50before50: #41 complete a piece of embroidery or needlepoint (thought processes)

I loved embroidery and tapestry as a child and teen, and did quite a bit of counted cross stitch, mostly samplers and such, when the babies were small. I picked this as a 50before50 project because I wanted to see if the enjoyment would still be there.

I didn’t really want to stitch anything cutesy, twee or conventional (yes, I’m rolling my eyes at myself too) and I wanted something that would go with our decor because I was keen to frame the results.

I really loved the insanely, eye-poppingly expensive reproduction kits from the traquair house collection when I first saw them way back in 2011 – the griffin! the leopard! – so fantastic! I dithered about for years and years, putting various kits in a cart and then abandoning the exercise, because couldn’t really justify the expense. When I decided to finally go for it in the name of this project, there were none to be bought anywhere – and even most references to the kits had vanished with them!

So I sat and pondered for a really long while and idly searched for modern embroidery here and there – but nothing really grabbed me. This project threatened to go the way of the model boat.


While all this pondering was going on a completely and totally unrelated thing happened.

When Don and I first started dating we used google chat a lot to, well, chat. We were very taken with the little animated, almost hand-drawn, heart that appeared when you typed <3 and it became a bit of a thing for us. Then we stopped using chat for many years, initially because it was blocked at SML, but then with smartphones and such we moved onto other things. Pointy hand-drawn hearts were still a thing for us though and periodically I’d stitch hearts on stuff.

The chat window magically re-appeared a couple of months ago and we delighted the nostalgia the re-appearance wrought – and started using it mostly to send hearts back and forth during the day (yes, I am aware at how utterly sickening this is) … then the announcement that google was discontinuing chat! Our hearts! Oh no!

That was when I realised that I could embroider something heart-related for this project, which would also satisfy #50 in making something special for Don.

But what to do?


First I took a wobbly video of my monitor showing the heart transforming – which is quite impossible to upload, but I’ve had a go here (warning: if it works, it’s giant!).

Then I found and saved the actual heart image making up the animation:

Then I printed out the image in several sizes and stuck one above my desk:

It took a long while to work out how this was going to manifest itself – and to find some appropriate fabric. I had something unstructured and flowy in my head and there was none in the stash – finally found some lovely white linen at Spotlight because multiple trips to the increasingly unsatisfying Lincraft yielded nothing.

First I tried drawing pale heart shapes with pencils/crayons and roughly stitching around them. It wasn’t hideous, but I wasn’t really feeling it.

Then I did the worst thing I could have done, I got literal.

Yeah, no.

Unpick! Unpick!

I thought some more and this once again looked like being added to the abandoned projects list, so I turned to google image search (again).

This time I had more success! But that’s for the next post.

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