A Finish Twelve Years in the Making

"A Portrait of Santa" Finished

“A Portrait of Santa” by Donna Vermillion Giampa

It’s finally finished! I can hardly believe it. When I began this project, no one knew who Monica Lewinsky or Britney Spears were or what an iPod did. Although the final result looks great (much better than I expected, actually, if I do say so myself), I must admit that my primary feeling at the moment is one of intense relief. Not only can I cross this project off my perpetual list of “things to stitch,” I have one of my Christmas presents done too!

This is where I was going to show you a close-up picture of the tremendous beating my friend’s pattern has taken over the years, but then I realized that it would be a huge violation of copyright. As a professional wordsmith and semi-professional designer myself, I have a great respect for copyright laws. Everyone has the right to be rewarded for their labors.

And, speaking of rewards for labor, I have to say that getting this Santa monkey off my back is quite a good one. As an added bonus, my friend has given me the pattern in exchange for the final stitched product. If anyone wants a completely beat-up copy of this pattern, let me know — I’ll even pay for the shipping.

A Portrait of Satan II: Return to the North Pole

Portrait of Santa, in progressSo, I’ve been making a lot of progress on “Portrait of Santa” — it’s like I’m possessed with the desire to get this pattern out of my life forever. As you can see, he now has a complete hoodie, eyes, eyebrows, and most of a forehead, as compared to here. He’s starting to look a lot less creepy.

Here’s a close-up of the upper right (Santa’s forehead and wreath) so you can really see the progress:

Portrait of Santa, in progress, close-upI almost hate to say it, but this pattern is growing on me. The colors–the deep reds and pinks in particular–are very vibrant and I especially like the contrast between the two–the bright reds and minty greens, with a little of the sage green of the mistletoe thrown in for variety. I’m one of those people who thinks it’s “sad” that the color combination of red and green is reserved for Christmas. Like the other classic “primary color plus secondary” color combinations–yellow and purple, blue and orange–these two colors bring out the best in each other.

Now that he actually has eyes, I like the kind of mischievous look on Santa’s face, his twinkle. Ho ho ho!

A Portrait of Satan

Portrait of Santa WIP“A Portrait of Santa” by Donna Vermillion Giampa

Like Frankenstein’s monster, this project has been an albatross around my neck for about twelve years.* I’m not kidding — twelve years. The copyright on the pattern says “1992” and I think it was bought shortly thereafter. A friend of mine, a lover of old-fashioned Santas, bought it thinking she was going to stitch it. I “borrowed” the pattern from her and she’s never seen it since.

A friend of mine, Anna of Stitch Bitch, had a UFO once of a rooster that she was making for her mother to match, if I recall correctly, a recently redecorated kitchen. That was about ten years ago and I believe the “Frickin’ Chicken,” as it came to be known, is still unfinished. Likewise, I am dubbing this project “A Portrait of Satan.” This nickname is, of course, no reflection on the quality of the pattern itself, which is excellent.

This pattern is a perfect example of bad stitching timing. I was initially attracted to this design because of all the intricate details of Santa’s face and the holly and mistletoe. I, too, love the look of old-fashioned Santas. I’m not religious, so when Christmas season comes around (as it is relentlessly does) Santa is a traditional cultural figure I can relate to. This Santa reminds me of the Kris Kringle figures from when I was a child and we lived in Germany for a few years while my father was in the Army.Teresa Wentzler Floral Bellpull

Also, at the time I started “A Portrait of Santa,” I was really into stitching naturalistic-looking, complicated patterns with a lot of floss changes. For example, I was also stitching the Teresa Wentzler “Fruit Bellpull” at the same time (see right). I finished “Fruit Bellpull” in 1996 and it’s now hanging in the entrance to my place, but, alas, poor Santa sat in a drawer for years, forgotten except for the occasional discovery by accident and subsequent guilt trip.

My tastes changed. My patience for frequent floss changes dwindled. My love of simpler graphics and variegated floss flourished. And poor Santa languished in a drawer.

But no more! I am hereby resolving to have this project finished by Christmas 2007 to present as a gift to my poor friend who lent me the pattern those many years ago (whose birthday is today, by the way). It’s time to stitch or cut floss!

Stay tuned….

*Pardon me for mixing my Victorian metaphors, gentle readers. You’ll have to forgive me on the grounds of extreme emotional disturbance brought on by prolonged exposure to the same pattern.