Hazardous Duty: Counted Cross-Stitch

Good morning everyone!

One of my favorite hobbies is counted cross-stitch.  My friend, Vonda, introduced me to the craft back in college, and I have been doing it ever since.  Counted cross-stitch is a form of embroidery which, strangely enough, uses cross-stitch in order to form pictures.  In counted cross-stitch, you are provided with a chart and a list of colors for your embroidery thread that you use to make a picture. 

Clockwise, from left: Original Picture, Chart, Completed Cross-stitch

So, for example, in the picture above, the post card on the left is the original picture.  On the top of the picture is the chart, where someone patiently translated the original picture into a counted cross-stitch chart.  On the bottom right is the completed counted cross-stitch portrait.   The only thing missing is the list of colors.  The fact that my daughter has not yet taken up this craft is not her fault, but mine – I have a patience problem when it comes to teaching it to her.  Still, one day I hope to have enough patience to work through a project with her.

Part of a series of Christmas Ornaments I made

Just like pixels on a computer screen, a counted cross-stitch chart can be used to make just about any picture that you would want.   That is part of the fascination, because, with the proper chart, I can make everything from small Christmas ornaments, up to large adaptations of works of art, depending on my mood. 

Four Christmas Ornaments I Made

You would not think that such a hobby can be hazardous, but it does have its perils.  Mark and Kayla have long known that if I am working on cross-stitch, and they wish to hug me, they need to approach warily – I have a (possibly bad) habit of storing needles conveniently on my shirt or shirt sleeve while I change thread colors and the unwary person who approaches me for a hug can unfortunately get pricked. 

Plastic Canvas Ornaments, in a "folksy" style

There are a couple of very good cross-stitch magazines produced in the United States, but, owing to the greater popularity of the craft in the United Kingdom as well as their centuries head-start on the topic of embroidery in general – let’s face it, royal women were working on embroidered tapestries and other types of embroidery in the United Kingdom before the Americas were even a rumor in the mind of the European world – the cross-stitch magazines from the United Kingdom are exceptionally good.  Although it is fairly expensive, due to shipping, to subscribe, I do buy some at a book store occasionally.

More complicated cross-stitch ornaments

 The British magazines almost always come with an extra gift, so they are sold in the bookstore wrapped in a plastic cover that includes both the magazine and the extra gift.  Having had the rare chance to go by Barnes & Noble and purchase a couple of new magazines earlier this week, I was anxious yesterday to steal about five minutes to look at them.  I got in a hurry ripping the cover off of one of them, though, and as I did so, the magazine flew out of the plastic towards my face and hit me right below the eye with the bottom corner where it is bound.  It has left a small (vanishingly small) scratch underneath my eye, and a nice straight black and blue line that would elicit inquires were it not for the fact that the circles under my eyes are so dark already it is hard to tell the difference! 

That's the one that got me!

Am I going to let this newly discovered peril stop me from engaging in this craft that I love?  Of course not!  Still, I intend to open cross-stitch magazines a little more carefully in the future.

Have a great weekend everyone!


P.S.  Please forgive any typos today – I am trying write this with my daughter playing “scream at my imaginary class as loud as I can” in the same room with me.  This activity does not create ideal conditions for concentration on my part!

2 responses to “Hazardous Duty: Counted Cross-Stitch

  1. What a great skill to have. Which reminds me, I should practice my knitting… Have a great weekend!

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