Mastering cross stitch has been sitting on my to-do list for a while so I decided to splash out on a book or two to learn the basics and be inspired about the possibilities. My first book choice for cross stitch after googling and surfing all over the internet was Storyland Cross Stitch from What Delilah Did.
What Delilah Did is the creation of fabulous artist Sophie Simpson. Sophie creates beautiful textile designs and patterns with glimpses of folk and heraldic imagery mixed with a gloriously magical imagination. I really love the style of Sophie’s work and, while looking for my cross stitch inspiration her book caught my eye because the designs were so playful, without being too fluffy; chic and stylish without being too serious.
Storyland Cross Stitch covers all the basics of cross stitch for the complete beginner (awesome) following the themes of old legends and myths and fairytales: here be dragons style. The book then takes you through 15 projects that range from the very simple (cross stitch buttons to be completed in 15 minutes) all the way up to big scary challenges like tote bags, cushions and samplers. There’s a strong themes of silhouettes and magical beasties as well as all the regal paraphernalia you could ever want to fill your home with!
The tone of the book is so playful and magical itself; each introduction reads like the opening few lines of a fairytale, that within minutes I felt completely at ease with the idea that I could throw myself into any one of the projects. I would also happily make every single project in this book – now that is no mean feat! I have no interested at all in stitching bears with balloons, small children, or even copies of works of art. But bring me kings and queens, bows and arrows and amazing frog princes and I’m all yours!
Another big positive is how adaptable each project can be – because there’s so much variety (in design, complexity and scale) throughout the book it’s relatively simple to mix and match and experiment a bit… or loads if you’re anything like me and like to break away from step by step instructions as soon as possible!! I decided to start by picking some of the mini designs; suggested for use on buttons but also great for badges or smaller embellishment on hand-stitched items: bookmarks, small bags, pin cushions etc.
I then decided to try a slightly larger design – I went for the bow and arrow. Once I completed the initial stitchery I wanted to make my work into something I could use (there’s nothing better to keep you inspired that quick to finish projects that you can show off! A pincushion seemed an easy way to go – and I never seem to have enough – so I added some corner embellishment, stitched and stuffed and project one was complete!
Once you get your head around the basics drawing with cross stitch suddenly seems much more manageable and you can get really creative. Below are my finished pincushion and a quick diamond badge I knocked up and i’m pretty happy with the results!
Next up I’m going to have a go at a few of the enchanted forest embroidery hoop designs and then I think I’ll take on the tote… possibly with an original design or a new take on the pattern in the book. I might even design and stitch my own coat of arms!
Overall Storyland Cross Stitch was a fantastic route into cross stitch – it’ clear simple instructions and lovely tone make it easy and enjoyable to work through and, most importantly, it’s a great inspiration for how you could go on to creating your own original designs.
Top marks from me!