And this is why I haven't been blogging much about my own projects lately. For the past three months I've been finishing this cross stitch. It is Octavio Ocampo's Family of Birds
, and as you can see from its wrinkled state, it is very recently finished. I've just started working on its companion piece, Mouth of the Flower, so I'm going to hold off on stretching and framing until I have both pieces done. Hopefully the next one will go a bit quicker. The tree in this piece took forever, and I think I'll be quite happy if I don't have to cross stitch anything brown for a very, very long time!
I saw both of Ocampo's pieces stitched up in a local cross stitch store a few years back, and every since I first saw them they've reminded me of Francine and Katchoo from Terry Moore's wonderful Strangers in Paradise
series. That's the first comic book I ever got really into and started collecting, and it's still one of my favourites to sit down and reread from beginning to end.
I actually thought there was an issue where Moore had drawn the women in an optical illusion way similar to Ocampo's picture, but I haven't been able to find it. I think my brain is just misremembering this line drawing of Katchoo from the I Dream of You graphic novel cover and mixing it with Ocampo's work. Nevertheless The Family of Birds looks like Francine to me and the Mouth of the Flower reminds me of Katchoo.
Aside from the lengthy time I spent on the nuances of brown in the tree trunk this was a really fun picture to stitch. There are 29 colours in this one and lots of blending. Though, interestingly no blends in the Mouth of the Flower companion piece. It's also all full cross stitches, so no messing round with 3/4 and 1/4 stitches. And there's a very minimal amount of backstitching, which always makes me happy! I stitched the piece on a 32 count cream belfast linen rather than the lavender colour recommended in the pattern because I thought it helped with the illusion of the picture either being a tree and birds or a face. Where as, with the lavender, I felt like you more dominantly saw the face.
A word of caution to anyone who does want to try this picture. Have the fabric cut about 5-6 inches wider and longer than the pattern is recommending. I followed the patterns recommendation and I just don't feel like it left me with much room around the edges for framing. I usually like to have a blank edge on all sides of about 3-4 inches, and after the piece was done I was left with edges that only had about 1.5 - 2 inches of space. Hopefully my framing store will be able to work their usual magic anyway, but I would have liked to have left them with more to work with.
Sadly my local cross stitch store went out of business last spring and took their business online. The link I've provided in the top paragraph will take you to Ocampo's cross stitch patterns in their online store. The patterns are also available from a number of other cross stitch stores in the real world and online, if you wish shop closer to your hometown.