Now I’ve re-acquainted myself with cross-stitch, for my sister’s birthday present I decided to move on from stitching owls to sewing a puffin.
I bought a pattern for a bookmark from Samuel Taylors at Embsay Mills, which included all the threads, needle, 14-point aida, felt backing and a tassle. The first thing I did once I’d excitedly torn open the packaging and was gazing perplexed at the tangle of threads in front of me, was to use a hole punch to make a row of little holes along the bottom of the paper containing the pattern. I then separated the threads into different colours and threaded each colour through a hole then tied it in place.
Thankfully this pattern has a simple border, so I made a start on this, sewing a line of half cross-stitches, then sewed back along the line in the other diagonal direction to complete the cross-stitches. I always used to sew each full cross-stitch before going on to the next, which often resulted in a long line of stitches looking higgledy-piggeldy, so this technique of doing a row of half-stitches first before going back over was brilliant. I’m sure this is the way all cross-stitch aficionados do it anyway, but as a relative newbie it was a revelation for me!
I have a habit of jabbing needles into my fingers when sewing, and have drawn blood several times, so the slightly blunt needle provided in the pack was a blessing. The aida seems to be of a high quality and was soft and lovely to sew on.
I worked diligently on the bookmark for several weeks and forgot how long cross-stitch takes, especially if you’re not yet particularly good at it and have to keep going back and unpicking tangles! I got there in the end, and after a good fifteen minutes of frustration spent trying to force open one of the aida holes to fit the tassle through, I finally managed it. All that remained now was to blanket-stitch the felt strip to the back of the aida, after folding down the top and bottom inch. Sadly I can’t say my blanket stitching has improved much since my first go with the Pride and Prejudice bookmark, but hopefully my sister Amie will spend more time looking at my handiwork on the front than the back!