Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Fine Art Cross Stitch

Lions and Oiseau is almost finished.  I was searching for another project and came across sites that feature fine art cross stitch patterns.  Cross Stitch Collectibles has reproduced the works of several artists into cross stitch patterns. I was mesmerized by the Mona Lisa pattern and ordered the PDF. Being the ambitious person that I am I didn't just stop with the Mona Lisa. I also found Van Gogh's Starry Night Over the Rhone on the Scarlet Quince site. 

The patterns from both companies are clear and easy to read. Scarlet Quince also gives the option of ordering the pattern in a large print version. Scarlet Quince binds their patterns in booklet form. While the patterns are easy to read, the frequent color changes and blended colors do require some cross stitch experience. Both patterns use full stitches only-no quarter stitches or back stitching. Since I dislike these things this was a selling point for me.

I am stitching the Mona Lisa on 18 count Zweigart Antique White Aida. Brittany suggested that I stitch the Mona Lisa in half cross stitch with 3 strands of thread over 18 count fabric. The stitches are similar to the tent stitch in needlepoint. At first I wasn't sure that I would like the results but the stitching is going a lot faster and the result resembles needlepoint.

DMC floss colors for Mona Lisa.

After 3 weeks of stitching page one is almost completed.

Cross Stitch Collectibles included Pattern Instructions along with the pattern. The instructions give the stitching sequence for the 16 pages.  The pattern is gridded in 10 x 10 blocks, which is how they suggest stitching the design. Stitching the 10 x 10 blocks is easier if you grid the fabric first.  To do this I measured a 3 inch top and side border and marked the placement of my first stitch (in the upper left corner of the fabric). Next I counted over ten squares and drew a faint line with a blue water soluble cross stitch fabric marker (available at Jo-Ann). I continued to draw the grid lines until I reached the end of the top row of the design (page 4). This is the first time that I have tried gridding my fabric and it does make a difference. It is much easier to see where each 10 x 10 block begins and ends, reducing stitching errors.

Cross stitch supplies are very limited in my area. Michaels and Jo-Ann were the only stores that carry fabric and needles. The pre-packaged  fabric was not large enough and was poor quality and the only needles available were DMC. The DMC needles that I used in the past do not hold up very well to a lot of stitching and tend to break at the eye.  I found a large selection of supplies at 1-2-3 Stitch. They had several types of linen, aida and even weave fabric in a variety of counts and sizes. They also carry a variety of needles. I ended up ordering Bohnin needles from France. I love the quality of these needles. They are a little pointier than the traditional needle so they can split the fabric threads if you are not careful, but they are smooth, easy to thread and a joy to stitch with. I would definitely order from 1-2-3 Stitch again. My order arrived promptly (within in 2 days of placing the order) and was packed in plastic and shipped in a padded mailer.