This was my entry for this year's Needlecraft Guild competition. We were having a fun competition this time to celebrate our 25th anniversary. So the theme was just '25' and people interpreted it anyway they wanted.
I decided to do an alphabet using the Gothic Alphabet which has 25 letters, making one letter do the job of 'I' and 'J'.
Most of the squares came from the wonderful Stitcher's Alphabet by Brooke Nolan at http://www.brookesbooks.com/CrossStitchFreebies.html
I had to design the I/J square myself of course, as hers was a 26 letter alphabet. I made a filet crochet Gothic I/J in variegated blue machine thread. I stitched it into the centre of the square, first with a blue cross stitch that was pretty invisible and then with the decorative stitching and then I cut away the fabric behind the crochet. (And used lots of Fray Check because I just didn't trust my join). Around the crochet I drew out threads and wove them back into the fabric at the corners and inserted a 2mm wide silk ribbon.
I also made a different design for 'O' as she had O for Over-dyes and I thought O for Openwork was more interesting although I did use over-dyed thread for the Hardanger. It was also a more difficult square as aida-type fabric is really not the best for cut work. Again I used a lot of Fray Check.
The upper case letters I got from a sampler my grandmother did in the 1920s at a college for missionaries' wives. Her work didn't have all the letters so I had to design some in a similar style. The lower case letters in the title are from an antique DMC booklet 'Bibliothèque D.M.C. - Alphabet de la Brodeuse' downloaded from http://www.antiquepatternlibrary.org/
The hem has mitred corners and is done in what is called by some, Danish hemstitch. There is a picture of the stitch here. https://theshopsampler.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/new-years-resolution-so-far-so-good/blackwork-danish-2a/
The fabric I used is not actually proper Aida. I've no idea where I got it from as it has been in my fabric hoard for years. The thread count is wider than it is long which worked out okay because the individual images were actually oblong so in my version they came out more square.
I include thumbnails for all the other letters in case anyone else is doing this design, because when I was stitching this I would have liked to have been able to look at clear pictures of how some of the designs would look when completed. I did change some colours and I didn't use as much beading as the pattern called for because sewing on beads takes forever and I got bored with it