Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Oriental Butterfly Cross Stitch Complete!

Look, this one even has a frame! I made this as a housewarming/birthday gift for a good friend who has spent the better part of the last couple years building her first home. I did the stitching and my boyfriend and another friend shared the cost of the framing for the piece. Last weekend we were finally able to give it to our friend, so now I can post pictures without ruining the surprise.

The lighting was terrible when we took the photos so you'll have to trust me that the piece looks absolutely gorgeous in the frame. The matte board is a suede matte in a lighter shade of brown than it appears here and it really helps to make the picture pop.

Below is a somewhat more wrinkled picture of the cross stitch that I took before the framing was done. The lighting was better here and you can get a truer sense of the colours. The pattern I was using is called Oriental Butterfly and it was published by Dimensions. I searched every inch of the leaflet, but I was unable to find a designer's name anywhere. It's a shame because I do like to give credit where credit is due.

I used the original counted cross stitch version of this pattern, but Dimensions has released several other variations on the design. I've seen it sold in kits and as a stamped cross stitch set, where you only have to stitch the central part of the design and the Chinese characters and shading are pre-printed. The version I have doesn't seem to be in print from Dimensions currently, but they do sell this very similar Oriental Butterfly design. I'm not sure what prompted the changes.

On my piece, everything was stitched. It was quite an interesting pattern because it uses a lot of different types of stitching. The number of strands you use also varies between 1-5 to help achieve the textures and shading of the final design. Hopefully in this picture you can see that the background is composed of slant (or 1/2 cross) stitches while the foreground elements like the butterfly, coin and chopsticks are made using regular cross stitches.

I didn't use anything too fancy for the fabric here. Since it's mostly covered up by stitching, I made the piece on an 18 count cream aida cloth.

Two close up shots of the butterfly and it's beautiful colouring. The top picture was taken before the piece was framed and the bottom one was taken after. In real life the butterfly still looks just a bright now that it is framed. Here, it's just problems with the camera and light reflecting off the glass changing the colours. Still, I liked the second picture because I thought it showed the stitching a bit more clearly.

Overall, I love this design and I'm really happy with how the finished, framed piece turned out. It was time consuming, but the variety of stitches kept the work interesting. I'm so happy I purchased the leaflet for this one because someday I may go back and make another one of these for myself.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mouth of the Flower - Complete!

You'll have to excuse the wrinkles in this one. I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to have it stretched and framed, but since it was newly finished I was eager to show it off. This is Octavio Ocampo's Mouth of the Flower, the companion piece to the Family of Birds cross stitch that I completed in October. I was right about this one being a lot quicker to stitch. I attribute that to the wonderful flower stems, which are only 3-5 stitches wide and take far less time than an entire tree trunk to stitch up.

I mentioned before how the women in the pictures reminded me of Francine and Katchoo from Terry Moore's wonderful Strangers in Paradise. This lady is the one that's reminding me of Katchoo, while the other one struck me as sharing similarities with Francine.

I wasn't the only one who thought so either, after finishing the Family of Birds piece I contacted Terry Moore via his blog and was lucky enough to have this brief email exchange with him:

Hi Terry,

Not sure if you are familiar with Ocatavio Ocampo's artwork or not, but I made this cross stitch because the picture reminded me of Francine from SIP. Thought you might like to have a look:

Wishing you all the best,


Thanks Amber. I see her too.

I said it was brief, right? That's okay. I know Terry is a busy man and I'm very excited and appreciative that he took the time to respond.

And now just a few close-up shots so you can see some of the stitching in this picture. Of the two designs, this one is my favourite. I really like how vibrant the colours are and it was a lot of fun to stitch because the individual elements are relatively small. In most cases I could get a particular part of the picture, such as the butterfly or a flower, done in a single day and really feel like I was accomplishing something.

This butterfly, which also acts as the woman's nose, is the only part of the picture that has any backstitching. I really think it's amazing that this piece can look so detailed, without being backstitched everywhere.

And now I'm not sure what I'm going to make next. I have been working on a few crochet items for Christmas, but since the gift recipients read Cthulhu Crochet and Cousins I won't be able to post them until after the holiday season. I'll also have to browse through my cross stitch library and see if I'm feeling ambitious enough to start another piece.

If anyone is interested in making these patterns for themselves the patterns and fabric are available through Loving Stitch's online store, and I imagine a few other online cross stitch retailers. The only difference is that I opted to stitch my pieces on a 32 count cream belfast linen, rather than the lavender recommended in the pattern.