Friday, June 14, 2019

Linda's Review of "Snowman and Friends" Dimensions Gold Petites Collection Cross-Stitch Kit



It seems a little crazy at the start of the summer to be posting about a winter cross-stitch picture I just finished.  You might wonder why I didn't post this in the winter.   Well, there's a really good reason for that.  I started this back on the Fall of 2018 and finally just finished it in June.  Everyone who cross-stitches knows that WIP sometimes take months or years to complete....lol.


I was looking for more cross-stitch winter seasonal pictures to display during the winter season and was drawn to the picture in the Dimensions Gold Collection Petites "Snowman & Friends" picture when I saw it.  So, I decided to buy the kit and add it to my other winter cross-stitch decorations on my fireplace mantle.

Like the other Dimensions Gold Collection Petites kits I had bought the kit included the pattern, pre-sorted cotton thread, 18 count white cotton Aida, needle and instructions.

The "Snowman & Friends" pattern uses full counted cross-stitch, french knots and outline stitching for emphasis and depth and this detailing really makes the picture stand out. It also varies the number of threads used with the various stitches to add to the depth emphasis. The design of this cross-stitch gives the finished picture a 3 dimensional aspect with the cross stitch, french knots and outlining being used for artistic effect.


Unlike other cross-stitch pictures I have done this one left large areas of the picture unfinished and just showing the white Aida cloth, like the picture shown above.  It also did not square the picture to the border.


However, I don't like leaving large sections of the cross-stitch picture unfinished so I opted to finish mine, as shown in the picture above.

Unlike other cross-stitch pictures I've completed the jagged edges to the unfinished areas and border required me to improvise and fill in the cross-stitch picture so I had a 5" by 7" rectangle border to my picture.  So,  I utilized the extra floss from the kit and added the colors and images that I envisioned the picture would have if it had been completely finished.

 

Not only did I decide to totally finish the picture around the edges but also decided to embellish it in a few other areas of the white snow to create more of a 3-dimensional effect.  I used 3-strands of the white floss and created several areas of french knots to create the effect of snow piles.

I also added more blue back stitching in the snow areas to highlight the depth of the snow piles and did the same in sections of the evergreen tree.

For the areas around the border that I filled in and for the large sections of white snow I used 2 strands of the respective floss color I was using in a half cross-stitch pattern.


I decided to use an 9" round embroidery frame to stitch this embroidery.  The white Aida wasn't big enough to fit into the frame so I sewed 4 muslin strips to the four sides of the Aida to keep the Aida tight and stretched so I could easily cross-stitch this design.

The pattern came with starting and working order instructions as well as samples of the various stitches required and instructions for creating them, 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.

Unlike the problem I had with the size and readability of some of the other cross-stitch charts in the kits I had bought this color chart was large enough and easy to follow.

As was the case with previous Dimensions kits the thread sorter was poorly designed. The embroidery threads were glued to foam backed 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.

As I have done with other cross-stitch kits I've completed I had to design my own thread color sorter and symbol key. I took a piece of thin cardboard and cut a long rectangular piece out to use as a thread sorter. I then punched holes in my cardboard strip in which to tie each of the different colors. Just below the hole I wrote the DMC floss # and just above the hole I added the respective color coded cross-stitch symbol. I then inserted the floss threads that went with that # and symbol through the hole and tied them in a loose knot. This kit could be much improved if different thread sorter with respective #'s and color coded symbols was provided.

Short of changing the thread sorter all together to make things even easier for the user the color symbol should at the very least 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 included instructions for finishing the piece. I didn't need these as I knew what type of picture frame I was going to use, the  mat I was going to use and the way in which I wanted to finish the picture.

I tend to favor adhesive mounting boards for the cross-stitch pictures I'm inserting into a finished picture frame. I had decided to use an 8" by 10" wood frame I had bought that had a white and gold double depth mat with a 5" by 7" opening.   Since the frame I was using didn't have enough depth to the inside of the frame I knew I wouldn't be able to use a 1/4" foam adhesive mounting board for this picture. 


I also wouldn't be able to mount this on an 8" by 10" adhesive board either as I didn't have enough depth to insert my finished mounted cross-stitch picture and then insert the back of the picture frame.  There just wasn't enough depth to then secure the back of the frame with the metal clips.

So, I opted instead to adhere my cross-stitch to a 5" by 7" Pres-On self-stick thin adhesive mounting board and secure my picture around the 5" by 7" mounting board.  This would allow for just enough depth along the side in which to secure the back of the frame with the metal clips.

When I had finished securing my cross-stitch around the 5" by 7" board I centered the picture within the white and gold mat and then secured it to the back of the white mat with masking tape.

When the picture was finished I was very happy with the way it turned out. It would be perfect for the winter season for my fireplace mantle.  I hope you like it too.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Linda's Review Of "Stained Glass" Ornaments Kit by Design Works Crafts


When I first looked at the "Stained Glass" ornaments kit by Design Works Crafts I thought how pretty and how wonderful they would look on my pencil Christmas tree. They looked pretty simple and easy to me.  Turns out looks can be deceptive.   It took me much longer than I first thought to finish the six ornaments in this kit.


What I didn't know before I bought the kit was that there was a lot of black floss highlighting for each ornament that transformed them from a pretty ornament to a beautiful ornament.  The highlighting really makes them stand-out and is well worth the extra time it takes to finish each ornament.  It's quite amazing to see them in person.  What added to the length of time was the black highlighting is done one stitch at a time.

The "Stained Glass" ornament kit contained the color cotton floss, #14 plastic canvas, needle and instructions.  The pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and outline stitching for emphasis and depth.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Linda's Review of Dimensions Gold Collection "The Stockings Were Hung...." Cross-Stitch Kit



I don't think I've ever found a cross-stitch kit that I haven't loved - especially those regarding the Christmas holiday season.  I was drawn to the colorful fireplace stocking display picture in the Dimensions Gold Collection "The Stockings Were Hung...." the minute I saw it.  So, I decided to buy the kit and add it to my other Christmas cross-stitch decorations on my fireplace mantle.

Like the other Dimensions Gold Collection Petites kits I had bought the kit included the pattern, pre-sorted cotton thread, 18 count white cotton Aida, needle and instructions.

The "The Stockings Were Hung..." pattern uses full counted cross-stitch, french knots and outline stitching for emphasis and depth and this detailing really makes the picture stand out. It also varies the number of threads used with the various stitches to add to the depth emphasis. The design of this cross-stitch gives the finished picture a 3 dimensional aspect with the cross stitch, french knots and outlining being used for artistic effect.


The pattern came with starting and working order instructions as well as samples of the various stitches required and instructions for creating them, 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.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Linda's Review of "Hanging Around" Mill Hill #MH14-1306 Cross-Stitch Kit



As you know I love to cross-stitch and I love cross-stitching kits with the word "Joy" in them due to the fact it was my beloved mother's name.    So, when I saw the "Hanging Around" kit I knew I would buy it and make it.

The Hanging Around #MH14-1306  pattern uses full cross-stitch and straight stitch highlighting as well as beads of various sizes for emphasis and depth. The Mill Hill patterns usually call for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched like the background or border. In this case they were leaving sections of the brown perforated paper border untouched.

In embroidering the cross-stitch I decided to once again utilize the rectangular wood frame jig that my darling husband built for me that I could tape the edges of my perforated paper to. The wood frame jig is a rectangular embroidery hoop of sorts, but without bending the perforated  paper. He had made it out of 1/2" x 1" pine wood strips with an adjustable center strip that I used for this 5.25 x 5.25 square design.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Linda's Review of "Book Seller" Mill Hill #MH14-2305 Winter Cross-Stitch Kit



Of all the cross-stitch pictures I have done I don't have a lot of winter seasonal pictures.  I wanted to change that for my winter season decorations on my fireplace mantels.  So, when I saw the Book Seller Mill Hill #MH14-2305 cross-stitch I knew I would buy it.  Not only does it suit my winter home decorating needs but it's about books and a bookstore, which I also love.

The Book Seller Mill Hill #MH14-2305 pattern uses full cross-stitch and straight stitch highlighting as well as beads of various sizes for emphasis and depth. The Mill Hill patterns usually call for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched like the background or border. In this case they were leaving sections of the brown perforated paper border untouched.

In embroidering the cross-stitch I decided to once again utilize the rectangular wood frame jig that my darling husband built for me that I could tape the edges of my perforated paper to. The wood frame jig is a rectangular embroidery hoop of sorts, but without bending the perforated  paper. He had made it out of 1/2" x 1" pine wood strips with an adjustable center strip that I used for this 5.25 x 5.25 square design.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Linda's Review of "My Snow Days" - Mill Hill Cross-stitch Kit


Given that I hate snow you might be wondering why I'm cross-stitching a snow picture.  Well, the simple answer is I needed to for my winter decorations that I display on my fireplace mantels over the various seasons.  I have a ton of  Christmas and now Spring & Summer cross-stitch  pictures, but not a lot of winter ones.  So, when I saw the little "doggie" button that was included in this kit I knew I would buy it and make it.

The Snow Day #MH14-9302 pattern uses full cross-stitch and straight stitch highlighting as well as beads of various sizes for emphasis and depth. The Mill Hill patterns usually call for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched like the background or border. In this case they were leaving sections of the brown perforated paper border untouched.

In embroidering the cross-stitch I decided to once again utilize the rectangular wood frame jig that my darling husband built for me that I could tape the edges of my perforated paper to. The wood frame jig is a rectangular embroidery hoop of sorts, but without bending the perforated  paper. He had made it out of 1/2" x 1" pine wood strips with an adjustable center strip that I used for this 5.25 x 5.25 square design.

I had learned from previous mistakes that I needed to draw diagonal lines to locate the exact center of the perforated paper as in previous perforated paper cross-stitch picture I have done the picture was slightly off center by a few holes which caused a problem with inserting the needles in the holes along one of the edges of my frame. So, I lightly drew a diagonal line across each corner with a pencil to get the center point of the perforated paper.

A lot of the cross-stitch 5.25" by 5.25" pictures I have made were finished in small 6 1/2" by 6 1/2" shadowbox frames with 5" by 5" openings that I had gotten at Michaels when they went on sale one year.  I used up all the shadowbox frames I had gotten that year and have been looking for them ever since and haven't found them again.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Linda's Review of "Christmas Wishes" Dimensions Gold Collection Cross-Stitch Picture



Like a lot of cross-stitch kits I see I fell in love with the "Christmas Wishes" Dimensions cross-stitch picture the minute I saw it.  It was just too cute to resist.  I keep telling myself that.  In reality I don't think I've ever found a cross-stitch kit that I haven't loved.....haha  "Christmas Wishes"  was just delightful so I knew I'd buy it and add it to my other winter season cross-stitch decorations on my fireplace mantle.

Like the other Dimensions Gold Collection Petites kits I had bought the kit included the pattern, pre-sorted cotton thread, 18 count white cotton Aida, needle and instructions.

The "Christmas Wishes" pattern uses full counted cross-stitch, half cross-stitch, french knots and outline stitching for emphasis and depth and this detailing really makes the picture stand out. It also varies the number of threads used with the various stitches to add to the depth emphasis. The design of this cross-stitch gives the finished picture a 3 dimensional aspect with the half cross stitch, french knots and outlining being used for artistic effect.


The pattern came with starting and working order instructions as well as samples of the various stitches required, 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. The pattern did not include instructions for finishing the piece.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Linda's Review of "Sunday Night" Mill Hill #MH18-1834 Cross-Stitch Kit


It's the beginning of the Fall and my thoughts always turn to the upcoming holiday season and crafts I'd like to make to add to my already overflowing seasonal and holiday home decorations collection.  I like to think you can never have enough decorations, but that might be wishful thinking.  In reality you definitely can have to many and I am slowly approaching that.   I'll just have to swap them out from year to year.....haha

I tend to be drawn to cross-stitch kits that feature the word "Joy", which was my mother's name, or churches, especially those that remind me of the one my mother attended for so many years.  My mother loved to sing and sang in the church choir for several decades. So, when I saw the "Sunday Night" Mill Hill #MH18-1834 kit, which looks exactly like the church my mother attended,  I knew I would buy it.

The "Sunday  Night" ornament kit contained the presorted thread, 14 count perforated paper, needles (stitching and beading), beads and instructions.  It also included a magnet and instructions for adhering the magnet to the back of the ornament.  The pattern uses full counted cross-stitch, beads and outline stitching for emphasis and depth.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Linda's Review of Haunted Mansion Mill Hill #MH14-1204


Halloween is one of my favorite holidays for crafting and decorating.  I love decorating my home with all sorts of Halloween creatures and pictures.  I don't have a lot of Halloween cross-stitch pictures so when I saw the Haunted Mansion Mill Hill #MH14-1204 cross-stitch kit I wasn't surprised that I was drawn to.  Haunted mansion, ghosts, Frankenstein, cross-stitch - what's not to love!

The Haunted Mansion Mill Hill #MH14-1204 pattern uses full cross-stitch and straight stitch highlighting as well as beads of various sizes for emphasis and depth. The Mill Hill patterns usually call for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched like the background or border. In this case they were leaving sections of the light blue perforated paper border untouched.

In embroidering the cross-stitch I decided to once again utilize the rectangular wood frame jig that my darling husband built for me that I could tape the edges of my perforated paper to. The wood frame jig is a rectangular embroidery hoop of sorts, but without bending the perforated  paper. He had made it out of 1/2" x 1" pine wood strips with an adjustable center strip that I used for this 5.25 x 5.25 square design.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Linda's Review of Moonlit Treaters Mill Hill Cross-Stitch Picture #MH14-1724



As you know I love the Fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving season.   So, when I saw the Moonlit Treaters Mill Hill #MH14-1724 cross-stitch kit I wasn't surprised that I was drawn to.  Halloween, ghosts,witches, and Dracula - what's not to love!

The  Moonlit Treaters Mill Hill pattern uses full cross-stitch and straight stitch highlighting as well as beads of various sizes for emphasis and depth. The Mill Hill patterns usually call for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched like the background or border. In this case they were leaving sections of the dark blue perforated paper border untouched.

Personally, I don't like the dark blue perforated paper as I find it hard to count the holes and follow along as to where you are on your cross-stitch.    Since I always finish the background of all my cross-stitch pictures I decided to stitch my picture on the lighter brown colored side of the perforated paper. 

In embroidering the cross-stitch I decided to once again utilize the rectangular wood frame jig that my darling husband built for me that I could tape the edges of my perforated paper to. The wood frame jig is a rectangular embroidery hoop of sorts, but without bending the perforated  paper. He had made it out of 1/2" x 1" pine wood strips with an adjustable center strip that I used for this 5.25 x 5.25 square design.