Antiquity: Fanta Cat Illusions

Today we discuss the defunct Illusions by Vicky Graham. Bought by Fanta Cat Designs, also no longer in operation, these fantasy designs are amazing for their use of metallics and beads.

Gypsy Allure

Stash Antiquities: Welcome to a new class of reviews, for the designers who are no longer in business. We present these to showcase works that the newer stitchers may not have seen and to have a place to list where they can still be found. Some bricks and mortar cross stitch shops have a few older designs still in stock, so you may find some Fanta Cat Designs charts when poking around. If you do, or if you are a shop owner who has some of these still in stock, please please comment below.

Madam X
Madam X

Why this designer?

Vicky Graham first started designing contemporary cross stitch charts for “Idle Hand Designs” before starting this wonderful “Illusions” line.  These stunning but very easy to stitch designs were created in the 1990s, a time when the cross stitching shelves were still mainly dominated by  cute cottages. A time before the rise of art-to-stitch and when, if you liked fantasy, you needed the dedication to stitch a Teresa Wentzler pattern.

Fanta Cat Designs attempted to bring fantasy to the ordinary stitcher by selling such designers as Illusions.  These charts are very easy to stitch, but the juxtaposition of the blackwork figure with the metallic and bead accentuation produces a unanimous “wow” reaction in every person who sees one of these designs in life.

Illusions designs use full cross stitch, partial cross stitch, back stitch, metallics and beads. Vicky’s use of large swathes of single colour make these easy designs to stitch.  I recommend them for an adventurous beginner to advanced fantasy lover.

I would love to see some of these designs stitched on some of our favourite hand dyed fabrics.

Rhiannon  Illusions by Fanta Cat Designs Stitching and Photo courtesy of Melissa Hicks
Rhiannon
Illusions by Fanta Cat Designs
Stitching and Photo courtesy of Melissa Hicks

Review

As these are older designs, they were only ever supplied in printed leaflet form.  The charts are on US Ledger (A3) paper folded, with a glossy cardstock cover and page of general stitching instructions. These instructions include how Fanta Cat charts recommends you stitch partial stitches in their designs.

All of the glossy front covers show images of the stitched designs. Showing a computer mock-up seems to be a recent innovation in the stitching world and to an older stitcher like me, this denotes a reduced quality.  I far prefer to see a stitched model as unexpected issues can crop up and be addressed during a model stitch, before it ever goes to market.

The floss symbols for the earlier charts are all hand drawn and quite small compared the grid work we are used to seeing today..  These charts will need to be enlarged for ease of seeing and stitching.  The good news is that the symbols are usually quite distinct and well drawn.

The newer designs have computer generated symbols and the metallic backstitch and beads are shown in different colours.  The newer illusions charts are beautiful to stitch from.

All designs show the floss list, specific chart instruction, and stitch count on the back of the chart pack.

Gallery

Illusions - Crystal Dreams

Crystal Dreams:
DMC: 221, 310, 367, 368, 369, 500, 725, 725, 727, 820, 921, 922, 951, 3765.
Kreinik BF: 001HL, 002HL, 006, 027, 033.
Anchor Marlitt: 845, 1056, 1067, 1078.
Mill Hill Beads: 02011

Stitch count 65 x 140.
Model stitched on Black Lugana.

Illusions - Dragon's Gate

Dragon’s Gate:
DMC: 310, 415, 470, 471, 580, 581, 720, 743, 745, 9078, 3348, 3364. (Optional DMC 828 for background)
Kreinik BF: 002HL
Kreinik #8: 001HL, 002HL

Stitch count 107 x 169.
Model stitched on Light Blue 14ct Aida.

Fox Glove Fairy

Fox Glove Fairy:
DMC: 310, 726, 597, 453, 598, 648, 676, 776, 729,  844, 950, 951, 957, 986, 987, 989, white
Kreinik BF: 002HL, 006, 032
Kreinik Cable; 002P
Mill Hill Beads: 42029

Stitch count 97x 136.
Model stitched on Pewter 28ct Lugana.

Illusions - Azure Fairy

Azure Fairy:
DMC: 310, 311, 310, 340, 407, 553, 797, 950, 951, 995, 996.
Kreinik BF: 012
Mill Hill Beads: 00168, 00252, 02011

Stitch count 164 x 202.
Model stitched on White 14ct Aida

Illusions - Peacock Dreams

Peacock Dreams:
DMC: 221, 310, 402, 407, 632, 648, 825, 826, 831, 840, 841, 895, 951, 922, 943, 950, 951, 991, 3346, 3376, 3799, white.
Kreinik BF: 002HL, 006HL, 012, 027, 029.
Kreinik #4: 009
Mill Hill Beads: 03002

Stitch count 74 x 97.
Model stitched on Cream 28ct Lugana

Illusions - Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras:
This is a three – dimensional design.  The Mask is stitched separately and then placed on top of the design.  Real peacock feathers are placed between the mask and the rest of the design.

DMC: 310, 333, 353, 730, 772, 824, 911, 943, 995, 3766.
Kreinik BF: 006, 008, 012, 029, 033, 085
Kreinik 1/8″ Ribbon: 002
Mill Hill Beads: 02014, 03026, 03027, 03029
4 real peacock feathers

Stitch count 88 x 137.
Model stitched on White perforated paper and White 14ct Aida.

Illusions - Guardian

Guardian:
DMC: 310, 469470, 472, 721, 906, 907, 920, 937, 943, 945, 951.
Kreinik BF: 002HL, 027, 043
Kreinik #8: 091, 094
Rainbow Gallery Designer’s Dream: D02, D46

Stitch count 75 x 120.
Model stitched on Black 28ct Lugana.

Illusions - Fantasy Flight (2)

Fantasy Flight:
DMC: 310, 704, 725, 742, 744, 745, 754, 844, 917, 948, 958, 959, 964, white.
Kreinik BF: 002HL

Stitch count 124 x 162.
Model stitched on Pewter 28ct Lugana.

Illusions - Rhiannon

Rhiannon
Information unknown – I no longer possess a copy of this chart.

Illusions - Miranda

Miranda:
DMC: 310, 353, 562
Kreinik BF: 001HL, 002HL, 029, 032, 044.
Mill Hill Beads: 03046

Stitch count 114 x 283.
Model stitched on White 28ct Lugana.

Illusions - Mirror Mirror

Mirror Mirror:
DMC: 310, 312, 414, 420, 445, 469, 470, 472, 498, 519, 701, 733, 801, 838, 900, 920, 922, 930, 931, 932, 943, 951, 995, 3022, 3023, 3024, 3045, 3046, 3047, 3799, white.
Kreinik BF: 015, 022HL, 025, 027, 032, 090, 091, 094.
Kreinik #4: 001, 102, 202HL.
Mill Hill Beads: 40557, 42029.

Stitch count 107 x 217.
Model stitched on Tan 28ct Lugana.

Illusions - Desirea

Desirea
DMC:  310, 797, 799, white.
Kreinik BF: 001HL, 002HL, 003, 061HL
Kreinik: #4 001
Mill Hill Beads: 00557

Stitch count 105 x 151.
Model stitched on White 28ct Lugana.

Illusions - And Other Things

And Other Things:
DMC: 300, 310, 320, 340, 367, 369, 400, 434, 435, 436, 598, 648, 721, 739, 839, 841, 842, 938, 950, 951, 958, 959, 964, 3078, 3371, 3607, 3776, 3799, 3821, 3825, 3826, white.

Kreinik BF: 002HL, 021, 029, 032, 094.
Kreinik #4: 002.
Mill Hill Beads: 00479.

Stitch count 117 x 117.
Model stitched on Cream 28ct Lugana.

Tigerfly

Tigerfly:
Information unknown

Enchanted

Enchanted
DMC:  415, 470, 471, 472, 677, 726, 727, 798, 799, 919, 921, 945, 951, 977, 3325, 3756
Kreinik BF: 002HL
Mill Hill Beads: 00374

Stitch count 116 x 178.
Model stitched on White 28ct Lugana.

Illusions - Mystical Journey

Mystical Journey:
DMC: 310, 318, 470, 472, 580, 581, 666, 704, 720, 722, 739, 844, 890, 919, 951, 962, 3364, white.
Kreinik BF: 002HL, 009HL, 015, 027, 032HL, 091, 094.

Stitch count 114  x 127.
Model stitched on Pewter 28ct Lugana.

Illusions - Dragon Feathers Afghan

Dragon Feathers Afghan:
DMC: 312, 422, 676, 677, 702, 720, 722, 772, 3345, 3346, 3347, 3348, 3812, 3829.
Kreinik #8: 002

Model stitched on Zweigart Black Anne Cloth Afghan.

Illusions - Gypsy Allure

Dragon Feathers Afghan:
DMC:  310, 676, 761, 807,
Kreinik BF: 001HL, 002HL, 003HL, 006, 006HL, 032HL, 051HL
Kreinik #8: 027
Mill Hill Beads: 00479

Stitch count 95 x 154.
Model stitched on White 28ct Lugana.

Illusions - Ankha

Ankha:
DMC: 310, 433, 434, 564, 605, 676, 677, 743, 745, 796, 798, 800, 991, 993, 3706.
Kreinik BF: 002
Kreinik #8: 002

Stitch count 126 x 192.
Model stitched on Beige 10ct Tula

Illusions - Erin

Erin:
DMC: 310, 676, 700, 702, white.
Kreinik BF: 002HL, 008, 009, 009HL, 032.
Kreinik #4: 202HL
Mill Hill Beads:  40479

Stitch count 95 x 149.
Model stitched on White 26ct Lugana.

Illusions - Tianna

Tianna:
DMC: 310, 470, 676, 700, 702, 798, 823, 840, 911, 943, 3824, Eru, White.
Kreinik BF: 002HL, 008, 012, 015, 029, 032
Kreinik #8: 002, 5982
Mill Hill Beads:  00479, 40557

Stitch count 125 x 264.
Model stitched on Antique White 28ct Lugana.

Illusions - Thief

Thief:
DMC:  470, 471, 472, 376, 550, 677, 729, 741, 743, 762, 3024, 3033, 3045, 3046, 3047, 3350, 3354, 3731, 3799, 3803, 3823, 3845, 3846, 3853, 3864.
Kreinik BF: 001HL, 002HL, 027, 031, 032HL, 091.
Kreinik #8: 002
Mill Hill Beads:  02002

Stitch count 133 x 182.
Model stitched on Antique White 28ct Lugana.

Illusions - Papillon

Papillon:
DMC: 310, 317, 351, 353, 415, 433, 435, 437, 676, 700, 702, 796, 797, 801, 831, 906, 907, 943, 991, 3799, Ecru, White.
Kreinik BF: 002HL, 008, 015, 029, 032, 033, 060, 085
Mill Hill Beads:  02014, 03002, 03024, 03025

Stitch count 141 x 189.
Model stitched on Antique White 28ct Lugana.

Illusions - Transformation

Transformation:
DMC: 321, 353, 415, 676, 677, 704, 738, 739, 744,762, 783, 798, 800, 904, 905, 906, 907, 943, 951, 3799, 3864, 3851, 3853, white.
Kreinik BF: 002HL, 015, 025, 027, 029, 031, 033, 091, 302HL
Kreinik #8: 002
Rainbow Gallery Whisper: White

Stitch count 141 x 212.
Model stitched on The Blended Needle “Parchment” 28ct Lugana.

Madam X

Madam X:
DMC: 310, 352, 353, 676, 677, 796, 798, 799, 959, 3812, 3851.
Kreinik BF: 029, 033
Kreinik #4: 002
Mill Hill Beaads: 00479

Stitch count 102 x 154.
Model stitched on White 28ct Lugana.

Illusions - Emerald Swallowtail

Emerald Swallowtail:
DMC: 310, 335, 518, 701, 702, 703, 704, 743, 906, 3046, 3047, 3733, 3746, 3799, 3851
Kreinik BF: 002, 008, 012, 015, 029
Mill Hill Beaads: 00479

Stitch count 120 x 196.
Model stitched on Antique White 28ct Lugana.

Regal Pea Dragon Afghan

Regal Pea Dragon Afghan:
DMC: 470, 472, 676, 677, 721, 729, 791, 798, 912, 996, 3799, white.
Kreinik #8: 002

Model stitched on Zweigart Oatmeal Gloria Afghan.

Places to Buy

Letha Welch of Fanta Cat Designs, who owns copyright for the Illusions line of charts closed her business in 2008 when she moved and retired.

Country Designs UK – has Enchanted in stock.

Nease’s Needlework – I’ve never used this online store, but they seem to have some designs in stock.

Paw Prints – have closed down but still has some Illusions charts listed in their bargain bin sale. It might be worth contacting them to see if these are still for sale.

If you know of any stores still stocking any of these designs, please met me know in the comments.

Hand Dyer Suggestions

As these designs used plain fabrics and DMC, some hand dyers have suggested their own take on kitting up the designs.

Polstitches “Snowy mountain it always an exciting substitution for white where it can be used as it is soft and gentle with dreamy aspects, might suit an opalescent!”

Snowy Mountains
Snowy Mountains

Colour Cascade Fabrics “Regal Pea Dragon I could totally see on Peacock”  Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 27 February 2015.

Chromatic Alchemy  “I chose Tigerfly as a piece to play with from the gorgeous Illusions Designs range. I’ve teemed her with Nuriel’s Forest which I think really accentuates her red hair and gives a pleasing contrast to those striking tiger wings.”

Sparklies “I chose Enchanted, which I think would look great on Purpleberry Spludge, Thalia, or Moonlighting.”

Crafty Kitten “Tigerfly, I’m not sure if it’s in print or not.  But I’d stitch it on Moonlight or winter skies.  Foxglove fairy, I’d go with fairy forest for. ”

Fiberlicious “This is such a lovely chart to stitch as there are many rooms for you to play with hand dyed flosses. I would suggest using threads from gradation collection (Shades of green, red and pink) for the leaves and flowers.  And Havana Cafe or Spring Blossoms for the butterfly”

Discussion

Have you stitched any of these designs? Do you have any of these in your stash?  Can you help supply some of the missing information or cover photos of missing designs?

Which other vanished Designer would you like me to showcase? Comment below and I will try to find something suitable.

If you like this review of Fanta Cat Designs and Illusions, please share it with your friends.

Last Updated: 16 January 2015

Moonlight Crop (Fell) by Eclectic Bloke Designs

Today’s Art-to-Stitch Wednesday is a tribute for Neil Bray of Eclectic Bloke Designs.  Also don’t forget the awesome Giveaways we have going on now.

ECB - Moonlight Crop front page

From the Artist

I was cleaning up a hard-drive and found this, something I started about 4 years ago. I know… another spooky girl in a long black dress! 🙂 I never finished it, but decided to do a bit of noodling on it to make it at least presentable. So here’s a suitably haunted image for Hallowe’en, or Samhain.

What is it?

Moonlight is a digital design by Aly Fell, translated into cross stitch by Neil Bray of Eclectic Bloke Designs. There are two forms of the cross stitch, the original Moonlight and a small section of the design called Moonlight crop. I am reviewing Moonlight crop.

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.

Original artwork by Aly Fell
Original artwork by Aly Fell

Why this chart?

I love Aly Fell’s artwork. His designs can be quite different to the usual artwork we see in art-to-stitch. Check out his website for more of his designs, his blog for the story behind his designs and his Facebook page for in-progress photos.

Eclectic Bloke Designs is a recent venture by stitcher Neil Bray. Neil has been a stitcher for 20 years and he produces art-to-stitch by an eclectic mix of artists. Neil has battled cancer some time and is now at home with his family as part of his palliative care arrangements. Neil’s time with us might be coming an end, but hopefully his sister may carry on Eclectic Bloke designs. Whatever the future brings for Eclectic Bloke Designs, Neil is in my thoughts and will be remembered every time we put floss to thread in one of his designs. I urge you to look through Eclectic Bloke Designs, there may well be something there to appeal to everyone.

Moonlight (crop) is like most art-to-stitch designs; the background is part of the picture so every square is stitched, culminating in a project comprising thousands of stitches and taking months if not years to work.

I chose the crop of this design because I feel it includes a closeup of the most salient features while possibly reducing the stitching time; Moonlight crop is only 300 x 300 stitches while the complete Moonlight is 280 x 380 stitches (in round numbers).

Moonlight crop is, at heart, a simple design; full cross stitch only. Unlike the other reviewed Eclectic Bloke Design “Watcher“, Moonlight crop is also fairly easy to stitch. There are only 30 colours of floss and many are in single blocks or in easy-to-follow waves within other colours.

As Moonlight crop is fully stitched, I recommend using DMC Magic Guide fabric to help keep your place, or a hand dyed fabric that will show between the edges of the design and the border of your frame; the hand dyed fabric will act as a mat within the frame.

ECB - Moonlight (crop)

Review

Eclectic Bloke Design charts are available as PDF files, printed charts and full kits. My copy of Moonlight crop is a digital download. Moonlight crop is a 34 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 Moonlight crop chart pack contains:

  • front cover sheet with computer mockup of the finished design and artist licence information.
  • a page of general instructions pertinent to art-to-stitch designs.
  • the 30 page chart, including placement diagram at the base of each page.
  • a page of recommended fabric, stitch count and floss key. The floss key is in DMC floss number order.
  • a last page is the DMC floss list, showing both the stitch amount and skeins needed for each floss colour.  The skein amount is for the recommended 1 over 1 stitching on 25 count fabric. If you change the fabric or the number of strands used, then you may need to change to number of skeins.

Eclectic Bloke Designs provide black symbols on a white US Letter or A4 background.  Each successive chart page includes a two-row shaded overlap from earlier pages. Most of the floss symbols are pictographs such as a pair of reading glasses, clock face, open book and flag. There are only a few alphanumeric symbols.

The chart is 30 pages long because each page only shows 45 x 62 stitches per page. This small amount of symbols per page is much easier to see and mark off, so don’t let the number of pages put you off the design.

As with most art-to-stitch designs, you can only find the list of required floss after you have bought the chart, but as you will need to purchase the floss separately or buy the kit, this isn’t an issue.

Materials Required

To stitch the charts exactly as designed, you will need:

1 skein each – DMC  154, 160, 161, 169, 318, 336, 414, 415, 451, 498, 550, 648, 762, 815, 816, 3350, 3371, 3721, 3740, 3743, 3747, 3834, 3835, B5200

2 skeins each DMC 413, 823, 930, 3799

3 skeins DMC 317 Steel Grey

5 skeins DMC 939 Dark Navy Blue

25 count Evenweave or Magic Guide fabric  (stitch count 300 x 298). Stitched  one over one with the a 3″ border allowance, fabric size needed is:  18″x 18″ or 46 x 46cm  or a small pack of Magic Guide (19 x 21″)  or normal fabric’s fat quarter (18″ x 27″).

Magic Guide - 25ct White
Magic Guide – 25ct White

For 14ct Aida or 28ct evenweave (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 27½” x 27½”  or  70 x 70cm  or  a medium pack of Magic Guide (30 x 39″)  or a normal fabric’s a fat half (27″ x 36″).

Approximate cost for Project

Approximate cost to stitch Moonlight crop using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do  not include postage):

Chart: $ 15.30
Floss:  $ 18.00
Fabric: $10.90

Total: $44.20  ($71.85AUD or €61.90 or  £51.95)

Places to Buy

Eclectic Bloke Designs website is the only place to order the PDF and printed charts.

Kits are supplied by GeckoRouge. This is a relatively new partnership and not all Eclectic Bloke Designs have kit prices yet. Contact Neil if you would like a quote. Usually kit prices are cheaper than kitting the design yourself as they include the amount of each floss you need (allowing for generous amount of “oops I’ll need to restitch that part”) instead of full skeins.

Australia:

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 Moonlight Crop on Purple Haze.

Tammy also offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 27 February 2015.

Europe:

Casa Cenina in Italy stock a variety of fabrics and floss for your unique creation.

United Kingdom:

SewandSo has  a range of floss and fabrics to make this design uniquely yours.

Crafty Kitten “I would stitch on a solid fabric as it’s solidly stitched.  If you wanted a hand dyed then evening magic would frame the design in similar colours.”

Polstitches “No hand dyed fabby for this but you could use glitter crystals on the moon to make it shine”

A premium and most versatile range of glitter. Ultra fine transparent particles – Mix crystals with medium and paint onto fabric to add a sparkle to the areas of your stitching you wish to highlight 1 part crystal to 10 parts medium then iron. The possibilities are endless to adding sparkle to Christmas Stitching or adding sparkle to a moon stitched on a plain fabric.

Sparklies “Pitch for this one, then you could probably get away without having to stitch a lot of the background.”

Chromatic Alchemy  “Now I don’t usually recommend a hand dye for a fully stitched piece but Moonlight is such a wonderfully moody and gothic piece that I just had to see what it looked like with Maelstrom as a frame. I hope you agree that it fits the mood of the piece beautifully.”

United States:

123Stitch has the thread in stock and offers a variety of fabrics.

Black Cat Stitchery in Illinois has floss and fabric in stock to make this a project to remember.  Erica is offering a 5% discount for readers of Cross Stitch Review.  Coupon code: CSRSPRING15. Offer ends 31 May 2015.

Stitches n Things has the recommended materials in stock to kit this up for you.

Discussion

What is your favourite Eclectic Bloke Designs chart?

If you liked the review, please share it with your friends.

 

Last updated: 14 January 2015

St Patricks Gold by Pine Glen Designs

A 3D Christmas Ornament. May not get finished in time for this year, but you can get a head start on those new ornaments you’re planning to stitch next year!

Pine Glen Designs Heirloom Ornament St Patricks Gold

What is it?

St Patrick’s Gold is one in a series of Heirloom Ornaments produced by Pine Glen Designs. It is so named as the colour scheme is Shamrock and Gold.

Why this chart?

I have absolutely no idea how this ended up in my stash. If anyone remembers please let me know. For years I have kinda promised myself that I would stitch ornaments to give away to stitching friends or to hang on my tree.  I have not stitched one!

I like the three-dimensional aspect of this one. You don’t need to back it with any other fabric, just stitch it and sew it together like a biscornu! I also love the texture provided by the Rhodes stitches, metallic thread and beads. This design uses Half Rhodes, Rhodes Hearts and Rhodes Diamonds specialty stitches.

Given the three-dimensional nature of St Patrick’s Gold, the specialty stitches and the beads, I would not recommend this as your first cross stitch pattern.  If you are an experienced 3 dimensional sewer (other ornaments, stuffed toys etc) then yes stitch this !

Pine Glen Designs - St Patrick's Gold
Pine Glen Designs – St Patrick’s Gold

Review

All of the Pine Glen Designs Heirloom Ornaments charts are available as printed charts or digital downloads.  I have the printed chart in my stash.

The St Patrick’s Gold chartpack is presented as an eight page US Letter (or A4) booklet (made from a slight cardstock and a sheet of  paper both in US Ledger (A3), double-sided printed, stapled and folded.

The front cover includes a photograph of the finished ornament. The back cover lists the fabric used in the model.  Neither the outside of the booklet nor the website include all the materials needed to stitch the design. You need to purchase the chart first and then work out the items required.

The third page of the booklet lists the stitch count, size of fabric needed for one single segment of the ornament, the floss list and floss key.  Also there is a very basic diagram for the Rhodes stitch variations.  St Patrick’s Gold uses Half Rhodes, Rhodes Hearts and Rhodes Diamonds. Use the instructions here or in the following Youtube clip by MrsMilkyBarKid to learn how to stitch the Rhodes variations.

The stitch chart for this design, shows one segment of the design, with the comment “you will need to stitch up 8 of this chart”. As the segments are identical I can understand why they have only printed this once. However the fabric size lists only the fabric needed for one of these segments, not the whole ornament. This could be a trap for the unwary.

The Finishing Instructions are comprised of three pages of annotated black and white photographs that assumes the stitcher has an understanding of general sewing techniques. For example, stitchers are instructed to use whip stitch without providing any description of what it is or how to use it in this context. Items such as fusible interfacing and filling material are not listed until they are to be used in the finishing; there’s no preparation given for the beginner ornament maker.

However if you have stitched three-dimensional items before, such as other ornaments, stuffed toys or are a general crafter, these annotated photographs are suitable for your needs.

The model was stitched on 14 count Aida, however given the use of dense Rhodes stitches, I recommend that you stitch this ornament on an evenweave fabric.

Materials Required

To stitch the charts exactly as designed, you will need:

DMC 895 Very Dark Hunter Green

 

1 skein DMC 895 Very Dark Hunter Green

 

DMC 4045 Evergreen Forest Variations

 

1 skein DMC 4045 Evergreen Forest Variations

 

 

DMC E3821 Light Effects Precious Metals Light Gold

 

1 skein DMC E3821 Light Effects Precious Metals Light Gold

 

Mill Hill 00557 Gold

 

1 packet Mill Hill 00557 Gold Beads

 

 

Mill Hill 02054 Brilliant Shamrock

 

1 packet Mill Hill 02054 Brilliant Shamrock

 

 

Not listed, but used in the instructions:

  • fusible interfacing
  • large beads for hanging tassels
  • pony beads for securing tassels
  • stuffing for the inside of the ornament

14ct Zweigart Aida Gold/Cream (stitch count 28 x 30 times eight segments)

For 14ct Aida or 28ct evenweave (with 2″ border allowance and 1″ break between segments) fabric size is: 9.5” x 13”  or  24 x 33cm  or  an ornament cut (9 x 13″).  This assumes that the ornament segments are stitched in two rows of four.

Zweigart -14ct Aida Cream Gold Lurex

Approximate cost for Project

Approximate cost to stitch St Patrick’s Gold Heirloom Ornament using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do  not include postage or the extra materials for finishing):

Chart: $ 6.00
Floss:  $ 6.75
Fabric: $5.15

Total: $17.90  ($34.33 AUD  or  €18.45  or  £15.25)

Places to Buy

Pine Glen Designs sells St Patrick’s Gold as both a download PDF ($6.00) and a printed chart ($12.00).  St Patrick’s Gold is also included in the chart bundle Colours of the Crown which has four Heirloom Ornament Designs as a single PDF download ($15.00).

Australia:

Colours Down Under has all the threads and a variety of fabrics in stock.

Colour Cascade Fabrics has a variety of fabrics for you to make this design unique. Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 27 February 2015.

Europe:

Casa Cenina in Spain stock a variety of fabrics and floss for your unique creation.

United Kingdom:

SewandSo has all the floss in stock and a variety of fabrics to choose from.

Polstitches has a range of Dragon Threads and hand dyed fabrics for you to make this design unique.

Sparklies have a range of fabrics and threads to make this design sparkle.

Chromatic Alchemy  has some beautiful fabrics to make your design shine.

United States:

123Stitch has the thread and embellishments in stock and offers a variety of fabrics.

Discussion

Have you made any of the Pine Glen Designs ornaments? What did you think of them?  Have you stitched any ornament that is stitched in pieces such as St Patrick’s Gold?  If so, please drop a link to your creations in the comments below.

Feedback

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: 23 December 2014

 

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Hooked on Christmas by Handblessings

A chart and charms Christmas-themed almost monochrome for Monochrome Monday. The winners of last Monday’s chart Christmas Bellpull by jar Designs are: Kim C and Kay J. There will be new competitions in 2015.  The first one will be via the Cross Stitch Review Facebook page, so make sure you like us 🙂

Handblessings - Hooked on Christmas

From the Designer

Several years ago I saw a comic strip where the main character said he was hooked on fall. I thought, “that’s me”. I love fall. That got me thinking about what other things my friends and I are hooked on. That was the beginning of the very popular Hooked on series. The Hooked ons are a lot of fun to design and I keep adding to them.

I have to admit I’m hooked on Christmas! I love the religious side of Christmas. I love the gift giving, the decorating, the tree, making ornaments, the memories, the time with family and friends … I love Christmas. There are a lot of us Christmas lovers. Let’s celebrate our love of this wonderful time of the year by hanging this proclamation up all year. Merry Christmas stitching. Eileen

Why this chart?

I admit, I love the Hooked On series. I love the simplicity of stitching combined with the charms. Eileen Gurak of Handblessings has an eye for the perfect charms for each design.

Hooked on Christmas has a very Victorian Christmas feel to me, from the font used for Christmas to the classic red and white colour theme to the charm motifs. This chart is about the nostalgia of Christmases of yesteryear.

Hooked on christmas is a small design and a quick stitch using only two colours and whole cross stitch; no back stitch or specialty stitches.  Once the stitching is complete, the charms can really be added wherever you feel they suit – this chart allows a fair bit of space around the charms and many are of similar size so you can place them where you wish. I recommend this design for everyone who loves Christmas, from a complete beginner through to an advanced stitcher.

Hooked on Christmas
Hooked on Christmas

Review

The Handblessings Hooked on series are only available as “chart & charms” packs; printed chart with all the metallic or plastic charms included. Handblessings does not sell spare charms or list where she obtains them from, so if you want to stitch this twice, you will need to buy the chart twice or source your own charms.

The Christmas chart pack is printed on white US Letter (similar to A4) paper.  The front page is printed on light cardstock and includes a colour photo of the completed design. The pack also includes a small ziplock pouch containing the charms.

The back cover includes all the information you need to stitch the design, the stitch count, fabric count and colour, floss list and legend, along with stitching notes for using charms and metallic thread.

The floss list includes “treasure braid” which I assume is Rainbow Gallery Petite Treasure Braid, but the chart does not state which colour of treasure braid to use. The website does not have any reference to metallic threads so I suspect this was a typo.

The chart is printed on one US Letter (A4) page using black symbols on white paper. The design is small and the two colours used in different areas of the chart, so the chart is easy to see and stitch from without enlarging. Eileen has used a 10-row grid and clearly marked the middle point of the design.

The chart does not show the anchor points for the charms  Instead Eileen directs you to “use the [cover] picture as a guideline for the placement of charms”. Fortunately there is plenty of room around the charm areas so exact placement is not a necessity.

My experience

I started this design last week. Due to the reference to “treasure braid” and thinking that a metallic sparkle might add to the Victorian feel of this piece, I pulled out a card of PB10 White Pearl and started stitching with that.  All was going well until I remembered that while I love the finished look of a piece stitched in metallic I don’t actually like the process of stitching with metallics, so I unfortunately dropped this in favour of a different project.  I will get back to it when I decide what colour to stitch the border in.  I’m thinking a variegated green as I’m not a fan of pink.

Hooked on Christmas - Mel's WIP
Hooked on Christmas – Mel’s WIP

 Materials Required

To stitch the charts exactly as designed, you will need:

DMC Perle 8 - B5200 Snow White

 

1 ball DMC Perle #8 – B5200 Snow White.

 

 

Weeks Dye Works - 4109 Love

 

1 skein Weeks Dye Works 4109 Love

 

Wichelt 28ct Victorian Red (now Christmas Red) Lugana (stitch count 104 x 56). With (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 13½” x 10”  or  34 x 25cm  or  a fat eighth (13 x 18″). If you cut your framing border slightly you could squeeze this on an ornament cut of 9 x 13″

Wichelt - Christmas Red 28ct Lugana

Approximate cost for Project

Approximate cost to stitch Christmas using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do  not include postage):

Chart: $ 13.00
Floss:  $   4.90
Fabric: $ 5.75

Total: $23.65  ($33.75 AUD  or  €29.60  or  £19.15)

Places to Buy

Australia:

Colours Down Under can order in the chart and materials for you. Jo offers 10% discount on the package (chart + floss). Mention this review when ordering.

Colour Cascade Fabrics has a variety of fabrics for you to make this design unique. Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 27 February 2015.

Europe:

Casa Cenina in Italy stocks a variety of fabrics and floss for your unique creation.

United Kingdom:

SewandSo  stock a variety of fabrics and floss for your project.

Polstitches has a variety of hand dyed fabrics and Dragon Floss to make yours a truly unique creation.

Sparklies has her own range of floss and fabrics that would suit this design.

Chromatic Alchemy  “I like Hooked on Christmas on Permanganate, a deep, rich colour to accentuate the white stitching and those beautiful silver charms.”

United States:

123Stitch can order in this chart for you. They have the thread and fabric in stock.

Crazy Annie’s has this chart in stock, and has extra charm packs for sale for $10.00

Discussion

What fabric and floss combination would YOU use to stitch this design? What colours mean Christmas to you?

Feedback

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: 22 December 2014

 

 

SAL de Noël 2014 by Hélène & Mahélia

SAL Tuesday and I do I have the greatest Mystery stitchalong site for you today!  Also note it is still Cyber Monday in the US so there are still sales if anyone has any spare money or needs to buy a stitcher or themselves some gifts.

December 2009
December 2009

From the Designer

It happened. Time to prepare … for a SAL de Noël full of surprises!!! For sure, the colors are undeniably linked to Christmas … but it’s only the 4th stage that our doubts will be erased !!!

SAL Duration: 3 Dec 2014 – 20 Dec 2014

December 2013 SAL
December 2013

Why this chart?

Every month the blog Hélène & Mahélia runs a free Stitchalong (SAL). The December SAL is always Christmas themed and will be sent in six parts over the next three weeks. I love these little ornament-sized whimsical designs and thought you might too.

Join the SAL and download the first part. The later parts will be sent to you, but only AFTER you send in a photo of your stitching.  That’s right, this is not a collect & forget SAL, this is a show us your progress SAL.

The good news is that you do not need to stitch it immediately, you will receive the next part when you get the earlier part finished, even if it takes your six months to get around to it.  The downside to taking your time is that the final product will not be a Mystery.

Hélène & Mahélia do ask that you do not publish photos of your stitching, before the dates listed on their blog.  They don’t want you to accidentally spoil the surprise for other stitchers.

These designs are small, simple to stitch and deliberately designed to use up bits and pieces already in your stash. I recommend these stitchalongs to stitchers of all levels who are looking for something whimsical and a community to become a part of.

December 2010
December 2010

Review

Hélène & Mahélia try to keep their stitchalongs as simple as possible, so the designs are usually small, full cross stitch with a little backstitching only. The charts are designed to suit any background fabric and do not include specific floss brands or types, but rather give a vague suggestion “light blue” to encourage stitchers to be creative or use what materials they already have in their stash. These Stitchalongs are perfect for those who are considering a “stash ban” or “stash diet” as one of their New Year’s Resolutions.

The first section of the stitchalong is available as a pdf online for you to open and save.  The design is small enough that the entire chart fits on one US Letter or A4 page.  There is no need to be concerned about overlapping rows for these ornaments.

The floss symbols are produced in black on a coloured background.  You can use the symbol or the colour to make sure you are stitching with the right floss.

All directions on the chart are given in both French and English.

As the designs appears to only use whole cross stitch and backstitch, SAL de Noël 2014  can be stitched on any fabric you like.  I would suggest looking at some of your offcuts for this.

December 2011

Materials Required

To stitch SAL de Noël 2014 exactly as designed, you will need:

  • Light Green (177 stitches)
  • Dark green (73 stitches)
  • Dark red (220 stitches)
  • Light red (522 stitches)
  • Light brown (35  stitches)
  • Rose Dawn, such as DMC 761 (49 stitches)
  • Pink Pepper, such as DMC 3713 (287 stitches)
  • Light gray (183 stitches)
  • Light blue (164  stitches)
  • Golden (12  stitches)
  • White (877 stitches)
  • Black ( for backstitching)
  • 13 small black beads ( or French Knots )

Any colour or count of fabric you wish to suit the floss colours (stitch count 51 x 75). This design can be stitched over 2 or over 1.

For 14ct Aida or 28ct evenweave (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 9½” x 11”  or  25 x 29cm  or  an ornament cut (9 x 13″).

Approximate cost for Project

Approximate cost to stitch SAL de Noël 2014 using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do  not include postage):

Note: This SAL is designed to use floss and fabric you already have in your collection, however if you don’t have a collection yet, here are the prices for the items:

Chart: $ free
Floss:  $ 6.50
Fabric: $5.00

Total: $11.50  ($22.00 AUD or €24.00  or  £21.15)

Places to Buy

Hélène & Mahélia’s blog is the only place where you can get SAL de Noël 2014 or other SAL charts.

Australia:

Colours Down Under stocks all your floss and embellishment needs. Also some plain evenweave and Aida choices.

Colour Cascade Fabrics has a variety of colours to suit your personal style. Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 6 December 2014.

Europe:

Casa Cenina in Spain stock a variety of fabrics and floss for your unique creation.

United Kingdom:

SewandSo has the thread in stock and offers a variety of fabrics.

Chromatic Alchemy  has many colours to make your project a bold statement or a subtle undertone.

Polstitches stock a variety of fabrics and Dragon floss to personalise your project.

Sparklies “I have several suitable for a Christmas theme in pale blue. Snowy Skies and Glacier are the most popular for these sorts of designs.”

123Stitch stocks all most of your floss and embellishment needs.

For Discussion

Do you like stitching Christmas projects? Will you be joining this Christmas SAL?

Feedback

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: 2 December 2014

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