Although I try do be a 'jack of all trade's' in the craft world, cross stitch was an area of work I'd never quite broached for a number of reasons... Firstly, although I can be patient for some things, my patience levels are a bit unpredictable and I wasn't sure if the combination of patience and precision would suit me. Secondly, I'd never really seen a cross stitch kit that caught my eye or interested me enough to want to try doing. I'd seen lots of small projects featuring cutesy scenes and characters... or large projects which I really liked but seemed too much to take on as a beginner, but never anything that suited my tastes or skill level. That is until I found Amy's unique designs which seem to perfectly bring the art of cross stitch up to date, with a bit of a modern twist, while also preserving the classic and traditional look of the craft.
For those thinking about taking on cross stitch let me tell you a little bit about my learning journey and experience taking on my first project.
Phase 1. The Naive Stitcher (up to 15% of completion)
In this phase, I did my first few 'X's and immediately began telling people how easy, fun and quick I thought the project would be! I was elated and astounded to find out how simple cross stitching could be and felt that the project would be a breeze. The novelty of it all kept me speeding through and tracing the black outline of the chocolate bar in the pattern was skillfull enough and required enough counting that it kept me busily counting and stitching, seemingly covering lots of the pattern very quickly.
Phase 2. The 'What Did I Get Myself Into?' (15% to 30% of completion)
This phase isn't as bad as it sounds; but it hit me at the point that I was filling in the chocolate bar and I realised that the process of filling in the spaces between my outline would be a significantly slower process and perhaps not quite as fun... but because I didn't have to count (the pattern was there for me to fill in), it did go a little faster and I was able watch tv and chat with friends and do more while I was working.
Phase 3. The 'I can do this' (30% to 80%).
This was the phase in which my growing impatience became outweighed by my growing confidence. I was starting to realise that I was getting a bit faster, and that if I alternated between the filling in bits and more precise counting stitches bits I could mix up what I was doing. During this phase I also reached the point in which I began to truly believed that I would finish the project, because my work began to look more and more complete and I could see the piece coming together.
Phase 4. The homestretch (the last 20%)
This was really the most fun part of the cross stitching and made up for all my moments of impatience earlier in my work. I could really start to see the pattern coming together, and most importantly believed that I could finish it and knew I had enough patience left to last! I was also starting to look forward to showing it off and seeing how it looked in my frame, which was enough to keep my going. Although as is my habit, when I come to the end of a project I tend to get over excited and rush a bit, making careless mistakes and getting tangled... but all in all, the pay off was great! Check out my results.
The moral of my story is: don't give up! Keep going, and you'll totally appreciate all the work you have put into the project... I must admit, that new cross stitch projects won't sit on the top of my to-do list but now that I know I can do it, I do have a few new ideas up my sleeve and am sure I'll be revisiting it again.
Amy's kits come with pre-cut lengths of embroidery floss, perfectly easy-to-follow instructions and patterns, and everything you need to get going and get stitching! Do give them a go, as they are lots of fun and suitable for both beginners and those with lots of experience.
My 'I need Chocolate' project will be for sale in this gorgeous frame starting this evening on e-bay and of course, 100% of the sale will go to Macmillan Cancer Support.
Special thanks to Amy for donating both the kit and her expertise to the challenge and for giving me that extra little push to discover the world of cross stitch!