For today’s Art-to-Stich Wednesday we have a magnificent meerkat! Also don’t forget the giveaway for Let’s Do Coffee. Finally check out the Sales page as some end soon, including the special offer from OzStitch on Pharoah’s Hound and Pharoah’s Pet.
From the Artist
Who can resist the sweet and all seeing gaze of a lone meerkat? I painted this little fella quite loosely to create a feeling of contrast on the black velour. I used a combination of soft pastels, hard pastels and a little pastel pencil on velour paper to produce a soft, natural finish which I love.
What is it?
Note: Please respect our artists. Your work will be a labour of love for months and years to come. Buy from reputable designers such as those reviewed on this site. They support the artists who produce the original works. By buying cheap art-to-stitch designs, you are likely buying from a designer who is not paying royalties or licensing and the chart is likely to be low quality. Without support, our artists cannot thrive. Your time, and theirs are worth more.
Why this chart?
Eclectic Bloke Designs is a relatively newcomer to the world of art-to-stitch designing. Neil has been a stitcher for over 20 years, but Eclectic Bloke Designs only came into operation in July 2014 (five months ago). Eclectic is the best word to describe the huge diversity of charts that Neil provides. There may well be something there to appeal to everyone.
Most art-to-stitch designs are fully stitched, in that the background is treated as part of the picture so every square is stitched, culminating in a project comprising thousands of stitches and months if not years to work. The background in Watcher is straight black. So to save some time, you could stitch this on black fabric or you could leave it out altogether and stitch the Meerkat on your favourite hand dyed fabric.
Watcher is, at heart, a simple design; full cross stitch only. However to achieve the level of detail needed for realistic meerkat fur, the chart is predominantly confetti stitched. “Confetti stitching” is stitcher jargon for describing an area of stitching where there is only one or a few stitches of each floss colour. These little groupings are scattered about like confetti.
For such a design, changes in stitching techniques are required. You can thread your needle, then stitch each grouping of one colour until you run out and then start the next colour.
Or you can park. Parking is where you stitch one grouping of a floss, and then park you thread at the next grouping. It is probably best explained by this Youtube video:
If you are an experienced art-to-stitch stitcher who has met such a complex chart before, then I thoroughly recommend this chart for the beauty it will become.
If you have not stitched a large, complex design before, may I suggest that you choose a different project to start. However, as always, if you are completely in love with the design, then go for it! Enjoy your stitching and watch this little meerkat appear beneath your needle.
Eclectic Bloke Design charts are available as PDF files, printed charts and full kits. My copy of Watcher is a digital download of the large chart format. Watcher (large print) is a 30 page chart pack in PDF format. Save the design and you can work from the digital chart or print sections as you need, or print it all and store it with the rest of your paper charts; the options are yours.
The Watcher chart pack contains:
- front cover sheet with computer mockup of the finished design and artist licence information.
- one page of instructions on how to stitch art-to-stitch design.
- the 25 page chart, including placement diagram at the base of each page.
- one page of recommended fabric, stitch count and floss key. The floss key is in DMC floss number order.
- two pages of the DMC floss, listing both the number of stitches and number of skeins required for each.
Eclectic Bloke Designs provide black symbols on a white background. Each successive chart page includes a two-row shaded overlap from earlier pages. Most of the floss symbols are pictograms such as a pair of reading glasses, clock face, open book and flag. There are no alphanumeric symbols and only a few familiar keyboard symbols.
The larger chart format shows only 42 x 62 stitches per page. The standard charts provide 62 x 82 stitches per page; so the symbols on the larger chart pack are easier to see. Neil has found that stitchers prefer the large format and so is phasing out the standard size charts.
As with most art-to-stitch designs, you can only find the list of required floss after you have bought the chart. The background for Watcher is just DMC 310 black, denoted by a · so you can easily ignore this symbol and stitch Watcher on any background fabric you choose.
To stitch the charts exactly as designed, you will need:
1 skein each – DMC 317, 413, 451, 452, 453, 535, 611, 640, 642, 645, 646, 647, 648, 779, 838, 839, 842, 844, 934, 935, 938, 939, 3021, 3022, 3023, 3024, 3031, 3033, 3042, 3371, 3740, 3781, 3782, 3787, 3790, 3799, 3860, 3863, white.
If you wish to stitch the background, you will also need:
4 skeins – DMC 310 Black
25 count Evenweave or Magic Guide fabric (stitch count 195 x 284). Stitched one over one with the a 3″ border allowance, fabric size needed is: 14″x 18″ or 35 x 45cm or a small pack of Magic Guide (19 x 21″) or normal fabric’s fat quarter (18″ x 27″).
For 14ct Aida or 28ct evenweave (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 20” x 27” or 51 x 67cm or a medium pack of Magic Guide (21 x 39″) or a normal fabric’s a fat half (27″ x 36″).
Approximate cost for Project
Approximate cost to stitch Watcher using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do not include postage):
Chart: $ 12.50
Floss: $ 19.00
Total: $45.00 ($71.60 AUD or €61.25 or £45.80)
Places to Buy
Eclectic Bloke Designs website is the only place to order the PDF and printed charts. Neil has a 25% off all printed and PDF charts from now until 25 December 2014.
Kits are supplied by GeckoRouge. This is a new partnership and not all of Eclectic Bloke Designs have kit prices yet. Contact Neil if you would like a quote. Please note: GeckoRouge have just completed a massive Black Friday sale and cannot guarantee the supply of any new orders before Christmas.
Colours Down Under has all the threads and a variety of white and off white fabrics in stock.
Colour Cascade Fabrics stocks DMC and 25ct Magic Guide fabric. Tammy suggests stitching Watcher on Back In Black or Riders On The Storm. Tammy also offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 27 February 2015.
Casa Cenina in Italy stocks DMC, and a range of fabrics to stitch this design, including DMC Magic Guide fabric.
SewandSo stocks DMC, and a range of fabrics to stitch this design, including DMC Magic Guide fabric.
Polstitches has a range of hand dyed fabrics for you to make this design unique.
Sparklies suggests “Pitch if you want a black background, or Kynance for a desert feel”.
Chromatic Alchemy “ I have chosen Aurelia, the golden browns give a nod to the natural habitat of the meerkat and make an interesting background without overpowering it”.
123Stitch has the thread in stock and offers a variety of fabrics.
Do you know about Eclectic Bloke Designs? Have you starting stitching one of his pieces? If so, please comment below as I’d love to know your thoughts!
Did you like this review? Did it contain all the expected information? Is there anything you would like added or removed from the reviews? Do you know of a particular chart or designer you want to see featured here? If so, please head to the Suggestions page and let me know.
Last Updated: 10 December 2014
If you like today’s review of Eclectic Bloke Designs, please consider donating to the following. Neil Bray, the Eclectic Bloke himself, is in hospital with cancer treatment. This is a GoFundMe campaign to get Neil a tablet so he can continue designing and chatting with the outside world, and most importantly, take his mind off the cancer treatment.