Wednesday 9 July 2014

Past Impressions - Previous Projects, Part 3...and a Word About Framing

For this next entry focusing on my previous projects I decided to have a theme:
Native American.

Native American designs were some of the earliest to fire my imagination. When they first started to appear, if memory serves, they were something very different in the cross stitch world.
There was a good mix of masculine and feminine.
They combines people, places, culture and wildlife.
They also had a vast and varied culture to draw upon.

Quite simply: I was in love.

Nowadays, I no longer stitch them. But only because I did so many that I sort of overdosed. But, these are still some of my favourite pictures!

So, top of the page, we have Native American Fashion from Design Works, if I remember correctly. One of the things I loved about this design was the variety. On the surface it seems like a simple design, but there are so many colours and design elements that this was never boring.
I also think it looks wonderful framed.

Next up: Apache Marriage Blessing

Another beautiful design. The subtle pastel shading of the mountains, sunset and border is wonderful. As is the colouring in the feathers.

All cross stitch addicts will also recognise this: there is a mistake in this design that I know about and whenever I look at it I see that mistake. Nobody else ever does. But I know it's there!

The next picture is Wolf Robe
The principal things which drew me to this design were the wolf, the pastel shades and the verse.
I also loved the warrior's face. His life is etched into those lines.
For me, somehow, the picture makes me think of soft furs, blankets, warm fires and faithful companions.

Next we have the last Native American design I did. I actually only finished this last year. It's called Sacred Connection and it's from the Dimensions Gold series. I'm just waiting to find the right frame for it.
I'm sure my eagle-eyed readers will spot something truly AWFUL in this design.
Seen it?
I dragged the white thread for the stars across the back and you can see it through the front!
It's really horrible - even if it does look a little like a constellation. So, I have every intention of correcting it before framing.
But, the design itself is simply breathtaking.
From the ethereal Lynx to the 'hidden' bear and eagle, there's not a single element to this design that I don't love (unless you count the back stitching - of which there was a torturous amount!)

Now we come to my biggest love in the animal kingdom, and one that features in much of Native American folklore and art.
The wolf.

This is White Magic and it's one of my all-time favourite pictures. It was incredibly boring to stitch. All those shades of cream and grey were boring - but who can argue with the finished result?
Shading, depth, and an actual feeling of cold.
I simply love it.

For my final picture I chose one of the easiest and most effective.
This is Wolf Eyes from Needlework Treasure (I think)
This was a really easy stitch. Not many colours and not very big. But, the effect is wonderful. I always say I can feel the intelligence of the wolf peering out at me.

I have done other Native American designs over the years. Gift of the Eagle Feather I featured in a previous entry, but there were others. Some I gave away and some I hated once finished (don't you hate it when that happens?!).

Finally, for this entry, I'm going to just say a few words about framing.
There are lots of How To guides on the net about lacing, mounting on board, mounting on canvas and everything else.
But, what about choosing mounts or frames?
(There probably are - but I want to talk about it anyway!)

I have a set of simple rules when choosing mounts and frames.
1. If the design is predominantly dark then use both light and dark mounts. If you look at Wolf Eyes above we took the dark grey and black from the design to contrast with the white.
Likewise - White Magic has a lot of white shades so the darker mount really offsets that nicely.
Apache Marriage Blessing is a really good example of picking colours from the design to use for the mounts. The design is mainly light and that theme continues with the mounts.

2. The frame should pull a colour from the design OR reflect an element of the image.
This is a bit of a tough one, but as a rule I usually pick a frame that matches a colour in the picture.
BUT...with these Native American designs you'll probably notice they they all have one thing in common: natural looking wood! Native American culture and wolves are tied to the land, to the forests and trees and I wanted to reflect that in the framing.

Hope you enjoyed my trip into the past.



  1. I love the apache marriage blessing. I will now go in search of it. Love, love, love the wolves! I can see how it would be boring to stitch but a stellar finish. I often avoid kits like this for the "bore" factor but this shows I need to try them.

    1. Thanks Angela. Hope you find Apache Marriage Blessing. It's been discontinued for a long time so it may be hard to find!

    2. Found the kit on Ebay for $15 and bought it immediately. Oh happy day!!

    3. Excellent news!!! Well done.

  2. Margaret Baxter9 July 2014 at 07:40

    I did the smaller version of Apache marriage blessing for a friend who was getting married for the second time. Both had lost their previous partners and had known each other before their first marriages. He had prostrate cancer so they knew they might not have long together - in fact they had about two and a half years. They had said they didn't want presents so it was an excuse for me not to get it framed and leave it for them to do if they wanted to hang it which they did. I think that is the only cross stitch I have done but did do a tapestry shoulder bag which was a native American design and I still use it in the winter.

    1. That sounds lovely Margaret, I bet they cherished your gift!