Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Epic Fail

Many of you know by now that I am perfectly willing to share my mistakes as well as my successes. I don't think any blogger sits around producing perfect work on the first try. I certainly don't! So here's what I've been working on recently. I'm over 20 hours in on this. Doesn't look too bad at first glance, does it?


This is where I found myself today:


Inside the circle is a gap of five stitches that is supposed to be a gap of one stitch. Don't kid yourself, this is a serious mistake. As far as I can tell, I counted wrong on the very first row I stitched. How did I do that? I stitched the extra four stitches on the chart twice!!


I'm an experienced cross stitcher, I know how these charts are supposed to work. I do remember that the day I started this project I knew I was a little tired, so I chose something that I thought would be easy to work on.

The worst thing is that I kept having nagging doubts while I was stitching, and I ignored them. I started my Août sampler in the wrong place, and while I was stitching that I kept remembering previous times I had counted wrong. Sure enough, the next time I pulled it out I could see it was wrong, and it was an easy fix. The same thing happened with this project, but I said to myself, "surely I am not wrong again!" Argh. I am all about trusting your gut and listening to your inner guidance no matter what, so believe me, this is doubly humiliating for me. A good lesson, though!

What now? I have to think about it. I could unpick the entire right side, which has less done on it so far. However, the whole piece will end up very close to the left edge of the fabric, which may make blocking and framing it more challenging down the road. The kit fabric wasn't very large to start with. Plus, now there is going to be a thread issue. The threads appear to be DMC colours, but the quality is not the same as the individual skeins you buy retail.

I could just throw it out and call it bad luck all around, but this is just one of a set of four, and I've actually really been enjoying it up until now.

Probably I'll buy some new fabric, replace the missing threads, and start over. I should be able to blend together the new thread and the old so it doesn't show. And I'm not happy with the quality of the kit fabric anyway - the piece is pretty small and there is an awkward flaw right in the middle of an open section of the design. You can view the chart for this project here. I would recommend buying just the chart, rather than the whole kit. Then you can use your own better quality fabric and threads.

Now I'm wondering if this is a good opportunity to upgrade the project to a nice evenweave and better threads. I'll let you know what I decide. Maybe everything has worked out for the best after all!

10 comments:

  1. Well, I did just buy some Cashel linen in light sand, btw. It may well be better all around.

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  2. I gave up with kits for the very reasons illustrated in your post. If you make a mistake - and who doesn't? - you may wind up not having enough materials. Sometimes you are shorted materials to start with even if you don't make a mistake. That doesn't show up until you are much farther down the road in my experience. Then there is the quality issue. I looked at the pattern chart and it's very enticing. Maybe follow your instincts now and begin again with better fabric and thread.

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    1. Maybe you are right, Mary Ellen, but it is hard to say no to kits sometimes. Then again, I almost always seems to be changing the fabric, and sometimes the thread too. I could make more of an effort to look for just the patterns. It gives me an excuse to buy more magazines, for one thing!

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  3. you must have been gutted when you realised you had gone wrong. I have never got my head around cross stitch as the one time I tried I got hopelessly lost counting so avoid it like the plague now!
    I am sure it will look lovely on the linen, best of luck.

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    1. Thanks for the support, Margaret! I think I was mostly numb and maybe a little fatalistic about it. Like I said, there had been that nagging suspicion all along. But you are right, I have been imagining how it will be to stitch on linen, and I think it will be really nice.

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  4. I tend to like kits because they seem to be more exciting, so I'll actually finish it. But in this case, if you switch to a different fabric you'll have to do the same for all of the others in the series, but then you could just buy the charts and use your own materials, and chalk the first one up to a learning experience. I really don't like finding out that the kits that I spend good money on (is there such a thing as bad money?) have poorer quality materials to keep the cost down. I'll be looking forward to what you decide. I've been in this position before and have had to do both options: 1. start over, and 2. make do with what I have. Good luck!

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    1. You know me, Cynthia, I like things that match, so yes, all four samplers will have to be treated the same way. And yes, I already have all four kits. But I decided that such a big time commitment on my part deserves good materials, so I am replacing both fabric and thread on them all. Fortunately, with the DMC colours in these kits that won't be too hard.

      It occurs to me this morning that I may be able to use the kit materials for small projects like greeting cards, which would not have the same expected lifespan.

      Thanks for helping me to think about this!

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  5. That is such a shame. Its probably why I am not a cross stitcher although I love seeing it done by others. CS counting frustrates me lol. I would change the fabrics and the threads and start over. If it is part of a set then you might have to do it for all of them though.

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    1. Thanks, Katherine. Starting over with better stuff seems to be the consensus. I'm looking forward to it now, actually!

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  6. Somewhere in the bowels of this house, there is a very large cache of counted cross stitch charts. When I finally dig them out, I was thinking, since you like the craft so much, you might like to have a few. I would scan the photos in and let you look and see if there were anything that interested you. I have gobs and am now way more into quilting than CS.

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Happy stitching!

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