Whichever flavor of geek you fancy yourself, there’s a gathering for you. We all love to be able to mingle among our own people, to learn from them, to get ideas from them, and to make friends that will last beyond the week(end). Who doesn’t love the idea of being somewhere where everyone gets you?
If you’re a knitter or crocheter (I’m the former myself), then the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY is just that place for you. It is the ultimate pilgrimage for anyone with a fondness for yarn, making yarn, making things with yarn, buying yarn, and/or the furry animals from which the yarn originates.
If you are eagerly anticipating the series four premiere of Downton Abbey on Sunday, why not pass the time working on one of these six needlepoint projects?
1. Lady Mary, Edith, and Sybil, Plus Matthew Set of Four Embroidery Patterns
Designed by April Heather Art, this instant download PDF contains all of the information you will need in order to stitch ladies Mary, Edith, and Sybil, plus Matthew. Even if you’ve never before embraced this art form, April has included basic stitch instructions. Each of these four designs will measure approximately 8-by-10 inches. And if this set isn’t your particular cup of tea, April Heather Art has a number of other embroidery pattern sets from which to choose.
2. Downton Abbey Cross-Stitch Pattern Two-Fer
A traditional sampler and a pattern of the great Highclere Castle: Two great ways to capture the era. Created by cottagenestinteriros, the “Downton Alphabet” pattern measures 7.56-by-9.78 inches when stitched on 18-count aida cloth. The “Down with Downton” pattern measures 8.5-by-7.5 inches when stitched on 14-count aida cloth. These patterns will fit in 8-by-10, and 10-by-10-inch frames, respectively. The instant download PDF contains a full DMC color chart with full color symbols, floss counts, and a supply list. If your local craft store lacks a good selection of cross-stitch supplies, then I recommend purchasing all of your supplies online from Everything CrossStitch. That is where I purchase all of my supplies.
The color chart includes a legend for both DMC and Anchor floss. The pattern is also perfect for framing, either in a regular picture frame or hoop. When stitched on 14-count aida fabric, it will fit in a 5-by-7-inch frame or a 7-inch hoop; 18-count will fit a 4-by-6-inch frame or a 6-inch hoop; and when stitched on 22-count, it will fit in a 3.5-by-5-inch frame or a 5-inch hoop.
4. A Visit to Downton Abbey Mini Cushion Cross-Stitch
It may not be enough to frame pieces of Downton Abbey. You may want to include Highclere Castle as an accent to your furnishings. When finished, this Downton Abbey mini cushion, designed by SheenaRogersDesigns, will measure 6-by-6 inches when stitched on 14-count aida fabric. Included in the instant download is a cover sheet with color photo of the finished product; stitching instructions; a list of required materials, including DMC thread quantities and instructions on how to make the cushion; and a large chart and DMC floss key. Most of the pattern uses whole stitches. However, there is a little bit of back stitching involved.
I think it’s safe to say that people look upon the Grantham’s library with envy. Your library may not be as grand as the Grantham’s, but it is deserving of an upper-class bookmark, all the same. Designed by AdLeones, the “Grantham Arms” cross-stitch bookmark will measure 1.75-by-9.25 inches when stitched on 18-count aida fabric. This pattern is a little more complicated as it includes whole stitches, quarter stitches, three-quarter stitches, back stitches, and French knots.
6. Favorite Quotes From Your Favorite Characters
Last, but certainly not least, April Heather Art has some more embroidery goodness for you to enjoy. Included in this set are six of April’s favorite Downton Abbey quotes, courtesy of the delightful Dowager Countess. Again, I think it is safe to say that the following quotes are also some of our favorites:
“Stop whining and find something to do.”
“I’m a woman; I can be as contrary as I choose.”
“Don’t be a defeatist dear, it’s very middle class.”
“Why must everyday involve a fight with an American?”
Okay, so how many of you thought cross stitching and rolled your eyes? How many of you don’t know what it is? What started out as something to keep me busy when I was twelve has become a form of relaxation for the past 25 years. When life gets crazy, I bust out a needle and thread.
Cross stitching is an endurance sport that takes minimal equipment. Endurance, because if you’re like me, you will set it down for months at a time and a sport because it involves physical skill. The good part is, you can pick it up right where you left off. The only equipment needed is a needle, thread, an embroidery hoop, and a pattern. Cross stitching is a form of embroidery where you make small X’s using thread called floss in fabric, usually Aida cloth. Aida cloth has evenly spaced, easily counted holes. The embroidery hoop holds your fabric taut and the pattern tells you where to place your stitches and what colors to use.
There are three types of stitching: free hand cross stitch, counted cross stitch, and stamped cross stitch. Free hand cross stitch is what my great grandmother did. She would use little X’s and make patterns like roosters or some other animal on her tea towels. I have never tried this one and somehow I think it would be more frustrating than relaxing.
Counted cross stitch either comes in a package with everything you need or, if you’re adventurous, you can buy a pattern book and get your own materials from a local craft or sewing store. You can also download a pattern from numerous websites. With the package deal, you get detailed directions, all your thread, your cloth, and even a needle. They think of everything. I prefer the package deal, but you can’t always find the patterns you want in a package…say, I don’t know, an 8×10 size Dora and Boots with your kid’s name on it. In that case I made my own pattern with software called PCStitch. I simply uploaded the image I wanted, the program converted it to stitches, and gave me a color palette so I could buy my floss colors.
Stamped cross stitch is the easiest of the three. As far as I know, it only comes in a package. The pattern you need to follow is printed on the fabric as well as on the directions. All you have to do is sort your colors, thread your needle, and get started.
The variety of patterns is endless and you are only bound by your own creativity. If your kids’ room is done in Star Wars, then craft a pattern with your favorite one liners or images from the web. This person did a baby quilt and on eBay there is a fabulous pattern with your favorite droids.
Over the years I have done many counted and stamped cross stitch patterns: from a pillow to Christmas stockings to a baby quilt for my eldest. In my mind each item was a painting made with needle and thread. The best part about finishing a project is that it gives my children something that I can pass on to them. My great grandmother made quilts that we still use and I like to think that somewhere down the line my great grandkids will pull out that baby quilt and hang it on the wall once more.