31 January 2006

12 Days of Christmas

I know, I know, Christmas is over and it's just the beginning of a New Year, especially for me, a Chinese, who's still in the middle of celebrating Chinese New Year. However, for the participants of the Margaret Sherry Round Robin, we're just getting started with her 12 Days of Christmas design. There are 11 of us altogether - Allison, Angie, Jackie, Kathy (our organiser), Kirsty, Lynn, Marilyn, Marion, Priscilla, Sarah and me. There was supposed to be 12 of us but because of personal reasons, she had to pulled out. Maybe someone might want to help me stitch the last pattern when the piece comes back to me in April next year?
Anyway, first off, there's "A Partridge in A Pear Tree". Now, this piece is very special to me because believe it or not, this is my first time stitching on evenweave. I can tell you, I was rather nervous trying something new and I lost count of the number of tips and guides I read before starting on it. It took a lot of getting use to but once I got the hang of it, it wasn't that different from stitching on aida. I'll confess that I felt rather apprehensive after signing up for the RR, wondering if I've bitten off more than I can chew but now I'm confident that I can handle it. I really like the more refined look evenweave shows off a pattern so I just might start stitching on evenweave more. This piece is also more challenging than what I've tried before because of the many fractional stitches. Still, it turned out fine and I'm very happy with it.
Next is "2 Turtle Doves" which I stitched for Kathy. This time, it's gold fleck evenweave which once again, is something totally new for me. That's the intersting part of this RR. I get to try out different types of fabric. Managed to finish this pattern in 4 days which is a lot quicker compared to the previous pattern. I really like the effect of the gold flecks on the fabric, reflecting both colour and light, turning the pattern to live. Too bad this type of fabric is not yet available in Malaysia or I just might be tempted to buy it for my next project, whatever that might be. Hmm... then again, there's always the option of shopping online... *wicked grin* 
By the way, in case you're wondering, contrary to much popular belief, the 12 Days of Christmas are not the 12 days before Christmas, but in most of the Western Church are the twelve days from Christmas until the beginning of Epiphany (January 6th; the 12 days count from December 25th until January 5th). According to legend, the 12 Days of Christmas song originated in England as a coded reference to important articles of the Christian faith in the 16th century, during the religious wars when Christianity was forbidden. The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor but to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. Here are the 12 symbols along with the meanings: 
  • A Partridge in A Pear Tree - Jesus Christ, the Son of God 
  • 2 Turtle Doves - The Old and New Testament 
  • 3 French Hens - The 3 Theological Virtues (Faith, Hope and Love) 
  • 4 Calling Birds - The 4 Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) 
  • 5 Gold Rings - The first 5 books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch"(Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) 
  • 6 Geese A-Laying - The 6 Days of Creation 
  • 7 Swans A-Swimming - The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (Prophecy, Ministry, Teaching, Exhortation, Giving, Leading, and Compassion) 
  • 8 Maids A-Milking - The 8 Beatitudes (Blessed are the poor in spirit, Those who mourn, The meek, Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, The merciful, The pure in heart, The peacemakers, Those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake) 
  • 9 Ladies Dancing - The 9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness,Generosity, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control) 
  • 10 Lords A-Leaping - The 10 Commandments 
  • 11 Pipers Piping - The 11 Faithful Apostles (Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James bar Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas bar James) 
  • 12 Drummers Drumming - The 12 points of Doctrine in the Apostles' Creed 
Hope you found that as interesting as I did.

23 January 2006

Forever Friends - Bathtime

Ta-da! Finally, it's done! Yay! Took me about 2 years to finish this piece. Yes, you've read that correctly and no, I'm not kidding about that. I bought this kit in November 2003 when I was in Melbourne, Australia and had started it immediately but even though I had been cross stitching for a number of years, my stitching experience was still pretty limitted. And here are the reasons it took me so long to finish my first Forever Friends Bear:
First off, the smallest count I've stitched on up until then was 14 count so the 16 count cream aida that came with the kit took quite a bit of getting used to. Secondly, the colour of the bear, the tub and the fabric was quite similar not to mention the colour shadings in between which provides an even bigger challenge. Lastly, and the main reason I've been putting off stitching on this piece is the backstitches. They run everywhere and I mean everywhere. As if that's not bad enough, the lines on the chart showing the backstitches are thick which makes it hard to determine the precise place to stitch. Try that on aida and you'd understand why I was so reluctant to pick it up again once I put it down. Just so you know, I've never been one to detest backstitch but this is too much!Yesterday, I managed to summon up the courage to start working on it once more. I've been dragging my feet on this one long enough and all that's left is just the backstitch anyway. I put a rush on it today and now it's over and done with. I've gotta say, despite all the grief the backstitch gave me, the result is tremendously satisfying. Someday... a very distant someday, I just might attempt it again but you won't see me stitching something like this in the near future. Still, Forever Friends Bears are so cute and they are my absolute favourite among all the bears like Tatty Teddy, Newton's Law, Popcorn Bear and the likes. Anyone gonna try and convince me to change my mind?

21 January 2006

Lilliput Lane Village

So many patterns, so little time! That, I believe, is a phrase that every cross stitcher can identify with. And I have to admit that I've never felt it to be any more true than when I saw this Lilliput Lane Village pattern on the January 2006 issue 126 of the Cross Stitch magazine yesterday. (Cross stitch magazines from UK generally arrives late here in Malaysia.)
Look at it! Isn't it lovely? I haven't stopped admiring it since I bought the magazine home. The temptation to start stitching it immediately is so great I nearly gave in to it but resist I must. What with 3 WIP (Work in Progress), 1 UFO (Unfinished Object/s), 3 RR (Round Robin/s) and 1 SAL (Stitch Along) that I'm in, not to mention the countless items I already have on my to do list (thanx to my darling fiance who's been buying me loads of stash), my plate's already overflowing. I absolutely does not have time for another new project.
However, since it's always good to plan first, *innocent look* I'm still trying to make up my mind whether to stitch it on aida or on evenweave. The model in the magazine is stitched on 16 count cream aida and as far as I can tell, I don't see any fractional stitches so it can be easily stitched on aida but I do like the more refined look evenweave gives a finished piece. Then again, I can stitch a lot faster on aida which is a huge bonus. Then, there's the matter of whether to use DMC or Anchor threads. I prefer DMC but the key given is Anchor which means I'll have to convert it to DMC and I don't know how different the result would be. Help! Any suggestions is highly appreciated.

Hooked on Cross Stitch...

A New Year and a new stitching journal for me. This is a first for me... have never been one to blog but after reading about other stitcher's interesting stitching stories and adventures, I decided that I really should try it out too. Still feeling my way around this site, trying to get the hang of things. Hopefully, I'll be able to figure out how to do everything real soon.
I can't remember exactly when I picked up cross stitching but according to issue number 33 of Simply Cross Stitch magazine, which the chart of my very first cross stitch piece - The Gift of Friendship was printed in, it was sometime in 1997. I took the magazine, flipped through it, saw the chart, thought to myself, "this is nice, how hard could it be to do this?" and the rest, as they say, is history. Here is a picture of the finish piece.
I've been stitching on and off for give or take 8 years, that is, if you disregard the fact that I haven't been stitching much between 2000 to 2004. Then, I met a fantastic guy, now my fiance and I wanted to make something special for him for Valentine's Day last year. Immediately, I thought of cross stitch. This is the result of that, a freebie - Be My Valentine from EMS which I personalized by adding in words.
Since then, I've been stitching non-stop and am currently in a few international RRs (Round Robins) and a SAL (Stitch-Along). So now you know, the beginning of my cross stitch addiction...