During the Fall season I usually get the urge to make some cross-stitch gifts for the holidays. This year I decided to make a wolf counted cross-stitch picture for one of my teenage grandsons for Christmas. I needed something masculine and thought a wolf might be nice.
I looked at a lot of different wolf pictures and decided I liked the Wolf counted cross-stitch kit from Dimensions.
Like the other Dimensions kits I had bought the kit included the pattern, pre-sorted cotton thread, 18 count white cotton Aida, needle and instructions.
The Wolf 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. The design of this cross-stitch gives the finished picture a 3 dimensional aspect with the cross stitch, 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.
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.
I was very happy with the color coded chart as it was quite large at 13" by 9" and very easy to read.
As was the case with previous Dimensions kits the thread sorter was poorly designed. The embroidery threads were glued to foam backed 4" 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.
As I have done with other cross-stitch kits I've completed I had to alter the thread sorter to suit my needs. I pulled the thread sorter apart to get rid of the foam and then punched holes in the cardboard strip just above each color and color #. I inserted the floss threads that went with that color and color # through the hole and tied them in a loose knot. I then added color coded symbols with colored pens beneath each color so I would know what symbols went with what color.
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.
I also decided to once again utilize the rectangular wood frame jig that my darling husband built for me that I could tape the edges of the 18 count white cotton Aida to. The wood frame jig is a rectangular embroidery hoop of sorts and can accommodate a 5" by 5" cross-stitch picture kit or 5" by 7" cross-stitch picture kit. He had made it out of 1/2" x 1" pine wood strips with an adjustable center strip that I use for the 5 x 5 square designs.
In the picture on the front of the kit they had chosen to mount the picture without a mat and using a thin gold metal frame. However, the kit did not come with instructions for finishing the back of the picture. I tend to favor 1/4" foam backed adhesive mounting boards for the cross-stitch pictures I'm inserting into my picture frames but wasn't sure which of my picture frames I would be choosing and whether or not they would be deep enough to accommodate it.
I didn't want my picture to be too big so I decided not to mat it. I had decided to use an 8 1/2" by 10 3/4" woodland rustic frame with glass and a 5" by 7" opening that I thought I thought would compliment the thread colors in the wolf picture. I was hoping the depth of the frame and glass was deep enough to accommodate my picture which I would be mounting to a thinner hard adhesive mounting board.
I like to finish my cross-stitch pictures by adhering them to a mounting board and then taping the four corners so I can sew them with nylon thread in a "V" to make the corners taut with the adhesive board and then tape the remaining vertical and horizontal sides with masking tape. So, I did this but to my dismay with the glass the depth was going to be an issue with the back of the frame. So I decided to remove the glass which actually allowed you to better see the 3-dimensional aspects of the picture.
Then I inserted it again. To my dismay it still was not going to fit within the back of the frame. So, I undid the masking tape and V corners and trimmed the white Aida so it would cover the 1/8" sides of the mounting board and still allow me to tape the sides of the Aida to the back of the mounting board.
I added the back that was included with the frame this time it fit. Success!
It took me 59 hours to complete this picture including the framing. Despite the problems I encountered I love the way my Dimensions Wolf picture turned out. It's absolutely beautiful and the 3-dimensional aspects of the wolf, snow and woodland scene are amazing. Hopefully my grandson will like it.