It all started innocently enough. My friend Becky, the fabulous @hellohahanarf on Twitter, tweeted this picture and her need to own it.
I took one look at it and knew that I could whip that up in nothing flat. Once upon time, back in the stone age of my high school years, I used to do quite a lot of cross stitch so I told Becky that I could do it for her. I hadn’t done any stitchery in years but this was so simple I probably could have done it without a pattern and just the picture for reference.
But where’s the fun in that?
As I lay falling asleep one night, my brain gifted me with the perfect design ideas – ones that would make the whole thing more perfect for Becky. See, she loves sunflowers and daisies. So why not replace that generic floral accent with ones that will make Becky happy every time she sees them? And then I thought about fonts and how the word ‘lady’ should clearly be in a fancy font. I tucked these ideas away and went to sleep. The next morning I created this:
The great thing about the internet having been invented since I’d done any real needlework is that there are now websites that will take an image like the one above and translate it into a cross stitch pattern for you. It will also give you all the colors you need to make the pattern. I used this website to produce a pattern I could use to stitch the piece. I had some issues with it and I’m not sure I’d use the same site again but I’ll get to that later. Anyway, it took my design and gave me this:
I didn’t particularly like the way that it gave me multi-color lettering when the original image had black lettering but I figured I could fudge it as I sewed and still get a serviceable look. I trotted off to JoAnn Fabrics with my pattern in hand to purchase embroidery floss, aida cloth, and a hoop. I ended up choosing 22 count aida as opposed to something larger like 14 count. I knew that I would end up with a smaller piece (which was very good in the end) and a finer look if I went for the larger square count.
Then I came home and set to work.
The piece of aida cloth that was in the package was pretty large. I knew that if I centered the project on the whole piece of cloth I would end up wasting a large portion of it. So I cut the cloth in half and then centered the design on one of the resulting pieces. (To center a design, fold the cloth in quarters and mark where the creases cross. Then find the center point of your design – easy with a numbered grid – and start stitching.)
After a couple of days of work, I had the lettering complete.
It took me quite awhile to fudge the lettering pattern enough to get uniform letters. This resulted in A LOT of mistakes and I hope Becky forgives my errors. They were made with love! But it means that every singe ‘e’ in it is just a little bit different. OY.
The flowers were more time consuming. The first problem was that working from the pattern blown up on my computer screen became problematic after about 3 colors. It just got too confusing. Luckily, we have reams of graph paper around here so I pulled some out and started using it to graph out the patterns I needed for the flowers. It was kind of a painstaking and time consuming process and this is one of the reasons I might not use that pattern site again. If I could find one that would produce a pattern with symbols that would be a HECK of a lot easier.
However, once I had it all graphed out, things moved along more quickly.
I admit, those daisies are a wee bit off. But they don’t look half bad when you take in the whole thing from more than a foot away.
Given that it’s been at least 20 years since I did this sort of thing, I’m really, really pleased with how it came out. There are plenty of mistakes it in and I had to pick out and redo at least one section but in the end, it’s not so bad. Plus, it’s way better than the original design (I think) and it is really perfect for Becky. The finished design fits rather nicely into an 8×10 frame. I honestly had no idea it would be that big but that’s how it worked out so I’m rather glad I didn’t choose the 14 count aida!
I have another piece of cloth and TONS of floss left so I could easily make another one should anyone want it!