Sleeping Dragon Sampler by Dragon Dreams

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.

Sleeping Dragon Sampler by Dragon Dreams

Copyright Jennifer L. Aikman-Smith, 1995.

Dragon Dreams

Sleeping Dragon Sampler by Dragon Dreams

Chart: The Chart is print on a coloured, folded A3 cardboard sheet. Being an older chart, the symbols are hand-drawn. The grey/green cardboard, chosen for its ability to confound photocopiers at that time, is hard on the eyes. The designer does not give permission to make a working copy. However there are large swathes of single colour; little confetti stitching so with some study or a good light, the chart is useable.

It’s serendipitous that mum walked out with this chart just after I mentioned these grey/green charts in a discussion on a previous post. I know that Jennifer has tried different mechanisms to balance the long running battle of copyright protection for her livelihood vs ease of use for stitchers. If memory serves (so I may have some details a little wrong) if you were using these grey/green charts and completely mucked up the chart part way through stitching your WIP, you could send it in to Jennifer and she would send you out a fresh chart.  Later she moved to white cardboard charts and I think at that time, you could post in your grey/green charts and she would swap them for free.  I know in the end it was the amount of illegal copies that disheartened Jennifer to the point that she stopped designing at all for a long time and shut Dragon Dreams.  Thankfully for us, she has started designing again in a small way with a few teaching pieces and ornaments. I believe she will be releasing (or just has) new large designs this year.

Stitches: Pattern uses whole cross stitches, fractional stitches, backstitch and beads.

Materials: Anchor stranded cotton, Kreinik blending filament and Craftworld International Colour Beads. Stitched on Zweigart 28ct “White” Quaker Cloth.

Designer’s Notes: This dragon was designed because so many stitchers kept asking me for a dragon “just like your logo. The funny thing is … sometimes designs end up having a life of their own. As I began to chart this fellow out, he seemed to be asking for a pile of gold and treasure to nap on rather than a cozy pillow. Thus this Sleeping Dragon Sampler was born. I may still chart our logo someday … but in the meantime, this dragon sleeps and guards his treasure pile above a gold and burgundy alphabet. The oak leaves and acorns used in the border and throughout the design are part of my Aikman mythology. Aikman literally means “Men of Oak”, and our whole family stands tall like oak trees.

Why I was attracted to this design: I love Jennifer’s Dragons!  I love her artwork. Her style is unmissable. I have so many of her designs in my stash; I love her dragons and castles most of all.  Like Teresa Wentzer, Jennifer Aikman-Smith is an artist and stitcher who translates her own drawings and doodles to floss and fabric.

So why haven’t I stitched it? I have so many Dragon Dreams charts in my stash that I haven’t really paid much attention to this one. It was bought without thinking “Ah a Dragon Dreams, into the basket!”. The high priority designs are kitted up or already WIPs, so I haven’t paid much attention yet to those still in chart form.

I find it curious that this chart was stitched in Anchor threads instead of the ubiquitous DMC. She does offer a conversion list of her own choosing to DMC.  Also the beads can be substituted with “1 pkt iridescent purple, green or gold size 11/0 glass beads”.  Ok so which Mill Hill bead range would those be in?

Where can you buy it? This design is Out of Print at present. Some of Dragon Dreams designs are being sold through Hoffmans and some through Patterns Online.  So you could try eBay or you could contact Jennifer via her website and ask if she would make this one available again?

Discussion questions:  Well I’ll be substituting Kreinik #4 braid for the blending ilament. Once I figure out which Mill Hill bead range to use I’ll be right to go on those.  Which fabric would people recommend?  I’m actually tempted to use Wichelt’s Queen Anne’s Lace.  Any other thoughts?  Go wild!  Lavender? Peach?

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Posted in Cross Stitch Designer, Dragon Dreams, Project a Day | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Spellbinders by Cross My Heart

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.

Spellbinders by Cross My Heart

Copyright Jeanne Rye-Zettel, 1999.

Cross My Heart

Spellbinders by Cross My Heart

Chart: The chart is printed in an 18 page A4/Letter sized stapled booklet including cardboard cover. The Wizard chart is over four pages; the Sorceress chart is over six pages. This is an older chart. It is computer-drawn, but many of the symbols are quite similar and used adjacent. This is a pity when the publisher expressly forbids the making of a working copy. They do provide a full page of instructions how to complete each of the different types of stitch used in the design.

Stitches: Pattern uses whole cross stitches, fractional stitches, backstitch, longstitch and beads.

Materials: DMC stranded cottons, Kreinik blending filament, Mill Hill Beads and Mill Hill Treasures. Stitched on Zweigart 28ct “White” Linen and Zweigart 28ct “Wedgwood Blue” Lugana.

Designer’s Notes: None.

Why I was attracted to this design: I bought this chart so long ago. At the time there were so few serious fantasy charts on the markets that I bought every chart I could find when I managed to visit an LNS.

So why haven’t I stitched it? I bought the chart due to a dearth of charts in the fantasy field at that time. I wasn’t happy with the Sorceress’ face but felt I had to compromise my tastes to have some fantasy to stitch. I was wrong, because I never picked up a needle on this. Every time I looked at this chart, I wrinkled my nose at the Sorceress’ face and put the chart back down. It’s time I let this one go.

Free to good home. Mention in the comments why you would like it and how you found your way to this blog. I’ll close this part of the comments in one week.

Where can you buy it? This chart is long out of print. There are several copies currently selling on various auction sites as well as eBay.com

Discussion questions: Tell me about a chart you bought as a compromise once – you couldn’t find the exact chart you wanted so you bought something close but not quite right. Did you stitch it? If not, do you think you ever will?

Posted in Cross My Heart, Cross Stitch Designer, Project a Day | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Flying Dutchman by Dragon Fire Designs

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.

Flying Dutchman by Dragon Fire Designs

Copyright Sherry Schons, 2000.

Dragon Fire Designs

Flying Dutchman by Dragon Fire Designs

Chart: The Chart is printed over four sheets, but there is unfortunately no overlap to help line up the sheets. The symbols are a good size, but many are of a similar shape so I would definitely be making a working copy to stitch this design. There is a fair bit of confetti stitching in that moon but it should look stunning when completed.

Stitches: Whole cross stitches, fractional stitches, backstitch, French Knots and Beads

Materials: DMC stranded cottons, Kreinik blending filament and Mill Hill petite beads. Stitched on Wichelt 28ct “Midnight blue” Linen.

Designer’s Notes: Several hundred years ago, in the year 1729 to be exactly, there lived a Dutch sea captain of fearsome temperament. With his ship he sailed through the stormiest seas, and fared the hardest routes. One day however, despite all his efforts, a storm prevented him from rounding the steep cliffs of a headland. He swore to the Devil that he would never give in to Nature, and that he would sail on until he rounded the headland, even if it took him till Judgment Day. The Devil took the Captain at his word and dammed him, that he must stay as captain of his ship, now a ghostship, sailing the seas, until Judgment Day should come. The Devil left him just one small hope. Only through the love of a woman could he be released.

So, the Flying Dutchman became the curse of the seas. Any ship that met him became a ship of ill fortune. No sailor would sail on her, any trader would refuse to deal in it’s wares. In order to protect themselves against an encounter with the ghost ship, ships took to nailing horseshoes to their masts, which was said to bring luck, and prevent an unhappy meeting.

Why I was attracted to this design: As previously mentioned, I love Gothic tales and what is more Gothic than the tale of the Flying Dutchman! Stitched on Midnight Blue linen with metallics and beads, the only thing that could make this chart better would be the addition of Glow-in-the-dark threads (which didn’t exist when this chart was created). Does anyone know of any other Flying Dutchman charts?

So why haven’t I stitched it? From memory this was another chart in the 40 charts for $40 bundle I won on eBay a few years back. I spent a few years stashing faster than I was stitching and I had a very small fabric stash for a long time. So any chart that required an unusual fabric (not pastel or black) tended to languish longer.

Where can you buy it? Dragon Fire Designs seems to be out of business these days. Their website seems broken and I cannot find a distributor for their designs.  I suggest you try your LNS if they stock older charts, or try eBay as I did.

Discussion questions:  The irony of course, is that now I actually have a piece of midnight linen in my stash, I am tempted rather to use a hand dyed like DoveStitch Black or Polstitches Bewitched and not the plain Midnight Blue.  What do you think? What would be the perfect fabric for this design? By the way, that chart photo looks black, not midnight blue to me. Cover photos hey?

Posted in Cross Stitch Designer, Dragon Fire Designs, Project a Day | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Blog admin musings about the Project-A-Day

Sometime soon I’m going to be migrating this blog from WordPress to my Gothtigger site.  I just need a working brain and my technical support guy to have some free time (Hi Stephen!).

Thinking about moving is a great time to evaluate how things are going on the blog: is it working, where can I add some fun elements.  So I’ve been noodling around with some ideas and I really would like input.

A-Project-A-Day – separate blog?

I feel like we are building a little community around the A-Project-A-Day blog posts.  Should I hive these off into a separate blog? Have the two blogs running side by side. A-Project-A-Day simply gets all the Project blog posts in a nice clean place by themselves.  All other posts including meta ones like this one stay on my main blog. What do you think?  Yes?  No?  Advice?  Advice and thoughts eagerly sought please?

Building a community?

A few people have now commented here and on lists that they’d like to do something like A-Project-A-Day for themselves, but they are worried about the time committment of locking themselves into a schedule.  I do feel like we are building a community here so I would like to offer space here where other people can join in and add their Project posts on an ad hoc basis.  So you can join in if you want without time pressure. I figure I can offer this in two ways – guest blogging or a separate blog.

Guest bloggers?

For example if I made every second Saturday “Super Blogger Saturday” and that day’s post would be put up by someone other than me. Either you could email your content to me ahead of time and I can format and publish it on that day or I could make you an author on the site and you can put the post up yourself. This would be open to any of my friends – a way to post irregularly without any time hassles. This could widen the pool of charts being discussed on the Project, but could conversely be seen as a cop-out as the content wasn’t all coming from my stash anymore.  Again thoughts, ideas, comments, would *you* be interested in being a guest blogger?

A new communal Blog?

Yes potentially a third blog.  A copy of the Project-a-Day format but open for all friends to use as a communal Project-A-Day blog.  So you upload your Project posts when you want to; regularly or when the mood hits. If no-one posts, the blog lays quiet for a while, but it is still there for anyone who wants to have a go.

There would definitely need to be some rules such as no product/designer-bashing, designers don’t review their own charts etc but we could work on these if this comes about.  What do you think?  Is this a good idea?  Or a spectacular failure?

So thoughts, ideas, would you be interested in taking an active part in this or are you happy just reading what I put out?  Is this ready to put out in polls or should I noodle it about some more? Talk to me please. I want opinions 🙂

Posted in Project a Day | Tagged | 11 Comments

Blog admin musings about the Project-A-Day

Sometime soon I’m going to be migrating this blog from WordPress to my Gothtigger site.  I just need a working brain and my technical support guy to have some free time (Hi Stephen!).

Thinking about moving is a great time to evaluate how things are going on the blog: is it working, where can I add some fun elements.  So I’ve been noodling around with some ideas and I really would like input.

A-Project-A-Day – separate blog?

I feel like we are building a little community around the A-Project-A-Day blog posts.  Should I hive these off into a separate blog? Have the two blogs running side by side. A-Project-A-Day simply gets all the Project blog posts in a nice clean place by themselves.  All other posts including meta ones like this one stay on my main blog. What do you think?  Yes?  No?  Advice?  Advice and thoughts eagerly sought please?

Building a community?

A few people have now commented here and on lists that they’d like to do something like A-Project-A-Day for themselves, but they are worried about the time committment of locking themselves into a schedule.  I do feel like we are building a community here so I would like to offer space here where other people can join in and add their Project posts on an ad hoc basis.  So you can join in if you want without time pressure. I figure I can offer this in two ways – guest blogging or a separate blog.

Guest bloggers?

For example if I made every second Saturday “Super Blogger Saturday” and that day’s post would be put up by someone other than me. Either you could email your content to me ahead of time and I can format and publish it on that day or I could make you an author on the site and you can put the post up yourself. This would be open to any of my friends – a way to post irregularly without any time hassles. This could widen the pool of charts being discussed on the Project, but could conversely be seen as a cop-out as the content wasn’t all coming from my stash anymore.  Again thoughts, ideas, comments, would *you* be interested in being a guest blogger?

A new communal Blog?

Yes potentially a third blog.  A copy of the Project-a-Day format but open for all friends to use as a communal Project-A-Day blog.  So you upload your Project posts when you want to; regularly or when the mood hits. If no-one posts, the blog lays quiet for a while, but it is still there for anyone who wants to have a go.

There would definitely need to be some rules such as no product/designer-bashing, designers don’t review their own charts etc but we could work on these if this comes about.  What do you think?  Is this a good idea?  Or a spectacular failure?

So thoughts, ideas, would you be interested in taking an active part in this or are you happy just reading what I put out?  Is this ready to put out in polls or should I noodle it about some more? Talk to me please. I want opinions 🙂

Posted in Project a Day | Tagged | 11 Comments

In the Bag by Calico Crossroads

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.

In the Bag by Calico Crossroads

Copyright Kathleen Kelly, Linda Connors, 2005.

Calico crossroads Kats by Kelly Mini Kats

In the Bag by Kats by Kelly

Chart: This small chart is printed on one side of a double-sided A5 cardboard sheet. It’s a small design and fits quite nicely on that card size. The chart could easily be stitched without the need for a working copy.

Stitches: Pattern uses whole cross stitches, fractional stitches and backstitch.

Materials: Stitched in DMC stranded cotton and Crescent Colours cotton on Charles Craft 14ct White Aida.

Designer’s Notes: None.  This is part of the Mini-Kats monthly series of Kats by Kelly designs.

Why I was attracted to this design: I love all the Kats by Kelly designs. One of my goals is to collect and stitch all the main designs. This was the first of the Mini-Kats series and of course I loved it – it is sooo adorable. The tiny black cat reminded me of Hemingway so much.

So why haven’t I stitched it? I bought this chart when it first came out (was it really so long ago?) and looked forward to the rest of the series with grand ideas of stitching a whole calendar. Unfortunately I forgot that some designers are very parochial and include themes each month that are not global or indeed do not even translate out of the USA. So showers in April and Fourth of July were useless to me and I felt bitter in my disappointment.  The bitterness was probably aimed inwardly as I should have expected the parochialism. So I didn’t do anything with the Mini-Kats charts I already had.

Where can you buy it? All Kats by Kelly charts are out of print.  But this has been a recent development, so you may be able to find these in LNS that keep older stock. They also appear quite regularly on eBay.

Discussion questions: Is there something that appears regularly in monthly themed  designs that doesn’t apply to you. Does it stop you collecting or stitching these designs or do you work around it?

Posted in Calico Crossroads, Cross Stitch Designer, Project a Day | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

In the Bag by Calico Crossroads

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.

In the Bag by Calico Crossroads

Copyright Kathleen Kelly, Linda Connors, 2005.

Calico crossroads Kats by Kelly Mini Kats

In the Bag by Kats by Kelly

Chart: This small chart is printed on one side of a double-sided A5 cardboard sheet. It’s a small design and fits quite nicely on that card size. The chart could easily be stitched without the need for a working copy.

Stitches: Pattern uses whole cross stitches, fractional stitches and backstitch.

Materials: Stitched in DMC stranded cotton and Crescent Colours cotton on Charles Craft 14ct White Aida.

Designer’s Notes: None.  This is part of the Mini-Kats monthly series of Kats by Kelly designs.

Why I was attracted to this design: I love all the Kats by Kelly designs. One of my goals is to collect and stitch all the main designs. This was the first of the Mini-Kats series and of course I loved it – it is sooo adorable. The tiny black cat reminded me of Hemingway so much.

So why haven’t I stitched it? I bought this chart when it first came out (was it really so long ago?) and looked forward to the rest of the series with grand ideas of stitching a whole calendar. Unfortunately I forgot that some designers are very parochial and include themes each month that are not global or indeed do not even translate out of the USA. So showers in April and Fourth of July were useless to me and I felt bitter in my disappointment.  The bitterness was probably aimed inwardly as I should have expected the parochialism. So I didn’t do anything with the Mini-Kats charts I already had.

Where can you buy it? All Kats by Kelly charts are out of print.  But this has been a recent development, so you may be able to find these in LNS that keep older stock. They also appear quite regularly on eBay.

Discussion questions: Is there something that appears regularly in monthly themed  designs that doesn’t apply to you. Does it stop you collecting or stitching these designs or do you work around it?

Posted in Calico Crossroads, Cross Stitch Designer, Project a Day | Tagged , , | 4 Comments