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.
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?