Saturday 28 May 2016

May Monster Madness Ball

Welcome to the Hallowe'en Ornie SAL Blog's contribution to the May Monster Madness Blog Party hosted this year by Little Gothic Horrors!

For our visitors from the other blogs, we are a group of Cross Stitching Hallowe'en fans who choose a different theme for our stitching each month and show our finished pieces.  For the completely uninitiated, cross stitching is a form of needlework where different coloured threads/flosses and fabric form a picture or pattern made up from tiny crosses on the fabric.

Hallowe'en is pretty big in the Cross Stitch World, not as big as the C event which takes place a few weeks later but still very popular.  The designs range from the cutesy cartoon to the primitive style.  Witches are probably the most popular design to stitch but you can see from our themes there are many other subjects which can be rendered in cross stitch.

Cross stitch is very simple to start, you need some fabric and some thread (or floss as it is called in the USA) and a needle.  On the chart there will be a selection of symbols on a grid.  Each symbol will relate to a different coloured thread.  For copyright reasons we are not allowed to show actual charts online but I have cropped a tiny section to illustrate the process:

You can see there are three different symbols and some straight lines.  You stitch all the symbols first (the large dots represent black thread and will form a witch's hat) and then stitch the straight lines (known as backstitch) on top of the stitches.  The grid lines are not stitched!

Most people start stitching using a fabric called aida which has large, easy to see blocks:

The number of blocks in each inch is referred to as "the count" with the standard size being "14 blocks to the inch" or "14 count".  Other popular sizes are 16 count and 18 count.

Many stitchers prefer evenweave fabrics for a variety of reasons, mostly to do with appearance.  The evenweaves are much finer and the blocks less obvious.  If there are areas left unstitched it can look more attractive than aida.  It is slightly more difficult to stitch on at first because there are more threads to the inch and you have to stitch "over two" threads so make sure you count carefully!  Here's a little diagram showing how to stitch on evenweave:

The standard count of evenweave is 28 count which is equivalent to 14 count in size.  Other popular counts are 32, 36 and 40.  40 count is very fine, there will be 20 stitches in every inch so they are much smaller than those on 28 count.   If you really like small then you can stitch "over one" on any count.  I myself love over one stitching on 28 count where you get 28 tiny stitches to every inch.  I have even stitched over one on 40 count.  Tiny stitching is adorable!

The final type of popular fabric is linen.  This is a natural fabric and has uneven fibres in it.  It looks great for primitive designs, for samplers or any design where you want a nice natural look.  The only thing I wouldn't use it for is a realistic face or person because there can be lumps or slubs and the last thing you want is a slub in the middle of your face!

All of the above fabrics are available in a huge range of colours and effects.  Over the last ten years the hand-dyed market has mushroomed and we have some amazing hand-dyers across the globe.

For threads/flosses there are two main brands - DMC is the market leader with Anchor being very popular too (and a bleeped-out word on DMC's Forums!!).   There are also the smaller thread producers of hand-dyed or variegated threads.  Gentle Arts, Weeks Dye Works, Nina's Threads, Crescent Colours etc etc.  But most charts will give the DMC reference numbers which you can convert yourself.  Embellishments such as metallic threads, beads, buttons and charms are also used to great effect.

Hope you found that interesting!  Now on to the finished stitching - 

First a selection of designs based on the most famous Monster of all - Frankenstein's Monster.  Now, as a warning, many designers actually call the Monster Frankie or Frankenstein instead of Monster.  Not my fault - that's the name of the design!

Frank in Stitches by Mosey 'n' Me
stitched by Loretta

Frank N Stein by Pickle Barrel Designs
stitched by Marcy

"Frank" by Trilogy
stitched by Rita

Frankenstein's Kitty and Bride by Carand88
stitched by Jo

From Behind The Gate by Blue Ribbon Designs
stitched by Gwen

Frank-N-Stein by Raise the Roof
stitched by Debbie

Freebie from Ravelry
stitched by Ana Cristina

Monster by Durene Jones
stitched by Carrie

And now some random Monsterous Creatures:

Monster Blue by Mosey 'n' Me
stitched by Theresa M

Trick or Treat by Prairie Moon
stitched by Lili 

My Monster by Cheryl A Smith
stitched by Cheryl

Pumpkin Man by Prairie Schooler
stitched by Noni

The final category I've chosen is my personal favourite - The Vampire!  I have always loved vampire stories and films from Anne Rice to The Lost Boys and the weird David Bowie one.  So here's a round-up of some of our stitched vampires:

Drac-in-a-Box by Acorn House Designs
stitched by Jo
(cross stitch can be 3D too!)

Count Dracula by The Floss Box
stitched by Lili

Smiley Face Dracula by Stoney Creek Designs
stitched by Debbie

Behind the Gate by Blue Ribbon Designs
stitched by Cathi

Fang by Dragon Dreams
stitched by Jo

Heads Up by Prairie Schooler
stitched by April

Vampires Suck by Kell Smurthwaite
stitched by Theresa M

And where do all these delightful creatures live?  Where else but Hallowe'en Town!

Hallowe'en Town by Frosted Pumpkins Stitchery
stitched by Chiara

To wind up our party I would like to thank you all for attending, I hope you learned something about cross stitching and enjoyed the various pieces we have made over the last couple of years.  If you are inspired to start stitching yourself, please leave a comment and ask any questions you like.  I'll do my best to answer them.

I leave you in the capable arms/wings of Belinda the Italian Vampire!

Belinda by Brooke's Books
stitched by Jo


M A R T H A said...

I wish I could do those but I am not that good with sewing in any form... I'll stick to music.

Karen said...

Cute patterns!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

These are all super! I enjoyed looking at every design but especially (of course) the kitty cat Bride! I used to cross stitch many years ago -- must be at least 25 years now. I'm thinking of perhaps taking it up again once I retire and have more time on my hands. I've kept all my supplies stashed in the cupboard for all these years waiting!

Rommy said...

Aw! I remember when I used to cross stitch. These make me want to take it back up again.

Dr. Theda said...

Cool creations....
and a great May Monster Madness post.

Magaly Guerrero said...

I love them all, especially Marcy's "Frank N Stein". There is something hauntingly telling about he sad look on his face. It makes me want to hug him.

Happiest MMM!

Sharon Rawson said...

These are all so creative. I did some cross stitching on some pillow cases several decades ago. I do not have the patience or the eyesight for it, so kudos to all you talented people!

Melancholy and Menace said...

These are all fantastic. What a brilliant post πŸ’€

Khristine Doiron said...

So fun to see these all together!! You guys are a talented bunch!

Holly B. Strange said...

LOVE them all, especially Drac-in-a-Box!

Little Gothic Horrors said...

Finally here!! (I'm in Australia and have to deal with the pesky time zone issue! ;) )

This is magnificent!! I LOVE each and every creation!! And I also think it's completely fabulous that Halloween is so popular in the cross stitching community. Thank you so much for being a part of MMM! This post was absolutely chock-full of monster-y goodness!!

Sylvie said...

I love each and everyone of these creations

SarahWalrus said...

I never thought I'd be so interested in cross stitching! :)

Jane K said...

Thank you for showing off all the lovely stitchery. I've always loved the look of cross stitch and have some lovely pieces given to me by friends but it's not something I've ever been able to do. When I was younger I had no patience and now I've no ability to hand sew due to problems with my hands so my sewing is restricted to machine. Your examples are wonderful works of art and something I'd keep out all year rather than just holiday time. xx

Bob Johns said...

Ok so I'm not a cat fan but that frank cat and bride cat rock!

Gina said...

OMG!!! I am a cross-stitcher (amongst many other things) and it never occurred to me to make a creepy sampler!! You have given me a new project to make now lol. Love your blog :D XXX

Magic Love Crow said...

Fantastic post! Really loved it! My mom taught me how to cross stitch, but I haven't in years! I think I will be starting soon again, because of you! These patterns are amazing!

Heather said...

Great post!

Goth Gardener said...

Wow, I love this. My mom taught me how to do basic cross stitch when I was younger but nothing as fun as this. Now I feel inspired to try out one of your spiders from your previous posts and maybe even a little Dracula!

Lili said...

Beautiful monsters ornaments!!
A great post, Jo!!

Doctor Z said...

These are spooky cute! My Mom did embroidery and crewel, never cross stitch unless absolutely necessary. She had a hard time keeping count and tracking the patterns. My sister and I taught ourselves cross stitch ... and I have a feeling one or two of these adorable pattern might make their way into my "to do" list. Thanks for sharing.

AnaCristina said...

Beautiful Blog Party!!!

Stitching Noni said...

Fantastic monster post Jo :o)
Hugs xx

LKICT said...

Great post Jo! From the conments it sounds like you got a few peoples' stitching mojo fired up!

LKICT said...
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