Aurora Castle by Pegasus Originals

A Project A Day – Counted embroidery work is my main hobby and I have a huge stitching stash. Some of these projects are huge and take years to stitch, and while others are quick projects, I often spend months without stitching at all. So while I have hundreds in my stash, only a half-dozen ever see attention any given year.  To address this imbalance in 2012 I will each day write about one project languishing in my stash.

Aurora Castle by Pegasus Originals

Copyright Mary Zdrodowski, Pegasus Originals, 1998.

Pegasus Originals Mary Zdrodowski

Aurora Castle by Pegasus Originals

How many of the old crew remember the circumstances surrounding this beast?

Chart: The chart is printed over eight pages. The symbols are small but the design is essentially a silhouette over a repeating pattern background, so the symbols are easy to follow. The symbols seem to have been chosen to be easily distinguishable. The design is fully stitched except for the very bottom of the piece, so there is a lot of dense stitching. I would make a working copy, for the sheer amount of stitching, not because the chart requires clarity.

Stitches: Pattern uses whole cross stitches and Diamond eyelets.

Materials: DMC Stranded cottons and Kreinik blending filaments. Stitched on Zweigart 14ct Gold/Cream Aida.  Due to the size of this (21 x 27″ on 14/28ct) and I don’t like using three threads to stitch, I’ll be using 32ct. I’ll also be swapping out the BF/cotton blends and using straight Kreinik #4 braids.

Designer’s Notes: “This is where I live. My body may reside in a very ordinary home in Sterling Heights, but this is where I live!”

I have been alive like this before;
but it’s wonderful to be alive like this again.
There are those of us who were born with
a bead or a sequin instead of an essential chromosome:
Our DNA twines in an endlessly bursting rainbow.
We hear the tambourines, we smell the roses,
we don’t need drugs to see the dragons.
We think odd thoughts,
we forgive Crimes of Passion, if
they are committed with panache.
We walk a couple of inches above solid ground.
I have been alive like this before;
too tired to scratch out a few more lines,
too full of thoughts to sleep.
Will I remember ’till the morning?
It’s wonderful to be alive like this again.
– Mary Vosburg Zdrodowski.    April 1997.

Why I was attracted to this design: In 2006-2008 a group of us cheered on while Jodie stitched up this monster!  During those months of cheering and my frank astonishment at her speed of stitching I fell in love with this design.  I love the bold colours and the fantastical castle with the huge noir moon.

So why haven’t I stitched it? Watching Jodie stitch this terrified the pants off me. This is a huge piece and I’m not known for my staying power and finishing of projects! I also had a very small fabric stash at the time (I bought fabric for each project as I started it) and I couldn’t see the need for such an expensive difficult-to-acquire fabric that was only going to show for a couple of rows at the very bottom of the piece.

I see now that the is the earth or land the castle is sitting on and it would have to be an opalescent fabric to reflect the rest of the metallics in the design …. I’m now thinking perhaps a hand-dyed gold-flecked 32ct. I have a piece of Silkweavers Opalescent Sugar Cookie that would have worked, but its only a Fat Eighth.  With 32ct the fabric requirements are 18.5 x 24″ and I don’t know if that 18.5 height includes extra for the ground, so a fat quarter is really squeaking it in, even if I had one.  Still need to think further.

Jodie changed floss in her design, stitching the moon and other metallic areas in the then-newly released DMC metallic threads. Little did any of us know how painful they would be to use.  Since then Kreinik has released their range of Glow-in-the-Dark threads so I’m planning to stitch the moon in them. Unfortunately with both Kreinik and DMC the yellow GitD threads seem too yellow and the White seems too White for this moon, so whichever brand I go with, I’ll probably use a blend white/yellow to get the light yellow effect needed here.

Where can you buy it? This chart can be specially ordered by you, your LNS or ONS directly from Pegasus Originals. The chart should cost you around $8US.

Discussion questions:  The background.  Jodie stitched her’s in straight cross stitch.  I know Kerry was planning to stitch her version in Bargello stitch when she got that far.  Kerry was avoiding all of my hassles by stitching her’s as one-over-one (and I thought I was nuts!). Bargello stitch appears a simple enough adaption for this pattern (says she who has never stitched any Bargello work). So I plan on trying this.  Would this work?  Would it work better if I swapped the DMC stranded floss for say a DMC Perle #5 or a Perle #8 and did the Bargello background in one strand?  Or would the textural difference be too much and the background crowd the foreground instead of being the background? Advice please?

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8 Responses to Aurora Castle by Pegasus Originals

  1. Kat says:

    The Background does look like Bargello, but I’m wondering if it would come out too puffy if stitched as Bargello? I haven’t done much Bargello, so I can’t be sure. Also, my autocorrect insists that Bargello is capitalized! Lol

  2. Lana says:

    I think that Bargello would be an option. I actually thought that is what the background stitching was when I first saw the pattern. And stitching it with Bargello might actually speed up the stitching time on this piece. I, however, am not an expert in Bargello, by any means. I looked at Jodie’s and can’t believe she crosstitched all the background. I feel like it would be a pain to do it that way. Just my opinion. Also, you would likely want to use a Perle #8 if you are doing it on 32 ct. #5 would likely be too big for the holes in the fabric.

    Hugs!

  3. kay jones says:

    I also thought it was Bargello in the background. You would definitely need to use Perle 8 or even 12 on 32ct especially if you did it over one. Alternatively you could omit the Perle and use 2 or 1 strand of silk or cotton

  4. Mel says:

    Oh I am NOT doing this one-over-one on 32ct. I am bonkers, I am NOT certifiable! Good old 2 over 2 will surfice for me.

    So at this stage the collected wisdom of all of us non-experts is stitch the castle, then try the bargello with one strand of Perle 8 and see if I have enough coverage and check it isn’t too puffy. How does that sound?

  5. Rae Kennon says:

    I agree with everyone else go with the bargello for the background. That stitch is one of my favorites and its done quickly too. A laying tool would be a good helper when stitching it also espically if you end up using two strands.

  6. rocalisa says:

    Mine is in the cupboard waiting for a day when I have the energy and enthusiasm to go on with it. The problem is that – in all honesty – stitching the castle is terribly boring. It’s huge long rows of more and more and more 939 and I just got sick of it.

    Mine is being stitched on 25-ct confederate grey lugana which is nice and easy to work on. I have all the colours for the “bargello” sky in perle #8. I think I did a test stitch and decided that I would get better coverage with #8 than #12.

    You can see my progress at http://randomthoughts.co.nz/corner/gallery/files/aurora.html. (That gallery is terribly out of date. I haven’t updated it in years. I see that the last update for Aurora Castle was 2005 so I suppose I should consider getting it out and doing some more. Mel has made me like it all over again with this stash post. However, I’m only just managing to do a few stitches on Autumn Queen so I probably shouldn’t go crazy. 🙂 )

  7. Sisu says:

    I think doing it as bargello in pearl cotton would overwhelm the castle, texturally, but as it would be seen from even a few feet away, that depth would disappear as your eyes shifted to the entire piece and not the testure of it. The only advice I would have is that if you do it as bargello, use an evenweave and not a linen fabric. The unevenness of linen threads REALLY amplifies when doing what is basically an entirely satin stitched background. One fat thread in the linen can leave a visible gap in the stitches that can travel several inches through the piece.

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