What is the opposite of a housewarming party – a housecooling? I mean the occasion when people hold a party/open house/get-together in their old house before moving to the new. Whatever it’s called, we were at one last weekend, and as we were walking back home my husband said wouldn’t it be a nice idea to stitch them a Moving House card, and how long did the Moving House Turtle take to stitch?
Not very long, but of course I’ve stitched it once already, and wouldn’t it be much nicer to design a new card from scratch? So I set out to do just that.
Hardanger, probably. You should be able to do a Hardanger house. I’ve seen lovely designs where there is a cross stitched scene behind the Hardanger, visible through the cut windows. A wonderful concept, but I don’t want to pinch other designers’ ideas and besides, it would probably be too big for a card, and take too long to stitch. OK, no cross stitch behind it.
So I started with the outline of a house in Kloster blocks. Quite a simple outline, the sort that a child comes up with when you ask it to draw a house. Walls, sloping roof, door, window. It’s a bit bare, and there’s too little contrast between the roof and the wall. Obviously the window and door will be cut, but I can’t really cut the roof, it would look all wrong. As though I’m wishing them a new home with a leaky roof that lets in the draught.
Very well then, perhaps some sort of background stitch? I happen to have just the thing, a sort of basketweave pattern. Unfortunately it consists of bunches of three stitches and the Kloster blocks have 5 stitches, so a bit of fiddling is called for, but after a while the first draft of the Hardanger house is ready.
The shape is all right, but it looks a bit dull, all those greys. I should use some colour. The roof might be thatched – I have a Caron thread with browns and mossy greens and straw shades that would be just right! A whitewashed cottage then, with white or off-white walls, and a variegated brown for the door and window frames. What about the filling stitches? They should suggest glass, so let’s use a pearl white metallic thread. It’s becoming much more colourful already!
It needs a little more though. Shutters perhaps? I was thinking of Dutch houses with green, red and white shutters, and asked my husband what colour shutters like that would be in England, only to be told that English houses don’t have that sort of shutters on the outside. Oh well, back to the drawing board.
Roses round the porch then? Using nice thick threads that make good, plump French knots. In red and yellow; or dark rose and dark gold, to fit in with the mossy greens and warm browns of the roof and walls.
By now I’d decided to call the design "Home Sweet Home", and that made me think it would work as a sampler too. Something to hang in the porch or hall, to welcome you as you come in. But that would need words. In cross stitch over one, with lots of French knots scattered around it to echo the roses.
And that is how you build a Hardanger house!