Troubled Water by Ink Circles

Welcome to Tuesday! Today we have Troubled Water, the first in the subtly sassy Bad Neighbourhood series by Tracy Horner of Ink Circles.

Ink Circles - Troubled Water Cover

From the Designer

This small vignette is the first release a series of designs from Ink Circles called the Bad Neighborhoods. Each shows us what appears at first glance to be a nice place to take up residence. Upon closer inspection, we find that there is something amiss. Something that would make this a very bad neighborhood to live in after all.

What a lovely little town. Hanging baskets of flowers line the river. If it weren’t for those dead fish floating along, nobody might have noticed that something sinister was draining from that pipe!

There are 6 designs in this series. They will use a common color palette and will all be the same size, making it easy to combine them into a larger design.

Why this chart?

Tracy has a little streak of subversive and has a track record of subverting accepted cross stitch genres, from the Ackworth School (Quackworth), through traditional Dutch Samplers (Dutch Beast) to Schoolgirl Samplers (Little Alien Schoolgirl)

The Bad Neighbourhood series is Tracy’s play on the ubiquitous charming cottages and gardens style that is the layperson’s idea of needlework.

I love a bit of subtle sassiness; where you have to look a second time to check what you really saw.

Troubled Water is am small design composed of whole cross stitch, with a touch of backstitch for the fish eyes. There are large swathes of single colours; the hand dyed floss gives the look of more colours. I recommend this chart for beginners through to advanced stitchers alike.

Ink Circles - Troubled Water


Troubled Water is only available as a printed chart.  The front cover is a heavy glossy cardstock (A5 or half a US Letter) which shows a photo of the finished stitched project.  The thickness of the card allows this small chart pack to stand upright on shelves.

The rest of the chart pack is a single double-sided US Letter page.  The chart is printed on one side, with a drawing of a hobgoblin in a bottle and the materials information.

The chart has a nice variety of symbols which are very easy to see and easy to differentiate. As this is a small chart, the symbols are printed large enough to stitch from.  If you like to mark off your progress, you may want to make a working copy, so your highlighter (or whatever you use) doesn’t bleed through to the floss symbol list.

When the page is folded, the materials information becomes the back page of the chart pack.  It includes the stitch count, fabric used in the model stitch, the hand dyed floss used in the design, and DMC equivalents and finally the symbol key/legend.

The spirit in the bottle is on the side closest to the front cover.  I assume this is part doodle by Tracy, part anti piracy measure (check your chart has this included!) and possibly a commentary on what the dumping of chemicals into our water supply is doing to our supernatural wildlife.

Although this design is stitched on linen, the whole crosses makes this an ideal design to stitch on Aida.

Materials Required

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

GAST 0112 Grasshopper


1 skein Gentle Arts 0112 Grasshopper (Similar to DMC 3013)


GAST 0320 Old Brick


1 skein Gentle Arts 0320 Old Brick (similar to DMC 3328)


GAST 0570 Bittersweet

1 skein Gentle Arts 0570 Bittersweet (similar to DMC 3854)


GAST 0820 Lavender Potpourri


1 skein Gentle Arts 0820 Lavender Potpourri (similar to DMC 3835)


GAST 1160 Adobe


1 skein Gentle Arts 1160 Adobe (similar to DMC 3773)


GAST 7017 Buttermilk1 skein Gentle Arts 7017 Buttermilk (similar to DMC 746)


GAST 7060 Picnic Basket1 skein Gentle Arts 7060 Picnic Basket (similar to DMC 801)


GAST 7074 Chives


1 skein Gentle Arts 7074 Chives (similar to DMC 3363)


GAST 7075 Crystal Lake


1 skein Gentle Arts 7075 Crystal Lake (similar to DMC 932)


GAST 7096 Burlap


1 skein Gentle Arts 7096 Burlap (similar to DMC 612)



30 count Weeks Dye Works Beige linen (stitch count 71 x 81). This design can be stitched over 2 or over 1.  With 3″ border allowance, fabric size is: 10¾” x 11½”  or  27cm x 29 cm  or  a fat eighth (13 x 17″).

Weeks Dye Works - Beige 30 count
Weeks Dye Works – Beige 30 count

For 14ct Aida or 28ct evenweave (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is:   11¼” x 12”  or  28 x 30cm  or  a fat eighth (13 x 18″).

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: $   8.00
Floss:  $ 19.90
Fabric: $11.85

Total: $39.75  ($66.80 AUD  or  $54.60 CAD  or  €39.45  or  £34.30)

Places to Buy

Ink Circles sells Troubled Water direct to the public but you can also buy it from your favourite Local or Online Needlework store.  Tracy has a policy of not selling her new designs direct to the public for a few months to support the Needlework Stores.


Colours Down Under has all the threads 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.

Colour Cascade Fabrics has a variety of fabrics for you to make this design unique. Caitlin recommends Brown Sugar or Behind Blue Eyes.

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


Traditional Stitches in Calgary have a selection of floss and fabrics to suit your taste.


Casa Cenina in Italy has Troubled Water in stock and can kit this up for you.

United Kingdom:

SewandSo has  a range of floss and fabrics to make this design uniquely yours.

Chromatic Alchemy “Troubled water is a fun Ink Circles design, not the normal style I’m used to seeing from them. I have chosen to pair it with frost to give it a bright cheerful background.”

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

Sparklies “If you’re planning to stitch the whole series on one piece of fabric then one of my neutrals would probably be best. Barely Bronzed is by far the favourite here, however for just this piece (and possibly the others) I’ve chosen Summer Skies or Slightly Spring.”

Thread Pickerz Silkz 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 has Troubled Water in stock and can kit this up for you.

Black Cat Stitchery in Illinois  has Troubled Water in stock and can kit this up 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 Troubled Water in stock and can kit this up for you.

Under the Sea Fabrics Leslie recommends  Ice Princess from her range of fabrics.


Do you like the slightly subversive, or do you prefer to stitch traditional cottages and cottage gardens?

If you liked the review, please consider sharing it with your friends, groups or customers.

Last Updated: 24 March 2015