From the Designer
A customer of mine sent me a link to Jenny Woods art page on Facebook, I loved her style of quirky and very Australian art. When I was scrolling through her page, I found a post Jenny had made about how these drawing got her through her chemotherapy sessions, so of course I had to contact her. Jenny is currently battling breast cancer, but without fail there is a new piece of art on that page every single week! She is truly an inspiration, and I am so glad she has allowed me to use her artwork in this format.
Why this chart?
Jenny’s story inspired me, the art is fully licensed, I trust Colour Cascades to create a great chart and I don’t have to stitch the background!
I am wary of buying from sellers who snatch a popular image, quickly run it through a conversion program and sell the result for a few dollars. Unless the picture is in the public domain, this is illegal as well as producing a sub-standard chart.
Good art-to-stitch designers such as Colour Cascade Designs have legal agreements and licences with the original artists (or artist estates) to use their designs, and work with them to produce high quality charts. They do not just run the image through a conversion program; they spend many hours looking over the design, tweaking and altering the pattern to produce a better chart.
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 years of work. Projects such as Owlexander, do not have a stitched background, and so could be stitched in less time. You can also choose a hand dyed fabric to complement or contrast; a fabric that completes the design without needing 100% stitched coverage.
Owlexander is a simple design, it is full cross stitch in DMC only; a beginner has the skills to stitch him. However, this is a design that will take you months or even years to complete. Consider savoring the journey instead of focusing on the completion and you should enjoy him.
Colour Cascade Designs offers their charts as electronic download or in printed form; I have only bought the electronic downloads. Owlexander is a 54 page chart pack in pdf format. Save the pdf 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 Owlexander digital download has:
- front cover sheet with a mock-up of the stitched design, the stitch count and size (in inches and centimetres) of the design stitched in 25ct.
- instructions on how to stitch and suggestions for the number of threads to use for each count of fabric
- the 49 page chart; each page includes a diagram of where that page sits in the overall chart and a three-row overlap from earlier pages to aid in keeping your place
- cleaning and care notes; washing instructions
- the symbol key or legend, in DMC numbered order
- The floss key including the length of each floss needed
Tammy of Colour Cascade designs is in the process of updating her chart packs. Previously the Owlexander chart was only 30 pages. The updated version is the same chart, but the symbols are printed larger and more crisp and can be more easily seen on the page. Tammy has also changed some of the symbols to give greater differentiation; reducing the likelihood of stitching with the wrong shade of floss. I love these changes and urge you to contact Tammy to receive updates of your chart files as she converts them.
Confetti stitching is in some ways integral to the art-to-stitch process, changing colours every stitch or second stitch is what allows these charts their level of detail and complexity. However stitching all confetti stitching is a nightmare! Owlexander has the requisite confetti stitching in areas that need the extra detail such as the feathers, but also has large swathes of the same colours in his suit jacket. This allows you as stitcher to alternate between seeing the details emerge slowly and feeling accomplished at progressing through other sections with speed.
Most art-to-stitch projects recommend to stitch one-over-one on 25 count fabric. As these designs only use whole cross stitch, I strongly recommend that you stitch on the fabric count you prefer and are used to. You are probably going to spend a long while stitching this project, don’t make it more difficult by using a stitch style or count that you are not comfortable with.
To stitch Owlexander exactly as designed, you will need:
1 skein each – DMC 168, 169, 310, 317, 318, 413, 415, 451, 452, 535, 646, 647, 648, 762, 844, 928, 3072, 3371, 3756, 3799, 3865, 3866, white
4 skeins – DMC 939 – Dark Navy Blue
DMC Magic Guide – 25 count gridded evenweave (stitch count 330 x 422). This design can be stitched over 2 or over 1.
For the recommended over 1 stitching on 25ct (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 19″ x 23″ or 49 x 59cm or a fat half (27 x 36″). If you narrow your margins slightly you can squish it on a fat quarter (18 x 27″)
For 14ct Aida or 28ct evenweave stitching over 2 (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 30″ x 36″ or 75 x 92cm or a full yard (36″ x 55″).
Approximate cost for Project
Approximate cost to stitch Owlexander using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do not include postage):
Total: $50.15 ($78.00AUD or £41.75 or €46.80)
Places to Buy
Colour Cascade Designs stocks this chart, and can kit it up for you
Colours Down Under has all the DMC and plain evenweave fabrics in stock.
Colour Cascade Fabrics is a one-stop shop for buying and kitting up Owlexander. Tammy recommends My Island Home or Emerald City from her range of fabrics. Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 6 December 2014.
Casa Cenina in Spain stocks DMC, and a range of fabrics to stitch this design, including DMC Magic Guide fabric.
SewandSo stocks DMC, plain evenweave fabrics and DMC Magic Guide fabric.
Sparklies suggests Oatmeal, Parchment or Dr Smith’s Tonic from her range of fabrics.
123Stitch stocks DMC and a variety of fabrics.
Have you stitched (or started to stitch) a Colour Cascades design? If so, which one and what did you think of the chart? Please leave a link in your comment to your stitching progress.
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.
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