Happy Halloween 2017!!

So, I’m still working on “It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherstitchers!” but I thought I’d just do a quick post today featuring this piece I stitched last year as part of the Smalls SAL Challenge 2014, “Rotted but not Forgotted” by Plum Street Samplers from the 2012 Just Cross Stitch Halloween issue. The last time we saw this piece, it looked like this:

"Rotted but not Forgotted" by Plum Street Samplers


As part of National Craft Month last March, I finally finish-finished it into a gravestone-shaped standalone, with a lot of assistance from Twisted Stitcher’s amazingly detailed finishing instructions (this is “The Cube”). Now it looks like this:

Since the design is supposed to look like a tombstone, I finished it in a tombstone shape with some wilted-looking flowers on top. In my version, I used Gentle Arts Sampler Threads in “Carriage Black”, “Adobe” (light variegated salmon color), “Cornhusk” (light green) and “Banker’s Gray,” and the fabric is 32-count Vintage Country Mocha linen. I love the mottled look of this fabric and the muted green/grey color combinations which just scream decay and aging. I can’t believe I found a fabric that matches these wonky colors.

Speaking of decay and aging… this stitched piece is riddled with minor errors where the stitches are off by one linen thread. This is perhaps most obvious at the very top of the design between the decorative trapezoid (???) with the skull and wings and the dark gray outline; where there should be a full stitch between them, there’s only half-a-stitch. My sad, uninsured middle-aged eyes find it difficult to navigate between my stitching and watching TV, which I do almost always while I stitch, and I need much better light than I used to. Overall, though, my first cube finish went well with only a few minor hiccups.

Happy Halloween, everyone! Tomorrow, the pumpkins!

Heirloom Tree Skirt Revisited Revisited

These photos aren’t much better than the last (the sun is still refusing to cooperate with me), but here are a couple more photos of the “Heirloom Tree Skirt” now that it has been finished-finished by my talented seamstress roommate:

"Heirloom Tree Skirt" FinishedPlease note how the fringe I chose oh-so-many-years-ago exactly matches the fringe from the pattern’s cover photo (see yesterday’s entry for comparison).

And here’s a close-up with the lining showing:

"Heirloom Tree Skirt" Lining Close-upIt feels so good to be able to cross this project off my list that I don’t even care that you can see the lining showing through from the other side. My roommate wisely offered to put in a layer of batting or buckram of some sort, but I foolishly declined. So you can see slight shadows of the lining fabric’s holly pattern from the front of the skirt. Oh well, I can live with it. I’m not going to replace my former guilt over not finishing this project before my mother’s death with new guilt over not making the right decision about the lining. Live and learn.

I think my mom would have loved it.

Heirloom Tree Skirt Revisited

"Heirloom Tree Skirt" by Bea & ChrisFinding and finishing (well, supervising the finishing…) of the “Heirloom Tree Skirt” pattern by Bea & Chris (anybody out there know anything about them?) felt kind of like a trip through time—an archeological dig into the deep, dark history of cross stitch design in the late twentieth century. As such, I thought now would be a good time to point out
some of the changes in cross stitch designs that this pattern highlights.

There are so many more colors of DMC floss now, not to mention all the overdyed flosses and silks and rayons –oh my! The color palette of this pattern is extremely limited, even for its time. For example, follow the use of that obnoxious orange used for the wagon wheel in “Santa with bag of toys on back” and again for the doll’s hair in “Santa with Christmas tree over shoulder.” This orange was also supposed to be used for the hobby horse head in “Santa with bag of toys open as if to offer toys to little children” but I couldn’t stand it so I frogged it and changed it to a rusty brown before I’d “allow” my roommate to sew the lining and fringe on. Nowadays, most designers, I believe, would go ahead and call for three different colors for these three objects, and none of them would be that obnoxious orange.

And, for a naturalistic piece (one that was attempting to make the Santas look realistic) the
juxtaposition of the colors, including shading, is so much more crude than it probably would be today.

In my own growth as a stitcher, I realize that nowadays I would have known right-away that I was never going to sew all of the skirt fringe and the backing together. If I bought this pattern today, I would go ahead and buy the pre-made Tilla Christmas Tree Skirt. I think it was $40 fifteen years ago, which seemed at the time to be an exhorbitant amount for someone on a grad student’s salary. Nowadays, I would buy the pre-made tree skirt and wouldn’t even think twice. I can’t tell if that’s progress or not. You tell me.