Last year I chose a cross stitch pattern to work on throughout the year. This was started in January 2019 and finished in December 2019 (only just got round to properly blogging about it), 15605 crosses in total. Of course I worked on other things too during that time but it was lovely to have this project to pick up in between. It was serendipity because my word for 2019 was fortitude. Obviously it wasn't just the title of the pattern that drew me to it, it is full of beautiful Quaker motifs inspired by antique samplers. There is a delicacy to the unique design, a modern look to some of the geometric elements and some that remind me of quilts. The pattern is Kindness & Fortitude by Modern Folk Embroidery.

In a change from my usual style I went for a much more muted, calm palette of colours. I chose threads that were peachy/pink and then a variety of greens, mustard, browns and neutrals. It has a very natural vibe, which is what I wanted. Simple, pretty and serene.

The threads used are a mix of embroidery floss by The Gentle Art from Lakeside Needlecraft (I have a list of the colours used here and here) and Watercolours by Caron pima cotton threads from Patchfinders (shown here). The pima cotton - when separated - is still quite thick in comparison to two strands of floss, so it was a little trickier to work with. It does give a lovely texture to the stitches and I like the mix of the two types of thread.

There was no colour plan, which is probably quite evident, I picked the colours for each section as I went along. For me, that was the best way as I would probably change my mind as I went along anyway and I got such joy from picking threads for each section. It meant it was part of the process.

I'm leaving the selvedge of the fabric in place, I really like that pop of orange. This is 32ct Linen in Natural by Zweigart. I was thinking of doing an open hem around the edges, Jacob has a tutorial on his blog which explains how to really well, but I think I will wait to decide exactly how I want to finish it.

I need to find the perfect frame, I have been looking but obviously right now I'm not going anywhere so it will have to wait a bit longer. Since this piece has such a natural vibe it seems to fit to leave the selvedge and maybe just fray the other edges or pull out some threads to create a kind of border before framing it. Maybe when the frame exists I can make a decision then!

I had been looking for another cross stitch project for this year and then the Peppermint Purple SAL happened, so I decided that would be my hand stitching project and I'm still working on that. But... the patterns come out once a week and I love hand sewing so when Jacob of Modern Folk Embroidery started doing his lock-down summer SAL I couldn't resist. 

The pattern is Love Thy Neighbour - another Quaker sampler and so perfectly apt for this crisis, where people are helping and looking out for each other. 

The PDF booklet is designed well, it's easy to see and follow and there was a really nice letter about his inspiration for this design. If you haven't visited Modern Folk Embroidery go and take a look, there are lots of interesting blog posts and more beautiful patterns in his shop (this pattern is currently on sale at the time of writing!). I just want to add that this is not a sponsored post, I purchased and love stitching his cross stitch patterns and think you might also enjoy his work.

Of course I then had to get more fabric, I saw this amazing Opalescent 32ct Raw Belfast Linen by Zweigart at Cloud Craft and had to have it. I don't think I've stitched on a shiny background before. It's beautiful, not stiff or difficult to work with at all and this has such a pretty green/gold/peachy glimmer. I like that the glitteriness is juxtaposed with the rawness of the linen.

I'm going to be using Aurifloss in bright happy colours for this one - some colour therapy and a bit of a pick me up. Once again I have no plan, no colouring in or deciding on what colours go where. Diving in and picking the colour combinations as I go. My only slight change after the first one is to use less colours for each motif. I don't want it to look too busy or overwhelming with the brighter colours. So maybe two or three colours, and grey or white as neutrals if needed. We shall see as I progress!

Stay well and stay home x