When trying to decide on which small cross-stitch kits I wanted to try this year for a Christmas present for my sister-in-law I knew I wanted to create something with a bird theme. You see, she's a bird lover and every year I try to give her something with a "bird" in it. So, this year I decided to buy some adorable counted cross-stitch kits that were historic copies of old bird stamps - with postage markings and all. So, I choose three and ended up making two of them.
All of the bird stamps were Dimensions Gold Collection Petites that were 4 1/4" squares. As I intended to frame this as a little picture the 4 1/2" size was perfect. So, of the three I chose the "Wish Ornament," shown below, as I thought it would make a wonderful miniature picture and was so bright and festive.
Like the other Dimensions Gold Collection kits I had bought the "Wish 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 "Wish 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 a foam backed 6" by 1 1/4" strip of cardboard and 4 1/4" by 1 1/4" strip 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:
As I wanted to frame this in a small picture frame I opted to finish it by squaring the back and then gluing that to a complimentary colored background. I had chosen a white frame to finish it which I think really brought out the festive colors of the stamp.
It took me 31 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 "Wish Ornament" turned out. There is a lot going on in a very small cross-stitch picture and it is amazing to see.
And, best of all, my sister-in-law just LOVED it which, certainly, made me happy indeed.