When I was in third grade, I wanted to learn how to do counted cross-stitch rather than doing the pre-stamped patterns. My mom taught me how, and I did several fairly small projects before putting down cross stitch in favor of crocheting in junior high and high school.
At a Michael’s store in high school, I found a leaflet for an amazing design called “The Storyteller” by Teresa Wentzler.
The pattern used about 85 colors of floss, but had hundreds of symbols because the designer used one strand of one color and one stand of a second color. I had only done one page (at the most) designs and this one was four pages long. It had gold cord (huh?) and beading and I hadn’t done either.
Still, I wanted to stitch it. I was captured by the design.
It called for linen fabric—something else I’d never used. Mark, being the amazing friend that he is, drove me clear across town to a specialty cross-stitch shop so I could buy the fabric. The fabric alone ran something like $25. I couldn’t believe it.
I started the pattern in December 1998. By 2006, I’d had three full pages of the project done. I brought the work to Korea, expecting to get some work done on it there, but I don’t think I even took it out of the bag.
This summer, I finally decided I needed to finish it or throw it away. I hadn’t really thought of the project over the years, but it had been hanging over my head. So I dug it out and worked on it.
And then…I ran out of floss. No problem, right? Except DMC had discontinued a primary color that I needed for the border. So I channeled Tim Gunn and “made it work” by doing some fancy stitch-work.
When I was done with the back-stitching (outlining the major elements of the design to help them “pop”) I wanted to stop. I wanted to skip the gold cord and beading. But I went on, and I’m so glad that I did, because the gold cord made a huge difference in the piece! In the photo below you can compare the corded and uncorded border.
Gold Cord and Beads
Once I decided to get it done this summer, I really did get it done. I even worked on it in the car while on a road trip in Minnesota. I finished it in September and finally got it framed last month. It’s hanging on our bedroom wall and I’m really pleased with how it turned out.
I thought after finishing this, I’d be done with cross-stitching. And then I discovered Cross Stitch Collectibles. In a fit of insanity, I decided to order Waterlilies II (and Red Waterlilies, but we’re going to pretend that didn’t happen).
For our first date, Good Man and I went to the Monet exhibit in Seoul. And that Waterlilies was one of the paintings there. The Storyteller pattern was 200 by 144 stitches. This one is 355 by 350. It’s four times larger, so at my established rate, this will be finished around our fiftieth wedding anniversary.
What was I thinking?