My craft frustration threshold has been feeling rather low of late. I seem to go through phases where every project I touch transforms into a mess of tangled threads and wonkily cut fabrics and please don’t ask how trying to stitch some curved seams went the other weekend. I will have to wait a bit to blog about one particularly glorious failure other the post will need a ‘strong language and description of scenes of great violence’ disclaimer over the top of it otherwise…
To counteract this, I thought I’d pick up a project that could not possibly go wrong – some cross stitch so old I think some of the DMC threads might have changed colour. This little cheeky chappy is part of a DMC kit called ‘Matin Brodé’ or Embroidered Morning. I think the kit is discontinued – which probably gives you an idea of how long ago I bought it – but the supplier code if you want to track it down is BK1451.
Maybe everything that is wrong with this piece starts with the name. If you had to embroider your morning, what would it look like? I’m guessing not a serene gentle awakening to dappled sunlight and a sweet serenade of birdsong? More like the blaring of the alarm, accompanied by at least two emails of crises that unfolded in different time zones, perfectly pitched for you to wake up to and the cacophony of the pneumatic drill behind the construction work that has been going on so long that even if entropy was guiding the construction work, statistics say they should have finished by now?
When I look at the photo of the finished work I can see why I picked this kit up… The colour scheme is a little eclectic but I love the Jacobean influence in the style and the slightly surreal plants. However, I am afraid I just do not feel the same about my little bird. I have good eyesight but, even though the chart is very generously sized, I forgot the special mind tricks that cross-stitch charts can play and the colour scheme looks more ‘thread leftovers’ than the product of design.
Cross stitch is what got me into embroidery but this is probably the first time I have touched it in about five years. I have done a little canvaswork (which I love!) but cross stitch has a very different feel to it. I’ve seen some really amazing cross stich and even follow a few blogs of very talented cross stitchers but… to do it… I think I am just going to have to come out and admit that I find it boring.
I was hoping this piece would be something of panacea for a tired brain. Simple stitches, don’t have to worry about tension, follow the instructions, good things should happen. Instead I’m finding it something of a bitty nightmare. The colour scheme has so much pizzazz that I don’t seem to do more than five stitches of a colour before I need to change as the next matching patch is somewhere on the other side of the piece and, if I don’t follow the eye-boggling chart like a hawk, I end up making mistakes as remembering 2 right 1 down for more than two seconds is beyond me at the moment.
I never thought I’d say something was easier in silk shading, but at least there, if it’s not a complete catastrophe, you can sneak in a few extra stitches to correct or tweak something. Here, it’s unpicking areas and woe betide you if you’ve used for mistake as a reference for counting another section. I’m taking a very liberal approach of ignoring the mistakes and just carrying on with ‘artistic adjustments’. This flower is going to be ‘interestingly shaped’ when its finished.
I like the photos of the end result but right now I feel this piece is a different project away from ever resembling them! I’m finding it hard to settle into the stitching and I’m not the greatest fan of counting at the best of times. At least my last canvaswork piece I could remember patterns and just had to repeat them but all of this one feels very ‘random’.
I’ve made a rod for my own back here. Don’t want to try anything complex and challenging, simple is apparently too boring and I don’t really feel like working on digitising because someone please get me away from the computer. Writing this out I feel slightly guilty. Poor little morning bird, it’s not your fault your stitcher is an unreasonable beast. I think this may be a project for a different dawn though.