Miniaturise It.

Miniaturise It.

I finally found what, to me has been like the Holy Grail.

Seriously, I have actually been searching for these for about 2 years. Jewellery pendant frames. In fact, if you read my last post you’ll know about my recent quest on the road of life. Well, perhaps if I had found these 2 years ago, things might look a bit different. But everything happens for a reason and this is now, so here we go.

This also meant I have done something I’ve been promising and threatening for a long time. I finally got my original Skull in profile pattern converted to a digital file. 

Here’s how I did it:

First I took the original image I worked off to create my hand drawn pattern. He’s looking a bit scruffy, but no probs. I traced out the main sections, trying to simplify as much as poss. This took a couple of attempts but here’s what I got:

As I was planning to miniaturise these right down, I was experimenting to see what kind of detail I could get and also  what my cross stitcher software was going to pick up. But first I had to colour him in:

I just did this in, nothing fancy. Finally I converted this image into Cross Stitcher. This was the most time-consuming bit as even thought this is digitally coloured, the program seems quite sensitive so thinks some of these colours are purple or green or whatever. So a little bit of adjustment needed.

Even though I had a lot of fabrics in my stash, none was quite as fine as I needed to get down really small – like 1.5inch small. So for the time being to see how he worked up I used 28 count evenweave and 2 ply cotton in tent stitch. Here’s how he turned out:

I completed this over the past weekend, took me a couple days casual-ish stitching. He measures about 5cm across. Way too big for making into jewellery. But a really useful experiment – good to practice tent stitch (NOT as easy as it seems, not to get perfect every time at least, and NOT half cross stitch either). Also I feel so-so about him; colours are off (I find this is a drawback of using Cross Stitcher as the colours it ‘sees’ are really strange). shading etc. Too much detail, considering I need this to be half as big.

So, some lovely Newcastle linen in 40 count and Silk gauze in 48 count arrived today. I’ll see what I come up with over this week.


Look at that handsome gentleman.

Look at that handsome gentleman.

I have actually had this finished for quite a while.

But you see it’s not finished. Not to my slightly psychopathic standards of finish. I still have yet to complete all the very very many little black Xs that will provide the background for my eternal muse.

So there it is. Cast aside like so much else obsessed over and fallen-out-with craft. I think now with the nights drawing in the mood might strike me to fill some hours up with that. We’ll see.

Do you like it?

Taking shape

Taking shape


It’s THE most busy and stressful time of my life right now, hence the long gap, but fear not, my needle is not resting idle and turning rusty.

Cross stitch, same grey palette as my original skull pillow, it’s nice to get back to the lovely calming rhythm of little x’s. Although this is a smaller scale than my original, and you can see at the top of the pics my wonderful contraption gifted my my guru, which allows me to stitch in this dull Yorkshire winter without going blind. So I stitch two-handed using my fanny frame, and look through the integral magnifier which forms the front part of this anglepoise daylight lamp. It’s a marvel.

Candy Skull

Candy Skull

I guess you could call this one ‘second in a series’. Somewhere around the millionth stitch of the black and grey skull I began fantasising about all the delicious juicy colours in my bag of threads. Being still Death’s head-obsessed, the Mexican candy skull was an easy choice.

Basically I approached this one in exactly the same one as the first; found the image, traced it onto graph paper, this time more consciously thinking about the size I wanted the finished cushion to be (bigger), then coloured the pattern.

Colouring with colours!

And so to work…MUCH quicker to complete this time because I was a stitching demon at this point, a woman possessed. Started actually before I even finished the black and grey, COULD NOT WAIT. Again worked on white aida. I know, I know…why when I was going to fill all the background in black? But my idea for this piece was to make it more folky style in homage to Mexican folk art, and I liked the way the white poked through in this way. Plus I also had this masochistic ideal which (in my head) dictated that to produce some kind of intricate image in cross stitch but then just use coloured fabric to provide the background seemed like cheating or something I guess? I just love great swathes of stitched fabric really. And I love doing it too, so that’s cool. Actually I’ve realised as I’ve gone along that when I’ve done all the really eye-blinding counted main image work, it’s actually a relief to be able to mindless stitch in the same colour without having to use a pattern, with one eye on the TV.

OOO! I forgot, halfway through the black and grey my needlework guru (mum) gives me a FANNY FRAME. Yup, you heard me. This, dear reader, is the absolute balls.  

So after a little while getting my runt left hand to know what to do, I can now stitch away with both hands without having to gnarl my hoop-holding hand into a wizened claw from gripping it to the death. I love it, so brilliant, and much faster.


So the black background this time. Despite my posturing earlier and being all ‘oh not stitching the background is cheating’, when it got to doing it I had a little conflict with myself about my commitment to my high ideals or whatever, versus boredom for a minute. Then this awesome little book my guru gave me came to the rescue and I decided to do the back in a really simple blackwork stitch which covered the ground much quicker, and gave it the nice folksy feel I was after.

So, ta da:

Took me 5 months this time.  Whizz.

Will post when it’s totally done in all its calavera glory.