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!

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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!

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