I’m such a hoarder, I rarely part with bits and bobs like tickets, theatre programmes and old birthday cards. My friend Rosie sent me this card for my birthday last year. Heart shapes are always good in my book but there was something extra special about this lovely Dutch Door Press letterpress design, so it stayed on display tucked behind a candlestick on my mantelpiece for some months until I had an idea.
I’ve always enjoyed needlepoint (and have a pile of unmade cushion fronts to prove it) but find it hard to find designs that appeal enough to invest a lot of hours. I’ve worked on some traditional kits, like this one from a William Morris design but they are a bit severe to suit the current style of my home. I had a sudden vision of how well the heart card would translate into a needlepoint cushion.
Now I’m nowhere near clever enough to translate things into stitchable charts, so I was thrilled when my very talented friend Angela helped me transform the 3.5x5in card design into the squared chart needed to create an 18x11in cushion. After a bit of a test, I got to work on a piece of 18-count canvas and worked with crewel wool in cross stitch rather than the usual tent stitch. This gives a really fine finish but might be a choice I live to regret as it means making 648 stitches on every single inch of canvas. I’m too frightened to do the maths to work out the total number of stitches needed for the whole design!
That was just over a year ago, and it only needs one final push to finish stitching the heart. My stitching rate has slowed rather, probably because I’m not looking forward to filling in all the plain background area. Row after row of one colour is never a pleasure, so I’ve been wondering if a stripe or spot should be introduced to stop me getting too bored.
I’m not usually very formal in my crafting habits but there is a nice feeling to working with canvas stretched on a traditional wooden tapestry frame like this. It even came on holiday with me earlier this year and looked quite comical peeping out of the top of my luggage – especially as one of the bars still displays teeth marks left by a naughty spaniel puppy.
As the days get colder, I feel more and more like indulging in cosy crafts. Needlepoint wools definitely qualify as cosy, so I might even finish my heart cushion before Christmas. But I’m not promising… especially as my original plan was for a pair of cushions with the colours reversed.