This project is possibly a salutary lesson in how not to do something, although I am pleased with how it has turned out!
One blog I like to regularly check out is the Craftzine Blog. This blog is fantastic as it alerts you to a wide range of interesting projects on all sorts of websites and blogs. One of their entries described a Firefox Logo cross stitch pattern at a site called Radical Cross Stitch.
As soon as I saw this pattern, I immediately thought it would be a good design to do for my son. James sometimes (gently!) ribs me that IE sucks and that Firefox is much better. I thought I'd make him a felt pouch for his external hard drive and embroider this like a badge to sew onto the closure flap.
So ....... how did I approach this one? Well ..... having decided that I didn't want it to be too big, I decided that using some 28 count linen and stitching each cross stitch over one thread would make the logo about 2 inches in diameter ..... ideal! I bought all the flosses at the Alexandra Knitting and Stitching Show. I then hunted round at home for a small embroidery hoop! Now, for many years I have always used frames! Could I find a hoop? Could I heck! Found a large one that proved to have broken at some point! Further digging ....... found a rubberised one that is supposed to double as a frame but found that hard to stretch the linen over. I'm sure I have a small one somewhere ....... heaven knows where!
In the end, I used a freebie from the Cross Stitcher magazine from a couple of months ago!
OK ...... ready to go! Now to decide how many strands of floss to use? Did a couple of stitches using two threads. You can see these little red stitches in the second photo. This seemed to be OK, so two threads it was! However, sewing over just one thread makes each stitch VERY small! In fact, the stitches are so small, I don't think you can even see that they are cross stitches! I'm not entirely sure what I looked like, but the stitching was done with me peering over the top of my glasses! I must confess to feeling a little bit of eye strain so doubt I'll do something this small again! I did mis-count the pattern at one point and didn't discover until much later! Never mind, I just slightly adjusted the pattern and I don't think anyone will ever notice. Having completed the design, I think I could have got away with only using one strand of floss for each stitch. However, it makes a very firm badge and I am pleased with it.
How long did it take? Well, I think it took about three weeks.
Having finished the design, I want to cut away the excess fabric but obviously don't want it to fray. What to do? Well, another blog I love following is by Ruth O'Leary. Ruth's work is stunning! At the moment (2010) she is working on an amazing project to produce a St Cuthbert's Banner for use in Durham Cathedral. She is making up the design on the banner by individually sewing the motifs and these will then be sewed to the main fabric of the banner. Because each motif will need to be closely trimmed, she's using blanket stitch round the edge of each motif!
Eureka! Of course! Use the humble blanket stitch!
Having completed the cross stitch, I decided to use the dark blue floss and with three strands, make tiny blanket stitches all round the edge as close together as I could. You can see in the second photo that I also sewed a small little blanket stitch circle and cut out the centre, just to see if it really would stop the fabric from fraying. It appears that it does!
However, as you can also see in the second photo, I didn't get the blanket stitches quite close enough, despite my best efforts. Initially, I thought this looked OK, but the more I looked at it, the more I realised that I wasn't happy with the gappy look to the edge. So, I went over the blanket stitch by over sewing with three strands of floss as you can see in the first photo. This looks much better I think.
I now need to pluck up the courage to cut the fabric as close to the stitching as I can! Oh .... and make the felt pouch to put it on!