Tag Archives: Cross stitch

Book review: Le Monde de Beatrix Potter – a cross stitch book in French

I really like the work of Beatrix Potter – the original books especially, but also the many styles of embroidery kits of her work that have appeared over the years. I have collected several of them, when I come across them on Ebay, for example.

Recently, I managed to get hold of a copy of this little gem of a book:

Potter 1

It’s in French (the title, ‘Le Monde de Beatrix Potter’ is a bit of a giveaway there!) – it means ‘The World of Beatrix Potter’. The book is small in size  – 6 x 8.5 inches – and only has 80 pages, but it’s gorgeous, nonetheless.

It is by the French cross stitch designer Veronique Enginger. If you haven’t come across her before, try looking at the page dedicated to her on her publisher’s website. She does beautiful cross stitch kits and books – always in a very distinctive French style. Many are available on Amazon.co.uk.

This book is rather different for her, though, as she sticks very carefully to Beatrix Potter’s signature style, as in the watercolour illustrations from the books.

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The book is mainly composed of double page spreads of little collections of motifs on a theme, such as Peter Rabbit, or Pigling Bland. There are one or two larger designs per two-page spread, and then lots of smaller motifs scattered around, on the same theme and colourway.

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So, really, this book is more a collection of motifs for you to choose from when composing your own projects, than a book of ‘complete designs’. All the colour keys give thread colours for DMC stranded cotton. There are several pages of styleshot photos, showing how the cross stitch designs can be used in items such as cushions, tote bags, and so on.

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At the back of the book is a section on how to do cross stitch, materials needed, how to work out how big any particular motif will be when worked on different counts of fabric, etc. Beware, though, that these are, obviously, written in French, as it’s a French book! So, if French isn’t your best subject, just stick to using the book for the designs themselves.

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I’m considering taking motifs from this book and making a kind of ‘soft book’ with about six pages in (so that’s twelve page sides to stitch), to be able to use my favourite images from Veronique’s book. I could fill in the space around the edges of the pages with the smaller motifs, and design my own cover. If I get the time, that is. If not, it’s just a pretty book to look at!

As I said before, I ‘managed to get hold’ of this book – it is out of print now, and has been for a while. It occasionally pops up on Ebay, or Amazon (also, try the French Amazon site, as that’s where I got my copy from). But be warned….it’s not cheap now. My copy cost me over £40. But I think it’s worth it, for such a pretty book, with so many well-designed classic images in it.

Le Monde de Beatrix Potter, by Veronique Enginger (out of print)

Originally 10 euro when in print.

Mango Pratique Series, published by http://www.fleuruseditions.com

80 pages. Paperback.

ISBN 9 782842 706326

Gingerbread Church by Victoria Sampler 7: ….. and it’s finished!

The final part of the Gingerbread Church assembly that I need to do is to fit together the main body of the church. The instructions in the chart booklet by Thea Dueck of Victoria Sampler are very detailed, so it’s easy to do, but quite time consuming if you want it to come out well.

I first laced up the main roof sections. I held the two pieces at the sort of angle that they would be in when the roof was completed, so that I didn’t lace them up too tightly or too loosely.

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Then I joined the side walls in the correct order, in the same way that I did with the steeple. Before I laced up the final side to make it into a rectangle, I added the base section (but I forgot to photograph that bit….).

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So this is the main part of church completed. I attached the roof next, by lacing from the top point of the joined roof sections down to the lower edge, four times, to make sure that the roof was sitting correctly in place, and not twisted.

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With a curved needle, I attached the steeple. This was FIDDLY!!!  It’s important to make sure that the bases of the main body and the steeple are level with each other first, or the finished building will not sit flat. I laced into every second or third back stitch as I went up the steeple sides, joining the steeple to the main building. I left the stitches very loose until I had done all of one side, then I pulled the stitches taut, and fastened off by hiding the thread in the join between the two pieces of the building.

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This shows the completed church, seen from underneath. You can see that the base seams are not laced together – I didn’t feel that this was necessary.

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The chart booklet’s instructions don’t give any guidance about how to join the steeple to the main building. When I first bought the booklet, I emailed Victoria Sampler to ask how I should join them, and someone from their Customer Services section said that the steeple was meant to just be placed alongside the main part, but I didn’t think that that would work, as the steeple is so tall and thin, that it would probably fall over. Hence my ‘solution’. It’s definitely fiddly to do, but it came out very well. I needed to buy the curved needles specially (from Ebay), but they weren’t expensive. I used small ones – about one and a half inches long from end to end, with a large eye.

So, as a final review of this chart booklet, I’d say that this project is just wonderful to do! I love this addition to my Gingerbread Village. I chose to use Zweigart ‘Cognac’ coloured 28 count evenweave fabric, as the suggested Antique Almond is impossible for me to get hold of, but I’m using this shade for all the buildings, and I’m very pleased with it. I used one and a half skeins of Anchor number 2 off white to do all the cross stitching in total, instead of the Kreinik Mori white suggested in the booklet. I also used most of one ball of DMC Perle 8 (as it’s used for joining the panels together, as well as the embroidery).

I bought the main coloured thread and bead/button pack from Sew and So in the UK (but not the white thread pack, which is available separately if you choose to buy that too). The accessory packs are quite expensive, but very high quality. For some reason, the thread pack I bought had far too much Mauve (about three yards of 12 strands), but I almost ran out of one of the greens, despite stitching very carefully so that I didn’t run out. And with the pearl beads, I ended up with only four pearl beads at the end, as I’d had to throw a few away, as the holes were badly drilled and couldn’t be threaded. I think that’s a bit mean, considering the cost of the accessory packs!!

The instructions in the booklet are very detailed, and the stitch diagrams are very clear. Some sloppy editing (I’m a stickler for proper spelling!) lets it down somewhat, but that’s just me being picky. The paper is good quality, and the charts are printed at a good size so that you can work directly from them.

Overall, I’m so pleased with this project, I am tempted to start the next one in the series (the Christmas Tree) now!

Here are some views of the finished Gingerbread Church:

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Church 40

 

Church 41

 

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And just in time for Christmas, I can put the Gingerbread Church under my tree alongside the Stitching House and Candy Cane Cottage. What do you think of it?

Gingerbread Church by Victoria Sampler 6: assembling the steeple

I’ve been assembling the steeple for the Gingerbread Church this week. It’s quite fiddly, but worth it. These are the steeple roof pieces, having each been laced onto the relevant wall pieces with Perle 8 thread.

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Then these joined sections are laced together, from bottom to top. It’s important to make sure that the bases are exactly level. Here’s the first two pieces joined.

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I attached the small square base, then finished the last vertical seam.

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Here’s the completed steeple. Isn’t it lovely?!

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Now I’ve just got to assemble the main body of the church in the same way, join the two sections together, and it will be finished in time for Christmas!

 

 

Gingerbread Church by Victoria Sampler 5: mounting the stitching on card

I’ve finished all the embroidery on the Gingerbread Church by Thea Dueck of Victoria Sampler. Now I’m at the point where I need to mount each piece onto thick mount board ready for assembly – it’s a time-consuming part, but necessary.

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When I decided to make this building, I thought that there wasn’t much stitching to do on it (compared to the Gingerbread Stitching House, for instance). But looking at all these pieces spread out, I can see now that there’s actually quite a lot of stitching on it!

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To make sure that the pieces of mount board are exactly the right size for each piece of fabric, I scanned in the stitched pieces, then printed them out at 100%, and cut out a template, just inside the back-stitched outlines. I then cut the mount board from these. For the triangular roof pieces, and the pointed wall pieces, I folded the paper in half and cut the paper doubled over to get exactly even shapes. The back-stitching has to sit right on the edge of each piece of card, or the pieces won’t fit together properly.

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For the long sides, I laced the fabric to the mount board from top to bottom only, then mitred the corners (not as per the instructions, though – they say to use glue, but that’s a bit scary!).

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For the large pieces, such as the base piece shown here, I laced in both directions.

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For the pointed pieces, I laced as far as possible up the straight sides, then kind of made it up as I went along! You need to be careful that you don’t push the stitching down to the wide end as you lace the pointed part, as it tends to ‘squeeze’ the fabric off the mount board as you tighten the lacing.

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Here are all the pieces mounted and ready to lace together. They’re looking good, aren’t they?