Cross stitching is not for impatient people.
Every stitch is done twice–once in one direction, and then back again the other way; the stitches are small, and in a standard cross-stich fabric you will have 256 stitches in a square inch. Those 256 stitches will probably take you at least 30 minutes to complete, sewing at a good clip.
So cross-stitch is not the craft you want to pick up for instant gratification. For that, I would suggest an embroidery such as crewel, or even just simple back-stitching borders and french knots for emphasis. You can do something of a fairly impressive size in short order if you’re just outlining things.
Also, cross-stitching is very pixel-y, since everything is stitched as a collection of little squares, and making up your own patterns with appropriate shading is not for amateurs (unless you stick to samplers with traditional motifs, in which case, hats to the wind). I’ve been cross-stitching for over 20 years and I still rely more on patterns than creation.
So this week’s WIP is something I started up last fall, and it is sort-of-almost half-way done. Yes, it will take more time to put together this little patch of embroidery than it took me to assemble an entire double-size quilt. But it’s very pretty, don’t you think?
The pattern came from a UK cross-stitch magazine (hint: the UK has all the best embroidery magazines, and most of the best craft magazines; I blame the Royal School of Needlework, which is an actual thing), and called for an ivory aida cloth and regular DMC cotton flosses. But as this is to be a gift, eventually, ivory aida cloth and regular DMC cotton flosses were just not the thing. I found a lovely hand-dyed aida cloth at my local embroidery store, and dug into my stash of variegated and silk flosses to make something a little more special. I don’t think anyone would be able to figure out that they’re silk flosses without being told, but they are super soft and have a lovely extra bit of sheen.
Come to think of it, maybe it’s taking me so long to finish because every time I pick it up, I spend half my time petting it.
Anyway, I wanted a brief break from machine-sewing and crochet, so I’ve been working on this over the past week. I’ve finally been able to add enough that it no longer looks like an aid to meditation (OM!), though there’s still a good chunk left to do. I have a little girl bugging me about binding the critter quilt, and got the fabric I need to do so, so it’ll be back to machine-sewing by the weekend most likely and an actual finished project. But it was nice to spend some time working on something a little slower-paced. Or a lot slower-paced. I think I can say that it will likely be done by the fall, at any rate.