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.
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 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.
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.
I decided to use an 8" by 8" Q-Snap 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 key also called for 1 strand of various colored floss to be used for back-stitch highlighting of various sections of the picture. I prefer to use 2 strands of the colored floss to highlight my pictures as I think they look better this way and really emphasis the 3-dimensional aspect of the design.
The pattern did not include instructions for finishing the piece which should have been included for a beginner cross-stitch user. This was not a problem for me 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 1/4" foam backed adhesive mounting boards for the cross-stitch pictures I'm inserting into a finished picture frame. I originally was going to use a 1/4" foam backed 8" by 10" adhesive mounting board but discovered that this would be too thick for the picture frame backing I was using and wouldn't allow the backing piece to be inserted into the slot on the back of the frame and allow for securing it to the frame. So, instead, I opted to mount my picture on a 5" by 7" slim foam backed adhesive mounting board which would provide enough room to insert the picture backing into the slots and allow for securing it to the frame.
I had chosen a white frame with blue matting to finish it which I think really brought out the beautiful colors of the little girl and snow globe scene.
I centered my cross-stitch picture on the 5" by 7" adhesive foam board and trimmed the excess white Aida cloth by 1/4" to 1/2" around. The trimming allowed for me to tape the sides of the Aida cloth with masking tape to the back of the mat board I was using while providing enough room for the double folded corners to fit within the depth of the frame.
You can also finish the back of the cross-stitch by taping the center of each side with masking tape to the cardboard and then sewing four mitered corners into the Aida cloth so the picture is taunt to the cardboard.
Last year I had bought some decorative Washi tapes and hadn't had a chance to use them as of yet. When looking at the white shadowbox frame and the cheery "Christmas Wishes" picture I thought one of the tapes I had bought would be perfect to decorate the four sides of this frame and really add to the cheeriness of this picture. So I cut four strips of the tape and adhered them to the frame.
I had also bought some mixed media mistletoe ornaments last year and decided to utilize them at the four corners of the tape. They came with adhesive backing so they were easy to adhere to the corners.
Despite the problems I encountered I was very happy with the way my Dimensions "Christmas Wishes" picture turned out. I hope you like it too.