Apocalypse Princesses (Fowler) by Paine Free Crafts


For today’s Art-to-Stitch Wednesday we have a wonderful re-imagining of some familiar faces and another giveaway! OMG I forgot the giveaway. adding that now!

Paine Free Crafts - Apocalypse Princesses Cover

From the Artist

There have been so many widespread visceral responses to “Apocalypse Princesses”. I’ve heard gripes about me putting Mulan in the wrong attire, bitching about the corsets and feminine clothing, and even one rant about how it’s not the Apocalypse if it doesn’t look like a Mad Max movie.

I warned people they wouldn’t like my take on the Disney princesses. Each and every one of those princesses in their respective movies were sexual. I don’t care how you want to skew it. They dripped with sex. With their tight little outfits, and their pouty lips and their big doe eyes. They were all fantasies. (Yes even Mulan so you shut up too) Be it by the symbolism of their situations, or the actual physical attributes they were given, they were colorful representations of females in male dominated worlds.

I drew them still clad in the colorful symbolism they were created in. But I turned it on it’s ear. Behind every one of them is evidence that she’s on her own, and that her male love interest has either died, is missing, or has been murdered in a couple of cases. They are recognizable because of the colors and costumes they still wear. But evidence of the changes are very much present. They took what was at hand, and used it. Some have changed a lot. Some not so much.

You’re looking at the demise of their perfect happily ever after storylines. THAT is the Apocalypse.

Get it?

Yeah…you thought it was just a bunch of boobies, huh?

Cinderella is the Ghost. I imagine her out on the dunes, lost and a little sad. Snow is the Poisons Expert, hence the shrunken dwarf heads. They were an experiment that went awry. Tink has a St Christopher statue tied to her wings. I imagine her being the aerial assault. And her wings are held together with duct tape. Wendy is the leader. She has a thimble around her neck. And a croc tattoo. Esmeralda has a Djali goat embroidery on her vest. And sunbursts on the front of her vest. She’s the thief, of course. Ariel is mutated by toxic waste, as is Flounder. Her jewelry is made of shells and sea trash. Alice is the explosives expert. Aurora is the Dragonslayer celebrating with a cigarette and champagne. Belle killed the beast. Hence the skull and half breed baby…and necklace of teeth. Jasmine is her father’s personal bodyguard. Hence the tiger death mask. Mulan is the assassin.

Most of their male counterparts ended up unable to survive. Or left them alone.

Cinderella escaped the castle, where her prince was hell bent on leading his people to devastation. Then he was overthrown and murdered in the midst of the impending chaos. Snow took her fated poisoning and turned it around by learning the trade. Who needs saving, or protection, when you can avoid the danger, and use it to your advantage? Tink does for herself, using her skills to fight the pirates. Wendy took leadership when Pan was gone. Esmeralda took to the streets when her soldier love left her (remember the book?) Ariel went back to the water when her prince was murdered. Sleeping Beauty had to slay her own dragon. Belle’s obviously been raped and imprisoned. (See the baby?) She killed her tormenter. But she kept the child. Jasmine protects her father now that her hapless husband was killed in the war. She kept his monkey, though. Mulan to me is the pansexual. She is an assassin, and utilizes everything at her disposal. And she LIKES it. Alice is the perpetual child, hell bent on the magic of destruction.

Apocalypse princesses - mock up of stitched design
Apocalypse princesses – mock up of stitched design

What is it?

Apocalypse Princesses is a drawing by Tess Fowler, digitally coloured. It has been translated into cross stitch by Sarah Paine of Paine Free Crafts.

Note: Please respect our artists. Your work will be a labour of love for months and years to come. Buy from reputable designers such as those reviewed on this site. They support the artists who produce the original works. By buying cheap art-to-stitch designs, you are likely buying from a designer who is not paying royalties or licensing and the chart is likely to be low quality. Without support, our artists cannot thrive. Your time, and theirs are worth more.

Why this chart?

I love alternative history and re-imaginings of familiar fictional characters. Yes I love Steampunk, diesel punk, cyber punk, dystopian futures and Gothic histories. I love anything that plays with the familiar.

I love Apocalypse Princesses specifically because of the detail in each character, the small items of familiarity in a very unfamiliar image.  Cinderella’s pumpkin hairpiece, the teddy bear near Wendy, the  shapes of Alice’s bottles.  Seriously, have a look at the high-definition original artwork and just pore over those details.

The majority of art-to-stitch designs are fully stitched, in that the background is treated as part of the picture so every square is stitched. In this design, some of the Princesses step out of the border in this piece so the ground fabric can be seen.  This is a great design to show off some hand dyed fabrics rathan than that white edging.

Apocalypse Princesses is technically a simple design as it only uses whole cross stitch.  However this is a very large chart, so focus on the journey and not the completion.  Watch and delight as each detail emerges from under your needle.

As this design was digitally coloured, there is an almost cartoon-like effect of separate bright bold colours; it does not have the imperceptible shading of a realistic painting. Thus, the design is easier to stitch; there are ebbs and flows of single colours taking you between the intricate details.  This is a design that leads you from one element to the next.

If you like this design, but think that it might be a little too daunting, Sarah does offer some of the Princesses individually, such as Tink.

Paine Free Crafts Apocalypse Princesses Tink
Paine Free Crafts
Apocalypse Princesses Tink

Review

Paine Free Crafts designs are available as Digital PDF files, printed charts and full kits. I have the digital download in PDF form.

The chart file includes:

  • Front cover page, with computer mockup of the design (not the original artwork), links to the artist’s pages, stitch count and size on 25count evenweave. I love that Sarah has included embedded links to the artist’s website, Facebook page and DeviantArt page.
  • A page of chart instructions for stitching any Paine Free Crafts art-to-stitch design.
  • The 64 page chart, gridded in 5 x 5 (rather than the usual 10 x 10). Each page has a small diagram on the bottom left corner of the page showing where that page fits within the over design.
  • Two pages of floss list and key legend.  I like that Sarah includes a tiny picture of the floss colour, and full colour name as well as the usual DMC floss colour.  This makes it so much easier to dig through the floss stash looking for that elusive skein.
  • Two page floss usage list; this includes the number of stitches as well as the skein amounts.  If you change from the recommended two threads on 25 count fabric, the number of stitches can help you identify how much of each floss colour you need.

As is usual with art-to-stitch designs, you have to open the pack to see what floss is needed to stitch this work of art.  The website does not even list this information. However Paine Free Crafts does offer a kitting service, so you can buy the kit if you want to stitch it immediately. Kits are available in a variety of fabrics with the floss amounts changed accordingly.

Edit: According to Sarah, she does not include the floss list on the website or in the kits to prevent copyright theft.

  • The kits go out without a DMC colour key (but fully sorted threads on organisers, with symbols on). The kit charts are not watermarked.
  • The PDF and printed charts are watermarked, with floss list and floss key , however the floss key is different to that of the kits.

This is all done so someone cannot copy and upload an unmarked chart from the kit along with the floss list/key from a chart or her website, as the symbols will not match.

The chart is provided using black symbols on white pages.  The grid-work is large in that it only uses 62 x 82 stitches per page. This is easy to see and stitch from, without the need to enlarge. if you stitch from paper, I would print these pages on the best setting.  A couple of the symbols, notably the flower head, heave a tendency to print very light.

Each subsequent page has a two-row overlap which combined with the obvious 5 x 5 gridlines really help to keep your place and as a great aid to those who stitch using the parking method.

My Experience

Helen White – Chart is very easy to read. I started out with a printed chart but have converted to tablet apps now but it was very easy to read. It is an easy stitch too, I love watching the details appear before me. I get so immersed in stitching then I stop for a few minutes and look at it and there is a face appearing. Absolutely love it. I found the original image too and posted it on Sarah’s wall. She had the contract signed and chart created in less than 72 hours if I remember correctly.

Helen White's Work in Progress Stitching 2 x 1 on 25 count Photo and stitching courtesy of Helen White
Helen White’s Work in Progress
Stitching 2 x 1 on 25 count
Photo and stitching courtesy of Helen White

 

Kim Nield – Sarah’s great with questions, queries, etc. Love stitching the project, lovely clear chart and the detail stitches up beautifully!

Kim Nield's Work in Progress Photo and stitching courtesy of Kim Nield
Kim Nield’s Work in Progress
Photo and stitching courtesy of Kim Nield

 

Nikki Howe – I find her charts are easy to follow and the fact there is no back stitching is a bonus. Stitching apocalypse princesses on 25ct 1×1 full crosses. I have another four or five of hers on the go too including Life and Death.

Nikki Howe's Work in Progress Stitching 1 x 1 on 25 count Photo and stitching courtesy of Nikki Howe
Nikki Howe’s Work in Progress
Stitching 1 x 1 on 25 count
Photo and stitching courtesy of Nikki Howe

 

Jenn Bell – Paine Free Crafts charts are clear, concise and easy to follow. The colours are vibrant and I love that I can easily see the design come to fruition stitch by stitch, page to page.

Jenn Bell’s Work in Progress Photo and stitching courtesy of Jenn Bell
Jenn Bell’s Work in Progress
Photo and stitching courtesy of Jenn Bell

Materials Required

To stitch the charts exactly as designed (2 strands of floss over one thread on 25 count fabric), you will need:

1 skein each DMC 151, 158, 223, 224, 311, 318, 327, 334, 347, 350, 356, 400, 407, 414, 415, 519, 520, 597, 612, 644, 701, 730, 800, 807, 809, 813, 814, 815, 826, 833, 912, 924, 928, 950, 954, 964, 966, 989, 993, 3023, 3033, 3041, 3046, 3047, 3064, 3078, 3348, 3350, 3363, 3371, 3689, 3708, 3716, 3733, 3746, 3747, 3761, 3766, 3772, 3799, 3801, 3814, 3820, 3836, 3842, 3846.

2 skeins each DMC 312, 317, 420, 451, 640, 648, 677, 747, 898, 939, 945, 3787, 3815, 3822, 3823, 3856, 3860, 3861, 3863, 3864, 3866.

3 skeins each DMC 535, 934, 951.

4 skeins DMC 931 Blue Grey

13 skeins DMC 3895 Winter White (for background)

14 skeins DMC 310 Black

25 count Evenweave or Magic Guide fabric  (stitch count 455 x 596). Stitched  one over one with the a 3″ border allowance, fabric size needed is:  24¼″x 30″ or 62 x 76cm  or a medium pack of 25ct Magic Guide (30 x 39″)  or normal fabric’s fat half  (27″ x 36″).

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

 

For 14ct Aida or 28ct evenweave (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 39” x 49”  or  98 x 124cm or  a large pack of 14ct Magic Guide (39 x 60″)  or a normal fabric larger than a yard – specialty cut (39″ x 49″).

Approximate cost for Project

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

Chart: $16.90 (PDF)
Floss:  $ 66.60
Fabric: $19.80

Total: $103.25  ($192.55 AUD or €178.70  or  £152.70)

Places to Buy

Paine Free Crafts sells digital charts, printed charts and kits worldwide. The kits prices direct from Paine Free Crafts are cheaper than buying the individual pieces from your Local Needlework Shop because they only include the cut of fabric and the amount of floss you need instead of a full fat half and full skeins of floss.

Australia:

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

Colour Cascade Fabrics “quite a few people have chosen Welcome to the Jungle for this chart, I think a few have even chosen Rocket Queen as they wanted a bright border” Tammy 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 all the recommended materials currently in stock waiting for you.

Crafty Kitten “I’d probably go something parchmenty, as it’s so solidly stitched an intricate hand dyed is a bit of a waste. Oatmeal would probably be my go to colour for it, or maybe Jurassic sands (assuming it’s stitched over 1 so you’re not going to want a dark colour)”

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

Sparklies “As long as the white in the pattern is stitched then something striking would look good with this, such as Purple Haze or Triton, or for a more moody look how about Maelstrom.”

Chromatic Alchemy  “The sassy apocalypse princesses are very cool…lots of colours work with this design as the piece itself has a range of colours that the fabric border can pick up on…ultimately I think the choice of mat and frame would sway any final decision.”

United States:

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

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

Under the Sea Fabrics ” For Apocalypse Princesses, I suggest Looking Glass. It will be pretty on with the design and the cool color is easy on the eyes when you’re doing fully stitched pieces.”

Giveaway

Sarah Paine has kindly offered one free Paine Free Crafts chart of your choice.  To enter simply comment on this post.

Contest is open to anywhere in the world. Whilst we love comments and sharing via social media, only comments on this post will be eligible for entry.

Mel will use her trusty digital magic eight ball to decide the lucky Cross Stitch Review reader and then contact the winner and Sarah.

Contest closes FOUR weeks from Publish; midday, 4 Feb 2014, Melbourne, Australia time (UTC+11 hours).

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: 8 January 2015

 

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Jingle Bells by Tea Party Revolution

As a naughty nod to the festive season, Mel’s asked me to review one of my favourite seasonal stitches. We and Tea Party Revolution are offering a discount on the chart and a giveaway (because…umm….FESTIVE SEASON!)  Looks below for details – The snow leopard may kill you with cute!

Tea Party Revolution - Jingle Bells

From the Designer

Meet Jingle Bells, Kandi Kane’s… “partner” – he was finished the 10th of December (2008), so it pretty much hot off the presses and just as hot as he is a new design from Lilly Kitten for Christmas 08! (Received from Lilly Kitten on the 9th!)

What is it?

Tea Party revolution’s designs are available exclusively through ETSY.  She has a variety of patterns of varying levels of ‘social acceptability’, many are more ‘appropriate for a variety of environments’ than Jingle Bells! Her designs are based on Lilly Kitten’s art.

Why this chart?

Now before anyone get’s offended at ‘objectifying’ men, I should point out that ‘Jingle bells’ is the second of Tea Party Revolution’s patterns that I’ve stitched. I’ve already finished and framed ‘Been Naughty‘. So in my defense, I’m gender neutral in my objectification.

Been Naughty - Stitched by Julie
Been Naughty – Stitched by Julie

I’m stitching Jingle Bells because it tickles my wicked sense of humour. Amongst all the lights, glitter, hype, marketing and drama of the festive season, my day is made just a bit brighter by a topless man with a collar and leash around his neck. (Can I get a ‘Hell yeah’? Who’s with me?)

I love Tea Party Revolution’s (TPR) charts. The big, cartoon-like art is easy and relaxing to stitch. Thread your needle with black and set off on the outline…SIMPLE!!! Then fill in the outline with big, bold, festive colours. It’s just what I need during these busy days when we’re pulled in so many directions.

The pattern uses standard DMC and full crosses…SIMPLE!!!!! The hardest decision you’ll have to make is what fabric to choose.

Review

Jingle Bells is a WIP. He’s my go-to piece when I can’t face anything more complicated than ‘needle up-turn-needle down-repeat’.

I started him in February this year and was making good progress until I was distracted by another, prettier (better cheekbones), more challenging piece.

The simple design means that this pattern can carry off a more dramatic fabric and I’ve chosen an opalescent pale green hand-dye (Silkweaver 28ct Lugana Opalescent Spring Garden).

The pattern is provided via digital download. The pack is 9 pages (8 pattern and a floss/symbol list) and is black and white. If you print out your patterns, you may need to enlarge the pattern as the sheets are 75 X 85 stitches which is just on the edge of too small to work from. The sheets have a three row overlap on two edges and the symbols are clear and unambiguous.

The thread list provides estimated number of skeins. If I were going to make any changes to this pattern, I’d be tempted to add a metallic yellow to Jingle’s bells and I’ve often wondered whether his tattoos would benefit from a black silk thread rather than the standard DMC, to give a touch of richness.

I’d absolutely recommend this to a ‘beginning stitcher with adult sensibilities’.

Tea Party Revolutions - Jingle Bells - Julies Work in Progress
Tea Party Revolutions – Jingle Bells – Julie’s Work in Progress

Materials required

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

DMC Needed for Jingle Bells

 

Some skeins each of DMC 307, 310, 317, 321, 413, 415, 436, 437, 444, 445, 498, 666, 699, 700, 701, 702, 703, 712, 738, 739, 754, 758, 762, 797, 798, 973, 3771, 3799, 3801

DMC Satin S5200 - Snow White

 

1 skein DMC Satin S5200 – Snow White (formerly DMC Rayon 35200 – Snow White)

 

Any count Aida or Evenweave  (stitch count 186 x 279). This design can be stitched over 2 or over 1.  For 14ct Aida or 28ct evenweave (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 19½” x 26”  or  49x 66cm or  a fat half (27 x 36″).  You could squeeze this on a fat quarter but you would have to reduce your margins to 2″ only on either side of your fabric for framing.

Silkweavers Spring Garden
Silkweavers Spring Garden

Approximate cost for Project

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

Chart: $ 40.00
Floss:  $40.20 (assumed 3 skeins of each DMC colour)
Fabric: $48.95

Total: $103.89  ($177.45 AUD  or  €159.60  or  £116.45)

Places to Buy

Tea Party Revolutions sell their charts via PDF download or paper chart worldwide. For readers of this site, Jo is offering a 30% discount on any of her charts.  Use code: REVIEW30.  Offer ends 31 January 2015.

Australia:

Colours Down Under has all 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.

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

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

Chromatic Alchemy  “I have a shortlist of two for Been Naughty and Jingle Bells. I think Quiescence with spots is a nice subtle background that complements the pieces. However subtle these patterns are not, so for the brave stitchers I would recommend Radioactive for an ‘in your face’ look!”

United States:

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

Giveaway

To help you get into the spirit of the season (and perhaps add a little naughty to your nice if you feel so inclined), Tea Party Revolution are giving away one of her Christmas designs. To enter, tell me how you celebrate the holiday season where you are.

Contest is open to anywhere in the world. Whilst we love comments and sharing via social media, only comments on this post which include an answer to the giveaway question will be eligible for entry.

Julie will select her favourite answer and Mel will contact the winner and Tea Party Revolutions.

Contest closes TWO weeks from Publish; Midday, 7 January 2014, Melbourne time (UTC+11 hours).

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: 24 December 2014

 

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Tea (Dittman) by Heaven and Earth Designs

A guest review from a friend with more stitching time than sense.

HAED - Tea

From the Designer

Anna Dittmann’s work can be found under the username escume on www.deviantart.com.

What is it?

An art to stitch design, ‘Tea‘ was originally published as a print in 2014, coinciding with the release of season 4 of BBC’s Sherlock. It shows Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and is a watercolour interpretation of a scene from Season 2. It was converted to Cross stitch and made available via Heaven and Earth designs in April 2014.

Why this chart?

I blame Mel Hicks for this chart. In a moment of weakness we both succumb to ‘fangirl’ patterns (she to Bilbo Baggins, me to Sherlock Holmes). One of us is making solid progress, the other…not so much.

Heaven and Earth Designs have an excellent reputation for working with the designers, legally licencing their art and controlling illegal reproduction as far as they are able.

I’ve had mixed success with actually completing art to stitch designs in the past. I have three with less than 200 stitches completed, one finished bookmark and two solid WIPs (one being ‘Tea’).

So ‘why this chart?’ I could go on all day justifying this chart because it “fits with my tea and coffee themed genre” or “admiration of the artist” or even “Isn’t that a pretty shade of blue?” The truth, I fear, is more simple. I’m a shameless member of the Cumbercollective and if I’m going to tackle a chart with slightly less than 163,000 stitches, Benedict Cumberbatch is the man I’m going to spend an obscene amount of hours with.

tea closeup
Tea by Anna Dittman and Heaven and Earth Designs

Review

So let’s talk about the chart, and my experience stitching it.

I purchased ‘Tea’ as a digital download from Heaven and Earth (in the Large format).  This gives me the freedom to print a copy out if I so desire, or work on it with one of the many available tablet apps (I use GoodReader). The cover has a full colour picture of the finished art and includes stitch count, approximate size on 25ct and how many floss colours are needed.  It’s worth noting that this information is also available on the Heaven and Earth Designs site prior to purchase (just so you know what you’re letting yourself in for). The complete floss list is NOT available prior to purchase.

The chart itself is 42 A4 pages with three row overlap on top and left hand edges, which I’ve found sufficient for aligning while stitching. The symbols are clear and unambiguous. Even on a printed version (I have the luxury of zoom on my electronic copy) they are clearly readable.

The chart pack also has instructions and notes on how to stitch ‘Tea’.  It recommends stitching on 18 or 25ct with two threads over one. I, being the trend-setter that I am, chose to go with a non-standard choice of 20ct over one. Whatever fabric you choose, make sure you choose a weave that is comfortable for you because you’ll be stitching this for a LONG time. Also included are approximate thread requirements for each colour assuming the stitcher is using 25ct. All stitches are full crosses and there is no backstitching.

Also noteworthy is the fact that ‘Tea’, unlike many art to stitch designs does NOT have a fully stitched background. This makes fabric choice important as it will show around the finished design. The good news is that this also reduces the daunting  number of stitches somewhat.

My Experience

So let me tell you about my experience stitching this monster so far. I started the project I’ve fondly come to refer to as ‘Big Blue Batch’ in May.  Having done the obligatory hyperventilate over the size of the fabric, I made a conscious decision to start at the bottom left. Why? I’m glad you asked. Firstly, I wanted to get stuck into the full pages first (and Big Blue’s head has a LOT more white-space around it). You know the story, tackle the tough stuff first. Secondly, I was itching to get my fingers on that delightful watch down in the bottom corner. I wanted to see the resolution in stitches before I got in too deep.

What became clear very quickly was that 20ct evenweave was working for me. I’ve never been happy with the coverage of two threads over one on 18ct and I knew 25ct was beyond my eyesight to tolerate for long. 20ct was like Goldilocks….Juuuust right.

One page in and I was just skimming the bottom of the watchband and the tantalising glimpse of ‘something’ was enough to hook me. Yes, you heard it folks, this chart is the ultimate tease. You’re just reaching the ‘good bit’ on a page and it lures you onto the next one with a promise of fulfilment. But it delivers…and how! If you look at my progress shot further down you’ll see what I mean. You can see the hands on the watch! It is CLEARLY 9 o’clock.  If there was ever a chart that rewarded for putting the right colours in the right squares, it’s this one. (Am I ranting? Yes..I am..sorry).

The watch lead to the hand, the hand to the saucer, I followed the thumb knuckle up the edge of the robe and into the gentle folds of the collar. And that’s my next tip….When tackling a mammoth project like this, break it down. Give yourself a roadmap and follow it. All the instructions say to tackle these in 10X10 blocks and I have…sort of. What I do is I follow the 10X10 blocks with a goal to complete ‘something’. Look for identifiable ‘stuff’ and build around it. It helps me keep my motivation up.

I should also state …. you’ll make mistakes. I’ve made mistakes … LOADS of them. A stitch one too far right or a couple. Be smart! Work out if it will matter in *gulp* 163,000 stitches. Some will (on the watch face) and some won’t (in the broad expanse of his robe). If it matters, then unpick. If not….sigh, swear you’ll never make another mistake and move on. There’s a section in his robe that I KNOW has the wrong colour, it’s a shade too dark..or light..or green..or..something, but I defy you to pick it (I know I can’t). But there was also a section on the right that had the wrong colour and it was clearly visible (to me). I spent three laborious hours snipping and unpicking and I’m glad I did so. Learn what matters, draw a line for yourself and remember…This is supposed to be FUN! Don’t beat yourself up.

My final comment would be that this, surprisingly, has not been the nightmare I envisioned. There seems to be a reasonable flow to the pattern which seems to naturally break into ‘zones’. I haven’t felt that with my other HaED charts. For someone wanting to tackle their first ‘challenging’ project, this would be a good choice. However, projects this size are not for the faint of heart and unless you truly love the pattern, and are willing to commit months…and probably YEARS to it….buy it as a print and save yourself the grief.

Stitching Progress as of 10 December 2014
Stitching Progress as of 10 December 2014

Materials Required

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

1 skein each DMC 158, 159, 160, 161, 168, 311, 312, 317, 318,  334, 336, 413, 414, 501, 502, 503, 504, 517, 518, 519, 522, 524, 535, 550, 597, 645, 646, 762, 791, 792,  793, 794, 796, 797, 799, 803, 806, 807, 809, 813, 823, 824, 825, 826, 844, 924, 926, 927, 928, 930, 931, 932, 955, 958, 959, 964,  992, 993, 3021, 3024 3031,  3072, 3750, 3752, 3753, 3760, 3761, 3765, 3766, 3799, 3807, 3809, 3810 , 3813, 3816, 3817, 3839, 3842, 3848, 3849, 3865, white.

2 skeins each DMC 598, 747, 828, 939, 3768, 3811

3 skeins DMC 820, 3756

Approximately 100 skeins of DMC floss….ALL of them shades of blue and green! Seriously…I didn’t even know DMC made that many shades.

25 count White or Cream Evenweave  (stitch count 400 x 407). This design can be stitched over 2 or over 1, or on any other count, or on Magic Guide.

For 25ct evenweave (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 22” x 25”  or  56 x 68cm  or  a fat half (27 x 36″) or  medium pack (30 x 39″) of 25ct Magic Guide.

Zweigart - 25ct Lugana antique White

Approximate cost for Project

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

Chart: $19.00
Floss:  $ 81.00
Fabric: $23.00

Total: $87.00 ($160.00 AUD or €144.50  or  £114.00)

Places to Buy

Heaven and Earth Designs sell globally, both pdf digital charts and printed charts. Both in regular and large formats.

Australia:

Colours Down Under has all the threads and a variety of white and off white fabrics in stock. Jo would be happy to order in the printed chart, and offers a 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.

OzStitch has all the threads and a variety of white and off white fabrics in stock.

Europe:

Casa Cenina in Spain can order this chart in for you.  They also stock a variety of fabrics and floss for your unique creation.

United Kingdom:

Colray Crafts provides kits for Heaven and Earth Designs. COntact them for a quote.

Cross Stitch Heaven provides kits for Heaven and Earth Designs, contact Donna about kitting up Tea if you are interested.

SewandSo  stocks DMC, plain evenweave fabrics and DMC Magic Guide fabric.

Polstitches has a range of hand dyed fabrics to personalise your design.

Sparklies has a variety of her own hand dyed fabrics to make this design uniquely yours.

Chromatic Alchemy “I have chosen Quiescence (no spot version) for our tea drinking detective, subtle yet interesting and a good match for the blues in the piece.”

United States:

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

For Further Adventures

If you’d like to watch Big Blue come to life and chat to Julie about it she can be reached directly on Facebook or join the “Let’s Get This Done” Facebook group.

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: 16 December 2014

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Yo Ho Ho by Effervescent Designs

For Throwback Thursday we have a pirate!  Also don’t forget the giveaway for Let’s Do Coffee. Finally check out the Sales page as some end soon, including the special offer from OzStitch on Pharoah’s Hound and Pharoah’s Pet.

You Ho Ho by Effervescent Designs

From the Designer

I saw these little “pixel dolls” posted in signature blocks on online message boards wherever I went, once I started expanding my stitching community horizons. Unfamiliar with the trend, I thought, “Oh, those are cute,” and then got distracted by something else – until one day I followed a link posted with someone’s signature doll straight to Doll on the Hill Factory. I was amazed. I started to experiment with these beauties and quickly realized that while I might not use them for their intended purpose, I most certainly could spend the rest of my life stitching them. Considering their popularity, it occurred to me that others might feel as I do. I contacted Susanne Ohlsson, who has graciously allowed me to translate her art into needlework and share with you. We both hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed creating them.

What is it?

Yo Ho Ho is a cross stitch by Elizabeth Beeton of Effervescent Designs, based on a digital doll image from Susanne Ohlsson of Doll on the Hill Factory.

Why this chart?

Although digital dolls are out of fashion now they were huge in 2008 and Doll on the Hill Factory had the widest range of dolls and clothing; all at high-resolution (for the time) with some dolls being some rather elegant or risqué!

Elizabeth of Effervescent Designs did chart up four DHF dolls before life took her in another direction; Mlle Musketeer, Operetta, Water Goddess, and Yo Ho Ho.

You Ho Ho is stitched with a mix of DMC floss, hand dyed floss, metallics and Perle cotton. It is all whole cross stitch with a little back stitch and a little straight stitch. I would recommend this design for intermediate to advanced stitchers.  However, if you are a beginner and have patience, you too can stitch this wonderful design.

Yo Ho Ho

Yo Ho Ho was first released as a printed chart in 2008. When Elizabeth wound up Effervescent Designs a few years later, she decided to release all her designs as PDF files.

Review

The Yo Ho Ho PDF chart pack includes:

  • Cover page with image of stitched model, licensing information and the name of the model stitcher (nice touch!)
  • One page of fabric requirements and floss key
  • One page of stitching instructions for this chart
  • The sixteen page chart

Unfortunately the website gives no information except for a cover image. I suppose that Elizabeth is working on the assumption that if you have sought out her designs, then you already know what you are getting into.

The chart is sixteen pages long because each chart page displays a maximum of  66 x 83 stitches.  Some pages are smaller and as this design has no background, there are five pages without any symbols to stitch at all.  The chart includes a three-row shaded overlap on subsequent pages, a 10 stitch grid and clearly marks the middle point to help you start and then keep your place.

The chart symbols are printed in black on white and are very easy to see.  Unfortunately Elizabeth uses capital and lower case letters for her symbols so at times there are difficult to differentiate from each other.  I recommend highlighting the symbol you are planning to stitch and then mark over it again in a different colour when you have stitched it.

The chart uses straight stitch as the rigging for the sailing ship in the background. Elizabeth describes how to use this stitch in her instructions.

This chart is deliberately designed for a hand dyed fabric so you can use the recommended Silkweavers “Days Gone By” or anything else that takes your fancy. This design can be stitched over two or over one.

Materials Required

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

1 skein each DMC 161, 300, 301, 304, 310, 347, 356, 372, 400, 435, 612, 640, 647, 680, 738, 775, 779, 793, 800, 801, 814, 842, 890, 918, 934, 936, 948, 3012, 3374, 3362, 3363, 3364, 3371, 3770, 3772, 3773, 3774, 3787, 3790, 3799, 3801, 3821, 3864, B5200.

Waterlilies 001- Sandstone

 

1 skein Caron Waterlilies 001 Sandstone

 

 

Kreinik 4 - 001HL Silver hi Lustre

 

1 spool Kreinik #4 braid 001HL Silver Hi Lustre

 

1 spool Kreinik #4 braid 001J Japan Silver

 071 Misty Gold

 

1 spool Kreinik #4 braid 071 Misty Gold

 

 

102 Vatican Gold

 

1 spool Kreinik #4 braid 102 Vatican Gold

 

 

105C Antique Silver Cord

 

1 spool Kreinik #4 braid 105C Antique Silver Cord

 

102 Vatican Gold

 

1 spool Kreinik #4 braid 202HL

 

 

1 spool Kreinik #4 braid 3202 Cat’s Eye

DMC Perle 12 - Ecru

 

1 ball DMC #12 perle cotton Ecru

 

 

28 count Silkweaver “Days Gone By”  (stitch count 146 x 253). This design can be stitched over 2 or over 1.

For 14ct Aida or 28ct evenweave (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 16½” x 24¼”  or  42 x 61cm  or  a fat quarter (18 x 27″).

Days Gone By
Days Gone By

Approximate cost for Project

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

Chart: $   5.99
Floss:  $ 50.30
Fabric: $20.00

Total: $76.30  ($140.74 AUD or €104.34  or  £80.66)

Places to Buy

Effervescent Designs can only be easily bought as digital downloads from Elizabeth’s site.  The good news is that they are all at very good prices.

Australia:

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

Colour Cascade Fabrics suggests Fairytale or Golddigger from her range.  Hmm Golddigger sound like a perfectly named fabric!  Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 27 February 2015.

OzStitch  has all 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 all the floss in stock and a variety of fabrics.

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

Sparklies suggests Dr Smith’s Tonic or Summer Skies from her range of fabrics.

Chromatic Alchemy  “I’ve picked Tigers Eye for Yo Ho Ho, it reminds me of old maps and scrolls, perfect for this pirate lady.”

United States:

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

Under the Sea Fabrics has a range of fabrics that would suit this design.

Discussion

Did you or do you still use Dolls in your signature or on Bulletin Boards? If so, please share your dolls 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: 11 December 2014

 

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Watcher (Lord) by Eclectic Bloke Designs

For today’s Art-to-Stich Wednesday we have a magnificent meerkat!  Also don’t forget the giveaway for Let’s Do Coffee. Finally check out the Sales page as some end soon, including the special offer from OzStitch on Pharoah’s Hound and Pharoah’s Pet.

Eclectic Bloke Designs - Caroline Lord - Watcher

From the Artist

Who can resist the sweet and all seeing gaze of a lone meerkat? I painted this little fella quite loosely to create a feeling of contrast on the black velour. I used a combination of soft pastels, hard pastels and a little pastel pencil on velour paper to produce a soft, natural finish which I love.

What is it?

Watcher is a pastels on velour paper design by Caroline Lord, translated into cross stitch by Neil Bray of Eclectic Bloke Designs.

Note: Please respect our artists. Your work will be a labour of love for months and years to come. Buy from reputable designers such as those reviewed on this site. They support the artists who produce the original works. By buying cheap art-to-stitch designs, you are likely buying from a designer who is not paying royalties or licensing and the chart is likely to be low quality. Without support, our artists cannot thrive. Your time, and theirs are worth more.

Why this chart?

I love Caroline Lord’s artwork. She is amazing!  Check out her Etsy shop for more of her work or her Facebook page for in progress photos.

Eclectic Bloke Designs is a relatively newcomer to the world of art-to-stitch designing.  Neil has been a stitcher for over 20 years, but Eclectic Bloke Designs only came into operation in July 2014 (five months ago).  Eclectic is the best word to describe the huge diversity of charts that Neil provides. There may well be something there to appeal to everyone.

Most art-to-stitch designs are fully stitched, in that the background is treated as part of the picture so every square is stitched, culminating in a project comprising thousands of stitches and months if not years to work. The background in Watcher is straight black.  So to save some time, you could stitch this on black fabric or you could leave it out altogether and stitch the Meerkat on your favourite hand dyed fabric.

Watcher is, at heart, a simple design; full cross stitch only.  However to achieve the level of detail needed for realistic meerkat fur, the chart is predominantly confetti stitched.  “Confetti stitching” is stitcher jargon for describing an area of stitching where there is only one or a few stitches of each floss colour.  These little groupings are scattered about like confetti.

For such a design, changes in stitching techniques are required. You can thread your needle, then stitch each grouping of one colour until you run out and then start the next colour.

Or you can park.  Parking is where you stitch one grouping of a floss, and then park you thread at the next grouping.  It is probably best explained by this Youtube video:

If you are an experienced art-to-stitch stitcher who has met such a complex chart before, then I thoroughly recommend this chart for the beauty it will become.

If you have not stitched a large, complex design before, may I suggest that you choose a different project to start. However, as always, if you are completely in love with the design, then go for it! Enjoy your stitching and watch this little meerkat appear beneath your needle.

EBD - Watcher closeup

Review

Eclectic Bloke Design charts are available as PDF files, printed charts and full kits. My copy of Watcher is a digital download of the large chart format. Watcher (large print) is a 30 page chart pack in PDF format. Save the design and you can work from the digital chart or print sections as you need, or print it all and store it with the rest of your paper charts; the options are yours.

The Watcher chart pack contains:

  • front cover sheet with computer mockup of the finished design and artist licence information.
  • one page of instructions on how to stitch art-to-stitch design.
  • the 25 page chart, including placement diagram at the base of each page.
  • one page of recommended fabric, stitch count and floss key. The floss key is in DMC floss number order.
  • two pages of the DMC floss, listing both the number of stitches and number of skeins required for each.

Eclectic Bloke Designs provide black symbols on a white background.  Each successive chart page includes a two-row shaded overlap from earlier pages. Most of the floss symbols are pictograms such as a pair of reading glasses, clock face, open book and flag. There are no alphanumeric symbols and only a few familiar keyboard symbols.

The larger chart format shows only 42 x 62 stitches per page. The standard charts provide 62 x 82 stitches per page; so the symbols on the larger chart pack are easier to see. Neil has found that stitchers prefer the large format and so is phasing out the standard size charts.

As with most art-to-stitch designs, you can only find the list of required floss after you have bought the chart. The background for Watcher is just DMC 310 black, denoted by a · so you can easily ignore this symbol and stitch Watcher on any background fabric you choose.

Materials Required

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

1 skein each – DMC 317, 413, 451, 452, 453, 535, 611, 640, 642, 645, 646, 647, 648, 779, 838, 839, 842, 844, 934, 935, 938, 939, 3021, 3022, 3023, 3024, 3031, 3033, 3042, 3371, 3740, 3781, 3782, 3787, 3790, 3799, 3860, 3863, white.

If you wish to stitch the background, you will also need:
4 skeins – DMC 310 Black

25 count Evenweave or Magic Guide fabric  (stitch count 195 x 284). Stitched  one over one with the a 3″ border allowance, fabric size needed is:  14″x 18″ or 35 x 45cm  or a small pack of Magic Guide (19 x 21″)  or normal fabric’s fat quarter (18″ x 27″).

For 14ct Aida or 28ct evenweave (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 20” x 27”  or  51 x 67cm  or  a medium pack of Magic Guide (21 x 39″)  or a normal fabric’s a fat half (27″ x 36″).

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

Approximate cost for Project

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

Chart: $ 12.50
Floss:  $ 19.00
Fabric: $13.50

Total: $45.00 ($71.60 AUD or €61.25  or  £45.80)

Places to Buy

Eclectic Bloke Designs website is the only place to order the PDF and printed charts.  Neil has a 25% off all printed and PDF charts from now until 25 December 2014.

Kits are supplied by GeckoRouge. This is a new partnership and not all of Eclectic Bloke Designs have kit prices yet. Contact Neil if you would like a quote. Please note: GeckoRouge have just completed a massive Black Friday sale and cannot guarantee the supply of any new orders before Christmas.

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 Watcher on Back In Black or Riders On The Storm. Tammy also offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 27 February 2015.

Europe:

Casa Cenina in Italy stocks DMC, and a range of fabrics to stitch this design, including DMC Magic Guide fabric.

United Kingdom:

SewandSo stocks DMC, and a range of fabrics to stitch this design, including DMC Magic Guide fabric.

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

Sparklies suggests “Pitch if you want a black background, or Kynance for a desert feel”.

Chromatic Alchemy  “ I have chosen Aurelia, the golden browns give a nod to the natural habitat of the meerkat and make an interesting background without overpowering it”.

United States:

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

Discussion

Do you know about Eclectic Bloke Designs? Have you starting stitching one of his pieces? If so, please comment below as I’d love to know your thoughts!

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: 10 December 2014

If you like today’s review of Eclectic Bloke Designs, please consider donating to the following. Neil Bray, the Eclectic Bloke himself, is in hospital with cancer treatment. This is a GoFundMe campaign to get Neil a tablet so he can continue designing and chatting with the outside world, and most importantly, take his mind off the cancer treatment.

http://www.gofundme.com/il05ig