Hello, Tiffstitch here, and I really enjoy cross-stitching to relax after a stressful day and I love being able to create something that can be beautiful, funky, subversive, or anything at all.
A Christmas-themed mostly monochrome for Monochrome Monday. And a giveaway for TWO lucky commenters.
The winner of last week’s The Ursula Michael “Coffee” words chart by Imaginating is Clare Turner. Congratulations Clare.
What is it?
Christmas is a chart and hand dyed floss pack from jar Designs. Although jar Designs still have their webpages up, there is no way to contact them to buy their charts. Some cross stitch stores such as Colours Down Under do have a few copies of this chart still in stock.
Why this chart?
I was first asked to stitch this chart as a store model for Colours Down Under a few years ago. The proprietor at the time was adding the DMC, beads and linen band fabric to make kits of this design.
The jar Designs hand dyed floss is no longer available but it can be substituted with any hand dyed floss in a red/green combination or in fact any colours you prefer. Many people choose colour themes for their Christmas decorating and this design could easily be converted to your colours.
This is a relatively quick stitch but it does use back stitch and beads. The backstitched holly leaves and beaded holly berries are in isolation away from the main design, so you will need to know some techniques to start and finish these. If you prefer you can replace the beads with French Knots. Either way I would recommend this design for an adventurous beginner through to advanced stitcher.
jar Designs were only ever available as printed charts. Some such as Christmas also included jar Designs hand dyed floss.
The Christmas chart pack is printed on white US Letter (similar to A4) paper, folded in half. The front page is printed on glossy paper and includes a colour photo of the design.
The back cover includes all the information you need to stitch the design, the stitch count fabric used in the model, and design size in a standard range of fabric counts. Also lists the floss and beads required and the special instructions for stitching the design. I wish all designers provided this information in such an easy to see format,
The chart is printed across two pages. Each page includes a five-row shaded overlap, so it doesn’t matter if you stitch from the top down or the bottom up. The floss symbols are printed quite large and the blackwork lines are quite dark against the background grid so this is an easy chart to see and follow.
The stitching instructions even include a suggested floss colour to stitch the beads on. This floss colour, DMC 902 matches the Mill Hill 00367 beads quite well.
The only issue I have with the chart lists an incorrect stitch count and the vertical middle point is wrong. The correct width of the chart is 49 wide, not 90. The mid-point is 24½, not 28½. When stitching on a banded fabric, as I did, 4 stitches too far to the left is quite obvious.
I have now stitched this design twice. Once several years ago as a shop model for Colours Down Under and then again this month for myself.
I love stitching the main body of this design. The letters stitch up very quickly and you can have a lot of fun with a hand-dyed floss choosing your starting point for each letter so the floss changes travel around the letter as if you were writing them.
The holly leaves were a bit of pain as I have not yet developed a mess-free technique to starting and finishing single strands. The pin-head start which works so well for cross stitch looked a little too bulky for the singe strand back stitch. In the end I did the time-consuming “leave a long tail and make your stitches cover it” technique. Similarly I anchored the stitching thread for the beads under the back stitch threads. It’s bit of mess but it works and the beads stay in place.
I discovered that the mid-point was off when I first stitched this design for Colours Down Under. Of course I didn’t notice until I was stitching the holly leaves and noticed that some of the right hand ones didn’t quite fit, while there was masses of room on the left hand side.
I remembered this when I pulled out the second kit at the Melbourne Christmas Stitching Get together. I then discovered that I had already started the stitching way back when and I assumed I had fixed the mistake. Reached the holly leaves this time and discovered, nope, still not centred. Oh well. It’s stitched and I love it. That’s the main thing. Plus this way, anyone who see it will stare at it for a few minutes not being able to put their finger on why it looks subtly wrong …..
To stitch the charts exactly as designed, you will need:
1 skein jar Designs Christmas. Any red/green combination hand dyed thread would work. Can also use DMC 4042 Very Merry.
1 skein DMC 3362 Dark Pine Green (for the holly leaves)
1 skein DMC 902 Very Dark Garnet (to attach the beads – or to attach as French Knots)
1 packet Mill Hill Beads 00367 Garnet
Zweigart 28 count Sand Quaker Cloth (stitch count 49 x 215). This design can be stitched over 2 or over 1.
For 14ct Aida or 28ct evenweave (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 10” x 21½” or 24 x 55cm or a fat quarter (18 x 27″).
If you wish to stitch this design as a bell pull you need 4″ wide 28ct linen or aida banding, at 21″ length (the extra is to wind around the bell pull rods).
Approximate cost for Project
Approximate cost to stitch Christmas using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do not include postage):
Chart: $ 8.25
Floss: $ 3.55
Total: $23.65 ($40.95 AUD or €22.45 or £16.55)
Places to Buy
jar Designs no longer seem to be in business, however a few stores have old stock such as Colours Down Under.
Colours Down Under has the chart and all materials in stock. Jo offers 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 fabrics in stock.
Casa Cenina in Italy stocks a variety of fabrics and floss for your unique creation.
SewandSo stock a variety of fabrics and floss, including the DMC 4042 Christmas floss for your project.
Polstitches suggests Colonial sampler linen from her range of fabrics.
Sparklies has a range of threads and fabrics to make this sparkle!
Chromatic Alchemy “I can’t decide between Elsa and Candy Cane! Elsa is more subtle with the cool colours that make you think of winter yet Candy Cane is just so Christmassy it would make a perfect background for a festive decoration.”
123Stitch has the thread in stock and offers a variety of fabrics.
I am offering both of my printed charts of jar Designs Christmas. The first winner will get the DMC threads and beads from the kit (there was enough from the first kit to do both bellpulls. The second winner will receive the chart only.
To enter, comment below what floss and fabric combination you would use to stitch this and why?
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 midday, 22 December 2014, Melbourne time (UTC+11 hours). Winner will be chosen randomly from the comments.
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: 15 December 2014