I’ve been spending the last few weeks working on my large cross-stitch. I’ve estimated that, based on the progress I’ve made so far, if I spend 3 days a week working on it until November I should have it mostly completed. However, the idea that it will be incomplete to a degree really interests me, and is something which I have incorporated into the work. The Aida has been covered in clay so that any parts left exposed by the time I finish will mimic the crumbling dome of a Byzantine church.
The work itself is about life and death, and the struggle to complete something before your time runs out. Time is something which has been occupying my thoughts whilst stitching, as I sit by my studio window all day watching the day pass me by. I usually enjoy cross-stitching while watching TV, and I find it a relaxing and, to an extent, mindless activity. Working on this scale however is laborious and almost a mental challenge. Who knows how I’ll get through it when I get to the huge patches of gold that I plan to sew!
There are other challenges too, like the size of the fabric I’m working on. I’m getting around it being in my way by rolling it up and using bulldog clips to hold it out of my way. I don’t like to use a sewing frame or hoop when I work, so I’m just holding it out of my way as best I can. It also rubs against my wrist and, after several hours, can make it quite sore, although I think I’m toughening up after a few weeks of work.
My plan is to start from the top right hand corner and work my way out from there. This is because that corner will never be in my way, or need to be rolled up, and I don’t want to crease the parts that have been sewn. Of course, to get the pattern central, I’ve started from the centre of the fabric, so I have tried to work my way up to the top right hand corner as quickly as possible in order to really get on with it, which is why the parts I have stitched so far seem so random.
Sewing week 1
Sewing week 3
Here’s the pattern to give you an idea of how it will all look. The pattern is drawn onto 24 sheets of A4 graph paper, and the finished piece of work will be just over a square meter.