Crossing a line

This week, I feel as if I crossed a line with something unexpected - Cross stitch.  But let me back up a sec.... it would seem that I have been preparing for our return to England, way way longer than I realised.  As I unpacked endless boxes,  I discovered that I had been picking up things  here and there on our travels, dreaming of the day when we would have our own home.   One of the things that I found in a yet another box (there were rather alot!!!)  labeled dubiously 'sewing room' was this linen hand towel with a blank peice of aida along the bottom for cross stitch.  I know where I bought it - about 5 years ago, in a beautiful little shop in the picturesque town of Marly-Le-Roi, which is near Versailles, called 'Justin Petite Point' - You can check out their blog for ideas.  I also know why I bought it - I liked the dark red trimming (of course), but I have to say I am not a great fan of cross stitch, even though it was how I began with embroidery.  On discovering it though, I felt compelled to use it - new rule 'No stuff to be left in boxes, everything must have a use or it GOES'!!!! mmmmmm......   So it wasn't difficult to decide what to do with it.  I stitched the name of our new home in matching thread.   I used a fancy alphabet from this rather lovely book...also a french purchase.

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The french actually do 'cross stitch' way better than anyone else.  First of all they call it 'Petite Point' which not only sounds prettier, but usually is.  I think they generally work on a smaller scale and it all looks totally wonderful.  Also, cross stitch fabric is generally very hard wearing and once embroidered it is really quite a durable thing that I suspect would stand up to much wear and washing. 

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I wanted to put a small picture of our house in the middle and actually this proved much easier than I anticipated.  I browsed the internet a little and there is a wealth of ideas and material out there to help you decide on what to do and how to stitch the windows etc.  Our house is a pretty straight forward design really and once I got the colours right - it was done in an evening.  Then to cover up all the  'not all that neat' back of the fabric, I decided to add a fabric backing which would show alittle at the bottom. I cut a strip of fabric 1" wider than the towel and folded the shorter edges over twice and pressed them so that it was then the same width.  Then I machined along the bottom edge, right sides together.  I pressed it and made a fold at the bottom edge so that about half an inch was showing.  Then I hand sewed the sides and turned over the edge on the back and hand sewed that down too, as I didn't want anything showing on the right side.

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I machined a double row of stitches along the bottom border to firm it all up and it was pretty much done.  I know I had a ready made towel, but actually it would be a simple thing to make.  Just take a peice of linen, a strip of aida and some pretty trimming and ribbon.  The measurements are 22" by 33.5".  One other thing that is really rather handy is that on the back, stitched on the diagonal top corner is a peice of tape for hanging the towel up - it works perfectly....such a great idea.

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Whether or not I really want anyone to actually use it..... well, that's something else....but in general I have to say that I am now looking at cross stitch in a rather different light.  Also in the box was a long piece of aida ribbon ... have to think about what to do with that!!!  meanwhile it's a lovely summers afternoon....time for a spot of gardening with my lovely shiny new red wheelbarrow.  Au revoir Ruby x

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