Hubby liked the cross-stitch bird stamp that I had created for my sister-in-law so much that he asked if I was going to do one for us. I, of course, said "SURE!" After all if you're a cross-stitch junkie who can resist an invitation to create another cross-stitch. Definitely not me!
I only had two bird stamps left and decided to go with the "Noel Ornament" as it was also very festive and cheery. Plus, since the Dimensions Gold Collection Petites were all 4 1/4" squares I knew I could make a small picture for us as well.
Like the other Dimensions Gold Collection kits I had bought the "Noel Ornament" kit included the pattern, pre-sorted cotton thread, 18 count ivory cotton Aida, felt, needle and instructions. They also said that thick craft glue and quilt batting would be needed.
The "Noel Ornament" pattern uses full counted cross-stitch, half cross-stitch and outline stitching 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 pattern also calls for certain areas of the picture to be left untouched so the white linen color could show through for that area: It's the white section in the picture below surrounding the stamp border:
However, I don't like the fabric showing in different sections of the background so I opted instead to finish the white sections with half cross-stitching. My results with the totally finished white sections are shown below:
The finishing calls for squaring the back and then sewing felt onto to the back to finish the ornament. Instead of doing that I decided I wanted to finish my stamp as a small picture. So, I decided to add 4 additional rows of dark green floss in half-stitch around the entire picture to create the effect of a mat border and then to glue the entire picture flat to a cardboard square. I had chosen a white frame to finish it which I think really brought out the festive colors of the stamp and really looked nice next to my green floss mat.
It took me 36 hours to complete this picture not including the framing. Despite the problems I encountered with the thread sorter I was very happy with the way my "Noel Ornament" turned out. There is a lot going on in a very small cross-stitch picture and it is amazing to see.
Well, hubby liked it so much he said, "So, when are you going to finish the next one?" I, of course, was tempted to drop everything I was doing and start it right then and there, but decided I had other crafty things I needed to do to get ready for the holidays so this would have to wait. So, I said, "Maybe after the holidays, dear." I'm sure that came as a surprise to him! Gotta keep him guessing!