30 to 30: Stitchin'

| by Bel |

Day Zero Project #22: Complete a cross stitch project

Ok, technically what I did was embroidery, not cross stitch. But still counts!

I had a look in the new craft store Made Marion for a pattern that would be suitable for my toddler godson. The people in that shop are lovely, but sadly the range was limited to pretty traditional teddybears. I did get a nice big hoop though - and resisted the urge to stock up on more lovely colours of thread!

Glory be to Google - searching found me exactly what I was after! I bought a PDF pattern from Auckland-based crafter The Stitchsmith. Take a look at the original and you'll see that I adapted it quite a bit for my finished product. In fact, I noticed that there were some differences in the pattern and the completed example - there is more room to be creative in this kind of embroidery than a by-the-numbers cross stitch.

I also resisted buying up on carbon paper and transfer pens. I figure I'd just trace the design onto the fabric.

Idyllic domestic scene? DON'T BE FOOLED.

Sellotaping the pattern up onto the window, I grabbed my pillowcase and started to attempt to trace the pattern on.

First, it was awkward getting the bit of the pillowcase I wanted to stitch onto, to overlay nicely onto the window. I needed a third arm to hold it in place. Then the two arms I do have started getting tired. The sun was conveniently shining through and illuminating the paper for my tracing - but also shining right in my eyes and making it hard to see.

After about the sixth time of losing my grip on the material and tracing completely askew, I gave up and tore the pattern down off the glass. I stormed off to make myself a cup of tea, because I am boss like that.

When my inept crafter's rage had worn off slightly, I took another look at how I'd gotten along. It was then that I realised I had made an idiot mistake. Not wanting to stain the white material, I was using my trickmarker, which is designed to fade and leave no trace. DESIGNED TO FADE, PEOPLE. Sheesh, what a muppet.

Invisible chopper. Sigh.

Even after just 15 minutes, my tracing was already beginning to pale and disappear. Unless I was intending to magically upskill and sew like crazy for the next half hour undisturbed, I was going to be left stitching aimlessly in the wilderness.

I resorted to sellotaping the pattern to a hard cover book, sliding that inside the pillowcase and tracing (lightly, but not TOO lightly) with a soft pencil.

This went much better.

Especially after Mark saw me faffing around with it, sighed and harummpfed and then, once I relinquished my attempts, joyously took over the sketching.

(I had no problem handing it over. My mum is a very talented artist, who couldn't resist intervening and giving tips whenever she saw us muddling our way through art projects as kids. The frustration of not being able to make something look on the paper the way you have it in your head is soon dissipated if you're willing to swallow your pride and let someone who knows what they're doing take over. And besides, otherwise you'll have to put up with them hovering nearby and 'not saying' anything, which is worst of all.)

I don't have any "work in progress" photos to share with you - and even more sadly, no photos of the backside of the stitching. But let me tell you, it was exquisite. I used to be mortified of anyone sneaking a look at the back of my work and seeing the unholy spaghetti tangle mess revealed there. Not this time! All my stitches looked as neat and tidy as they did on the front, and I carefully tied and snipped off small knots. Honest!

The bulk of the sewing was done while keeping DK company in hospice. I found it incredibly useful to have something to do, which wasn't intrusive or consumed too much of my attention. It was the perfect level of distraction, while still being able to stay engaged with what was happening around me. I feel a bit rude reading a book (but not a magazine, funnily enough) and it was unbearable to just sit there doing nothing except watching and waiting.

The rest was done sitting on the couch at home, half-watching movies in the evening. It's amazing what you can tolerate when you're focusing elsewhere. COUGH Fast and the Furious for the nine millionth time COUGH.

I ditched the hanging banner from the original pattern and made the 'copter pilot a bit more cartoony. I drew freehand a couple of cutesy clouds to give a bit of aerial context and am so pleased with how they turned out.


I've since gotten a book out from the library, as I realised from reading the pattern instructions that my repertoire of stitches is fairly limited. What you can see here is mostly backstitch and I split my embroidery cotton to 3 ply.  The main exception is some simple stitch on the rotor blades which I did with the full 6 ply.  The detail in the line across the chopper is a metallic gold thread - it's a bitch to get through the needle but looks fantastic.

The courier should be delivering this giftie today - I hope Leo enjoys it! I am looking forward to getting stuck into a new project... any requests??

One thought on “30 to 30: Stitchin'”

  1. Sheesh Bel, do you mean The Fast and the Furious (film 1) or Fast and Furious (film 4)? I think Mark would agree that there's a difference. Sheesh.

    The pillowcase is awesome, FYI.