The Red and the Black by Prairie Moon

As Barb and Sue, the designers behind Prairie Moon, are retiring at the end of October 2014 (three weeks away) I chose The Red and The Black for today's Throwback Thursday.
The Red and the Black
The Red and the Black

What is it?

The Red & the Black is an ornate alphabet sampler stitched in red and black on a mottled dark ground background.

Why this chart?

The Red & the Black is in my personal stash. I love bold colours, and this unisex design would look great in a wood panelled study or library.  However being a design of such few colours it is very versatile and would look amazing stitched in pastels, giving it a floral, art nouveau vibe. Many of the letters and ornamental motifs have borders, so snippets of the chart could be stitched for monogrammed key rings, coasters or a unique nameplate.  Such small projects are a good way to test new colour combinations. This project is designed for silks; both Rainbow Gallery Splendor and Needlepoint Inc Silks (NPi). If you have not used NPi silks before, I urge you to try a skein in this design. The 502- Red is simply an accent colour and easily switched out for another shade of your choosing. NPi silks feel so luscious - I could stitch them instead of DMC on every design, if only I could afford it (sigh). There are no partial stitches, no speciality stitches, and no need even to stitch the whole design; this is a great chart for both beginners and expert stitchers.
The Red and the Black
The Red and the Black

Review

The front and back cover pages are printed on US Letter (9 x 11") heavy paper, housed within a clear plastic ziplock bag.  The back cover lists all materials needed and estimates the size of the project.  Prairie Moon have included a silks to DMC conversion with the number of skeins required. Each company uses a different length of floss in their skeins, so it is useful for the designers to provide an adjusted skein count. The chart is on a single sheet of US Ledger (18" x 11") folded in between the two covers. Unfortunately, through handling, the print on the fold line can wear off and if you stitch using a small hoop or q-snap, there's nowhere to place such a large piece of paper without folding it. However, using this larger paper size, the entire design can be viewed and used at once. The chart is printed large enough and the design symbols are disparate enough to prevent squinting and there's no need to look for overlap lines or judge where pages meet up.

 Materials Required

To stitch the chart exactly as designed, you will need: 3 cards - Rainbow Gallery Splendor S801 - Black (or 6 skeins of DMC 310) 1 skein -Needlepoint Inc Silk 502 - Chinese Red range (or 1 skein of DMC 321) Lakeside Linens - 32 count Vintage Autumn Gold (stitch count 140 x 209). This design can be stitched over 2 or over 1.  For 16ct Aida or 32ct evenweave (with 3" border allowance) fabric size is: 15" x 19½"  or  38 x 49cm or  a fat quarter (18 x 27").
Autumn Gold
Autumn Gold

Approximate cost for Project

Approximate cost to stitch The Red & The Black chart using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do  not include postage): Chart: $14.00 Floss:  $14.20 Fabric: $38.00 Total: $66.20    ($75.50 AUD or £46.90)

Places to Buy

Australia: Colours Down Under Jo would be happy to order in the NPi and Splendor silk floss. Colour Cascade Fabrics Tammy recommends Gold Digger Opal from her range of fabrics.  For readers of this site she offers a 10% discount for this fabric. Use code PeaceOut during checkout. This code is valid for the month of October 2014. United Kingdom: SewandSo stocks NPi and Splendor silk floss and a variety of fabric choices. Sparklies suggests Barely Bronzed or Leo from her range of fabrics.  United States: 123Stitch stocks the NPi silk and the Lakeside Linens fabric.

Who still stocks this chart?

Please comment below if you know of a store that still has this chart in stock.

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.

Was this read worth a cup of coffee?

 

Last updated: 11 November 2014

Audrey by Cross Stitching Art

Enough with the simple few colours, time for a project you can get your teeth into.
Audrey, My Fair Lady
Audrey, My Fair Lady

What is it?

A design inspired by Audrey Hepburn's role in My Fair Lady. Tatiana created this design from her own sketch.

Why this chart?

Audrey, My Fair Lady from Tatiana of Cross Stitching Art is a chart from my personal stash. This is the kind of intermediate design that I adore. I love stitching the different colours and watching the design come to life under my needle. And of course there's always the age-old dilemma of "do you stitch the face first or last?" Audrey has all the elements of a great stitching project: hand dyed fabric, backstitching to give clarity, metallic thread for that sparkle, beads for some textural highlights and enough DMC colours changes to provide some depth while also maintaining enough blocks of single colour that you can load your needle with a strand of floss and stitch the entire strand to the project, before switching colours. There are very few partial stitches in Audrey (only used to give her face a more defined shape) and the metallics and beads are clearly marked. I would happily recommend this design for an adventurous beginner or an intermediate stitcher.
Audrey, My Fair Lady
Audrey, My Fair Lady

Review

I am undecided about the Cross Stitching Art packaging. The gold envelope is elegant and the chart nestles beautifully inside it, however, I cannot see the information I need to kit up the project. I need to buy and open the packet or look up the details on the Cross Stitching Art website.  Reflecting further, maybe most stitchers purchase over the Internet and thus the information is better provided on the website instead of the backside of the envelope. The Audrey chart is printed in black on a yellow A3 (11.7" x 16.5"). The printing is in large bold type and both the chart and the instructions are easy to see. So easy to stitch at midnight - sometimes I wish the holes in the fabric were this big 🙂 Each side of the A3 sheet has half of the chart and the instructions. The stitching instructions are printed on both sides of the paper so all information is at hand regardless of where you are stitching. The chart however uses slightly more than half the page, so you cannot fold the paper in the middle to clip the chart to a smaller stand or binder. I presume this is so the design cannot be easily copied. The second side of the chart has a clearly marked two-row overlap. Again this ensures all information is at hand. Printing the chart double-sided on the paper seems the popular choice for designers. The printing is to a professional standard, there is no bleed through of one side to the other, however if you mark off your chart as you stitch, you may need to make a working copy.

 Materials Required

To stitch Audrey, My Fair Lady exactly as designed, you will need: 1 skein each - DMC 317, 318, 340, 341, 413, 414, 632, 754, 760, 775, 801, 818, 926, 928, 938, 948, 967, 3328, 3747, 3752, 3756, 3799, white Audrey DMC threads 2 spools - Kreinik #4 Very Fine Braid 011HL - Gun Metal Hi Lustre 1 Packet - Mill Hill Glass Beads 00479 - White 1 Packet - Mill Hill Glass Beads 02014 - Black 1 Packet - Mill Hill Glass Beads 02097 - Bahama Blue Under the Sea Fabrics - 32 count jobelan Angelic (stitch count 88 x 201). This design can be stitched over 2 or over 1.  For 16ct Aida or 32ct evenweave (with 3" border allowance) fabric size is: 12" x 19"  or  30 x 48cm  or  a fat quarter (18 x 27").
Under the Sea Fabric - Angelic on Jobelan
Angelic (on Jobelan)

Approximate cost for Project

Approximate cost to stitch Audrey, My Fair Lady using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do  not include postage): Chart: $15.00 Floss:  $12.60 Fabric: $20.00 Total: $47.60    ($73.45 AUD or £41.25)

Places to Buy

Australia: Colours Down Under has all the has the floss and all the embellishments in stock. Jo would be happy to order in the chart, and offers a 10% discount on the package (chart + floss + embellishments). Mention this review when ordering. Colour Cascade Fabrics Tammy recommends Fairies Wear Boots from her range of fabrics.  Colour Cascades also stocks the floss and all the embellishments for Audrey and offers to order in the chart. For readers of this site she offers a 10% discount. Use code PeaceOut during checkout. This code is valid for the month of October 2014. United Kingdom: SewandSo have all the materials for Audrey in stock, however they do substitute a plain evenweave for the hand dyed fabric the chart calls for. Sparklies suggests Lavender Blue or Lilac Ice from her range of fabrics.  United States: 123Stitch has the chart, floss and all the embellishments in stock. Silkweavers suggest Elegance from their line Under the Sea Fabrics produces the Angelic fabric as well as many others. Cross Stitching Art sell the chart directly from her website.

For Discussion

When stitching figurines like this, do you aim to do the head as soon as possible and feel better when she has a face? Or are you happy to do the clothes and leave the head and face until last?

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.

Was this read worth a cup of coffee?

Last Updated: 13 December 2014  
Make a Donation Button
Was this interesting read worth a cup of coffee?

Christmas Calendar by Alessandra Adelaide

A Mystery stitch-along for SAL Tuesday.  It's that time of year, when the 2015 stitch-a-longs are being arranged and sign ups are still open.
2015 Christmas Mystery SAL
2015 Christmas Mystery SAL

What is it?

Christmas Calendar is a 10-month mystery stitch along by Alessandra Adelaide Needleworks (AAN) to produce a large festive wall hanging. The chart pack will include finishing instructions for attaching the accessories and sewing the wall hanging. Sign-up closes:  29 Dec 2014 SAL Duration: 5 Jan 2015 - 3 Nov 2015

Why this chart?

I am a sucker for a stitch-a-long (SAL), especially a Mystery stitch along where you have no idea what the resultant piece will look like. This year, Alessandra ran a mystery Halloween stitch along from January to October.  I loved it so much I signed up straightaway for next year's mystery Christmas Calendar. Although large, this design does seem quite suitable for beginners and advanced stitchers. With only a few floss colours, you can easily customise floss and fabric.  For example, I'm planning to stitch this design on Emerald Green fabric and using gold instead of white floss; to me, Christmas means red green and gold 🙂 Finally I chose this because it is a Christmas theme and it comes with buttons and bells and every kid (including my nephews) need a Christmas Calendar in their lives.
2015 Christmas Mystery SAL sneak peak
2015 Christmas Mystery SAL sneak peak

Review

Joining a mystery stitch along is an act of faith. Faith that the resultant item is worth the time and money you as a stitcher have put into it.  To help stitchers decide whether Christmas Calendar is the right chart for them, Alessandra has released a document listing the materials needed, number of skeins, stitch count and estimated size of the design. To join in the SAL you need to buy the chart pack and be a member of Facebook.  Alessandra and Roxanne have organised a secret Facebook group for the stitchers' of Christmas Calendar. Here we can discuss floss and fabric choices, receive each month's design part and ask questions of each other and Alessandra as the need arises. I have found that the most successful SALs centre around such a vibrant community. We will receive the Christmas Calendar chart in sections from January to November 2015.  The sections will only arrive electronically so you will either print each section out yourself or work directly from a tablet. Alessandra usually does not add an overlap on successive pages, so you may need to tape your print outs together or spend a little more time counting carefully.  In the Halloween SAL  a second file of each part was released with an overlap. Unfortunately this created some confusion with a few members mixing up the with-overlap and without-overlap charts. I'm sure this was a learning experience for Alessandra and her team and the Christmas Calendar will have no such issues.

 Materials Required

To stitch the chart exactly as designed, you will need: 3 skeins - DMC 666 Christmas Red 9 skeins DMC 816 Garnet 1 skein DMC B5200 Snow White 1 ball DMC Perle #8 White Any fabric type and colour except cream or white (stitch count 342 x 495). This design can be stitched over 2 or over 1. For 14ct Aida or 28ct evenweave (with 3" border allowance) fabric size is: 31" x 42"  or  78 x 106cm  or  a full yard (36 x 52").
28ct Natural/Raw Linen
28ct Natural/Raw Linen
1 cut of Christmas fabric - same size as stitching fabric 2 cuts of adhesive fabric ( Vliseline )to be applied on the back of the embroidery:
  • (342 stitches + side borders) x (103 stitches + top border) (so for 28ct example): 31" x 11"
  • (342 stitches + side borders) x (152 stitches + bottom border) (so for 28ct example): 31" x 14"
cotton thread to sew ( the same colour of your fabric ) 5 ornaments 5 buttons 1 Christmas magnetic needle minder

Approximate cost for Project

As Alessandra is hand making a variety of small ornaments and needle minders for the Christmas Calendar and the cutting sizes for the Vliseline can be tricky, AAN is offering a variety of kit options in her store.  (Note: these prices do not include postage). Option 1: Christmas Calendar chart: €13.00 ($US 16.28) Option 2: Christmas Calendar chart 5 handmade ceramic ornaments 1 handmade ceramic button 4 jingle bells: €18.00 ($US 22.54) Option 3: Christmas Calendar chart 5 handmade ceramic ornaments 1 handmade ceramic button 4 jingle bells 1 handmade ceramic needleminder: €25.00 ($US 31.30) Option 4: Christmas Calendar chart 5 handmade ceramic ornaments 1 handmade ceramic button 4 jingle bells 1 handmade ceramic needleminder 1 piece of Vliseline 36" x 24":  €31.50 ($US 39.43) Approximate cost to stitch the Christmas Calendar project using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do  not include postage): Option 4: $39.43 Floss: $8.40 Fabric: $65.90 Total: $113.73    ($163.37 AUD or £72.67)

Places to Buy

Australia: Colours Down Under has all the DMC floss and Perle #8 in stock and some plain evenweave and Aida choices. Colour Cascade Fabrics has some DMC floss in stock and a wide selection of fabric colours. For readers of this site she offers a 10% discount. Use code PeaceOut during checkout. Code valid for the month of October 2014. United Kingdom: SewandSo stocks all of your DMC floss and a variety of fabric choices. Sparklies suggests "Any neutrals, or Snowy Skies, Glacier or Misty Morn". United States: 123Stitch stocks all of your DMC floss and a variety of fabric choices.

For Discussion

What do you think of Mystery Stitch Alongs? Have you ever stitched one? Which was your favourite?

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.

Was this read worth a cup of coffee?

 

Last updated: 11 November 2014

Peace Wheel by Ink Circles

OK I wanted to start with a Monochrome Monday, but as a friend pointed out, three colours do not make a monochrome.  So this is then for Almost-Monochrome Monday. Ink Circles - Peace Wheel

From the Designer

This design was inspired by Kolam or Rangoli paintings, which are a most unusual and transient form of art found in India and many other Asian countries. They are drawn by hand using powdered rice or rock directly onto the ground. The artist frequently starts with a matrix of dots, then creates a path of twisty turny lines that weave around and between the dots. When the wind, rain, and walkers take their toll, the design is swept away and replaced by a new one, usually before sunrise every day. Kolams are drawn as a blessing and welcome to all visitors. They are thought to bring prosperity to the household and keep evil spirits away. Mathematicians and anthropologists alike have been fascinated by and study the diverse designs. Me too.  I hope this stitched homage brings peace and prosperity to your home.

Why this chart?

Peace Wheel is in my personal stash. I love monochrome or near monochrome designs. These projects are so versatile; they can be customised in size, fabric type and colour palette to suit your decor or as a way to use those odd one-off fabrics and floss we've bought simply because we fell in love with the colours! Grab a few of your favourite skeins and that odd bit of fabric and play around until you have a combination you like. There are no partial stitches or speciality stitches, so this project can be easily completed on any fabric count. It looks to be a great project for beginners and expert stitchers alike. Finally, I love the story behind Peace Wheel and feel we could all use some more peace and prosperity in our lives.
Peace Wheel
Peace Wheel

Review

I love the way Tracy packages Ink Circles designs. The charts are printed in black on US Letter (9 x 11") white paper, housed within a clear plastic ziploc bag. The cover page is on heavy card stock to give some stiffness to the packet. The design symbols provide maximum clarity; both visible on the page and sufficiently disparate.  Even stitching in poor light at midnight (not that any of us do that) you shouldn't get your colours muddled up. Every successive page has a clearly marked three row overlap. There's no need to tape pages together to work out where the next stitch goes. All the pertinent information about the Peace Wheel design is on the last page, easily visible through the clear plastic. So you know the recommended fabric and floss, the number of skeins needed, the stitchcount and estimated size of the design in 28ct, 32 and 40ct fabrics. As this design was stitched using hand dyed silks, Tracy provides a close DMC number for you to substitute with cottons or another brand of silks.  As we know, hand dyed threads and fabrics are variegated or mottled, even when appearing to be a single colour, so there will never be an exact DMC match. I only have one quibble with the Peace Wheel chart pack; the chart has been printed double-sided.  It has been professionally done so that neither side shows through, and reducing paper usage is better for the environment, however if you mark off your chart as you stitch, you will need to make a working copy.

 Materials Required

To stitch the chart exactly as designed, you will need: 3 skeins - Dinky Dyes Silk 072 - Cabernet (similar to DMC 327) 1 skein - Dinky Dyes Silk 142 - Gidgee (similar to DMC 733) 3 skeins - Dinky Dyes Silk 147 - Down Under Blues (similar to DMC 336) Picture This Plus - 32 count Chalice (stitch count 171 x 171). This design can be stitched over 2 or over 1. For 16ct Aida or 32ct evenweave (with 3" border allowance) fabric size is: 17" x 17"  or  43 x 47cm  or  a fat quarter (18 x 27").
Chalice
Chalice

Approximate cost for Project

Approximate cost to stitch the Peace Wheel chart using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do  not include postage): Chart: $16.00 Floss:  $28.00 Fabric: $26.50 Total: $70.50    ($77.50 AUD or €59.60 or £44.15)

Places to Buy

Australia: Colours Down Under has all the Dinky Dyes threads in stock and on sale. 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 has the Peace Wheel chart in stock and Tammy recommends Gold Digger Old Map Style from her range of fabrics.  For readers of this site she offers a 10% discount for chart and fabric. Use code PeaceOut during checkout. This code is valid for the month of October 2014. Europe: Casa Cenina in Spain stocks the Peace Wheel chart, Dinky Dye silks and some fabrics to stitch this design. United Kingdom: SewandSo stock the Dinky Dyes floss and a range of fabrics. Polstitches Jo says “I love the idea of Jacobean Sampler Linen for that one and would look fab with Dragon Floss 98 Blackberry Twist.” Sparklies suggests Barely Bronzed or Dr Smith's Tonic from her range of fabrics. United States: 123Stitch is a one-stop-shop for all materials listed. Dinky Dyes sells a floss pack for this design. Ink Circles, where Tracy sells her charts.

Giveaway

To celebrate the first review on this site, I'm going to give away my Peace Wheel chart. To enter, comment below why you would like this chart and what, if any, changes would you make to it. Contest is open to anywhere in the world. The only valid entries are comments below on this post.  Comments on social media will not be included. Contest closes in one week from posting this review. Winner will be chosen randomly from the comments.

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. Was this read worth a cup of coffee?
 

Last updated: 25 November 2014