Issue 345 of Cross Stitcher is in the UK shops now and in it is the map of the British Isles that I stitched a couple of months ago. Designed by Fiona Crouch, this is a nice big project (260x182 sts, 47x32 cm or 18 1/2 x 12 1/2 in on 14ct) that`ll give you hours and hours of stitching pleasure and if you, like me, enjoy designs that keep surprising you and making you smile, then this one is for you. 😉
The chart is so big that the magazine split it in two parts - the top half is in this issue and the bottom half will be in next month`s. But since I had the whole design to work on, I first started by stitching the entire outline with one of the main greens (this took 21 hours):
Then, in the next 10 hours (since less counting was involved once the outlines were in place), I filled in some gaps with the other main green:
It took a further 22 hours to add the blue confetti around the coasts, plus a bit of France... 😊
By 75 hours, I had the top quarter completely finished (just to be able to fold those two pages of the chart which was a bit too big for my magnetic board). But after that, I was going round and round, adding one colour at a time - on this type of pattern, I find it easier to eliminate each colour before moving on to the next one. Not to mention, I love that feeling when I can put one thread-baggy away, knowing that I won`t need this colour anymore... until I discover a rogue cluster that I missed and have to dig out the baggy from the drawer just for those 3 stitches, that is. 🙄
Finally, after 113 hours and skeins of greens, blues and black backstitch later, I had a finished map:
Here`s something not many people know about me: I love maps. All kinds of maps. In our holiday cottage, there`s a 2000-piece jigsaw puzzle of a 16th century world map, framed above our bed - the lavishly decorated kind, with the 4 seasons and 4 elements and the 7 wonders of the ancient world around the edges. My son`s also a big cartography fan: in his room, one wall is almost entirely covered by a massive world map, complete with the flags of every country on every continent - you know those videos where they stop `the man on the street` and ask people to point out this and that and they can`t even find the capital of their own country? My boy would be the kid that comes at the end of the video, who, as opposed to all the dumb grown-ups before him, would pinpoint even the most obscure wee African country on the world map. 😂 And when my BFF and I first came to Scotland, we had a map of Britain just like this on our wall and we marked all the places (with dates) that we visited on our travels.
But my love of maps aside, this has been a great cross stitch project for another reason: I love designs where you discover an `Easter egg` at every turn, and not only are these surprises fun, they also make you smile. From Nessie swimming in Loch Ness to the Snails at Great Yarmouth, from the yellow submarine peeking from behind the Liver Building at Liverpool to the Isles of Rum and Eigg of the Inner Hebrides on the west coast of Scotland, this project gave me plenty of that `can`t wait to stitch that bit` feeling. Hope you like it too, happy stitching! 😊