Lavender and Lace Celtic Spring 4: add beading to the cross stitch, and it’s finished!

I’ve reached the point now with the ‘Celtic Spring’ design from Lavender and Lace where I only need to add beading to the cross stitch, and it’s finished! This one has taken me about 80 hours of cross stitching, so far, I reckon. It has a much larger area of cross stitch than the Celtic Autumn that I made a few years back, so either I am getting quicker at stitching, or I have mis-counted the hours this has taken me, as the ‘Celtic Autumn’ one took me about 90 hours altogether, I think.

This is ‘Celtic Spring’ with all the cross stitch finished. Nice, but definitely ‘missing something’.

Lavender and Lace Celtic Spring cross stitch

So, I spent seven hours adding all the beads! I used a polyester cotton sewing thread to attach the beads, in a similar shade to the fabric – a light greeny-beige. This is so that I don’t have to keep changing my thread colour when I add different colours of beads – I can do the whole lot with one type of thread. You can hardly see the thread when all the beads are attached, anyway. I don’t use a beading needle, as they drive me mad when I’m trying to thread them, so I use a number 10 ‘betweens’ needle (for quilting, usually) – one of the John James ‘big eye’ ones.

Lavender and Lace Celtic Spring cross stitch

There’s a good mix of shiny to matte beads in this design, which gives it a special quality.

Lavender and Lace Celtic Spring cross stitch

The top of the panel, in particular, is heavily beaded.

Lavender and Lace Celtic Spring cross stitch

I had been keeping this white plaster-effect frame for several years, just for this project. I bought it in Wilkinsons, for just £8!! I think it really sets off the purples. I mounted the stitching over the backing board supplied with the frame, but didn’t use the glass that came with it, or it would have squashed the beads. I used a layer of 2 ounce wadding under the fabric, to pad it a bit, and laced the fabric over the board with Perle 12 thread.

Lavender and Lace Celtic Spring cross stitch

Here are my Celtic Autumn and Celtic Spring designs together, finally.

Lavender and Lace Celtic Autumn and Celtic Spring cross stitch

I don’t plan to display them like this, usually, though. My long-term plan is to have all five of the Celtic Ladies stitched (one for each season, plus Christmas), and display the relevant one for part of each year. That might take a while to get them all done, though, so for now, each one will be displayed for six months each.

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Celtic Autumn in alternative colours – 8 (the colour key)

Several people have emailed me for the full colour key list for stitching the Lavender and Lace Celtic Autumn in the alternative colours that I used. To make it clear, these colour choices weren’t my idea – I found the suggested colours on the Celtic Lady StitchA Long blog. If you’re interested in any of the five Celtic Ladies, this blog is wonderful, as it is a place for lots of stitchers to upload their progress photos. Sadly, the blog seems to have virtually ‘died’ now, but the images and text are still there as a really useful archive.

LL - 26 Celtic Autumn framed

The colourway I used was listed on 3 June 2010 by ‘Little Cat’, if you want to find it by date on the blog. The only amendments I made when I stitched mine was that I used Petite Treasure Braid in shade PB03 instead of the suggested PB01. I used it straight as it came off the card, and in total I needed 3 cards of it, with just about 1/3 card left at the end (which I can use when I stitch the others in the series)  🙂

Here is the conversion:

Celtic Autumn – Changed Colours (DMC stranded cotton)

We have changed the colour of Celtic Autumn to orange and greens. You use the original copyrighted chart that Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum has designed. The symbols remain the same as on the original chart but you stitch with different colours. You may find it helpful to write the symbols on your thread card

Ecru = this remains the same
300 = this remains the same
301 = this remains the same
356 = this remains the same
400 = this remains the same
402 = this remains the same
644 = this remains the same
754 = this remains the same
758 = this remains the same
780 = this remains the same
781 = this remains the same
783 = this remains the same
822 = this remains the same
829 = use 936 instead
830 = use 937 instead
831 = use 469 instead
832 = use 470 instead
833 = use 471 instead
834 = use 472 instead
924 = use 610 instead
926 = use 612 instead
948 = this remains the same
3371 = this remains the same
3768 = use 611 instead
3776 = this remains the same
3820 = this remains the same
3822 = this remains the same
3823 = this remains the same
B5200 = this remains the same
2001 = use 3825 instead
2002 = use 922 instead
2003 = use 921 instead
2004 = use 920 instead
2005 = use 919 instead
2006 = use 918 instead
PB01 = use two of the three strands of gold instead

BEADS (Mill Hill)

Some of these have also been changed
5 = 00557 this remains the same
9 = use 00221 instead of 02009 – 2pks
4 = 02034 this remains the same
2 = 02093 this remains the same
3 = use 62020 instead of 03024

I hope that if you choose to make this lovely cross stitch design, you enjoy it as much as I did!

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Celtic Autumn in alternative colours – 7

Over Christmas, my routine for stitching got a bit disrupted, not surprisingly.

LL - 24 Celtic Autumn beading

However, I pressed on with my Celtic Autumn when I could, and it’s now FINISHED!!!

In total, the cross stitching took me 72 hours, and the beading another 11 hours, so 83 hours altogether. I’d expected the beading to take a lot longer than it did, as people on various forums have complained about that part ‘taking years’, ‘putting them off finishing the design’, etc. But I got it all done in one concerted effort during a weekend where not much else got done!

LL - 25 Celtic Autumn beading round hem

Various threads had been suggested for attaching the beads, on the forums. I chose to use Anchor stranded cotton (one strand), in as close a shade as I could find, from the shades I’d already used for the cross stitch. I avoided the temptation to use ‘invisible thread’, as some had suggested on forums, as a wary stitcher had also posted that when you get to ironing your work when it’s all done, invisible thread might melt, as it did with her stitching, and all the beads will fall off! Incredibly disheartening, I should think, as there’s 1250 beads to stitch on in total.

I managed to find a lovely ‘walnut effect’ picture frame in a local shop, for only £8, so I got on with it and framed the piece quickly (see my previous post for how long I can sometimes take to get things framed).

LL - 26 Celtic Autumn framed

I’m really pleased with how this has come out. It was a big design to tackle, but after taking a short break to make a couple of  ‘sewing smalls’, I’m already eyeing up the other Celtic Lady designs, to see which one to make next.

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Celtic Autumn in alternative colours – 6

I’ve been stitching the skirt of Celtic Autumn for hours now – first, doing all the gold outlining (that took nearly ten hours just on its own), and then filling in the shading. The terracotta part was very detailed, using five shades (some of them very close shades, too), but it’s coming out beautifully. As I expected, I didn’t enjoy stitching the pale cream band quite so much, but that part’s all done, now.

Celtic Autumn after 60 hours of stitching – gradually, the skirt is getting ‘filled in’ !
…and after 70 hours. Filling in the terracotta shades was fun to do. It’s all looking much more ‘solid’, now.
Close-up of the skirt on the right hand side. The gaps that are still left are to have gold seed beads stitched on, later.

As I’m working my way down the skirt of this Celtic lady, I’ve noticed that different kinds of stitching make me think of different things. Or, rather, stitching of different kinds gives me opportunities for different kinds of thinking.

Let me explain:

Usually, I do surface embroidery of various types – particularly stumpwork. Lately, I’ve been attracted to cross stitch again, after several years of not doing any. For my business, Janet Granger Designs, I do miniature needlepoint, on fine counts of canvas and silk gauze.

A doll’s house room, showing miniature needlepoint items from my range of kits

I’ve found that each of these types of stitching make me think differently as I’m doing them. For instance, with stumpwork and other surface embroidery techniques, although the planning stage can be quite tedious and needs attention to be successful (such as when I’m transferring the design to the fabric via tracing, or working running stitch over pencilled lines on tissue paper), once that part has been done, then the actual stitching is incredibly relaxing. I can get into an almost meditative state while I’m doing it. Each stitch almost ‘places itself’, as I don’t have to be consciously aware of what I’m doing, and yet I’m really concentrating – but in a relaxed way. It’s as if my left brain has been switched off, and my right brain can ‘get on with it’. So, I can really relax with surface embroidery.

This is a bag I made for my MP3 player, using surface embroidery, gold thread, and beads

Cross stitch (or any counted technique) leads to my brain working differently, I think. If I am constantly referring to a chart, then what I tend to have running through my mind while I’m stitching is something like ‘three green squares, miss one, two more green ones, miss one, down a line and one to the left, stitch five, miss two’ etc etc. So, there isn’t much opportunity to go ‘away with the fairies’!

‘Mrs Waddelow’s Huswif’ – a cross stitch design from With My Needle

Needlepoint is similar to cross stitch in the effect it has on my thinking, in that the design needs counting from the chart first, but then there is the ‘right brain’ part of the project where the background needs to be filled in (which isn’t usually the case with cross stitch). So I can get to the meditative state with that too, to some extent.

This is stitched in needlepoint on 40 count silk gauze – stitching the background is when it can get meditative!

It’s not that one type of stitching is better than the other, it’s just that I hadn’t noticed the differences in the way they make me think before.

One way that I have found to introduce a bit of ‘meditation practice time’ into my cross stitching is to repeat affirmations while I’m stitching some of the simpler areas; either a short phrase with each up or down motion of the needle, or one word each time. I’ve got some of the Louise Hay affirmation cards, and also some of the Abraham Teachings (Esther Hicks) cards, and they both have good affirmations to work with.

It probably makes me look a bit strange if anyone were to watch me stitching, as I tend to mumble them just under my breath, but I have found that they help to keep me focussed on ‘inner stuff’, which is important to me, and I get my stitching done at the same time!

Does this approach resonate with anyone else?

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