Steam Bee (Ashwood) by Heaven and Earth Designs

Art to stitch Wednesday is back. Today we have a beautifully subtle steampunk bee by the wonderfully talented Brigid Ashwood.

HAED - Steam Bee Cover

From the Artist

Steampunk Bee on an antique damask background.   Part of the Winged Things series.

What is it?

Steam Bee s is a digital drawing by Brigid Ashwood, translated into cross stitch by Michele Sayetta of Heaven and Earth Designs (HAED).

Note: Please respect our artists. Your stitching 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.

Steam Bee art print by Brigid Ashwood
Steam Bee art print by Brigid Ashwood

Why this chart?

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

I love Brigid Ashwood’s artwork. I particularly love her Sepia series, but none have been converted to cross stitch yet. Her Winged Creatures series is wonderfully understated.

I love the juxtaposition of the cogs and support struts for the wings, against the organic, beautiful bee.   The damask background in rich chocolate tones is evocative of a Victorian room – the best time and place for a steampunk inventor.

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 years of work. Projects such as Steam Bee can be fully stitched, or just the damask halo and bee on a black fabric or simply the bee itself on a fabulous hand dyed fabric that complements or contrasts this design.

Steam Bee  is, at heart, a simple design; full cross stitch only.  However to meet the level of detail needed for the bee fur and the iridescence on the wings, this chart has a lot of confetti  stitching.

“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. The Bee is full of these groupings.  So you might want to consider parking your threads.

Parking is where you load up multiple needles, with the different colours used in the bee.  You then select a small patch of the chart and stitch everything in that patch.  When you have stitched all the crosses for each colour, you “park” the needle at its beginning point in the next patch and then start the next colour.

This technique is best explained in Carolyn’s Youtube video:


Heaven and Earth designs are available as printed charts or digital downloads.  All designs are available in regular or large format.  My copy of Steam Bee is a digital download in the regular chart format.

Steam Bee is a 24 page chart pack in digital 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 Steam Bee chart pack contains:

  • front cover sheet with original artwork, stitch count and finished sizes for 25ct fabric counts and the artist licence information.
  • one page of instructions on how to stitch art-to-stitch design.
  • three pages of the DMC floss symbol key or legend, in DMC floss number order.
  • thee pages of the DMC floss, listing both the number of stitches and number of skeins required for each DMC colour.
  • the 16 page chart

Heaven and Earth Designs provide black symbols on a white background. Each successive chart page includes a three-row shaded overlap from earlier pages. Michele carefully selects the variety of symbols to maximise ease of differentiating them on the page.

This  standard charts use 80 x 98 stitches per page; the larger chart format uses only 65 x 80 stitches per page.  Fewer symbols means they are larger and easier to see.  It also means more pages in the chart pack.  However, if you like to work from paper, I highly recommend you buy the larger chart pack for such a detailed design.

If you work from a laptop or tablet, then the regular format is fine as you can easier enlarge each section to suit.

Although the stitch count is listed on the front page, the three pages of floss list can only be seen once you buy and open the chart pack. Helpfully, Heaven and Earth Designs provide the floss list on their website.

Most art-to-stitch projects recommend to stitch one-over-one on 25 count fabric. As these designs only use whole cross stitch, I strongly recommend that you stitch on the fabric count you prefer and are used to.  You are probably going to spend a long while stitching this project, don’t make it more difficult by using a stitch style or count that you are not comfortable with.

HAED - Steam Bee

Materials Required

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

1 skein each 161, 165, 211, 300, 301, 400, 420, 434, 435, 436, 445, 498, 500, 524, 610, 612, 613, 632, 666, 703, 720, 722, 725, 726, 728, 738, 741, 742, 744, 758, 779, 780, 782, 783, 801, 814, 819, 829, 840, 842, 890, 893, 898, 902, 904, 906, 907, 909, 917, 919, 920, 922, 937, 939, 945, 972, 975, 976, 977, 988, 3021, 3031, 3033, 3046, 3078, 3328, 3350, 3607, 3609, 3685, 3713, 3721, 3722, 3740, 3776, 3821, 3822, 3823, 3826, 3827, 3852, 3853, 3854, 3855, 3860, 3862, 3865.

DMC 938 Very Dark Coffee Brown


3 skeins DMC 938 Ultra Dark Coffee Brown (for the damask halo)


DMC 3371 Black Brown


4 skeins DMC 3371 Black Brown (for the damask halo)


DMC 310 Black


17 skeins DMC 310 Black (for the black background)


25 count White linen (stitch count 300 x 375). This design can be stitched over 2 or over 1.

Stitched  one over one with the a 3″ border allowance, fabric size needed is: 18  x 21″ or 46 x 54cm  or a small pack of Magic Guide (19 x 21″)  or normal fabric’s fat quarter (18″ x 27″).

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

For 14ct Aida or 28ct evenweave (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 27½” x 33”  or  70 x 84cm  or  a fat half (27 x 36″).

Approximate cost for Project

Approximate cost to stitch Steam Bee using the recommended DMC floss stitch over one on 25 count fabric (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do  not include postage):

Chart: $19.00
Floss:  $ 49.95
Fabric: $10.90

Total: $79.85 ($147.45AUD , $131.90CAD, €136.45 or £119.65)

Places to Buy

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


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. Caitlin recommends “Mellow Yellow or Golddigger old map style”

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


Traditional Stitches in Calgary can order in the printed chart for you.  They have a selection of floss and fabrics to suit your taste.


Casa Cenina in Italy has this chart in stock and can kit it up for you!

United Kingdom:

Colray Crafts provides kits for this and other Heaven and Earth Designs.

Chart only: £8.00
25ct evenweave kit: £72.00
18ct Aida kit:  £74.00

Cross Stitch Heaven provides kits for Heaven and Earth Designs; contact Donna about kitting up Steam Bee.

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

Chromatic Alchemy  “Steam bee has been on my wishlist over at HAED for a long time so I was thrilled to have a play with the background for this. I have plumped for Cirrus as I love the interesting textures this colour always seems to create and let’s face it gold really pops on blue!”

Crafty Kitten “I have this one in my stash!  I would stitch just the bee, no background on either moonlit water or coffee clouds.

Latte on linen would also work.”

Sparklies “ love this piece, but I certainly wouldn’t want to stitch all that black! So Pitch if you want to keep it black.

Or for something complementary to the colours of the bee, how about Leo or Gingerbread.”

United States:

123Stitch can order in the printed chart for you.  They have the thread in stock and offers a variety of fabrics.

Black Cat Stitchery in Illinois has floss and fabric in stock to make this a project to remember.

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

Stitches n Things in Missouri has the DMC in stock and a range of fabrics for your unique style.


Do you like Brigid’s differing styles?  Would you stitch this bee as presented or would you stitch it on one of the hand dyed options presented here.  Share your thoughts!

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Last Updated: 11 March 2015