Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Embroidery March: Cross Stitch

Image copyright Victoria and Albert Museum
Once again, my blog schedule is wonky. I'm hoping this cold will pass soon and that I can have my brains back. So, without further ado: Cross Stitch.

I've tried cross stitch before, but haven't ever been able to stick with it. Generally, I get bored and wander off and I'm not sure why. As a result of Embroidery March, I've been poking it with a stick to see what it's made of and why I didn't have the attention for it before. Now, it's perfectly alright not to like every single craft in existence, but after a little bit of effort, I've discovered what's fun about cross stitch. While I feel like the slowest dot matrix printer in existence (probably the source of my previous boredom), once the design begins to show, I get that giddy feeling that you get when you're working with a self-striping yarn and you come to a color change.

As a stitch, the cross stitch has been around since approximately forever, but designs done entirely or almost entirely in cross stitch are slightly more recent, about five hundred years or so. It's hard to say exactly when it happened, but it's probable that cross stitch designs were influenced by the rising popularity of blackwork, according to the Cross Stitch Guild's article Threads of History.

The Victoria and Albert Museum has the earliest example of a cross stitch sampler, produced by a Miss Jane Bostocke in 1598. That place has everything. I haven't found a reproduction of it yet, but I'd certainly love to see one.

I also found out that the most fun part for me was to create new designs, which is easy-peasy with Stitch Fiddle. The following image is from the British Library's Flickr account, which has been an endless source of amusement for me. I love me some public domain images.

I thought this would make a fine design for one of those kitchen towels with the band of cross stitch across the bottom, so I colored it:

And then imported this image into Stitch Fiddle. I'm working the design now, making edits here and there as I go. When I'm done, I'll have a workable chart and a fancy towel. I can't think of anything better than that.
I love it when a plan comes together.

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