I have an aunt who enjoys ironing. No, really. She and my mother have a pact – Mum does the all washing for the two of them, and Aunt does all the ironing. Having worked my way through a pile of hankies, shirts and summer dresses (why oh why do I keep wearing long flowing skirts?) I can say without a hint of doubt that I do not take after my aunt. But there was more to be ironed: 56 squares of Hardanger fabric for the Mini Kits.
Sometimes I feel tempted not to bother, but then I remember opening kits myself and finding a piece of fabric with sharp creases right across the bit where I will be stitching, and having to get it ironed first when what I really want to do is get it into a hoop and start stitching! Which brings me to another thing – why are the pieces of fabric provided in kits (especially for small projects) often only just big enough for the project? I know that not everyone uses a hoop, but many people do, and it would be nice if the fabric were big enough to get it into a hoop that in turn is big enough to contain the whole design. True, adding an extra inch or so adds to the cost, but I think it is probably worth it in customer satisfaction. Being what they are, the Mini Kits are likely to be the stitcher’s first piece of hardanger, and I want to make it an experience they’d like to repeat, not put them off for life!
Having “hooped up” one of the pieces of fabric to try it out for size I didn’t really want to take it out and iron it again, so I’ll use it for a small project. Sally, a dear friend from the Cross Stitch Forum, asked me something about small designs for Christmas cards and I suddenly remembered two tiny stars I did a few years ago, so I charted them and made them available as freebies. When I first stitched them I used very light blue and lilac to go with two blue and purple metallic cards I had (you can’t see the metallic-ness very well in the picture, but it looked quite striking in real life!), but writing to Sally I suggested they would look rather nice in Anchor metallic perle (which has a gold or silver strand running through it) or Caron Snow with its lovely sparkle, and of course because of their small size they’re ideal for using up odds and ends of hand-dyed and variegated threads. Thinking of that, and having a small piece of fabric sitting there ready-hooped, I decided to stitch them again myself; I’ve picked the materials and beads, and as soon as Double Cross is finished I’ll give these a go.