For Valentine’s Day this year, Sweetie suggested we forego purchasing gifts and make each other something instead.  Swoon!  I had about 76 ideas, and ultimately settled on cross stitching Sweetie’s motto for the year: Keep Calm and Carry On.  It’s a good motto for life in general, but I also thought a prettily stitched and framed version on her desk at work might be just the thing on a rough work day.  Besides, all the letters are there to stitch myself a Keep Calm and Carry Yarn version, should I desire such a thing.  Which I do.

I found a great pattern from andwabisabi on etsy, bought the supplies at the craft store, and started stitching on the Friday night before Valentine’s Day.  Silly, silly me, I thought I could finish the whole thing in a couple of hours.  Despite having attempted a rather large cross stitch pattern and never finishing it, and in spite of watching fellow SnB’er Fake Knitter work on her intricate Christmas stockings for months at a time, I thought this would be a fast project.  At the end of that first evening, I only had the word keep finished.  Boy did I underestimate an entire craft!  One evening turned into one week, and my stitching strategy and skill gained speed.  I would add a letter as I had 5 or 10 minutes, and after a few weeks it is finally finished!

The pattern was very nicely laid out and came with a bit of helpful info for a cross stitch novice like myself.  Grace has some very fun patterns available, and should the urge every strike me again, I will definitely go back to her shop.  The main struggle for me was strategizing where to start on a letter so I could get a good run of stitches without having to float the thread too far, and I occasionally did a letter with the stitches crossing the opposite direction of all the rest.  And I messed up the crown a bit.  Nothing that affect the design, but definitely some beginner mistakes!

Once I finished the main pattern, I cut the piece to fit in a frame, then improvised a little border.  The pattern suggests letting your finished piece soak in tepid water and pinning it out to dry before framing or sewing with it.  This made all the difference.  The wrinkles were sorted out, the white got whiter, and the colors popped.  As with knitting, blocking really can take something to the next level.

I feel bad for not having my end of the love day deal complete on time, but I think this was worth the wait.  Happy Valentine’s Day, Sweetie!