Gingerbread Church by Victoria Sampler 3: Stitching the long sides, and working from black and white charts

I’ve been stitching the long sides of the Gingerbread Church building this week. This is the charted design from Thea Dueck of Victoria Sampler in Canada – I am gradually working my way through all the buildings in this series.

I cross stitched all the white first, then filled in with the bright colours for the stained glass windows, and lastly the grass and bushes at the bottom.

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The semi-circular blue areas over the windows are eyelets (well, half an eyelet!).

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Finally, little pearl beads are attached over each window.

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The window motifs for each side are different, so this doesn’t get boring to stitch. I loved doing this part, as the bright colours are lovely to look at, and the threads are silk, so they are very soft and easy to work with.

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When I’m working from one of the Victoria Sampler charts, I scan them in from the booklet and print them out at the original size. This is so that I can colour in the chart with coloured pencils –  the paper in the booklets is too shiny to colour straight into the booklet, but also because I like to have each chart as a separate piece of paper, as it’s easier to attach to the clip on my tapestry stand.

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This is the coloured in chart for one of the long sides of the church. As I finish each section, it’s very satisfying to screw up the relevant chart and bin it – it makes me feel like I’m getting somewhere!

 

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Gingerbread Church by Victoria Sampler 2: the roof, and stitching on black fabric

I’m stitching all the roof pieces for the Gingerbread Church design by Thea Dueck of Victoria Sampler  this week. I’m not that keen to stitch on black fabric usually, as I find it makes me tense up, and gives me headaches. So I reckoned I would get them all out of the way now.

So, if you want to have the black roof on this project (like I do), you’ll have to put up with the issues, and make it as painless as possible! The main problem is making the holes in the black fabric show up as clearly as possible.

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When I started on the first roof panel, I was stitching in my conservatory, in bright sunlight. You can see from this photo above that there was just too much light around! It was quite difficult to count the fabric threads accurately.

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So I turned the tapestry stand so that the fabric was as much in the shade as I could manage, and I also put a piece of white fabric on my lap, so that the holes of the black fabric showed up clearer and more consistently.

The roof panels don’t have all that much stitching on them, but they do have quite a few beads. Here’s the first piece finished:

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I found that I needed guidelines in white thread placed first, to make it obvious where I would be attaching the small pearl beads, because if I’d just stitched on the snowflake ones first, the snowflakes themselves would be obscuring the fabric too much, and make it impossible to count accurately from their placement point to the three points above them.

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So I stitched this temporary line horizontally, on the line where the snowflakes would eventually go.

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From there. I could count up much more easily, and attach the lines of three pearl beads each time, and the individual ones in between the snowflakes.

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Lastly, I attached the snowflakes, unpicking the guideline thread as I went. Here’s both roof pieces finished.

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Then I stitched the steeple roof in the same way.

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The steeple has four small triangles for the roof pieces. I tacked one guideline stitch where the snowflake would go, rather than a line.

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These small roof pieces were very quick to do – only taking 45 minutes each!

That’s all the black fabric pieces finished – all the rest are to be stitched on the Zweigart 28 count evenweave ‘Cognac’ shade fabric.

 

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Gingerbread Church by Victoria Sampler 1: Getting started

I’ve decided to start on the third of the Gingerbread Village cross stitch buildings, designed by Thea Dueck of Victoria Sampler in Canada. These are cute little buildings, made from the chart booklets that Thea sells – last year, I had the two I’d completed taking pride of place under my Christmas tree. This year, I want to get a third one completed in time for Christmas, to make the display look more balanced, and to give it some height. So, I’ve decided to do the Gingerbread Church, which stands about 10 inches high when finished, and has a striking black roof, so it will look quite different from the other two buildings. Eventually, I’m hoping to do virtually all of the buildings in the series, but I think I’ll need to stitch quicker, as Thea is bringing out new ones faster than I am stitching them!

Here are the two that I had finished by last Christmas – the Gingerbread Stitching House, and the Gingerbread Candy Cane cottage:

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Each panel is stitched separately, and then put together by lacing each panel over card, and lacing up through the backstitched edges. This is the far end wall of the Gingerbread church, showing just the main sections of the design, and not the outline of the walls:

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The bit I like about these buildings is that they all have lots of beads and buttons attached to them after the cross stitch is done, which really finishes them off nicely. The packs of threads and beads are available to buy separately from the chart booklets. I think the accessory packs are quite expensive, but if you need to buy almost any of the items in them from scratch, it’s going to work out quite pricey anyway, especially when you add on shipping. I did buy the accessory pack for this project, along with the chart booklet, from Sew and So in the UK. The speciality beads really make a difference:

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This is the ‘steeple end’, with the space where the steeple will be attached left blank, except for the backstitching, which will be used to lace each section together with Perle thread later:

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After stitching both of the end walls, I thought I’d ‘save time’ by stitching the two base pieces (just the outlines), so that when it came to assembly, these bits would already be finished. However, I found after bothering to stitch these to the dimensions given in the booklet, that the larger base piece was drawn wrongly, and was actually one stitch out on the long side….so I had to unpick it and stitch it again, so it saved me no time at all. Hopefully, later editions of the booklet will have that corrected (I bought my booklet as soon as this design was for sale, about three years ago, now).

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Still, that’s four pieces finished in a week, which can’t be bad!

 

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