A quick cross stitch project: 1. The Spirit of Holiday Baking (a gingerbread style angel by Brookes Books)

Now that I’ve completed the Strawberry Fayre etui (which has taken me almost all of this year to complete – I started it at the end of January 2018!!), I am feeling the need to do some ‘easy ‘stitching’ for a while. So, a quick cross stitch project like this  ‘Spirit of Holiday Baking’ fits the bill perfectly, as it’s festive, and doesn’t take long to make, so it should be finished in time for Christmas.

This is a cross stitch 3D ‘angel’ type design, by Brooke Nolan of Brooke’s Books. Brooke sells an amazing range of charts for all kinds of things – many 3D, which I love to stitch. I got a set of 14 chart packs of her gorgeous figures for Christmas last year (the Christmas pixie sent good ‘prompting’ emails to my husband, in plenty of time  🙂  )

This is the haul that I got:

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch

I’ve decided to make the one in the centre first. It has the ‘gingerbread’ theme that I like to do at Christmas. For the past few years I have been making Thea Dueck’s little buildings from her Gingerbread Village range, but this year I fancied a change.

The design is to be stitched on 14 count perforated paper – this is more like thin cardboard, and is actually quite robust. It comes in lots of colours, although for this design I only need the brown one, which is a warm gingerbready colour, fortunately!

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch

The chart pack lists DMC thread suggestions, but I converted these to Anchor colours, as I already have a full set of Anchor threads in my stash which I use in the dollhouse needlepoint kits that I produce. I used a size 24 tapestry needle for the stitching.

Here’s my materials, ready to start (the chart itself  I have coloured in with coloured pencils, as my brain can read that better than when it’s just in black and white symbols).

I taped masking tape around the edge of the perforated paper to stop the thread from catching on the rough edges. I don’t need any kind of frame for this, so I’ll just hold it in my hand to stitch.

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch

The instructions said to use three strands of stranded cotton when stitching. I tried a tiny sample area, and immediately decided that two strands would be OK- I really don’t like stitching with an odd number of strands for embroidery, as it means I can’t double the thread through the needle and knot it, which I prefer.

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch

The completed figure will be about 7.5 inches high, so it’s important to start at one end of the chart, not the centre, so that the design will fit on the paper properly – this is stitched on a half sheet of the perforated paper, which is only just a bit over 8.5 inches top to bottom. When allowing a bit for the masking tape border, that doesn’t leave much leeway!

Brookes Books 7

When it’s completed, I’ll have the scary task of cutting it out right up to the stitching (cutting along the next row of holes from the stitches), but for now, it’s just easy cross stitch, which makes a drastic change from the previous  project!

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needle minders, needle holder, pin keep, sampler, cross stitch, magnetic needle holder

 

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What I got for Christmas 2017….. stitching goodies again!

I always ask ‘Santa’ for something stitching-related for Christmas, and this year was no exception. We have a very good system in our house, where ‘Christmas elves’ very helpfully email the present-buyer well in advance of Christmas, with a nice list of possibles that the recipient might like! That way, everyone’s happy on Christmas Day!

So, what I got this year was a fabulous set of 14 cross stitch charts to make stand-up Spirit Angels, designed by Brooke Nolan of Brooke’s Books Publishing. Her designs are gorgeous, and I’ve had my eye on them for ages. These are free-standing figures, about seven inches high, to be stitched on perforated paper in various colours, and then ‘accessories’ which have also been stitched on paper are attached afterwards, to make really interesting projects.

I found Brooke’s designs on Etsy.  She has a huge range of all kinds of designs – well worth a look. Some are hard copy charts, and some are digital downloads. Originally, I’d thought to have just a few of the Spirit Angels, but Brooke is currently running a bulk discount offer, where you can get all 14 designs in the series at nearly two thirds off! Who could resist that, even for a Christmas present?!

This is what you get in each chart pack – a large colour photo of the finished design, detailed instructions, and the chart to stitch from (including a version for if you wanted to just stitch it on normal fabric such as 14 count Aida, and not make one on perforated paper with the accessories added on afterwards as separate pieces). Materials needed are listed  – you’d need DMC stranded threads, and 14 count perforated paper, plus some seed beads and sometimes fine Kreinik braids or DMC Memory Thread. The materials are interesting, but not expensive, which I liked.

I also got some of the perforated paper packs. These are made by Mill Hill. Brown is used the most (for the bodies of the angels), plus gold, silver, white and cream for the accessories and wings. In the UK, Sew and So is the best place to buy this. Each pack contains two pieces of A4 sized sheets. Half a sheet is enough for the main body of each Spirit Angel, plus usually another half sheet of various colours in total for the accessories.

Although it’s called ‘paper’, it is quite thick – almost like a thin cardboard. And the holes are quite large and robust-looking, so as long as you don’t pull a thread through really hard and split the paper, it should be quite easy to stitch on (never stitched on perforated paper before though!).

Although they are all lovely, and hopefully I’ll stitch them all one day, after much deliberation I have narrowed it down to these three being my favourites:

I’m just finishing off another quick cross stitch project (more on that next week), but hopefully it won’t be too long before I can get stuck into making one of these beauties!

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Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.

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