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21  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Oriental Butterfly Cross Stitch on: December 22, 2010 02:43:54 PM
I made this as a housewarming/birthday gift for a good friend who has spent the better part of the last couple years building her first home. I did the stitching and my boyfriend and another friend shared the cost of the framing for the piece. Last weekend we were finally able to give it to our friend, so now I can post pictures without ruining the surprise.

The lighting was terrible when we took the framed photos so you'll have to trust me that the piece looks absolutely gorgeous in the frame. The matte board is a suede matte in a lighter shade of brown than it appears here and it really helps to make the picture pop.

The pattern I was using is called Oriental Butterfly and it was published by Dimensions. I searched every inch of the leaflet, but I was unable to find a designer's name anywhere. It's a shame because I do like to give credit where credit is due.

I used the original counted cross stitch version of this pattern, but Dimensions has released several other variations on the design. I've seen it sold in kits and as a stamped cross stitch set, where you only have to stitch the central part of the design and the Chinese characters and shading are pre-printed.

On my piece, everything was stitched. It was quite an interesting pattern because it uses a lot of different types of stitching. The number of strands you use also varies between 1-5 to help achieve the textures and shading of the final design. Hopefully in this picture you can see that the background is composed of slant (or 1/2 cross) stitches while the foreground elements like the butterfly, coin and chopsticks are made using regular cross stitches.

I didn't use anything too fancy for the fabric here. Since it's mostly covered up by stitching, I made the piece on an 18 count cream aida cloth.

Two close up shots of the butterfly and it's beautiful colouring. The top picture was taken before the piece was framed and the bottom one was taken after. In real life the butterfly still looks just a bright now that it is framed. Here, it's just problems with the camera and light reflecting off the glass changing the colours. Still, I liked the second picture because I thought it showed the stitching a bit more clearly.

Overall, I love this design and I'm really happy with how the finished, framed piece turned out. It was time consuming, but the variety of stitches kept the work interesting. I'm so happy I purchased the leaflet for this one because someday I may go back and make another one of these for myself.

Thanks for looking,

22  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer "Hush" Pillow on: December 22, 2010 02:24:32 PM
Quite possibly the most awesome Buffy craft I have ever seen! Thank you so much for sharing.  Smiley
23  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Re: Totoros for Christmas Present! =) on: December 22, 2010 02:14:55 PM
They look adorable! I'm sure your friends will love them and completely forgive the lateness of the present. Very cool! And thanks for sharing the yarn type, I'm going to have to give it a try for amigurumi sometime.
24  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Re: Mouth of the Flower Cross Stitch on: December 08, 2010 01:29:38 PM
those are so amazing!!
Would you mind if I asked where you got the pattern?

Thanks for the compliments everyone!

Coraboo, the patterns were published by a company called The Stitching Studio. I know the pattern is available from Loving Stitch's online store (http://www.lovingstitch.net/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=65_85&products_id=232&zenid=hrivmlmdd56h2i4l1496i6f740). They used to have an actual store near where I lived, but unfortunately it closed down back in April. My friend picked up the patterns for me while visiting Victoria, British Columbia, at the Buttoned Up store. They also have an online store and seem to still be carrying the patterns. (http://www.buttonedup.com/Catalogue/Needlework/Cross-Stitch-Charts/The-Stitching-Studio/The-Stitching-Studio-Page-3.aspx)

I believe both stores can also sell you the fabric to make the pictures. I stitched mine on a 32 count Belfast cream linen, instead of the recommended lavender colour. I also recommend buying a piece of fabric that is about 4-6 inches wider/longer than the pattern recommends. I found it's recommendation only left about 1-2 inches of blank space around the edge of the design. Most framers prefer to have more than that. If you're in the U.S. or U.K. you may also want to check online cross stitch stores in your country. I'm not sure what the shipping costs would be from these Canadian stores. 

Hope the links help. Have fun stitching,
25  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Mouth of the Flower Cross Stitch on: December 07, 2010 01:38:33 PM
This is Octavio Ocampo's Mouth of the Flower, the companion piece to the Family of Birds cross stitch https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=362400.msg4253665#msg4253665 that I completed in October. I was right about this one being a lot quicker to stitch. I attribute that to the wonderful flower stems, which are only 3-5 stitches wide and take far less time than an entire tree trunk to stitch up.

I mentioned before how the women in the pictures reminded me of Francine and Katchoo from Terry Moore's wonderful Strangers in Paradise. This lady is the one that's reminding me of Katchoo, while the other one struck me as sharing similarities with Francine.

Like the other piece, this one was stitched on a 32 count belfast cream linen.

This butterfly, which also acts as the woman's nose, is the only part of the picture that has backstitching. I'm blown away by how clear and detailed the picture looks, despite the fact that it doesn't require the whole piece to be backstitched.

Of the two pictures, this one is my favourite. I really like how vibrant the colours are and it was a lot of fun to stitch because the individual elements are relatively small. In most cases I could get a particular part of the picture, such as the butterfly or a flower, done in a single day and really feel like I was accomplishing something.

Thanks for looking,

26  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Re: yes...another Gir ami...NOW WITH PATTERN on: November 30, 2010 11:53:36 AM
Wow! Thanks so much for adding the pattern. Now that I see your instructions for the head, it makes sense. Seems like a good way to get the Gir head shape.

Thanks again! Now I just have to find time to stitch one of these!
27  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Re: yes...another Gir ami... on: November 28, 2010 06:53:01 PM
Very cute! Thanks for sharing. I understand you didn't write out the pattern, but I was wondering if you'd be able to explain the technique you used to shape the head? It doesn't look like a typical round amigurumi head, but more blocky, the way Gir's head should look. I've been thinking of trying to make a Gir myself and would appreciate any tips you have!

Again, thanks for sharing. Even if the surprise was exposed, I'm sure your daughter will love the present.
28  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Re: Dr. Horrible and Firefly characters on: October 23, 2010 06:53:24 PM
Those look great! I love the quote you chose for Mal. That one always makes me laugh! I'm sure your swap partner will love them.
29  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Re: Family of Birds Cross Stitch on: October 22, 2010 11:56:34 AM
Hi everyone,

Thanks for all the compliments!!! I really appreciate everyone's enthusiasm for the piece. It is a pretty unique pattern. I actually sent a link to the blog post I'd done about this cross stitch to Strangers in Paradise author Terry Moore (via the contact button he has on his blog) and got a response back.  Smiley


Hi Terry,

Not sure if you are familiar with Ocatavio Ocampo's artwork or not, but I made this cross stitch because the picture reminded me of Francine from SIP. Thought you might like to have a look:

[insert link to my blog]

Wishing you all the best,

Terry Moore's response:

Thanks Amber. I see her too.

So that was pretty cool!

And I'm curious what other experienced cross stitchers think, does the blank space along the edge seem a little small for framing? Or am I just too used to leaving lots of extra fabric on the edges? You can particularly see what it looks like in the second photo, the first one I cropped to just show the picture.
30  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Family of Birds Cross Stitch on: October 19, 2010 12:27:24 PM
For the past three months I've been finishing this cross stitch. It is Octavio Ocampo's Family of Birds, and as you can see from its wrinkled state, it is very recently finished. I've just started working on its companion piece, Mouth of the Flower, so I'm going to hold off on stretching and framing until I have both pieces done. Hopefully the next one will go a bit quicker. The tree in this piece took forever, and I think I'll be quite happy if I don't have to cross stitch anything brown for a very, very long time!

I saw both of Ocampo's pieces stitched up in a local cross stitch store a few years back, and every since I first saw them they've reminded me of Francine and Katchoo from Terry Moore's wonderful Strangers in Paradise [http://www.strangersinparadise.com/] series. That's the first comic book I ever got really into and started collecting, and it's still one of my favourites to sit down and reread from beginning to end. I actually thought there was an issue where Moore had drawn the women in an optical illusion way similar to Ocampo's picture, but I haven't been able to find it. I think my brain is just misremembering this line drawing of Katchoo from the I Dream of You graphic novel cover and mixing it with Ocampo's work. Nevertheless The Family of Birds looks like Francine to me and the Mouth of the Flower reminds me of Katchoo.

Aside from the lengthy time I spent on the nuances of brown in the tree trunk this was a really fun picture to stitch. There are 29 colours in this one and lots of blending. Though, interestingly no blends in the Mouth of the Flower companion piece. It's also all full cross stitches, so no messing round with 3/4 and 1/4 stitches. And there's a very minimal amount of backstitching, which always makes me happy! I stitched the piece on a 32 count cream belfast linen rather than the lavender colour recommended in the pattern because I thought it helped with the illusion of the picture either being a tree and birds or a face. Where as, with the lavender, I felt like you more dominantly saw the face.

A word of caution to anyone who does want to try this picture. Have the fabric cut about 5-6 inches wider and longer than the pattern is recommending. I followed the patterns recommendation and I just don't feel like it left me with much room around the edges for framing. I usually like to have a blank edge on all sides of about 3-4 inches, and after the piece was done I was left with edges that only had about 1.5 - 2 inches of space. Hopefully my framing store will be able to work their usual magic anyway, but I would have liked to have left them with more to work with.

Thanks for looking everyone!
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