So, just after Christmas, I took the plunge and purchased Aimee Stewart's Heroes and Heroines chart from Heaven and Earth Designs, a company that specializes in charting artwork for cross-stitch.
This particular design, depicting famous couples from literature, comes in several sizes and color intensities, and of course, because I do nothing by halves, I chose the Super-Sized, Max Color chart.
Which means 240 colors and more than 700,000 stitches. The finished design is 999 x 714 stitches. I'm working it on 25 count (25 stitches to the inch) easy guide laguna evenweave fabric, which means the fabric is pre-gridded with light gray lines in 10 x 10 stitch squares to make keeping your place and counting easier. (And boy, howdy! Does it work!)
Heaven and Earth Designs (HAED for short) has a very active Facebook group with almost 10,000 members worldwide, and every so often, HAED issues a challenge to their stitchers. I joined the group just in time for Challenge #4, which was to stitch the equivalent of one page of a regular sized chart or one and a half pages of a large format chart before the challenge was over.
Those who know me also know that I will pick up that kind of challenge in a heartbeat!
The rules are simple. Take a photograph of your work in progress, ready to begin a fresh page. (It had to be a page you hadn't started yet...not even one little stitch!) In my case, blank fabric since I hadn't started yet when the challenge began. Also show the chart's first page with a photo of the piece you were working and a blank printed page (or two) of the chart.
Here's my fabric (see the gray grid lines?) Each of those tiny squares is 100 stitches. Also in the picture is the cover page of the chart with the HAED Logo, the Artist (Aimee Stewart) and a photo of what the piece will look like when I'm finished. I also included an unmarked first page of the pattern. And all those plastic bags on the right? Those are my floss bags. (I've since swapped to a box since it was taking me so much time to find the color I wanted or return the one I had just used to the proper bag.)
Here are the first two pages of my chart, since I realized after I took the first one that since I had opted for the large format chart (Yep, that's the large format!) I would need to stitch about a page and a half to complete the challenge.
The next requirement for the challenge was to take a photograph of your work at about the halfway mark.
I started in the upper right corner, and it took me awhile to both get used to the tiny stitches and the pattern. I also tried a couple different methods...cross country, where you stitch all of one symbol everywhere on the page, and parking, where you stitch all the symbols of a particular color within a smaller area, then 'park' the thread in the next stitch in the next area and begin a new color in the first, continuing until that small area is finished and moving to the next and picking up the 'parked' threads.
Late on Monday night (very late, but we won't talk about that) I finished the first full two pages of Heroes and Heroines. It equates to about 10,000 stitches. (You can see two of my parked threads in the upper right, ready to begin those colors on the next page, but for the most part, I have reverted to going 'cross country' working all of one color on a page before switching to the next. The colors are so vibrant and rich! I am eager to get to the next page. I'm thinking this pattern is going to take me between 3-5 years to finish, but when it's done, I will have a real treasure.
Those who finish the challenge are in line to receive a free chart from HAED. Isn't that fun? I can't wait to see what the mystery chart is.
What are you working on right now? Finishing a book? Knitting or crocheting? Garden planning? Cross stitching? Quilting? something else?
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