Monday, September 7, 2015

Mermaid Cross Stitch

In addition to the nightgown I sewed Marissa for her birthday, I also made her a cross stitched mermaid picture.
For the past few years, Marissa has liked all things mermaid. Hopefully that still holds true, since I bought her a mermaid card too. Anyway, this year I wanted to cross stitch something for her since I've knit and sewn her multiple things in the past. I figured it was about time she add a cross stitched mermaid to her collection of Courtney-made items. What are sisters for? Side note: for my birthday this year, she sewed an apron for me! Marissa has never really been into sewing before, but I'm excited she's taking an interest in it now.
I wanted this to be a more modern looking mermaid, but I had trouble finding a suitable pattern. So I went rogue, and attempted to write my own. Using graph paper I sketched out a mermaid, and let each square box represent 3 rows and 3 columns. I cross stitched the majority of the mermaid using this rough pattern, until I got to the mermaid's torso. At that point, I lightly penciled in the rest of the mermaid. I realize that this isn't how cross stitching is supposed to be, but it's what worked for me. I had a hard time figuring out how to cross stitch the hair. I wanted the mermaid to have a head full of beautiful flowing hair, which is a lot easier to achieve on paper than it is when you're constricted to square boxes. So continuing my rebellious streak, I used elongated straight stitches to create a head full of hair. It turned out better than it would've had I stuck to traditional cross stitches, but I still wasn't able to achieve that long flowing hair I imagined.

I thought the mermaid needed more texture. So, to add some pop, I added a tiny flower to her hair. To the mermaid's bust, I added back stitches to create a simple seashell pattern. I also wanted to mimic the look of scales on her tail, and so I used more back stitches here. I think these little details added a lot of depth to the overall picture, and I'm really glad I took the time to do this. 
In my mind, the rock is significantly smaller in relation to the mermaid, but I rolled with it and made it work by adding boats and a whale on the side. I was hesitant to include them as I thought they would take away from the mermaid, but I think they make the picture a lot better. How cool is that shiny gold boat, by the way?
I was intending for the mermaid to fit easily into a 5x7 inch picture frame, but soon realized that wasn't going to be possible. However, it fits wonderfully into an 8.5x11 inch frame. Normally I would've gone with a light brown or white frame, but since her new(!) bedroom has black accents, I stuck with that color scheme.
I'm glad I went ahead and tried making up my own pattern because I had a very specific vision for how I wanted this mermaid to look. For now though, I think I'll stick to published patterns that other people have already created. It's a lot less stressful, and so much more relaxing to work on a tried and true chart. Even though it's not perfect, I hope Marissa enjoys it!