Daily Archives: March 3, 2010

Art with My Needle ~ Week 28

My early efforts at needlework were mainly for a doll.

A christening dress, a few nighties, A duvet cover with full size clown appliquéd on it and a lampshade to match made to look like a hot-air Balloon complete with a little basket  and from it hanging upside down by a foot dangled a small clown.  Alas the pictures are committed to memory and not to photography of any type.  I wonder if Elly still remembers them?

Then a friend brought me a gift from the Lake District.  She was apologetic that the gift was so small.  It was about 3″ X 3″ in a little gift bag.  Little did she know how that three inch square would open up a whole world for me.

The gift was a small cross stitch kit complete with a picture, diagram, fabric, threads and a needle.  The fabric was blank!  Now I knew why it was referred to as counted cross stitch!  I would have to count every stitch.

I did!

E for Elly

For an idea of the size of the finished work, that frame is 9″ X 7″.  The nerves I felt when starting out soon evaporated and I relaxed into moving from row to row.  From that day on I found cross stitch work very relaxing.  At one time I used the technique to record a Family tree covering six or seven generations.  I worked out the design on large drawing office sized graph paper.

This Bell pull I worked from a Danish Kit back in 1984/5.  I saw a friend working on it and she told me that there were more than enough threads left over to make another bell pull, so she passed them on to me.  I had a piece of fine even weave and some lining in my work box so my bell pull cost me the price of the brass hanger and pull!   It hangs close to my well used fireside.

Over the years I have removed the brass bits, the stiffening and the lining before hand washing it carefully and rinsing well.  I lay it on a towel to dry and press with a medium iron on the back of the work before assembling it again.

A closer look at some of the birds:


And a third

If you have not tried cross stitch before I suggest you start with a kit.

I found this partly worked piece in a box the other day.  To begin with I made one big error!  I folded the fabric years ago instead of rolling it.  I was trying to keep the pattern, fabric and threads in a plastic pocket.  Not good!  I have slapped my own wrist for that error.

You will notice I bound the fabric with masking tape, this prevents the edges from fraying and peels away easily when the work is complete.

The pattern is shown on squared paper and a colour guide with a thread colour guide below.  Stranded thread is normally used and once a length is cut separate the strands even if two or more are required, this prevents twisting, knotting and an uneven look to the work.  Never use threads longer than from your your wrist to your elbow.  With each pull through the fabric you are wearing it a little and eventually the thread will break.

It may sound complicated but I guarantee once started you will be hooked.