Whenever people see me stitching in public, they usually assume I am cross stitching. I don’t tend to do a lot of cross stitch because I find it so much less convenient than embroidery.When I embroider, I have already drawn out a pattern on the fabric and am following it, making it up as I go along. For cross stitch, you need to have your pattern with you at all times, you need to refer to it all the time, marking off what you’ve done in order to keep track of where you are.I have always found that this slows me down enormously. I get frustrated when I have to go over the same row essentially three times, once to count it, once to stitch it and once to mark it off in pencil. I wonder if other people feel that way when they do cross stitch. And I’m (complaining about) doing a relatively simple, one colour design! I remember my father sitting with pages and pages of photocopied designs, marking single squares off as he did colour by colour, sorting his threads in envelopes with the DMC number written on them, keeping the lot in a photo storage box in order. He would count far ahead, preferring to stitch everything in one colour at once rather than starting and stopping threads. Even when he would start and stop, he would try his best to conceal the ends of his thread in a batch of squares that matched in colour. He would show us his work, proudly displaying the back before anything else.
I am not that thorough, and although I admit I have the patience to embark on long, tedious but fun embroidery or tatting projects, I do not have the kind of patience he does. Although I am willing to try interesting new techniques in embroidery, I usually stick to simpler designs in cross stitch; this doesn’t mean I don’t create fabulous things.The last piece I finished was this beautiful Houndstooth Jakalope, from Amy Koldeway’s Power Animal series. Her patterns are simple and brilliant, with instantly recognizable shapes and patterns. The jakalope came together over a few days, and by the time I had finished the outline, I had memorised the houndstooth pattern and could sit and enjoy filling him in. When I went back to her shop to link to her, I saw her new Argyle Octopus. Bought!The pink cross stitch pictured above is from the November 2011 edition of Cross-Stitch & Needlework, was designed by Elizabeth Spurlock, and was meant to be made into a pillow. I have no use for pillows around my house. They’ll just get slept on my ferrets. What I would love to do though is frame it, off center like it supposed to be. I am stitching it on 28 ct evenweave, which is the smallest I have ever worked with. The old dusty pink looks great on on the tea died fabric, and I can’t wait to finish it. It will be about 8 inches square when it’s done, according to a cross stitch calculator.People’s jaw drop with they see this comparison picture I took at the start. I can’t say I don’t love it when it happens. Happy stitching!