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