The pattern is “U.S. Sampler” by Glory Bee, found in the August 2012 issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine.
Fabric: 14-ct. Fiddler’s Aida in “Lite Oatmeal” by Charles Craft
Floss: The called-for DMC colors (except B5200 instead of White), using 3 strands to get full coverage. Colors: B5200, 221, 310, 729, 898, 930, 932, 945, 3778
It needs to be blocked; you can see where the fabric got stretched out of shape below Sam’s shoes and above his hat; I stitched the whole thing in-hand and apparently had a death grip on the fabric in a couple places :P. The wonky border bugs me a little, but not enough to delay fully-finishing the piece and displaying it =D. The needlework is not permanently attached to the stickyboard; instead, it’s just lightly tacked down on the back with low-grip painter’s tape. So if, at some point, I want to remove it and block it and/or finish it another way, it’ll be easy to do so. But we’re enjoying it as-is, displayed on the table under our tv!! The fabric panel has magnets glued to the back (a la Priscilla Blain), so that I can easily remove this project from the tray and swap in another project. (I picked up the tray for $2.99 at Hobby Lobby.)
So, the Aida . . . it was quite stiff, which made for some tough stitching in-hand, not helped by the fact that I didn’t cut off the excess fabric until after I’d finished stitching. It got a bit unwieldy at times! But I still preferred stitching in-hand as compared to using a hoop or q-snap. I have no interest in going back to a hoop or q-snap for cross-stitch. (I don’t anticipate stitching a piece so large that I would need a scroll frame. Been there, done that, not interested in doing it again!)
For the border (including the stars) and Sam, I used the sewing method, which I felt went okay until I needed to stitch the white stripes in the pants and the flag; some of the white stitches in those stripes are not pretty. For comparison, I stab-stitched all of the letters and words, and I think the white stitches in “1776” look much better.
The purpose of stitching this piece (besides ending up with a finished project) was to experiment with stitching in-hand using the sewing method, and I did figure out some things I liked and didn’t like about it. It’s definitely faster than stab-stitching, and I loved using it for stitching the brown “x”s in the border — having a space between each “x” allowed for quick stitching. (I can see how using the sewing method while stitching 1-over-1 would go very fast.) I used 3 strands on this piece, which was a lot of bulk in filled-in spaces, and I seemed to have less twisting and smooshing-up of floss when I stab-stitched. (I’m currently stitching 2-over-2 on 28-ct. linen and am doing a hybrid of the sewing method and stab-stitching.)
All in all, this was a fun project! I’m enjoying stitching things for me to keep, as I’m more comfortable experimenting while stitching than I would be if I were making these things as gifts. Fully-finishing is not my favorite thing if I can’t pop something in a hoop 😛 but, again, these are good opportunities for me to try new things and practice finishing methods that don’t come as easy to me as popping something in a hoop =D.