As you all know I love cross-stitch kits and love making them over the long winter season. One of the cross-stitch kits I decided to try this Winter was a counted cross-stitch kit from Dimensions The Gold Collection Petites entitled Hydrangea In Bloom.
Like the other Dimensions Gold Collection kits I had bought the Dimensions Needlecrafts Counted Cross Stitch by Kathryn White, Hydrangea In Bloom kit included the pattern, pre-sorted cotton thread, 18 count ivory cotton Aida, gold beads for the center of the blossoms, needle and instructions.
The Hydrangea In Bloom pattern uses full counted cross-stitch, half cross-stitch and outline stitching, and beads for emphasis and depth and this detailing really makes the picture stand out. The design of this cross-stitch gives the finished picture a 3 dimensional aspect with the half cross stitch and outlining being used for artistic effect.
The pattern came with starting, stitching, finishing and even cleaning instructions as well as samples of the various stitches required, and color coded keys (with code #'s, lengths, color names, and cross-stitch symbols) and a chart with color coded symbols. The colors and symbols on the keys and chart were easy to read and follow.
While I was very pleased with the end results of this design there are some things in the kit and in the instructions that can be improved upon.
As was the case with previous Dimensions kits the thread sorter was poorly designed. The embroidery threads were glued to two foam backed 6" by 1 1/4" strips of cardboard that had a picture of the color of the thread and it's number. In order to get to the threads you had to separate the foam back from the cardboard strip. Very quickly the threads separated from their section and then you no longer knew what the thread number was to tie to your symbols & legends. I had to punch a hole in the thread sorter cardboard strip just below the color of the thread & it's number and then insert the threads through the hole and tie them in a loose knot so my threads, colors, and numbers would stay together.
I also added the symbols to the strip to make reading the chart easier. To make things even easier for the user the color symbol should have been shown on the thread sorter strip of cardboard as well. That way you would only need to use the thread sorter strip of cardboard to follow your chart.
The Hydrangea In Bloom kit creates a 5" by 7" hydrangea picture using the 18 count ivory cotton Aida cloth which was included in the kit. However, the piece wouldn't fit into the 10" round embroidery hoop that I wanted to use so I could cross-stitch the whole 5" by 7" picture without having to move the cloth within the hoop or create creases in my picture from the hoop. I could have used a smaller hoop but that would have required moving the cloth within the hoop which would create creases where the hoop was. I hate that as no matter how hard you try it is very difficult ironing out creases caused by embroidery hoops.
So, I decided to sew cloth strips to the edges of my cloth so it would easily fit within my 10" round embroidery frame as shown in the picture below:
The kit should have included a larger piece of the 18 count ivory cotton Aida cloth in order to avoid this problem.
The finishing calls for centering your design on a 5" by 7" piece of cardboard and folding the excess fabric around the cardboard and mitering the corners. As I as going to put my picture in an 8" by 10" triple matted frame I decided to mount my picture on a piece of adhesive cardboard that I had cut to fit the inside of my frame.
I had chosen a white frame with dark teal blue, white, and gold triple matting to finish it which I think really brought out the beautiful blue, pink, and lilac colors of the hydrangea. Plus the triple matting allowed for enough room for the gold beads that were included in the kit to emphasize the hydrangea flower center.
It took me 55 hours to complete this picture including the framing. Despite the problems I encountered with the thread sorter and Aida cloth I was very happy with the way my Hydrangea In Bloom turned out.