to the front of the mat, and then on the other side to stick the overlaps down and keep them in place - the traditional way to do this is to lace the overlaps together on the back to keep it in place; I tried this with the first one but it took ages and was unbelievably fiddly. Double sided tape works just as well and is infinitely quicker.
So let's have a look, shall we. This is what one of the charts looks like:
And this is the finished product:
And in its 8x10 inch frame:
The frames are all identical. Sorry I couldn't get the picture of the frame any clearer but the flash just reflected back off the glass so these were taken without flash, but hopefully you can click on the picture and see more detail.
These are the others:
Then we had the dilemma of where to hang them. I wanted originally to put them together in a square but the logistics of trying to get them to hang accurately, butting up against each other, was more than we could cope with. So then I thought about hanging them in a long vertical line but couldn't think of a suitable place in the house.
Then The Lovely Husband suggested the perfect spot - the little bit of space between our bathroom door and the wall, and that's where I've put them. The bottom one seems a bit low down but you see them as you're coming up the stairs, so you start to view them from the bottom up as you ascend anyway, so it's all gravy!
I hope you like them as much as I do!