Monday, November 29, 2010

Cross-stitch Quotations

There are many things that make cross-stitch appealing to me. It indulges my OCD, my desire for symmetry, and my love of amusing quotes. It keeps my hands busy, if aching, and the concentration I put towards it mirrors meditation. Other than the extra aching, these are the things that I need most in life, such utter distraction that I can forget the world and my circumstances.

Yet for all the distraction my constant inner feeling appears in the quotes that I choose. None are so accurate as this quote from a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, to which I've added a little judicious swearing.

It's true, isn't it? Reality can ruin all our lives to various extents in various ways. We build up our defenses, our distractions, and we lose ourselves in them until some bit of the bad old world intrudes into that bubble. So we shrug and we sigh and above all we say "fuck this."

The border is my own design, and you are free to use it, if you'd like. Click on any of the pictures for the full-size image.

Happy crafting!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Babies and Garden Pests: Are they really so different?

Though I had done some embroidery before my sister became pregnant with her first baby it was that event which really propelled me into regular embroidery and from there into cross-stitch and blackwork.

My sister is my best friend, and has been since I was seventeen years old. She is five years older than me or I'm sure we would have been best friends even sooner than that. Of my eight nieces and nephews (this time next year it will be ten!), her son Benjamin (often called Bunny) is the only one I see regularly. I don't want kids myself and I've never been a baby-person, but the Bunny is the light of my life. He is two years old, and the happiest
toddler I've known (knock on wood). He recognizes me and gives me unsolicited kisses, and I appreciate that.

Before he was born I embroidered a number of white onesies for him and just kept doing it as he grew. Now I've got three pieces that just kept being forgotten until he grew out of them, but luckily my sister is pregnant again so these, along with the smaller sizes, will be passed on to the new baby. I feel a little guilty since two of them are the best I've done, but Bunny got two sweaters I knit just for him and the new baby is unlikely to get a new sweater from me (sorry honey, hand-me-downs will be the name of the game for your whole life).

Here you find my favorite original embroidery pattern to date, a green and brown snail sliming along. I love the way the slime trail turned out with the two close shades of green and two stitch styles. What I will eventually add is a thicker line of darker brown next to the light brown of the shell, as it is too thin compared to the body. Otherwise, I love it! If I make another copy on regular fabric I will probably use metallic thread for the lighter green of the slime trail.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cross-stitch alphabet

I've been working on various alphabets, mostly for cross-stitch and blackwork. I find that putting hilarious and snarky quotes in cursive makes them even more amusing.

Of course, cursive is a big pain, since the letters all join up differently and for some you can't join them well at all since doing the official, traditional cursive 'r' in cross-stitch will end up looking like an 'n' or will just be a bit confusing. I'm not completely satisfied with some of these letters (mainly the p and q), but it's a start. I haven't stitched all of them, so perhaps the 'p' and 'q' look nice on fabric.

Sometimes it's so amazing to me how different something looks on graph paper compared to how it looks in thread on linen. I suppose that's the nice thing about cross-stitch, you get some surprises.

Here I post for you the lowercase cursive alphabet, which anyone is welcome to use. I altered and combined a number of sources to come up with this. If you do use it (and end up posting your piece online) I would really love for you to link people back to this post or my blog in general. Click on any image for the full-size version!

I am also posting some pictures of various pieces I've done basically using that alphabet (with a few changes) so you can see how it really looks. Now work that needle, darlins!

Hello Hello

My name is Meredith. I'm stuck at home most of the time due to a chronic pain disability. I love to do cross-stitch, embroidery, and blackwork and have been working at these arts for some time. Now I'm going to use this blog to post my own original patterns, motifs, and designs.

To start us off in grand fashion I present the conversion of a classic Roman image found in numerous mosaics into a cross-stitch pattern. It converted very well and I'm so happy with it.

Here is the original i
mage, representing the fragility of life and the ease with which it can swing hard to a new direction. The scales and skull balance on the wheel of fortune or wheel of fate, the bags and cloth attempts to balance the whole works on the delicacy of the butterfly.

Now here is my pattern, made from the image. This mosaic is found numerous places with slightly differing versions. It is obviously in the public domain so feel free to use my pattern if you wish.

When I make this the entire background with be shades of teal (with only slight shade differences, the make it look a little weathered) but I have no filled in every single square because I'm lazy. It is the same with the bottom line which will all be that grey-brown color but again, lazyness.

The next classic/ancient image I hope to create a pattern for is a picture of Vercingetorix (king of the Gauls at the time of Julius Caesar's Gallic campaigns). Either just him alone or the much painted/sculpted image of him surrendering his arms to Caesar. I am beyond nerdy about ancient Rome, particularly during Caesar's time. I have always been a chatterbox, but the few times I spent more than five minutes not speaking in my childhood I was primarily engaged in imagining myself as a Roman centurion during the Gallic or British campaigns.

And now I get to express that happiness with thread and traditional techniques!