Monday, October 20, 2014
A Snowball for Kathy S. in MD
Our goal was to swap in September, but I failed miserably with our deadline. Thankfully, Kathy was quite patient. She asked for an African themed block, which was completely new to me. I had a few ideas, but failed to find a fabric that even closely fit what I had in mind. So, I took a different approach.
In 1999, a friend and I both cross-stitched a baby blanket for our sons following the 1993 Graphworks International Inc. booklet "Baby Afghan Safari" designed by Mary Bartley Stockett and Norman B. Brown. (Please note, I am not affiliated with the book. However, if you access Amazon.com through my website to make a purchase, I earn a small credit toward a gift card.)
Confession time. I don't know why I thought it would work this time, but I decided to try cross-stitching over a single square with 2 strands of floss on 32-count linen again (because it would fit onto my snowball stitched so small.) The only other time I made that insane attempt, I threw in the towel. Every row of stitching squishes the fabric below it together, making it almost impossible to see where to place the needle. By the time I was 1/4th of the way done with the elephant, I almost tossed it and started over. But, there was so much time invested, I opted to keep going. It was s-l-o-w progress, further hindered by the fact that I could only see to work on it at all near the window in the early morning light. I am not about to point out all of my mistakes. (I might confess a few x's actually go over one strand from side-to-side, but may have caught 2 strands from top-to-bottom. Removing threads to fix the errors was literally not possible.) In the end, I think the errors were hidden well enough. I was still quite happy with him when he was finally completed!
The seam along the right side of the elephant was embellished with a simple stem stitch in a similar shade to the fabric. Blue size 8 perle cotton was used to create "waves" beneath the elephant using the triangular buttonhole stitch. And the section at the bottom was embellished with a Cretan stitch and topaz seed beads.
The tree was the element I was most excited - and intimidated - to try. I did a Google search for "African trees" and looked through the great variety of photos and sketches. Then, I set to work creating my own. I couched down two brown shades of size 5 perle cotton for the trunk and branches. At the base, small straight stitches of "grass" were added using the same variegated green I used for the leaves.
If the elephant had not taken me so long and put me behind schedule, I believe the tree tops would have been made with French knots. To save time, I couched down 3 strands of a green variegated floss, beginning at the bottom and folding it back and forth to create the desired set of leaves. I love the way that turned out.
Kathy, I do hope you like it! Thank you SO much for swapping snowballs with me! I just love the snowball you sent me, and I look forward to swapping again the beginning of next year!