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

What is it?

Dance of the Total Eclipse is one of five designs Mari McDonald created in the early part of this century.  The other four Dance of the Vernal EquinoxDance of the Summer Solstice, Dance of the Autumnal Equinox, and Dance of the Winter Solstice celebrate the turning of the seasons; the cycle of the year.

Why this chart?

Living in the Southern Hemisphere I am tired of all the seasonal and monthly samplers that are tied to the northern hemisphere cycle.  Winter designs have elements of Christmas, October designs are full of pumpkins.

I adore this whole series because the colours work for the season, regardless where that season is being celebrated. While the northern hemisphere is celebrating the lead up to Halloween, I can happily display the Dance of the Vernal Equinox.

Dance of the Total Eclipse can be displayed at any time to remember  (4 April 2015) or look forward to the next total Lunar Eclipse.

Unlike Sydney, we here in Melbourne saw the whole eclipse over the course of a few hours and there was a feeling of camaraderie as many friends shared their feelings online during the event.

According to Sydney Observatory Australia sees a Total Lunar Eclipse’s ever 2.8 years on average.  I might even finish stitching this by the time the next one comes around.

Sydney Observatory Total Lunar Eclipse August 2007.
Sydney Observatory Total Lunar Eclipse August 2007.

Dance of the Total Eclipse uses DMC and swathes of single colour.  However it also uses blended threads, three different thicknesses of Kreinik braid, nearly 500 Mill Hill Beads and some partial stitches.  I recommend this chart for a patient and adventurous beginner or any intermediate or advanced stitcher who would like to stitch a Lunar Eclipse.

WBTW - Dance of the Total Eclipse


All Whispered by the Wind designs are available as printed charts only.  As you can see from the first image, my copy is around fifteen years old, back when cross stitch designs were folded very small and hung on carousels in shops.  Mari’s later designs (and later printings of this design) are in the now familiar US Letter multi-page format.

total-eclipse new cover
Dance of the Total Eclipse – new cover style


My copy of Dance of the Total Eclipse, when unfolded is a single page of non-standard 13½ x 22″ pale grey paper. The contents are printed on one side of the paper only. The chart takes up three-quarters of the paper with the materials information and stitching instructions taking up the last quarter.  There is also a small photo, 4 x 4½” of the framed stitched model tucked into the packet.

Although the chart is printed in black on the light grey paper, the symbols are printed dark enough to be easily seen and differentiated on the paper.

The chart is printed large enough to stitch from and if you fold and reverse fold, like a map, you can end up with a small section to work on.  However refolding and especially reverse folding affect the printing on the folded area.  Over time these can become worn, the fold lines can tear apart.  I strongly recommend making a larger working copy of the design.

Much of the stitching is in large swathes of single colour, but there are some parts that are more complicated such as the beaded areas in the skirt and the quarter stitches in her face.  Especially if you bead last, you will want to make an enlarged working copy of the chart.

When folded the small section shown on the back of the packet has all the information needed to kit up the chart.  It lists the fabric used in the model, some alternative fabrics, the stitch count and design size on the model fabric.  It also lists the combined symbol key and floss list for both Anchor and DMC as well as the specialty threads.

The stitching instructions, found when unfolding the chart, include the backstitch instructions and a statement that the model was stitched with Anchor threads.  It also lists the following:

“For your convenience one working copy of this chart may be made for the purpose of stitching this design”

I like it when this is stated clearly; it saves confusion when you take your chart to be copied at a store or library.

Dance of the Total Eclipse is model stitched on 32ct linen, but the alternate fabrics suggested are 14ct and 16ct Aida.  The quarter stitches are on the dancer’s face and arms.  If you are comfortable with stitching fractional stitches on Aida then by all means do that.

Personally I am not very good at quarter stitches on Aida, and am concerned that these are sections of the design that will draw the eye, so I will be stitching my version on evenweave or linen.

Materials Required

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

1 skein each DMC 221, 223, 310, 356, 433, 434, 435, 754, 758, 776, 794, 801, 898, 818, 819, 938, 939, 948, 3022, 3023, 3024, 3326, 3721, 3722, 3747, 3787, B5200

Kreinik BF - 032 Pearl


1 spool Kreinik Blending Filament 032 Pearl


032 Pearl


1 spool Kreinik #4 Very Fine Braid 032 Pearl


Kreinik 4 - 153V Vintage Burgundy


1 spool Kreinik #4 Very Fine Braid 153V Vintage Burgundy


Kreinik 4 - 154V Vintage Verdigris


1 spool Kreinik #4 Very Fine Braid 154V Vintage Verdigris


Kreinik 8 - 032 Pearl


1 spool Kreinik #8 Fine Braid 032 Pearl



Mill Hill 03003 Antique Cranberry


1 packet Mill Hill 03003 Antique Cranberry Seed Beads


Mill Hill 40557 Gold Petite


1 packet Mill Hill 40557 Gold Petite Beads



Wichelt 32ct Navy linen (stitch count 146 x 194). This design has some fractional stitches so I recommend stitching over two on evenweave or linen. Including 3″ border allowance, fabric size needed is:  15¼” x 18¼”  or  39 x 48cm  or  a fat quarter (18 x 27″).

Wichelt Navy 14ct Aida
Wichelt Navy 14ct Aida

For 14ct Aida or 28ct evenweave (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 16½” x 20”  or  42 x 51cm  or  a fat quarter (18 x 27″).

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: $ 10.00
Floss:  $  29.50
Fabric: $11.85

Total: $51.35  ($94.95 AUD  or  $72.50 CAD  or  €73.00  or  £55.55)

Places to Buy

Whispered by the Wind does not sell direct to the public. You can get Mari’s designs from your favourite local or online needlework store.


Colours Down Under has all the threads, beads 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.

OzStitch has all the types of floss and beads and a variety of white and off white fabrics in stock.

Colour Cascade Fabrics has all the floss and beads in stock as well as a range of fabrics for you to make this design unique. Caitlin recommends Sorcerer or Riders on the Storm .

Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 30 June 2015.

Sewitall offer a range of hand dyed and printed fabrics to suit your needs.


Traditional Stitches in Calgary stocks the different floss, beads and a variety of fabrics to suit your taste.

Stitch-it Central in Ingersoll has Dance of the Total Eclipse in stock.


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

New Zealand:

Country Stitch “I’d either go bright and bold with the blues here, or go very dark blue.  For the very dark blue, Midnight or Inkwell.

For the very bold blues, Bay of Islands or Seaside.”

United Kingdom:

SewandSo stocks the different floss, beads and a variety of fabrics to make this design uniquely yours.

Chromatic Alchemy  I have again gone for two fabrics for Dance of the Total Eclipse. I think the most obvious choice is a darker piece for which I have chosen 49 Shades.

I have also included and overlay on Maeve too as I think it is a beautiful alternative for the folks who find stitching on dark fabrics difficult.

Crafty Kitten has a variety of fabrics and the threads to stitch this project.

Jodyri Designs produce a wonderful range of floss and fabric in all colours.

Sparklies “This definitely needs a dark sky background, either Pitch or Gothic would really suit this piece.”

Thread Pickerz Silkz  produce a wonderful range of hand dyed silk colours.

“it is my 2nd anniversary of thread pickerz and I have a few things going on including a prize draw (being drawn on the 1st May) to win an AAN Butterfly chart. Anyone who purchases from my site in the month of april will get their name put into the prize draw.”

Eileen has been updating the Thread Pickerz Silkz website.  She offers 10% off each silk thread as it is added back into the collection.  For readers of this site, she offers an extra 10% discount if you use the code: Xstitchreview

United States:

123Stitch have a range of other Whispered by the Wind charts in stock; they can easily order in Dance of the Total Eclipse for you.  They also stock all the differing floss, beads and fabrics to kit this up for you.

ABC Stitch Therapy has Dance of the Total Eclipse in stock and can kit it up for you.

Black Cat Stitchery in Illinois has floss, beads and a selection of fabric in stock to make this a project to remember. Erica would be happy to order in the chart for you.

Erica is offering a 5% discount for readers of Cross Stitch Review.  Coupon code: CSRSPRING15. Offer ends 31 May 2015.

Stitches n Things in Michigan has the whole Dance series in stock.  Deb also has everything in stock to kit these up for you!

Fiberlicious has a great variety of cotton and silk flosses that could look superb on this design.

Mo’s Sale “This pattern would look lovely on Aida 14 AD20, Opal 14 A8 or on Aida 18 A5

Sunny*Dyes Teri suggests any of the following ” dream, stroke of midnight, carpe noctem, mummy’s moon, purple majesty, starry starry night dark, starry twilight, twilight, twilight falling.”

Under the Sea Fabrics suggests stitching Dance of the Total Eclipse on Red Skies at Night.


Do you watch for Eclipses or are you not fussed?

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Last Updated: 16 April 2015