A couple of weeks ago I went to the wedding of one of my good friends from work and his lovely new wife. The happy couple are the proud owners of a veritable petting zoo, and I wanted to stitch them a wedding sampler to celebrate their nuptials, personalised with representations of their pets.
I filmed the process of putting this together from beginning to end – you can see the video here.
Designing the wedding sampler
When I moved to my current house, I dug through my collection of craft books and identified a stack I wanted to donate to charity/give away. I was persuaded not to with the wise words of “just keep them for a few months and see if you use them”. This advice turned out to be well needed, as Jo Verso’s “World of Cross Stitch” was one of the books I had earmarked for donation, and is what I used to find the motifs I wanted for this wedding sampler.
Mark and Leanne have got eight goats, a very cute cavapoochon and three rabbits, so I found motifs representing all of these, and decided to embellish the sampler with hearts to indicate the happy occasion. Some backstitch lettering and a date later, and I had the elements I wanted to include.
I used MacStitch Prem to assemble the design – the version I use is from 2015 and is usually fantastic, apart from one thing. It crashed halfway through the stitching and I had to reassemble the whole design from scratch as no back-up ever got saved, despite my almost obsessive habit of clicking ‘save’ every 30 seconds. A new version has been released this year – I will buy it as soon as I stop moving house every six months – but I do fully recommend it if you are looking for a cross stitch design toolkit.
When I was happy with the shapes of the animals, I then spent many, many hours watching videos of the goats on Facebook to try get the colouring right. The below is what I came up with.
Stitching the Wedding Sampler
I used a random assortment of flosses to stitch the sampler after I was finally happy with the design. With reams of 14ct aida still in my stash, that was the natural choice of fabric. My collection of random flosses from inherited sewing boxes, random trips to supermarkets, and “grab bags” in hobby shops yielded a great combination of colours, and I spent a happy few hours stitching up each little motif.
I hadn’t put much time into colour matching with a specific brand of floss or trying particularly hard to be too exact in my colours – my thoughts were “go with my gut”. It was a lot of fun. As much as I love cross stitch, sometimes I get too obsessive about exact colours and being true to life. Letting those constraints go was wonderfully freeing, and I was so pleased with how it came out.
Framing the Wedding Sampler
The last time I got a piece framed I decided to get it professionally done behind glass. With the organic nature of the subject matter (and the fact that I hadn’t really left myself much time….), I went for a much more vintage, rustic effect – basically, leave it in the hoop and back it with fabric.
My attempt was quite rough – I was filming for YouTube when I did it and I ended up with quite a wonky circle for the piece of felt that I backed it with – but it complemented the piece almost perfectly, and I was absolutely thrilled with the final product.
I presented it to them last week, and they were pleased. I was too! This project was a lot of fun, very personalised, great to design, satisfying to stitch, quickly completed and charmingly finished (if I do say so myself). It’s also made me realise that despite cross stitch being a ‘slow craft’, you can churn things out pretty quickly when you need to. I suspect more people will be getting personalised samplers in the future!
I’ve got big news coming in the next blog post…more change is afoot and I can’t wait to share it with you. Watch this space!