Saturday, June 23, 2012

Celtic Spring Instructions

We had our first official heat wave (3 days or more over 32C) this week, so I haven't wanted to turn on the sewing machine and iron.  But it has been a great time to do some cross stitch.  Celtic Spring is progressing well:

There is a striking lack of instructions with the Celtic Spring pattern.  At the top of the key it mentions, in brackets no less, that the piece is stitched 2 over 2.  It's not clear whether the gold braid is also meant to be stitched double.  It's also not clear whether the backstitching is meant to be stitched with two strands.  In my experience, backstitching is almost always stitched with one strand.  But at the very end of the backstitching instructions it mysteriously says, again in brackets, that the gold braid backstitching should be done with one strand.  Does that mean everything else should be done double?

I decided it was open to interpretation.  I tried cross stitching the gold braid with a single strand, and it looked good to me.  I also did the backstitching under the hand and along the outer border with one strand, and that looked good to me too.

Recently, though, I have been using a new way of securing a new thread, which requires a double thickness. I'll show you that tomorrow.  I like it so much that I tried stitching the gold braid with a double strand too.  Stitching it double has pros and cons, but overall, I like it better.

When the gold braid is stitched with a single strand, it lies flush with the other stitching.  When it is stitched double it has a raised effect, which actually is pretty nice.  The amount of sparkle seems to be the same.

Changing my mind halfway through the piece is challenging, but I don't think it will be insurmountable.  The only place where the difference may show is in the side borders.  The right side border is too far gone to completely replace, but I may redo the left border.  The gold in the bodice can stay the way it is, and fortunately I hadn't done much gold in the skirt, so I have already changed that out.

I am also wondering if the backstitching around the face is meant to be stitched double.  I may try it both ways to see what looks best.

I am glad to have this decided now because it has been worrying me.  It will be easy going from here!


  1. It's coming along nicely and I love the color combination of this piece. I'm not experienced enough on cross-stitching to know what to do when the instructions are ambiguous.

    We haven't even seen 80 F yet. Whereabouts in the world are you?

  2. Canada, Cynthia, Canada! We were all congratulating ourselves on The Winter of the Future that we just had. But The Summer of the Future is looking less fun!

    I well remember your perfect California weather. When I lived in SF I used to taunt everyone back here. LOL.

  3. I hate it when the instructions are imprecise. Varying is one thing, but not knowing the intention is so frustrating.

    It's looking good, though. I imagine it is lovely to stitch and watch it emerge.

    We would regard a heat wave as over 38C for 3+ days. We've had unusually cold weather in some parts of the country. It was 3.5C in Brisbane one morning last week - the mean minimum for June is 13.5C. Adelaide winter has been pretty normal.

    Perhaps you should be stitching summer!

  4. I think with weather, it's all a question of what's normal and what's not. I believe a lot of Canadians see air conditioning as wasteful, so we suffer through hot weather. Whereas in warmer climates people just turn it on and don't think about it any more, same as Canadians turn on the heat every fall and don't think about it again until spring.

    It's the cultural adjustment that is the most difficult.

    We are all happy campers if the temperature goes up to 3.5C in winter!

    But anyway, my plan with the Celtic seasons is to save Summer until last, because that is my favourite. The next one will be Winter!


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