Frederick the Literate

This project was the first “large” project I worked on. I had no idea when I bought the kit just how hard it is to stitch on black aida (I’d only stitched a couple small projects prior to it).

Aug 28, 2006
I haven’t posted an update on Frederick since I started writing in this blog location- mostly because I haven’t been working on Frederick. I’ve been itching to stitch on this piece for a while though, so last week I put it back on my scroll frame.

I have quite a bit of gold backstitching left to do on the lower right corner, as well as actually stitching the bookmarks. I realized that I hadn’t done those yet when I was checking the chart for backstitch floss colors. It will be nice (understatement) to finish this quarter (lettering on books, black fill on cat) and move on to the upper half of the piece. I’m very tired of stitching the black-on-black, and endless miles of shades of red.

Sept 4, 2006
I’m deep in the back-stitching on those lovely red books for Frederick now, having finally finished the gold metallic bits. I don’t know what brand of metallic is included in a Dimensions kit, but this stuff is awful. When stitching with one strand it isn’t too bad, but when the chart calls for three strands it is horrid. It was so terrible that even though there are some bits on the front that aren’t perfect, I cannot bring myself to frog it and do it over. The back is even worse, with lots of little gold loops. AUGH.

The top half of the chart has a few areas that also call for three strands of gold metallic. Why, WHY, couldn’t they just include some gold metallic braid in the kit for the heavier back-stitch, so I could use one strand? I’m going to substitute when I get to that point, because I certainly am not going to fight the stupid metallics again. I don’t see any reason to make the gold embossing on the book spines the same type/shade of gold anyway.
I will be very glad when I finish Frederick. I love the design and can’t wait to see it completed and framed. Stitching it is an act of self-discipline and willpower though- I just haven’t been inspired by this. It could be that the original ‘Frederick the Literate’ is a really rich detailed print, and the cross stitch conversion leaves out so much of that detail that it loses something of its spirit. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do really like this piece (even with my irritation regarding the back-stitching). It being a holiday weekend in the USA, I may spend some time on lettering books and filling in black areas of the cat today. 🙂

Sept 19, 2006
I was working on the bottom portion of the back end of the cat, and then I couldn’t stop. I had to finish stitching that section of the cat. And then I had floss still on my needle, in one of the cat colors, so I did a bit on the head of the cat. And then! I stitched a whole bunch more on the kitty’s head. I think I’m done with Frederick for a while though, since I want to get back to Corte Medieval.

Nov 17, 2006
I haven’t updated in forever, mainly because I haven’t spent as much time stitching lately as I’d like to. I decided to post a progress photo of Frederick, though, because even though it doesn’t seem like I’ve gotten much done when I look at the photo, it took me AGES to stitch the front half of the cat. There was a lot more confetti stitching involved than I’d realized. I’m hoping the cat face *pops* nicely when I add back stitching, because right now it’s very blah.

Dec 12, 2006
Still not finished, alas, but getting much closer to the end. 🙂 I am forcing myself to complete the border along the top edge before doing any more work on the books and curios, or any of the backstitching for the top half of the design. The border is monotonous and boring and tedious. Just an endless row of the same color. Bleah. On the plus side, it does add something to the overall feel of the piece.

Jan 3, 2007
A short update- I am nearing the end of Frederick, and have run out of some colors of floss. Luckily, I can substitute some DMC that is a near-enough match, and it isn’t in any areas where one would notice a shift in color anyhow. Note of warning to anyone stitching a kit- be extra extra frugal in your floss usage!! I wasn’t nearly cautious enough in the beginning of this project, but I believe I would still have come close to running out of one or two of the colors.

Waiting for bright daylight to work on the black-on-black areas, but can get started on some back-stitching and book titles while I’m waiting for that. I might get it finished today, but it may not be until tomorrow. And… the Husband? He is going to get it framed for me for our anniversary. 😀 I *am* a lucky gal!

I’ll wait until I can post the “finish pic” of Frederick to also post the pic of the Yule tree framed. It turned out nicely, and I didn’t post it earlier because the piece was a Christmas gift.

Anyhow, that’s all for now. Must stitch! And later I can sort out a small project or three to test my lovely new rayon floss upon, and it shouldn’t be too long before I get my silk floss order in (another week or two. a couple items are on backorder). So, an excellent stitching start to 2007. 🙂

Jan 15, 2007
I am still in a little bit of a state of disbelief that I’ve actually finished Frederick. The piece has been washed and is drying, and eventually will be pressed, stretched and framed. 🙂

I took a couple of photos with the camera. I wanted to wash it and get the dust out and the hand oils and whatnot out. A year+ is a long time to handle something and not wash it. So I didn’t think to scan it first. And now I’m not planning to. The square photo was taken in natural sunlight, and I edited it a smidge- a little darkening so the black looks black, and a little sharpening in an attempt to bring the stitches into focus. The goofy shaped photo was taken with a flash, while draped on the back of my sofa. The draping-on-sofa resulted in it having a distorted look, so my applying the distortion was actually an attempt at making the picture display the piece properly as a nice square. I also darkened it a bit so the black is black.

(not sure why sunlight and flash both wash things out. hm. can you tell I am not a pro photographer? LOL)

I’ll be sure to post picture(s) once it has been properly framed. That may be a while, but it is a certain thing (like death. and taxes.)

I may try to take a better photo one of these days- natural light, tripod, etc. Pardon the glaring flash spot, and the other reflection bits. I have nothing but positive things to say about having needlework framed at a professional frame shop. The people we took this piece to have been framing for decades. It’s a good thing it takes me more than a year to complete a large piece though, because quality framing with UV glass and custom bits is expensive. But worth it. If a person figures out the total hours they put into stitching a piece, and multiplies that by a reasonable wage to be paid for the work, plus cost of materials, then it only makes sense to put the money into quality framing. 🙂 ok ok, enough with the chatter, here’s the pictures: