The Awakening Update Two

I’m sorry it’s been such a long time since my last update.  I started my teacher training and i’ve been very busy, but luckily so far i’ve still found a little time to get some stitching done in the evenings.  I’m doing a PGCE course to become a secondary maths teacher, and i’m a little worried about just how much work i’ll have to do, but we’ll see how it goes, and hopefully The Awakening won’t get ignored too much.

I’ve done more of the tree branches that are in the top left corner of the design.  You can’t really tell what they are unless i tell you, but it’s really nice seeing it grow.

I’m still really enjoying the tiny stitches, they just look so neat and cute, and it’s great not to have the “squared” look that you normally get with cross stitch designs.  Here is a picture of my whole piece of fabric.  When i measured it out i used the dimensions for 25 count, and as this is 28 count the finished piece should be smaller, so in theory it should be further from the edge on the right hand side than it is on the left.

Thank you very much to everyone who has commented on my work so far, it does really help to keep me motivated knowing that people are watching.  I know that personally, i love watching other peoples’ cross stitch progress.

And for anyone who is interested, here is a close up picture.

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The Awakening Started

I started The Awakening on Saturday, but due to a trip to Thorpe Park (theme park) on Sunday, which was great fun, and starting my teacher training this week, i haven’t really had much time to work on it.  But i thought i would show you my progress, and tell you a bit about how i’m getting on.

For those who don’t remember, the design i’m doing is a Heaven And Earth Design (HAED) using artwork by Jonathan Earl Bowser.  The finished piece will look something like this:

I chose this design because it has a large number of different colours and sections in it, so hopefully i won’t get too bored.  I’m doing it on 28 count brittney evenweave, which is the same as lugana only 28 count rather than 25.  I originally bought the 25 count lugana, and although i loved the feel of the fabric, the coverage wasn’t quite good enough for my liking.  I also tried using both one and two strands of thread, but found the two strands much too bulky.

I’m really enjoying it so far, the needle slides through the fabric really well, and the colours are beautiful, but most of all the tiny stitches look so delicate and i can really see how amazing the piece is going to be when the picture starts appearing.  The frame i got to use with it is working really well.  It’s a 9 inch plastic snap frame, and it holds the fabric really nice and tight, which makes it a lot easier to stitch, but it’s also small enough to hold, which is good for me as i’m used to just holding the fabric in my hand.

So, here is my progress so far.  It doesn’t look much, and you can’t see what it is yet, but it is about 400 stitches, about an inch high and an inch wide.

It’s been really nice to come home in the afternoon and have this to work on, and it hasn’t even been too small to work on in the evening, with my daylight lamp.  Hopefully i won’t get too many cat hairs in this one, although they seem to get everywhere.  For those of you who don’t know about my cat, he’s black, called Sooty (although we call him Soo), and loves mashed potato.  He has also just been given a cat flap, and is still working out how to use it!

Woodland Enchantress Review

Yes, it is finally finished!!!  Eight months, around 40,000 stitches, an awful lot of backstitch, loads of french knots, some beads, and some cording later, and it is done.  I thought i would write a review of the kit to help anyone considering doing it make up their mind.  First of all, here is a finished picture:

 

And a close up of the head and shoulders area.  The yellow flowers in the hair are french knots, and you can also see some of the metallic backstitch and cording.

 

Review: Woodland Enchantress, Dimensions Gold Collection

This kit comes with everything you need to make the piece, including the beads, metallic thread, a beading needle and of course the normal threads, fabric and needle.  The pattern itself is fairly small, but the symbols are coloured so it is easier to read.  The threads come with a thread sorter, and are already divided into four bundles so they are very easy to sort into the correct colours and load onto the thread sorter if that’s what you want to do with them.  The cardboard thread sorter did last quite well, but some of the holes broke over time and the gold metallic thread was hopeless to try and keep on it.

The fabric is dove grey, 16 count aida, and is cut to the right size for the piece.  However it doesn’t leave much space around the edges, only a couple of inches on each side, which may make it a little more difficult to frame.  It didn’t fray too badly though, and i didn’t find i had to do anything to stop it fraying.

The instructions that come with the kit are fairly clear and tell you how to do all the different stitches needed.  The only real problem is that the list showing the thread colours and symbols is on the side of the chart, so it does make it a bit awkward when stitching when you are doing the part furthest away as you have to keep turning to the list.

The design uses full cross stitches for the enchantress herself, and half cross stitches for the background.  This gives quite a good effect, and does make the background quicker to stitch, although the half cross stitches use between three and five strands, so they can get a bit annoying.  The colours themselves are beautiful, and very varied, so you shouldn’t get too bored.  The major problem i had with this kit was that i ran out of the blue purple thread with quite a few stitches still to do.  I am quite a careful stitcher so i think Dimensions really need to supply more thread with the kit.  I also almost ran out of brown, i only had a couple of inches spare when i finished all the stitches.

A large part of this design is the extra touches that are done after the full and half cross stitches are complete.  There is a lot of backstitching, in various different colours, which does get very time consuming as it is not simply outlining the edge of shapes.  The gold metallic threads are supposed to be done with a technique called couching, but this seemed a lot more difficult and time consuming so i decided to do these sections with normal backstitch.

There are also a lot of french knots, but i quite enjoyed doing these, and they didn’t take too long.  The beads were very easy to sew on, and definitely improve the effect of the finished piece.  The cording was a little tricky to get in the right place, but not too bad.

Overall i would recommend this kit if you want a design which has something a bit different, and enjoy all those finishing details which make this piece really stand out.  However this kit is not one for a beginner, as some of the techniques used are a little difficult, and you do have to be very careful about how much thread you use.