If you’re anything like me, you have a fabric stash. You may also have a thread stash, a glitter stash, a bead stash, a notion stash, a hoop stash, a craft book stash… It just depends how much of a hoarder you are when it comes to craft supplies.
My favourite thing is rediscovering a piece of fabric or notion, and finally, a year after purchasing it, finding a perfect use for it.
I purchased this piece of fabric at Darrell Thomas Textiles, a fabulous Ottawa shop that carries gorgeous gorgeous fabric and about half a million different types of buttons. A few times a year, they have remnant and sample sales, and I always make a point to go. I don’t think I’ve ever left empty handed!
I tried to use this fabric for hand embroidery a few times, but nothing ever worked. It’s a bit too busy and a bit too loosely woven.
It’s perfect for cross stitch over two threads. I’m not sure why I never saw it, but as soon as it did, I knew I wanted to do something black and bold on there. I dug around the Tantes Zolder patterns and found this pretty one with a bee. Perfect!
Do you ever “lose” something in your stash only to find it again when it’s the perfect time to use it?
Here is the finished cross stitched piece I stitched up using patterns from Tantes Zolder, or my Auntie’s Attic. From what I can find online, it was a website set up by a woman who found over 300 hand-drawn cross stitch patterns in her aunt’s attic. With the help of volunteers, she digitized them all over the course of a year. The original website seems to have gone offline some time in 2012.
Luckily, I found Isabel Gancedo who had all of them backed up and posted on gancedo.eu. They also include patterns found in books in the Antique Pattern Library, which is always a great website to browse. To find the Tantes Zolder patterns, just scroll down a bit on the main page or click one of the side links. My favourites are the octagonal patterns.
Can you see where I screwed up the stitching on this piece a bit? If you look closely at the center, the crosses on the red flower in the middle are not going in the same direction as the rest of the piece. It happened for two reasons: first, the center is perfectly symmetrical, so I didn’t notice any change in the pattern, and second, I was on vacation in England when I stitched most of this piece. I also blame England for having to undo nearly a quarter of the orange border around the middle at some point.
(I fixed it eventually by drawing an arrow on my pattern, and an arrow on the masking tape I had put around my fabric to prevent fraying.)
Sadly, that wasn’t the end of the unpicking. The middle was filled in dark grey for a while , and I hated it as soon as it was done. I forged ahead, thinking it would grow on me as I did the leaves around the center but it didn’t. It even highlighted the direction of the crosses on the red center. So after much consideration, I put on a Jim Gaffigan comedy special and unpicked it all using a thread ripper, a needle, and lots and lots of small bits of tape to catch all the fuzz created by unpicking.
Sometimes, you just gotta undo what you gotta undo. 😉
This beautiful owl comes from the advanced chapter in the book Story Land Cross Stitch, by Sophie Simpson, also known as What Delilah Did. Her patterns have always had a certain charm to them, and the book has all that and more.
There are three levels of difficulty in the book, and each pattern comes with a short little fable to inspire you and keep you thinking while you stitch.
The charts were super clear and the owl was very easy (if very long) to stitch. Luckily, I stitched him the first few weeks my daughter started daycare, so I had more time than usual, and needed plenty to keep me busy!
I changed the colour pallet from the original book, but it still looks great. Most of her patterns are simple enough that you could get away with quite a bit of tweaking and still end up with a charming piece in the end.
I really recommend her book, especially if you have been eyeing up her patterns for a while. For the price, it’s the best value What Delilah Did patterns you can get!