A quick cross stitch project: 3. The Spirit of Holiday Baking (a gingerbread style angel by Brookes Books)

I was determined to get this Spirit of Holiday Baking 3D figure from Brookes Books finished in time to display for Christmas (THIS Christmas, I mean!), and I’ve just about managed it.

This is the second half sheet of perforated paper with  the ‘accessories’ and wings for the angel cross stitched, back stitched, and all the beads sewn on.

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch angel

Then comes the scary bit! You have to cut each piece out, one row of holes away from the stitching, all the way round. This is where you realise that it’s very important, if there is a part of the design where there is a ‘sharp angle’, that you didn’t take the thread across the back across the unstitched gap – because then, when you get to this stage, you’d be cutting through that long thread, and making your design unravel!

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch angel

These are all the pieces, ready to assemble with glue dots and a few judicious stitches in a matching thread to hold everything together. This reminds me of those paper dolls that I had when I was little, with the little tabs on the edges so that you could ‘hang’ different items on the main doll to make different outfits.

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch angel

Assembled!! Didn’t take long, as glue dots don’t need time to dry, unlike tacky glue, which can get a bit messy. From this angle, you can see that the beads really add interest. The layering of the pieces is a simple idea, but really clever, and adds to the cuteness of this project.

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch angel

Finished (just)! I need to add a mount board bracket at the back so that she can stand up unaided, but she’s near enough finished  🙂

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch angel

Isn’t she lovely? I’ll definitely be making more from this series, as I have a bundle of over a dozen chart packs for these ‘angels’. I find they are really good projects to take when I’m travelling, as they don’t need to be done in a hoop (in fact, they can’t be, as they are on paper), the holes in the 14 count paper are quite large, so I don’t need a magnifier, and there aren’t too many colours, so it’s easy to pick it up and put it down without getting confused about where I am in the design. Well worth having a go. Visit Brooke’s Etsy shop  if you’d like to buy any of her lovely chart packs.

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A quick cross stitch project: 2. The Spirit of Holiday Baking (a gingerbread style angel by Brookes Books)

I’m trying to get this quick cross stitch project called ‘The Spirit of Holiday Baking’ by Brookes Books stitched in time for Christmas, as I want to display it along with the gingerbread village buildings from Victoria Sampler that I’ve made before (not that they’re in the same kind of scale, but I just like gingerbread things!).

The design itself is quite simple, but deceptively so – the shading is good, considering there aren’t a huge number of thread colours in the design. But the area to be stitched (in a couple of weeks. Yikes!) just for the main ‘angel’ is about three inches by eight, on 14 count perforated paper, and I’m really busy with posting out Christmas orders of my embroidery kits at this time of year, so I haven’t got much ‘free time’ for stitching.

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch angel

But whenever I get a minute, I put a few stitches in, and it’s growing….

There are two main sheets of designs. One is the angel herself, with a few ‘accessories’ on the spare paper around her (which will be cut out later and assembled into one piece). I’ve finished that bit now – adding the beads really makes it look special. The bare patch on the front of her apron is for a pocket to be appliqued later. She has a cute beaded flower on her hat.

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch angel

Now I’m doing the second sheet, which is for little gingerbread pieces, and the angels wings. Aren’t these looking great?

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch angel

I’ve just got the wings to complete, then I can start to put it all together, so it should actually be finished in time for Christmas.

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A quick cross stitch project: 1. The Spirit of Holiday Baking (a gingerbread style angel by Brookes Books)

Now that I’ve completed the Strawberry Fayre etui (which has taken me almost all of this year to complete – I started it at the end of January 2018!!), I am feeling the need to do some ‘easy ‘stitching’ for a while. So, a quick cross stitch project like this  ‘Spirit of Holiday Baking’ fits the bill perfectly, as it’s festive, and doesn’t take long to make, so it should be finished in time for Christmas.

This is a cross stitch 3D ‘angel’ type design, by Brooke Nolan of Brooke’s Books. Brooke sells an amazing range of charts for all kinds of things – many 3D, which I love to stitch. I got a set of 14 chart packs of her gorgeous figures for Christmas last year (the Christmas pixie sent good ‘prompting’ emails to my husband, in plenty of time  🙂  )

This is the haul that I got:

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch

I’ve decided to make the one in the centre first. It has the ‘gingerbread’ theme that I like to do at Christmas. For the past few years I have been making Thea Dueck’s little buildings from her Gingerbread Village range, but this year I fancied a change.

The design is to be stitched on 14 count perforated paper – this is more like thin cardboard, and is actually quite robust. It comes in lots of colours, although for this design I only need the brown one, which is a warm gingerbready colour, fortunately!

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch

The chart pack lists DMC thread suggestions, but I converted these to Anchor colours, as I already have a full set of Anchor threads in my stash which I use in the dollhouse needlepoint kits that I produce. I used a size 24 tapestry needle for the stitching.

Here’s my materials, ready to start (the chart itself  I have coloured in with coloured pencils, as my brain can read that better than when it’s just in black and white symbols).

I taped masking tape around the edge of the perforated paper to stop the thread from catching on the rough edges. I don’t need any kind of frame for this, so I’ll just hold it in my hand to stitch.

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch

The instructions said to use three strands of stranded cotton when stitching. I tried a tiny sample area, and immediately decided that two strands would be OK- I really don’t like stitching with an odd number of strands for embroidery, as it means I can’t double the thread through the needle and knot it, which I prefer.

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch

The completed figure will be about 7.5 inches high, so it’s important to start at one end of the chart, not the centre, so that the design will fit on the paper properly – this is stitched on a half sheet of the perforated paper, which is only just a bit over 8.5 inches top to bottom. When allowing a bit for the masking tape border, that doesn’t leave much leeway!

Brookes Books 7

When it’s completed, I’ll have the scary task of cutting it out right up to the stitching (cutting along the next row of holes from the stitches), but for now, it’s just easy cross stitch, which makes a drastic change from the previous  project!

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Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui 41: it’s finished!!!

I am currently stitching the Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui as a stitchalong project. At last, after nine months, it’s finished!!!

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Wow, this has been an amazing project to tackle. I had planned this one for several months before actually starting to stitch it, and decided to do it as a kind of shared stitchalong on this blog, starting at the end of January 2018. So, it’s taken over nine months to stitch (and write the 41 blog posts to go with that!). But I’m so pleased with it! Here’s the inside:

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

And here’s the outside:

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

It has this ingenious way of holding the four panels together, so that they fold in on themselves to make a little heap of hearts that reminds me of pancakes!

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

It’s a very clever design, by Carolyn Pearce, of Australia.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The design appeared in Inspirations magazine, issue 95. I wanted to make it the first time I saw it, on Pinterest, a few years back. Pockets like these, to hold stitching tools, are just so sweet.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

And this little mother of pearl ruler, that used to be made by Kelmscott Designs, but is now like hen’s teeth to get hold of, is so cute and I love it now that I’ve got one!

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The etui closes with a needlelace berry on a cord. The edges of the hearts have beading around the tops.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

What I call ‘the three dangleys’ hang from the bottom tip – a thimble holder, a strawberry emery, and a pinwheel.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The needlelace berry attaches to a Dorset button by a cord. The button was really difficult to make! My centre isn’t very central……

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

This is my favourite piece – the heart shaped pincushion.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

I also love the beaded chains that hold the scissors and ruler in their pockets. I nearly didn’t bother to make these, but I’m glad now that I did.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The second heart shaped pocket holds an antique button hook with a mother of pearl handle.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

Three heart shaped mother of pearl thread rings, from Kelmscott Designs, hold some thread used in the project.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

I learned several new stitches whilst making this – Glove Stitch is one of them. It’s a really useful joining stitch.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

This image shows the doctor flannel used to make the heart shaped needle pages, held together with a flower button.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

There was lots of beading in this project, making it look really special!

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The thimble holder was fiddly to make, but holds a little silver thimble perfectly.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

Although my pinwheel came out too big, I still really like it!

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

This project needed quite a few bits and pieces to complete it. Although a materials pack was available from the publishers of Inspirations magazine, I felt it was pricey, so I raided my stash for most things, which kept the cost down a lot. The whole thing cost me less than £60, including the elusive mother of pearl ruler, which I had sent to me from the USA to the UK.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

Rather than put a tape measure in one pocket, I chose to put a bodkin and a ribbon-puller.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

I bought an old mother of pearl gaming chip on Ebay to use as a thread winder, which fits neatly into the smallest pocket.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

This is the antique button hook, which fits in the second heart pocket.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

HINTS AND TIPS

Although this has been a great project to complete, there are quite a few things that need pointing out, if you’re going to tackle making this.

For instance, the project in the magazine runs to 18 pages – the longest article they have ever had in almost 20 years of the magazine. Then the construction text is on a separate pullout sheet, and that’s detailed too. So, you need to read through all of that to familiarise yourself with what you need to do, and the order to do it in. Hopefully, if you follow these blog posts, you’ll be fine! I have changed quite a few things though.

Despite the length of the article, it’s still a lot shorter than the ‘Home Sweet Home workbox’ instructions by Carolyn Pearce – as that was published as a book, with over a hundred pages. so there was more space to go into detail. So, some details have been glossed over with this etui, which is a shame. After spending hours and hours on a project like this, you need to trust the instructions.

You also need to trust that the materials pack will have enough materials in, and I have heard from several stitchers that they bought the pack (I didn’t though) and they ran out of some items. Not good, especially when the pack costs over £140!!

I think it would help, if you’re new to some of the stitches, particularly, to spend some time practicing them on spare fabric before attempting them on the project itself. There are several YouTube videos that explain things, that really help if reading text doesn’t ‘do it’ for you.

As I’ve said before, it helps to get together everything you’re going to need, and cut out all the pieces from all the materials, etc., before you start to stitch. It’s so much quicker in the long run than stopping and starting to cut one more piece of wadding, or to find the beads you need, when you’re in the middle of the project. Boring, I know!

MY CONCLUSION

I really enjoyed making most of this etui – I wasn’t so keen on making the Dorset button, as I needed too many hands to do it successfully, but that’s just me! I’d have preferred to have photographs of the stages, rather than line drawings in the magazine to follow, but I suspect that this project was written up a long time after the etui was actually made, so process photos weren’t available. Also, I think some of the instructions are just plain wrong – things are suggested that are impossible to do, such as threading a half hitch knotted cord through beads with tiny holes! You really do need some experience of assembling needlework items to tackle this one with confidence.

This is probably the most ambitious needlework project that I’ve ever made. But I’m so pleased with it – I can see me actually using this as I stitch future things, which is a good sign  🙂

Compared to the Home Sweet Home workbox, also designed by Carolyn Pearce (my version of that is shown below), this project, I feel, is quite a lot harder to make. There are more unusual stitches to learn, and more stages to it. But there is also more repetition – I found I was getting a bit bored halfway through, when doing the four inner panels …. all the same, and the rectangular pockets …. all the same. With the Home workbox, all the smalls were different, so it kept my interest going.

Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox

But look at this now! A very different type of project, and one to take pride of place in my display cabinet  🙂

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre etui

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~~~INFORMATION~~~

The Strawberry Fayre design, plus the complete list of materials, appears in Inspirations magazine number 95The publishers do sell a full materials pack  (not including the mother of pearl ruler though!), but it’s rather expensive, so if you can use your stash, and just fill in with bits and pieces, then so much the better! The magazine is published in Australia – if you live in the UK, as I do, it is cheaper to buy a back copy from Manor House Magazines, and save a lot on the shipping. 

EDIT: The materials pack from Inspirations, and the magazine from Manor House in the UK are not available any more as at March 2018 – I don’t know if any more stocks will be available now, unfortunately. The publishers may bring out a digital pattern pack later, which they sometimes do with popular projects from their magazines, but we’ll have to wait and see…..

To read about this project stitchalong from the beginning, start here. The post about which FABRIC to use is here. The post about the THREAD SUBSTITUTIONS that I made, plus WHERE TO BUY the threads and beads, etc., is here.

To look up all the posts in this series in the sidebar, see under the CATEGORIES list, under: Embroidery / Full size (others’ designs) / Strawberry Fayre heart etui, or use the SEARCH BOX at the top of the blog, and search for ‘Strawberry Fayre’ to get a list of all the posts (but it’s in reverse order, sorry!).

I’d be interested to see images of how your project is progressing – please email large, clear, well-focused images to mail@janetgranger.co.uk  Please bear in mind that any images sent may be used in this blog and/or social media such as Facebook or Pinterest.

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