Dance of the Total Eclipse by Whispered by the Wind

In honour of the Blood Moon last week, today's Throwback Thursday  is Dance of the Total Eclipse by Mari McDonald of Whispered by the Wind. WBTW - Dance of the Total Eclipse Cover Continue reading "Dance of the Total Eclipse by Whispered by the Wind"

Antiquity: Dragonfly Lane

For today's Throwback Thursday we discuss the defunct Dragonfly Lane, and Carrie Medlin's beautiful fantasy designs. Dragonfly Lane - Sea Dragons Cover Stash Antiquities: Welcome to a new class of reviews, for the designers who are no longer in business. I offer these reviews to showcase works that newer stitcher's 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 Dragonfly Lane charts when poking around. If you do, or if you are a shop owner who has some of these still in stock, please comment below.
Mushroom Fairy
Mushroom Fairy

From the Designer

All of my designs are from sketches, in fact I just posted on Facebook the original sea dragon sketch that became a cross stitch design.  My experience as a self published designer was fun, the online cross stitch shops were supportive and DMC was generous with metallic samples. I changed directions and put my focus on Colorado Dragonfly and my cleaning business to support my family, since I've been a single parent for many many years. 🙂 I do still like to stitch, when I can find the time and the last two  things I actually finished were Mirabilia. 😉 In fact a lovely lady in Queensland (Marilyn Sykes) was my cross stitch supply fairy and sent me the charts and beads for them. 🙂
Sea Dragon Original Sketch Photo Courtesy of Carrie Medlin
Sea Dragon Original Sketch
Photo Courtesy of Carrie Medlin

Why this designer?

Carrie Medlin burst on the cross stitch scene in 2004 with these marvellous designs.  Carrie is now using her artistic talents to create beautiful hardwood inlays for floors, wall hangings and furniture. She is so clever and talented; see Colorado Dragonfly for images of her work. In the early 2000s hand dyed fabric was just becoming accepted in the cross stitch world and the first hand dyers Enchanted Needle, Sugar Maple Fabrics and Picture This Plus were just making their mark. Carrie used these fabrics to great effect for her fantasy designs; especially Inquisitive Dragon.  This is such a minimalist design that it would work on any hand dyed fabric. In Mushroom Fairy, her one design on white fabric, Carrie used one over one to give the bee more detail. Carrie was one of the first designers to start the new trend of including one over one segments in two over two charts.  These days that trend is most often used to give more definition to arms and faces. Carries designs used hand dyed fabrics, Kreinik blending filament, Kreinik #4 Very Fine Braid, Rainbow Gallery Petite Treasure Braid, Rainbow Gallery Hi-Lights and Mill Hill Glass Beads. Carries designs use whole cross stitch, partial cross stitch, backstitch and beads to create her wonderful designs.  I recommend them for an adventurous beginner to advanced fantasy lover. Plus she designed two hippocampus designs - where else do you find hippocampus in cross stitch?

Review

As these are older designs, they were only ever supplied in printed leaflet form.  The charts are on US Letter (A4) paper with a cover page showing a colour image of the stitched design. The charts are computer generated (not hand-drawn) with a variety of floss symbols.  It is easy to differentiate between them. Unfortunately, the grid lines are quite small, there are many symbols on the one page and thus these charts may need to be enlarged to stitch.  This is typical of charts from this time and mainly due to using fewer pages to keep printing and postage costs down. Also note the later designs include a three-row overlap on later chart pages; the early charts do not.  For those you will need to count carefully, however all Dragonfly Lane charts include stitch markers (stitch ruler) on each page so you can easily make sure your rows line up. All the Dragonfly Lane charts use different coloured lines to map out the backstitching. These are thin lines, but the differing colours make the backstitch very easy to see on the charts, and they don;t obscure any of the cross stitch symbols.  More designers should use this technique. The back cover lists all the information needed to stitch the chart; stitch count, fabric used in the model stitch, floss list and symbol key, and detailed backstitch instructions.  Everything you want on the back cover. All Dragonfly Lane designs can be stitched on Aida or evenweave.  Given the use of quarter stitches in these designs I would use an evenweave; but if quarter stitches on Aida doesn't bother you, then stitch it on Aida. Dragonfly Lane - Inquisistive Dragon

Gallery

Mushroom Fairy
Mushroom Fairy
The Mushroom Fairy 1 skein each DMC 310, 327, 356, 433, 434, 435, 437, 469, 470, 471, 472, 550, 552, 553, 554, 712, 738, 739, 754, 758, 814, 815, 816, 818, 824, 826, 902, 934, 935, 948 1 spool each Kreinik BF 013 Beige, 032 Pearl 1 spool Kreinik #4 Braid 060 Midnight Stitchcount 156 x 181.  Model stitched on Zweigart 32ct White Lugana.
 Inquisitive Dragon
Inquisitive Dragon
The Inquisitive Dragon 1 skein each DMC 169, 310, 413, 930, 931, 932, 3750, 3752, 3799 1 spool Kreinik BF 005 Black 1 spool each Rainbow Gallery Petite Braid PB05 Black, PB18 Midnight Blue, and PH02 Silver High Gloss. Stitch count 135 x 186.  Model stitched on Picture This Plus 28ct “Carnival Crystal” Cashel Linen.
Athena
Athena
Athena: Hippocampus Part 1 1 skein each DMC 221, 224, 561, 562, 563, 747, 823, 939, 3024, 3721, 3847, 3848, 3849, 3866 1 spool Kreinik BF 033 Royal Blue 1 spool each Kreinik #4 braid: 421 Azalea, 622 Wedgwood Blue and 3202 Cat's Eye 2 cards Rainbow Gallery Hi-Lights H625 White Pearl 1 card Rainbow Gallery Petite Treasure Braid PB01 Bright Gold 1 packet each Mill Hill Beads 00161 Crystal and 02015 Sea Blue Stitch count 182 x 321.  Model stitched on Sugar Maple Fabrics 28ct “Moon Princess” Lugana.
Arameth
Arameth
Arameth: Hippocampus Part 2 1 skein each DMC 221, 224, 561, 562, 563, 648, 747, 823, 939, 3024, 3721, 3847, 3848, 3849, 3866 1 spool Kreinik BF 033 Royal Blue 1 spool each Kreinik #4 braid: 421 Azalea, 622 Wedgwood Blue and 3202 Cat's Eye 4 cards Rainbow Gallery Hi-Lights H625 White Pearl 1 card Rainbow Gallery Petite Treasure Braid PB01 Bright Gold 1 packet each Mill Hill Beads 00161 Crystal and 02015 Sea Blue Stitch count 188 x 323.  Model stitched on Sugar Maple Fabrics 28ct “Moon Princess” Lugana.
Sea Dragons
Sea Dragons
Sea Dragons 1 skein each DMC 304, 310, 420, 550, 552, 561 666, 676, 677, 680, 729, 746, 924. 1 skein DMC Light Effects Precious Metals E3821  Light Gold (formerly DMC 5282) 1 spool Kreinik BF 003 Red, 012 Purple, 061 Ruby, 091 Star Yellow. 1 spool each Kreinik #4 braid: 009 Emerald 1 card Rainbow Gallery Petite Treasure Braid PB01 Bright Gold and PB14 Bronze 1 packet each Mill Hill Beads 00561 Ice Green, 02025 Heather and 42029 Petite Tapestry Teal. Stitch count 232 x 231.  Model stitched on Sugar Maple Fabrics 32ct “Shimmering Ocean” .

Places to Buy

Carrie says:
I have all of the designs I think in PCStitch format, including a few that were never sold. I never sold any copyrights so they are all still my designs.
Lets see if we can convince her release the new designs (including a baby hippocampus!) and sell the others again! Paw Prints – have closed down but still has some Dragonfly Lane 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 most of the Dragonfly Lane designs used fabrics from hand dyers no longer in business, here are some current dyers' suggestions. Permission has been granted from the designer for overlays to be used on Cross Stitch Review. Crafty Kitten "All of those will work brilliantly on a lot of colours.  For the aquatic ones sunlit water, waterfall, blue pearl or winter skies or maybe winter sunset." "The dragon, Ember or Autumnal Woodland if you want bold, something more subtle hint of autumn or fallen leaf." "The fairy I would probably go with fairy forest." Crafty Kitten is also running a competition on her site: any orders placed in January over £10 would go into a draw for a £10 Crafty Kitten gift voucher. Colour Cascade Fabrics recommends "Inquisitive Dragon on Dragons Breath or Dragon Queen" Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 27 February 2015. Sparklies "Arameth and Athena would look great on Aquarius or Caribbean Blue." Chromatic Alchemy  "I just had to pick Inquisitive Dragon for today....he is so regal. I have paired him with Cirrus as I think he looks like he should be a water/frost dragon....or maybe perhaps it's because I have a thing for blue" Fiberlicious "Shades of grey with blending filament will look great on the inquisitive dragon."

Discussion

Have you stitched any of these designs? Do you have any of these in your stash (paper or digital)?  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 Dragonfly Lane designs, please share it with your friends. Last Updated: 28 January 2015

Evening Flight by Alchemy Stitchcraft

Today we have a timeless chart; tranquil in looks, with Hardanger! Alchemy Stitchcraft - Evening Flight

From the Designer

Design features a flight of colourful hot air balloons, worked in a variety of counted thread stitches, using solid-coloured and overdyed cottons, metallic threads and beads, against a sunset sky of Hardanger, pulled and drawn thread clouds. This is a companion to Summer Skies. Combining Cross Stitch, Counted Thread Embroidery, Hardanger, Beadwork, Silk Ribbon Embroidery and more, our clear diagrams and instructions are designed to help the Cross Stitcher explore the world of speciality stitching.

Why this chart?

I love the design, the hot air balloons against a dusk sky; it looks so calm and peaceful.  I adore the hardanger and drawn thread clouds. Change the colour of the backing board and you can really change the look of this piece.  Instead of light blue peeking from inside the clouds, imagine a white or black or hand coloured sunset... Christine Wilkins produced the Alchemy Stitchcraft range of designs in the early 2000s. Most of her designs used drawn thread work and specialty stitches to crate wonderful pieces of art. Evening Flight uses Rice Stitch, Elongated Cross Stitch, Modified Rhodes stitch, Satin stitch, Bargallo, Rhodes Star, Partial Eyelets, Straight Stitch, Diagonal Satin stitch,Kloster Blocks, Woven Bars, Dove's Eyes, Honeycomb stitch, Drawn thread, Hemstitching, Herringbone stitch, Woven Bars, Square Filets, Window stitch, Cable Stitch and Wave stitch as well as the usual whole cross stitch and back-stitch. Due to the number and type of specialty stitches, I recommend this for an intermediate or advanced stitcher. Alchemy Stitchcraft - Evening Flight Closeup

Review

Alchemy Stitchcraft designs were only ever available as printed charts.  May charts included optional "goody bags" which contained specialty threads and beads used in the design. The Evening Flight chart pack included the cover page, one page of the chart and four pages of stitching instructions. The one page chart is very small, too small to discern the individual cross stitch symbols.  This chart was produced as an adjunct to the stitching instructions. The four pages of stitching instructions include the stitch count and size of finished design on 28ct fabric, the floss and fabric used in the model and instructions on the design. These instructions tell you where to start stitching, which floss to use and the stitch style to use. Each stitch style is explained with words and two-colour diagrams. Although these are succinct in their explanation, I believe they are sufficiently detailed for the intermediate level stitcher.  If you are completely new to Hardanger I suggest you check out some YouTube videos, such as this one: If your eyesight is not up to the such detailed work on 28ct fabric, feel free to use 22ct Hardanger fabric or any other count of evenweave. This design is not recommended for Aida due to the drawn thread work.

Materials Required

To stitch the charts exactly as designed, you will need: Threadworx 1150 Funky Lilac 1 skein of ThreadworX 1150 Funky Lilac (previously Needle Necessities 191 Harlequin)   Anchor 008 Light Salmon 1 skein Anchor 008 Salmon Light (similar to DMC 3824)   Anchor 068 Medium Light Raspberry 1 skein Anchor 068 Medium Light Raspberry (similar to DMC  3687)   Anchor 110 Medium Lavender1 skein Anchor 110 Medium Lavender (similar to DMC 208)   Kreinik 4 - 242HL Magenta Sunset   1 spool Kreinik #4 Very Fine Braid  242HL Magenta Sunset Hi Lustre     Kreinik 4 - 9192 Light Peach   1 spool Kreinik #4 Very Fine Braid 9192 Light Peach   Kreinik Silk Serica - 6123 Light Dusty Lavender1 spool Kreinik Silk Serica 6123 Light Dusty Lavender Kreinik Silk Bella - 6123 Light Dusty Lavender1 spool Kreinik Silk Bella  6123 Light Dusty Lavender
Mill Hill 03057 Cherry Sorbet
1 packet Mill Hill Beads 03057 Cherry Sorbet
28ct Silkweavers "Dusk" Cashel linen (stitch count 54 x 120). This design can only be stitched over 2 due to the specialty stitches.
For 28ct evenweave or linen (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 10” x 15”  or  25 x 37 cm  or  a fat eighth (13 x 18″).

Approximate cost for Project

Approximate cost to stitch this design using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do  not include postage): Chart: $10.70 Floss:  $ 23.70 Fabric: $  5.75 Total: $40.15 ($61.55 AUD or €46.45 or  £33.60)

Places to Buy

Alchemy Stitchcraft will sell the Charts and Goody Bags direct to the public if you cannot find them any other way.  Email Christine and let her know which designs you are interested in. The optional extra "Goody Bags" for Evening Flight are great value: Goody Bag A: £1.60  ($2.45 US) ThreadworX 1150 Funky Lilac (previously Needle Necessities 191) Mill Hill Beads 03057 Cherry Sorbet Goody Bag B: £11.50 ($17.60 US) ThreadworX 1150 Funky Lilac (previously Needle Necessities 191) Mill Hill Beads 03057 Cherry Sorbet 10 x 15" piece of 28ct Silkweavers "Dusk" Cashel linen
Goody Bag B
Goody Bag B
  Australia: Colours Down Under has some of the threads and a variety of plain fabrics in stock. Jo would be happy to order in the chart, and offers a 10% discount on the package (chart + floss). Mention this review when ordering. Colour Cascade Fabrics suggests " Barbie Girl or Pretty In Pink". Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 27 February 2015. Canada: Traditional Stitches in Calgary has some of the threads and a variety of fabrics in stock. 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 "That’s a lovely design, I would go with Evening Sky, Sunset Sky (probably this one) or Apricot Sunset." Polstitches Needs a little light fabric i would say possibly Dawn Chorus or the new Raindrops! Chromatic Alchemy  "I have paired Evening Flight with Halcyon, it reminds me of those glorious pink-hued evening autumn skies but it is also subtle enough to not steal the show from that wonderful cutwork!" Thread Pickerz Silkz "I would use a selection of complimentary colours maybe grapes and wine, amethyst and candyfloss." United States: 123Stitch has some 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 some of the recommended materials in stock for you. Wasatch Needlecraft can order in the chart and has some floss and fabrics available in stock. Fiberlicious "This is such an amazing hardanger design! It screams freedom and adventure. The balloon reminds me a lot of a Pixar’s animation called “Up”. I would suggest using Poppyfield, Hummingbird and Apricot Sunshine (silks) to stitch this beautiful design." Silkweaver Fabrics has the recommended Dusk in stock. Under the Sea Fabrics "I'd use Witching Hour for a night sky or Shimmering Seas for a warm sunny sky affect."

Discussion

Would you stitch this chart?  Do you love or loathe those that have more than just whole cross stitches? If you liked the review, please share it with your friends.

Last Updated: 22 January 2015  

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

Antiquity: SzuLet Creations

Today we discuss the defunct SzuLet Creations, and Letty's beautiful, uncomplicated designs.  A Lady's Fancy Stash Antiquities: Welcome to a new class of reviews, for the designers who are no longer in business. These reviews are presented 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 Szulet Creations 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.
Spotted Butterfly Stitched by Mel Using recommended fabric and floss
Spotted Butterfly
Stitched by Mel
Using recommended fabric and floss

Why this designer?

Leticia Chen stopped designing and closed SzuLet Creations five years ago due to illegal chart theft.  Prior to that she had a line of whimsical, uncomplicated designs that could be stitched by any stitcher, from beginners through to advanced stitchers. All her designs are combinations of full cross stitch and back-stitch. She was one of the first to incorporate hand dyed fabrics and later hand dyed threads as part of her designs rather than using them as an adjunct to the main picture. I have a five or six of SzuLet Creations charts in my stash including one finish (Spotted Butterfly) and one Work in Progress (Excellence).
Excellence Mel's Work in Progress
Excellence
Mel's Work in Progress
Using recommended fabric and floss

Review

All of the SzuLet Creations designs were available  via Digital download or printed chart.  I have both. The content of formats is the same. If you print out your PDF file, it will look the same as the bought printed chart. The front cover of each chart shows a picture of the stitched model. All of Letty's designs were model stitched before they were released as charts. The second page lists all the pertinent information; the stitch count, the design size on a standard range of fabric counts, what fabric was used in the model, the floss list and the floss key.  Personally I prefer this to be on the back cover of a printed chart, but I'm glad that all the information was provided somewhere. SzuLet Creations charts are printed in black symbols on white US-Letter (A4) paper. All of the symbols are easy to see and quite easy to differentiate.  Letty uses differing size grids for her designs, but all in my stash are large enough to see and stitch from without enlarging. My only concern is that she uses the relevant floss colour to denote the backstitching.  This is great in A Lady's Fancy where the backstitching is in red, but not so good in Spotted Butterfly where the backstitch is in silver. Due to the large grid and symbol size, each chart is two to four pages in length.  Letty did not give any overlap rows between pages, so you have to be careful when changing from one chart page to the next.  She did provide a 10x10 grid and gridline numbers to help you keep your place. The last page in each chart pack has a diagram showing how the chart pages fit together.  Letty also also states the following:
You are permitted to make a working copy from the original, but please make sure it gets destroyed after you are done with the project.
All of the SzuLet designs can be stitched over one or over two, so select your favourite Aida or evenweave fabric, some favourite threads and start stitching.

Gallery

Szulet - A Lady's Fancy A Lady's Fancy: 1 skein DMC 761 Light salmon 1 skein DMC 840 Beige Brown medium 1 skein DMC 3328 Dark Salmon 1 skein DMC 3727 Antique Mauve Stitchcount 118 x 113.  Modelstitched on Dreams with Angels "Light Desert Rose" 18ct Aida. Szulet - Spotted Butterfly Spotted Butterfly: 1 skein DMC 312 1 skein DMC 322 1 skein DMC 334 1 skein DMC 415 1 skein DMC 762 1 skein DMC 809 1 spool Kreinik Braid 001 Silver Stitchcount 152 x 93.  Modelstitched on Dreams with Angels "Sky" 18ct Aida. Szulet - Royal Royal: 1 skein The Dye is Cast Lilac Dew (similar to DMC 153) 1 skein The Dye is Cast Bamboo (similar to DMC 369) 1 skein The Dye is Cast Nightshade (similar to DMC 3740) 1 skein The Dye is Cast Gold Coin (similar to DMC 3823) Stitchcount 130 x 146.  Modelstitched on Enchanted Fabrics "Hand Painted Sunshine" 32ct evenweave. Szulet - Purple MajestyPurple Majesty: no information known Szulet - Queen of Fire Queen of Fire: no information known Szulet - Imagination Imagination: Equips us to see a reality we have yet to create 2 skeins Carries Creations Jelly Fish Stitchcount 300 x 146.  Modelstitched on Stab & Stash "Blush" 32ct evenweave. Szulet - Excellence Excellence: Gradual result of always striving to do better 2 skeins Carries Creations Gold Glow 1 skein DMC 3011 Stitchcount 181 x 60.  Modelstitched on Sassy Fabbys "Ocean Fantasy" 32ct linen. Szulet - Spring Hibiscus Spring Hibiscus: Floss unkown Stitchcount unknown.  Modelstitched on Sassy Fabbys "Spring Green"  28ct  evenweave Szulet - Summer Hibiscus Summer Hibiscus: Floss unkown Stitchcount unknown.  Modelstitched on Sassy Fabbys "Hyacinth"  28ct  evenweave Szulet - Autumn Hibiscus Autumn Hibiscus: Floss unkown Stitchcount unknown.  Modelstitched on Sassy Fabbys "Lemongrass"  28ct  evenweave Suzlet - Good Luck KnotGood Luck Knot: no information known Szulet - Endless Knot Endless Knot: no information known Szulet - Good Fortune Knot Good Fortune Knot: no information known Szulet - Dream Dream: Floss unkown Stitchcount unknown.  Modelstitched on Sassy Fabbys "Into the Sky"  28ct  evenweave

Places to Buy

SzuLet Creations ceased cross stitch sales five years ago, however Letty is currently selling off all of her cross stitch stash and that will include her last remaining stock of charts.  Look to her Facebook Group for further news. My Special Stitches - I've never used this online store, but they seem to have some designs in stock.

Hand Dyer Suggestions

As these designs call for hand dyed fabric and floss from companies that are no longer available, some hand dyers have suggested their own take on kitting up the designs.  Of course it's easy to tell which was the most popular butterfly! Colour Cascade Fabrics Tammy suggests using Misty Mountain Hop for Royal Butterfly. Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 27 February 2015. Under the Sea Fabrics " I really think Royal Butterfly would be stunning on Sugar Plum Fairies" Chromatic Alchemy  "I have chosen just one of these wonderful butterflies to play with and as I'm a sucker for colour it had to be our bright red and yellow friend. I have chosen Halcyon, I feel the blues contrast wonderfully with the yellow and the pinks complement the red." Crafty Kitten suggests "Royal butterfly candytuft or lavender mist or butterfly blush as fabrics. I'd maybe use twilight shadows as the darker thread and select a DMC to taste for the others." Sparklies "I chose 'A Ladys Fancy'. I'm not sure how many different colours there are in this but I would suggest Morning Glory for the outline of the butterfly, with Violets & Cornflowers, Sugar Mice and Hunnybunny to fill the various areas, all stitched on Lilac Ice." Fiberlicious has a range of gradient coloured cottons and silks to stitch your fairies.  Fiberlicious has a 15%  off sale until Jan 11.  Nguyen offers an additional discount of 5% for readers of Cross Stitch Review (20% in total). Just let Nguyen know you read this site when you place your order. "For the butterfly of Szulet Creations, I would suggest Shades of Purple (for those who like subtle changes in colors) or Sumantra Haze and Spring Breeze (for those who like more variegated). These two last colors are available in silks as well. They can be stitched on either plain white fabric or solid/slightly mottled hand dyed fabrics. Hand dyed flosses might be lost in a piece of hand dyed fabric that has too much color changes." Thread Pickerz Silks Eileen of Thread Pickerz also kindly offers a 10% discount on her floss to Cross Stitch Review readers. Use code:  xstitchreview .  This works in conjunction with other offers (such as free postage for spending over £30uk / £70 international) but cannot be used with other discount codes. Code expires 8 January 2016. “A Lady's Fancy: Fabric Peach Sorbet by Crafty Kitten. The outline colour in Burgundy with Candyfloss as the main colour and Pink Raver for spots/details.” "Royal butterfly - Main butterfly colour in Amethyst with Pinkple used in the light patches. The border can be done with Purple Twonk and Pinkple (if you want to stay in the purple scheme) or l.u.e. (life universe and everything) with Amethyst details. Something like Lavender Mist or Icicle would be nice as fabric from crafty kitten."

Discussion

Have you stitched any of these designs? Do you have any of these in your stash (paper or digital)?  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 SzuLet Creations designs, please share it with your friends. Last Updated: 8 January 2015