Review of Little Owl, blackwork kit by Classic Embroidery
Review of Little Owl, blackwork kit by Classic Embroidery
This pretty little design is sold as a 'weekender' and certainly can be completed in a weekend or a few evenings.
I chose the evenweave version but all of the stitching is suitable for Aida. The instructions are very detailed and I started with the backstitch outline. I realised that the horizontal centre on the chart isn't correct but since I'd already started and there was ample material I continued. It's always a bit risky to unpick in blackwork as traces of the threads may be left behind.
When I work backstitch in blackwork, I'm always aware of the reverse stitching showing through to the front so to make right angle crisp, I work some stitches forward so that they are not at an angle on the back. This may not be necessary and perhaps it would be better to use running stitch.
With the backstitch and whole cross stitch in two strands complete, the three infill patterns are worked with a single strand. The running stitch on the bird's front was quick and easy and the instructions give an order for the more dense stitching on the head to make them reversible.
The wing stitching can also be worked as reversible following the stitch guide given but I'm afraid I found that a bit more tricky in the small space and gave up. Afterwards I thought that perhaps working the pattern vertically rather than horizontally may have made it easier as most of the rows are longer. So when I tried that on one wing, it was a lot easier to follow and the reverse is patterned but not a copy of the front.
The finished owl is three and a half inches in diameter and if reversible would fit in a four inch round flexihoop. If mounted carefully it would make an attractive window hanging. My finished owl looks perfect from the front but perhaps I'll try again and take more care over the backstitch.
The kit in available in evenweave and 14 count Aida. There was a little black floss left over.
Having finished the Little Owl, I still felt that making it completely reversible was a challenge. Obviously not necessary but interesting. So I started again, this time in brown on cream and worked in outline in running stitch with two strands. This looked very neat but better after I'd invested in a pair of hardanger scissors to cut the ends closer.
Whole cross stitch as I normally work it is not reversible but if I worked every second stitch then it would slope on the back. I remembered a pattern booklet called Reversible Cross Stitch Sampler by Needlemade Designs and there was the answer:-
Work one half cross stitch every second space left to right;
Return with second half of crosses in spaces;
work top stitch on alternate stitches left to right;
work under on return to make stitches lie in the same direction.
The filling stitches for the bird's head and breast had come out reversible the first time but try as I might I couldn't make the honeycomb pattern the same on the back following the instructions. I tried variations on scrap fabric and finally worked out a completely reversible order of stitching. The front still looks neater than the back as I had to finish off ends in the running stitch making some places thicker than others. You can judge for yourself from the photos.
My next challenge is mounting the finished Litle Owl in a flexihoop.
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