Friday Finishes #1: Smiley Flower
Welcome to the first Friday Finishes article… that isn’t actually coming out on a Friday!
This article focuses on the very first cross-stitch piece I ever did at eight years old. After an exhaustive search of Google and the Internet, on a journey that took me from unreadable and non-loading Chinese websites to eBay, I have discovered all the information necessary to write this article, finally. Considering I completed this when I was eight I have no idea what happened to the chart or the front cover and I couldn’t remember the name of the kit or who it was by. Now I know, so now I can write the article!
Name of Piece: Learn a Craft (For Kids!) – Smiley Flower
Designed by: It doesn’t say on the front cover, and since I don’t own the kit anymore I couldn’t tell you if it was anywhere else.
Distributed as a kit by Dimensions, under their “Learn A Craft” series. Kit is copyright 1997.
Kit Contains: 11 ct. white aida, 3 in. hoop, white cotton thread, needle, chart, and instructions.
Finished Size: 3 in (8 cm) round
The Story: This is the first cross-stitch piece I made. I remember very little about it – I was eight years old, and I was somehow, for some reason, introduced into cross-stitch. I know that my mother is the one who set me into doing it, but I don’t know how or why. She used to stitch when she was younger but that was years before she introduced me to it. Anyway, this was probably one of the most basic, beginner kits you could get at the time, and I didn’t have any trouble following it. I remember having trouble with threads tangling sometimes, and my crosses are going all kinds of ways (I was 17 before I was told that crosses are supposed to all go the same way, who knew?) but for being eight years old, it didn’t turn out half bad!
Time to Complete: I have no earthly idea, it was so long ago. Rough estimate of six months? I feel like it took me awhile.
Review: I’m surprised that Dimensions put back-stitch into a beginner’s kit. One would think to start off a young beginner with full crosses and nothing else, but this kit has plenty of back-stitch. It’s one of my most distinctive memories about the piece: I had to have my mother do the backstitch for me, and I requested that she put a tongue sticking out of the smiley face. My mom didn’t follow the chart all the way because looking at it now compared to the picture it’s missing some back-stitches, but I didn’t care at the time!
I framed and finished the piece myself. For nine years this is how the piece looked:
As you can see, the edges are all chopped off, and parts of the fabric are starting to yellow with age (that’s probably where I put my thumb while I was stitching, kids’ hands aren’t known for being clean). When I was seventeen I pulled it out of the box, took it out of the frame, washed it in Woolite (don’t do this, I didn’t know any better at the time), ironed it, re-framed it, and laced the edges to hide all the chopped off bits. That was difficult because I had cut almost all the fabric off in some places! And this is how the piece looks today:
Final Verdict: I’m pretty sure they don’t make this kit specifically any more, but if you’re looking to get a child, a friend, or even yourself into cross-stitch, I would recommend Dimensions’ Learn A Craft series as a good place to start. They do make things simple and easy to understand, even for an eight year old!
Have you done this kit before? How did it go for you? How did you like it, or not like it, as the case may be? Leave a comment below and tell us how it went!
Friday Finishes is a segment where I catalog and review all the cross-stitch pieces I have ever completed. Some of the pieces I no longer have information on, or I don’t have pictures because I gave away the piece as a gift and forgot to take a picture, but I’ll do my best to be as informative as possible! Check back on Fridays for more.