With my next few Minerva Blogger Network posts I wanted to use the opportunity to try new things. Although I embroider I have never tried cross stitch. For some reason it’s never really appealed to me, however when browsing the Minerva Crafts website for my next project I was amazed at how beautiful the cross stitch kits are. They look like works of art. I especially love the stunning landscape kits like these.

There were lots of little starter kits but I wanted something I’d actually want to put on display when finished so I chose this Riolis Squirrel Cross Stitch Kit. It’s one of a set of 4 woodland animal kits. Whilst I was looking at kits my son said he wanted to try cross stitch too so he picked out one of the smaller kits to try.

The kit comes with the aida fabric, thread and needle plus a chart showing which colour stitches go where. Sadly the instructions were very brief so I decided to just get on with it and hope it would work out ok. After over an hour of stitching I realised I seemed to be running out of space, plus it didn’t quite look like the picture. Looking closer at the cover image on the kit I realised that each hole in the fabric is meant to have more than 1 thread going into it. Whereas I just had one, and then moved to the next square to start the next cross, so the threads didn’t join. Again it wasn’t very clear from the instructions, it looks like the kit is Russian and the English instructions were very brief. I think this kit would be more suitable for people who have done cross stitch before.

I had to unpick all of that and start again, it went better the second time round. After a couple hours stitching I shared a progress picture on social media and got a useful tip. To use a contrasting thread to mark the gridlines on the fabric making it easier to check your stitches are in the right place. I used a pink embroidery thread to mark the two centre lines of the grid.

I did find it tricky to follow the pattern, there was a fair bit of unpicking happening! I think I don’t have the focus/attention span for counted cross stitch. Especially as with this kit the colours were so very similar (2 shades of brown and 2 shades of light grey/white) which made it hard to spot mistakes. I enjoyed the first few hours but progress is very slow, after 12 hours I had finally finished the squirrel head, limbs and body. I lost interest at that point and just didn’t want to keep going. It was taking too long to get results.

I think what I will do is incorporate the squirrel into another project rather than finish the picture. I’m working on a woodland animal fabric quilt at the moment so I might include it in with that. Or I might just turn it into a cross stitch card.

My son did a few stitches on his kit and then lost interest. But I’m hoping to get it out again in the summer holidays when he’s looking for something to do. His looks much easier and is probably the kind of kit I should have started with.

Overall I don’t think cross stitch is for me, but at least I’ve tried it and now have much more appreciation for the time and work that goes into it.