Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Made It: Return To Counted Cross Stitch

Hello! I did a lot  of counted cross stitch in the 1980's - so much, in fact, that I sold some of what I stitched at craft shows. 

I also used more elaborate patterns to create gifts, like this 5x7 framed picture that I made for my mother sometime in that decade:

A close-up:

Yes, it was quite the labor of love, but I knew my mom would like it. She displayed it on the fireplace mantel in her house, which meant it was one of the first things you saw when you walked in the front door. I reclaimed this needlework shortly before the house was sold last year(she had died three years before that). 

But eventually I stopped doing counted cross stitch; maybe I'd gotten burned out from doing it so much. It also didn't seem quite as popular as it once had.

More recently, like a lot of other needle arts, counted cross stitch seems to making a bit of a comeback. After a friend's counted cross stitch projects renewed my interest last year, I began looking for  patterns and other supplies so I could get stitching again myself. Due to that previous lull in popularity, I found everything I needed at thrift stores, and made this "signage".

Within the past couple of months I've acquired two more pattern books from thrift stores, like this one purchased at a 1/2 off Christmas sale:

This book was published in 1983. Although I don't care for the following design:

(no, I don't want a pig design stitched on a pillow)

the following Christmas tree looks quite modern:

When I saw that a page of Christmas ornaments in the book included a squirrel, I decided to stitch it up:

I guess you could say this is a rather stylized rendering, but at least it was very easy to stitch - a small motif and it used only two colors of embroidery floss. In fact, it was so easy to make that I worked it up while flying home from a trip to California last month. (yes, I looked on the TSA website first to make sure it was okay to bring scissors on a carryon. It is if the scissors meet specified criteria). 

Bought this a couple of weeks ago:

This pattern book dates from 1977, and there's a lot of hype on the back cover: "If you are a needleworker this book may be the best investment you've ever made. It contains 141 motifs for ready use for different forms of needlework...These are the designs most prized by needleworkers and the material in this book contains almost every motif a needleworker may want."

Well, I didn't want a chart for stitching up a creepy clown, a wishing well or an old-fashioned coffee grinder, but there were enough interesting designs to make it well worth the quarter purchase. 

Since I do like squirrels, I turned to that pattern first:

This took longer than the previous squirrel pattern, but was still simple enough that I could have done this while in a cramped airplane seat as well. 

Nothing like winter to have one dreaming of summer:

It's not very visible in the photo, but I'm filling in the sails with white embroidery floss. With the red, white and blue color scheme, this will be displayed with my 4th of July decor. 

In honor of my town's favorite flower, the book has a tulip design  I can do, and there's other spring/summer patterns like a tomato and a cluster of strawberries. There's a cute cat and oh-so-70's charts for mushrooms and owls too.  Most of the motifs are on the small side, so they don't take very long to make.

But I'd better pace myself so I don't get burned out doing too much counted cross stitch again!



  1. I LOVE this post and seeing both squirrel motifs. I didn't know there were so many ways to stitch a squirrel.

  2. Thanks for checking in. And thanks for getting me interested in counted cross stitch again too! I didn't know there were so many ways to stitch a squirrel either.