sewing & needlework
…project time at the zoo…

…project time at the zoo…

Sometimes, a project just hits all the right spots, that even after a well intentioned crafter has stated “no more of these”, rather publicly – on a podcast no less – that they already have too many cross stitches that they have no idea what they are going to do with. Definitely not more cross-stitches needed.

Until, of course, the PERFECT cross stitch turns up. It couldn’t be any more perfect if I’d designed it for the intended purpose myself.

All the way back in 2013, we welcomed our youngest son. A couple of months after he was born, a parcel arrived, a parcel that made me feel so loved and valued by our quilting group that it brought me to tears. Nine years on, our Beetle Boy still sleeps under that quilt every night.

I love and adore it, I still think of each maker every time I look at time, even as our group and friendships have changed over the past almost-decade. Some I only keep up with on Facebook. Some I’ve sadly lost touch with, through no-ones fault but the ebbs and flows of life. Some I chat to daily. Each and every one of them, though, I am thankful to have had in my life, in that moment, and to be blessed with this legacy of our friendship.

The quilt itself was organised by AJ, still a dear friend, and project enabler. When she slid on into my DMs with a new project idea, I couldn’t resist. The Animal House** cross-stitch pattern by Satsuma Street** was super cute, and as soon as I saw it, it made me think of Beetle’s quilt. The basis of the quilt itself was Kate Spain’s Central Park range, kindly offered up by AJ from her stash, knowing how I adored the fabric. To make the layout work, she had added the centre panel with the cute little giraffe and elephant, echoed so neatly in the teaser graphic.

How perfectly does that go with the quilt?? There was even a blue giraffe in he left hand door way of a house, just like the block on the left hand side of the quilt! I truly can’t be held to hastily agreed cross-stitch bans when such an ideal project comes into my orbit. I had many of the threads so chose to skip the kit, and instead ordered my fabric and necessary floss from Itchy Stitchy – my go to for anything needlework. While the original is worked on “raw” linen, I chose to go with a grey to tie in better with that feature centre panel. Because it’s 2022, and Murphy is laughing at us and his namesake, the grey I wanted was out of stock, because of course it was. I ended up going with “Pearl Grey”, and while slightly cooler than the greige of the quilt, I think it still works nicely.

Look at that!! To see them together, the colours and the style were even more perfect a match than I could have hoped for. Having put them together for the photos, I was even more inspired to keep up to date. The final pattern drop did have me worried – it was due to land the final day of our beach holiday. Up until this point, I had been using a hoop on a stand. My great aunt had been decluttering, and as the crafter of the current generation, I had been gifted quite a lot of her goodies. The stand hoop was such a game changer for my speed, and works really well for my stitching style, it’s all I use now. Unfortunately, travel with a large family means space is at a premium, and the hoop wouldn’t fit.

In the end, I decided to take a small hoop with me, so I could work on it, rather than getting frustrated the pattern had arrived, I had all this spare time, and I wasn’t stitching. It also meant I could use the first half of the week to get the backstitching done. When it comes to cross stitch, backstitching the details is my least favourite part of the process. This time though, with all those empty holiday days, I powered through it, and had a clean slate ready for the pattern to drop.

It’s so cute all stitched up! I did end up altering it slightly. The circle feature over the door was supposed to be a peace symbol, which I didn’t love the look of, so I left the circle blank until pretty much the end while I decided what to do there. After lots of back and forth and playing in MacStitch and searching the chat and losing designs, I decided to just go with his initials.

I haven’t yet framed it. Our new house build starts soon, so I plan to wait until then to make those final design choices. In the meantime, now this is done, all the other children are clamouring for a cross-stitch of their own…so much for that “no more cross stitches” resolution, I guess? If anyone needs me I’ll be elbow deep in the floss box.

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