Chatelaine is my latest needlework obsession. I've been vaguely aware of Chatelaine's existence for some years now - but only as a designer who ran mystery designs. That means you have to buy the chart and start stitching without seeing the finished product. Didn't sound appealing to me, I guess.
I've now seen several of her finished pieces and I fell in love with the Mandala Gardens. These were mysteries at one point, but the charts (with finished pictures) are now available for sale all at once. If you want to see pictures of these beautiful designs you can see them at European Cross Stitch. After selling off several charts I knew I'd never get too - and throwing in the premiums I won at this year's fair - I finally saved enough money to purchase one of the kits. Because they use a lot of yummy silks and beads, the kits are pricey. I chose Alhambra Garden for two reasons - it was among the cheaper of the Mandala Gardens, and the colors looked like it would go well in my living room.
The kit arrived yesterday and like a good little silk stitcher - I rinsed my silks first to make sure they were colorfast. In the old days I might have risked it and just not washed the piece. BUT having a 15 month old sticky-fingered kid in the house who is sure to touch the piece at one point or another meant rinsing the silks so that the piece can be washed before framing. I'm so glad I decided to rinse cause two of the silks bled. The Spanish Moss bled a little bit and the Cranberry Gloriana Princess Perle Petite bled like no tomorrow. I rinsed and rinsed several times last night and a bunch more this morning before it finally stopped bleeding. All the silks have been dried now and put on bobbins in the little floss away bags the kit came with. The kits are very well put together - each of the beads has it's own little container, sort of like the watch maker containers I have for my Mill Hills. The metallics and silks each had their own floss away bag as I mentioned which will be nice for keeping that odd ort that is long enough to use some more. I don't usually use floss away bags - but I might have to start for my specialty threads - makes everything nice and neat and you don't have to toss that 8 inches of metallic you cut off the card/spool.
After all the oggling I did over the directions and the rinsing of the silks etc. I've only finished a tiny bit of the design so far - I'll post a progress pic sometime in the next week when I have more to show. I'm hoping I can finish this one rather quickly (well quickly for a large piece) since I want to enter it in next year's fair.
Crazy me is also considering joining one of those mystery groups. After perusing through all the Chatelaine designs I'm more confident that whatever it is I'll like it at least somewhat. Also I've really liked working round robin pieces because of the group feeling, and I think this will be similiar in that regard. I'm considering the Mystery Sampler II which is supposed to have peacocks and simplicity as the theme! Sounds good to me and in keeping with the samplers I usually like. The materials are also not that expensive (relatively speaking of course) but I will need to save again and maybe by January when the group starts I'll have the funds. Probably can convince DH to kick in the last $20 or something for Christmas too if necessary.