Hello and welcome to my little corner of the internet. I intend to use this blog as a showcase for my latest crafting endeavours and to provide detailed reviews of patterns, kits and accessories on the market along with details on where to find everything yourself, should I inspire you to try it out. Please feel free to comment on my posts, provide your own thoughts on the subject, answer questions and even suggest posts.

It has always been my goal to add a post every Wednesday, but due to current circumstances posts may be as scarce as once a month. Appologies and I hope to return to my weekly posting shortly.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Forever Friends alphabet hanging

You'll notice that my stitching is keeping to a bear theme at the moment, I'm sure it will pass with time and I'll be back to stitching other themes in time, but until then...there are worse things than bears! Embrace the bears.
Designer: Anchor
Pattern: Learn the Alphabet - FRc97
Available from:
So my latest stitching project is an educational one, I wanted to hang an alphabet in the nursery's reading corner, something pretty and interesting enough that my daughter would enjoy looking at it, but clear enough that she could use it as a learning aid. I didn't want anything boring, or too cluttered and again it had to fit with the room too, so I began to look for one and came up with this one and a similar one featuring tatty teddy. The tatty teddy one would have gone well with the other picture in that corner, while this one goes well with the border wallpaper that we used. We settled on this one as my husband liked it a bit better and I didn't want to have to face tatty teddys backstitch with a newborn around (I ordered it on the 5th of July, it arrived on the 7th and I was due to give birth on the 26th) since I figured that caring for a newborn would leave me with very small slots of stitching time, and tatty teddy needs long periods of concentration for that backstitch.

Anyway, it arrived on Teusday morning, my only piece of mail, naturally I had to start it right away! So I began making copies of the chart so I could mark off my progress as I worked and I have to say, the charts for this design are fantastic! Because of the size of the design, and the fact that the company has opted for a large enough print hat you can easily see the symbols, it's two A3 charts, but they're double sided with one side having the full chart while the other has the cross stitch symbols only, making it even easier to read as you don't have to try and struggle to make out the symbols beneath the backstitch. I wish more companies did charts like this! Sure, it's more paper, but it makes a world of difference when you're trying to follow the chart! Large symbols and a purely symbols chart...Well done Anchor! Thank you!

After I'd made my copies and loaded them onto my tablet/laptop I began work on the design right away. Starting in the middle I'm ashamed to say I didn't count properly and had to frog part of the letter out almost immediately, putting my center point slightly out (to the left by 1 stitch and about three stitches too high) fortunately there's a rather generous amount of fabric, and my mistake is small enough that it doesn't actually make much difference as there's enough room to center it properly when it comes to framing.

I'm not the only one making silly mistakes though, as I found out after completing the cross stitch on that first letter, when I attempted to separate the floss and begin the backstitch... the length of floss they had supplied me had been joined in the middle with a knot meaning it couldn't be separated, and when I untied the knot the two halves of the length were too small to be of any use at all! Needless to say I contacted Anchor immediately and expressed my dissatisfaction... and to their credit a woman named Claire got back to me within ten minutes with an apology and an offer to replace the thread. Not only that but the next day when my replacement thread arrives I notice that they've sent me a full 8m skein instead of just the one 1/2m length that I needed. Now THAT is customer service! Another well done to Anchor. I have to admit that I rarely buy Anchor kits since my stash is almost entirely DMC, but their customer service is impeccable! I will definitely be buying more anchor kits in the future! (Especially because DMC exclusives are nothing special these days.)

Day 4 Progress Picture - I had no more
white thread left after this.
That said, if you buy this kit, expect to run out of thread! I'm very grateful that they did send me the full 8m skien for the backstitch because the ammount supplied really would not have been enough! Not by a long shot! By the fourth day of stitching I had also run out of white. Now I can see what they've done and why the dicrepencies have occurred, or at least I think I've figured it out...

  • The backstitching calls for you to use the same colour both as 1 strand and as 2 strands. If you backstitch entirely in 1 strand there is enough to complete the design, however if you work the letters with two strands as the instructions state you will run out.
  • The white thread puzzled me quite a bit since the board with the letter O on it takes a full meter of white thread and....only 1 meter is supplied. To put that in perspective, there is a shade of pink only used in the cheeks and feet of the bears, they have supplied the same 1 meter length of thread for that as they have done for the white which is in every bear, the white board and every other letter. There is absolutely no way on earth they have supplied enough, but they have supplied ample ammounts of the very pale cream used in the bears, so I assume whoever worked out thread lengths counted some of the white as cream, since thei symbols are slightly similar? Who knows. But again, I contacted Anchor and they did supply an additional skien of white thread for me. So well done them.I actually only contacted them to point out the problem and got my husband to pick me a skien up from the shops, so it was a lovely surprise to find that they had sent me a skien too.
My last word of warning is to make sure that you have a sharp needle to hand for the backstitch. This design doesn't always keep to the established holes and you can find yourself going through the middle of a stitched block which is a bit difficult with a blunt needle... in fact my origional needle snapped the first time I attempted it. Thankfully I ave a great many needles in my stitching box so I carried on uninterupted. 

Despite all of this, the whole piece only took 19 days to stitch! I made it a little bit of a private race for myself, trying to see which project I would complete first, this or my baby... My due date was the 26th giving me roughly 19 days to complete both. Which would it be? Turns out, this piece took exactly 19 days to complete and beat the babys arrival by days. 

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