John Clayton ‘Circles Series’ cross stitch 3: Finishing the ‘Sleepy Village’ cross stitch, and a problem!

This is my progress on the ‘Sleepy Village’ cross stitch design produced by Heritage Crafts, from original watercolours by John Clayton.

John Clayton Sleepy Village cross stitch

The buildings were great fun to stitch – especially after what seemed like years of stitching all that sky!! Some of the buildings and trees are stitched in just one strand, so it gives a good feeling of perspective. I really like that about John Clayton’s designs – they aren’t actually difficult, but very cleverly designed so that they look like they’re more difficult than they are really 🙂

The sky had quite a bit of confetti stitching in it, but the buildings were quicker to do, with blocks of colour. Limited backstitch helped define the edges of the buildings, and the branches of some trees too.

So, I cracked on with it, and got it finished without taking more pictures (sorry!). But then I hit a snag. I ‘d bought a picture fame and a circular mount made specially to be used with these John Clayton ‘Circles’ pictures, so I’d assumed it would fit. But when I put the finished stitching behind the mount (having taken it off my frame, ironed it, and put the frame away….) I found that the stitching was too small for the mount, and that I could see white fabric all the way round the edge, just a tiny bit. How annoying!!

So, I put it back on the frame, and stitched two whole extra rows around the edge of the design, matching the colours as much as I could. Then I tried the mount again – this time, it fitted! I don’t think the mount was cut wrongly – I think my fabric wasn’t quite an accurate ’28 count’, which sometimes happens.

Still, I got it framed eventually, and now it looks like this:

John Clayton Sleepy Village cross stitch
I’m really pleased with it!!


Dollhouse Needlepoint newsletter sign-up invitation

All Our Yesterdays cross stitch collection project: 1

Have you ever come across these little cross stitch designs? They are from a series called ‘All Our Yesterdays’, and they are designed by Faye Whittaker. She starts by creating lovely little watercolours, and then translates them into cross stitch designs. Most of them are small, and quite simple, although she does have a few in her range that are bigger and more complex.

They’ve been available for quite a few years now, and I have always loved them – there’s something very sweet about all these little children (whose faces you never see, as Faye designs them to be seem from the back only!) in their old fashioned clothes. The colour palette is restricted to blues and reds, mainly, with some beiges and soft purples for details.

I recently came across this booklet of designs, and had to have it, as it seemed such good value for money  – £15 on Ebay for the booklet plus enough thread to stitch the designs, in a huge bundle already sorted onto card thread sorters.

All Our Yesterdays cross stitch

This is the back cover, showing the rest of the 18 designs – I could quite happily make almost all of these.

All Our Yesterdays cross stitch

Then I came across this one as well, which I was really pleased about, as it’s not often found any more. Faye sells a few signed copies on her website, but they are over £90 each!!! I got my copy on Ebay for under £20, so I felt really smug. It doesn’t have threads with it, but there are dozens of charted designs to choose from.

But I didn’t really have a need to stitch many of them. I wondered if maybe I’d make a kind of ‘fabric book’ of some of them (as many are around the same size, so they would work as ‘pages’ quite easily). Then fate kind of ‘stepped in’.

I’ve been feeling quite ill for months, and it had been diagnosed as a black mould allergy, but my husband and I couldn’t work out where any mould might be that could be triggering me, and I just didn’t seem to be able to get better. In the end, we had a specialist come to our house and test it for mould….and a large patch of it was found under the floor in the upstairs bathroom. Now, I really like my bathroom – it’s decorated in William Morris style wallpaper, and looks really cosy:

William Morris style bathroom

But the mould specialist nearly had a fit when he saw that the whole bathroom (except for the tiling round the bath) is WALLPAPERED!! ‘Get that off the walls,’ he said, ‘It’ll be causing mould to form behind the paper, and making your allergy worse!’

So, my lovely bathroom has to be re-decorated with painted walls only….

But I’ve decided that if it HAS to be redecorated, then it’s going to be done in a ‘coastal themed’ style….and that means that I have a reason to stitch a few of these lovely ‘All Our Yesterdays’ pictures to put on the walls. I suppose that every cloud has silver lining, then  🙂

I’ll keep you posted as I stitch some……


Dollhouse Needlepoint newsletter sign-up invitation

John Clayton ‘Circles Series’ cross stitch: 2 – Starting to stitch ‘Sleepy Village’

I am starting to stitch the ‘Sleepy Village’ cross stitch design produced by Heritage Crafts, from original watercolours by John Clayton. There are loads to choose from, and they’re all lovely!!

This is what I’m aiming to stitch – it’s called ‘Sleepy Village’, and is about 10 inches diameter, and full cross stitch coverage:

John Clayton Sleepy Village
I started a couple of weeks ago (from the top, rather than the centre, as that makes more sense to me – I don’t want to be putting my hands and arms on the stitching that I’ve already done) – this is how far I got after a week of evenings:

I stitch in horizontal rows, one shade at a time, using a magnetic chart marker to keep my place – which is really necessary with a design like this, as leaves and sky all look pretty much the same, so it’s easy to get confused about where you are on the chart! After two weeks the buildings were starting to give it all a bit of context:

John Clayton Sleepy Village cross stitch

Some of the shades for the tree’s leaves are tweeded (two different shades in the needle at once), which gives it a more complex look than it actually is to stitch. Some of the blue sky is stitched with two strands, and some with one, so it gives it some depth too. Nice touches!


Dollhouse Needlepoint newsletter sign-up invitation

John Clayton ‘Circles Series’ cross stitch: 1 – choosing the design

I have loved the ‘John Clayton Circles Series cross stitch designs for years. If you’ve not come across them yet, I bet you could be easily tempted! These were first put on sale over twenty years ago, but they are still selling well – they are produced by Heritage Crafts, from original watercolours by John Clayton. John first paints the picture and then chooses the thread shades for the cross stitch design version, before Heritage package them up and market them. They’re available as either full kits (on 28 count evenweave, or aida fabric), or as chart packs.

John Clayton Circles Series cross stitch
There are loads to choose from, and they’re all lovely!!

I made one, about 25 years ago, called ‘High and Dry’, featuring boats when the tide has gone out. I loved stitching it, and always planned to do more. Life got in the way, though, and I’ve only just got round to starting my second one, even though I have several kits and chart packs from this series in my stash.

John Clayton High and Dry cross stitch

I have decided to do this one now, called ‘Sleepy Village’. This image is taken from the Heritage website:

John Clayton Sleepy Village

Isn’t it lovely? It looks so English! The design is about ten inches diameter, and it’s full coverage cross stitch with some fractional stitches and a little back stitch, so this is going to take a serious amount of time to do.

I set up my floor frame over Christmas (as you can see from the tinsel in the background of this photo!), but it has just sat there ever since, and I need to get on with it.

John Clayton Sleepy Village cross stitch

I got this design from a needlework magazine a few years ago, and the chart is already coloured symbols, which is what I like to work from. The suggested threads were given for DMC, Anchor and Madeira shades – I’m stitching mine using Anchor. The fabric is 28 count white evenweave.

Can’t wait to get going on it, now!


Dollhouse Needlepoint newsletter sign-up invitation