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Celtic Cross – the original and best

Celtic Cross Cross stitch design (CE27)

This design is based on the beautiful illustrations which can be found in ancient Celtic manuscripts such as the Lindisfarne Gospels and The Book of Kells.

The design doesn’t include any fractional stitches – the curved effect of the lines are created using back stitch – making it a simple and relatively quick design to stitch. For increased drama, this same design could be stitched on a dark or black background.

Give this design a go ~ you can buy the pattern pdf for £2.99 (approx US$5) by clicking here.

Some more about the design…

As a child I would spend hours drawing and colouring, and have spent a lot of my life fascinated by Celtic art. My artist mother was a scot by birth and upbringing, and so was also a fan of this distinctive style, and had plenty of books in the house I could study.

celtic design source books!

Having a go at Celtic lettering and subsequently knotwork was an extension of the fascination I had (have) with calligraphy.

Also, after I’d left home, I bought and was given (hence have two of the beginners book) a really useful series of book on drawing Celtic designs by Aidan Meehan – they show you how to lay out and plan your designs and then give you lots of inspiration for how to embellish and develop your art in that same style.


(If you click the picture the link will take you to the Amazon page for the first in the series – I highly recommend them!)

This design is drawn on an illuminated title page from The Lindisfarne Gospels. Specifically from the major illuminated initial page from the front of the Gospel according to St Matthew.  Although I could have made my own from scratch, this being the first attempt at translating knotwork into stitchwork, I felt I needed the ancient monastic support.


(Here you can see me pointing to the source for this design. It took a while to find it. See how they fitted it into a couple of inches but I need… a bit more HGH than that)

Here’s a link to the book. It’s great. Full of lots of information about The Lindisfarne Gospels and lots of lovely pictures.

Another teenage project I had embarked on was to design a full alphabet of illuminated capitals. One of my first misguided actions in commercial cross stitch production was to put together kits of the whole alphabet. I still have most of them. You can see some of  them on our facebook page header. They used the same colours as this design, but were stitched on a black background, finishing up to fit into an A5 (half legal) frame. They also used fractional stitches, which I now find very tiresome. here’s a snapshot of them. Honestly, if you want to stitch one, let me know – I have the charts, but don’t plan to re-release them. I may even take bids on the stitched models (mounted in tasteful gold-painted wooden frame!) if you’re really keen, but they are truly a one-off sale. Leave a comment or contact me through Facebook if you want one! This is why the reference code for this design is CE27. Although it was the *actual* first Celtic design I did, I knew I was planning to do the alphabet, and having the letter A be anything other than 1 didn’t fit with my orderly temperament.

The Celtic Cross design has 4-way symmetry so arguably the chart could just be a quarter of the design, but I know many stitchers like to mark where they are – so you get all four turns of the wheel!

And speaking of turning the wheel – here’s a sneak peek of the next one I’m planning to (re) release…

Celtic Wheel snippet

In the meantime, you can buy the pdf pattern for the Celtic Cross by clicking here!

The chart for this design costs £2.99 which is roughly US$5.

(p.s. please forgive the grainy and somewhat rubbish quality of some of the images in this post ~ I’ve been nagged into completing this post mid-week when I’m not at home in daylight hours…)

Exhibition Banner – simple colours used to stunning effect

Buy the chart for Exhibition Banner online now

GR03- exhibition banner counted cross stitch design

This design is based on stencilled banners used to frame the entrance to an exhibition entry by Mackintosh and his wife Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh. A simple colour scheme means that this design is easy to customise to your individual requirements.

Each figure is worked over 35 x 277 stitches. If you are using 28HPI evenweave (as used in the model) or 14HPI Aida, each figure design will take approximately 2 inches (5cm) by 20 inches (50cm). I usually leave a 4 inch (10cm) margin of unworked fabric for framing, etc. so you should use at least 10 inches by 28 inches (25cm x 70cm) of fabric.

The design uses three colours, and metallic thread. You could add beaded highlights if you’re feeling creative!

This chart is available as a pdf pattern for just £2.99 (just under US$5 at today’s exchange rate), delivered electronically so there’s no postage!

Click here to buy the chart for Exhibition Banner online now

Here’s some background on the design…

This is another piece inspired by Mackintosh & MacDonald’s work for the Exhibition of Modern Decorative Art in Turin in 1902. The entrance to their part of the exhibition was ranked by huge banners with stylised images of women and flowers on them. This design is based on those images, but is a lot smaller, and I’ve switched to a black background for extra contrast.

When it is stitched on a black evenweave fabric using the recommended colours, this design leaps off the canvas. Several times I had visitors to shows ask if it was made with beads. It’s not, it’s just that the bright green on a black background really adds to the stitch definition and allows the beauty of the stitching to sing out.

The intention here was that a matching pair would be stitched, so that in the style of the original they could flank…something – an archway, hallway, fireplace. I used to claim that they straddled my fireplace, but to be honest although that would have looked fabulous, I never got as far as putting up the hooks to hang them on. Too busy stitching…

Using only 3 flat colours and some metallic thread, the joy of this is in the stitching. It includes fractional stitches on dark evenweave, so it would be a hgh diet stretch to describe it as a beginners kit, but the lack of colour changes mean that a certain amount of ploughing through it can be done, and if you get confused over colours on this design then there’s really no hope for you as a stitcher… While many stitchers baulk at the idea of evenweave, I find that with fractional stitches, it actually makes it easier. Trying to force my needle through the middle of an Aida square is one of the reasons why I find fractional stitches so annoying!

Also, the simple colours mean that (as with many of my designs) you can substitute to match your curtains. And if you don’t like the metallic thread, just replace it with a suitably coloured normal thread. The metallic thread is used as an outline on the smaller rose buds within the design, which can just about be seen on the detail picture below.

I put together some card kits showing the head detail of the banner image in different colours – partly to show how the design looked in not-blue-and-green.

exhibition banner detail (pink)

Would you believe, in searching on the web for the original image of this design I wasn’t able to find *any* examples of it? I would love to show you but posting the image from the book would be copyright infringement and I don’t want to risk anything like that.

The original banners were room height in a tall room, and I’ve always wanted to try recreating one. I’d hang it in the stairwell, for something to look at as I carry laundry around the place. And it’s the only wall that’s tall enough to take something like that. I’ve always felt that the wall facing you, high up, as you go down the stairs in some houses (in particular the one I grew up in) is an under-appreciated resource.

Also, it was suggested to me that this design could be worked in beads. All I’ll say to that is that it would take *a lot* of beads and *a lot* of patience. If any of you try it, please let me know!

This chart is available as a pdf pattern for just £2.99 (just under US$5 at today’s exchange rate), delivered electronically so there’s no postage!

You can buy the pdf chart for this design online by clicking here!

Glasgow Rose – the boudoir where it all started

Our next re-released design is Rose Boudoir Panel, GR01

GRo1- Rose Boudoir counted cross stitch panel

The design is 70 x 140 stitches, which means that if you use 14 HPI Aida (as recommended) the design will measure just over 5 inches (12.5cm) x just over 10 inches (25cm). Allowing for 4 inches of margin (for framing), you will need fabric of around 13 x 18 inches (32.5cm x 45cm).

This chart is available as a pdf pattern for just £2.99 (just under US$5 at today’s exchange rate), delivered electronically so there’s no postage!

Click here to buy the chart for Rose Boudoir Panel online now.

Here is some more about the design…

When I was still working for other people (before – I’m working for other people *again* now, oh, it’s so confusing), I started designing counted cross stitch kits. I’d completed a few designed by other people, and although I loved the stitching, I wasn’t always taken with the images that were on offer. I was a big fan of Mirabilia, but having done one of her large patterns, which took me 18 months and about a bazillion different colours of thread, I wasn’t ready to just do Mirabilia designs. The Dreamer, the design which took me 18 months, still hangs on my walls today. I love the colour combinations and, crucially, the fact that it wasn’t stitched on white aida.

Anyway, in casting about for designs I liked, as mentioned in my previous post, I settled on Mackintosh’s designs. Being pretty angular and generally using clean lines, I thought they would hgh replacement therapy most likely translate well to cross stitch. The first design I settled on was the one which became known as GR01. Rose Boudoir Panel was originally a panel of stained glass which Mackintosh (and his wife Margaret MacDonald) prepared for their entry into the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative Art, Turin, 1902. It includes the famous stylised rose which was a trademark of a lot of their work, and is generally easily identified at 20 paces.

book image of Rose Boudoir Panel

The pattern doesn’t include any fractional cross stitches or back stitch so I’ve always sold it as a kit which is suitable for beginners. With only 9 colours used in the design, it’s going to be hard to get in too much of a muddle there as well, so hopefully the “straightforward” theme continues.

There is also a lot of white space, where the fabric forms part of the design. I’ve never really held with the theory that a design has to be completely stitched, indeed have (I think) yet to finish one such design… So again, large spaces of unstitched fabric make for a quick win.

Other designers have addressed this work of art since then, and some of them might well appeal to the more experienced stitchers around, me included, however, I stand by the simplicity of this version.

This chart is available as a pdf pattern for just £2.99 (just under US$5 at today’s exchange rate), delivered electronically so there’s no postage!

Click here to buy the chart and instructions for Rose Boudoir Panel online now.

Art Nouveau Cat – black for luck!

Back in the mists of time, when I started designing cross stitch patterns for myself, I had  one book about CRM. This is where the stitched up empire began.

Mackintosh book

Some of the designs were a good idea, others less so. There were some which seemed like a good idea at the time I thought of them, but by the time I’d gone through interpreting the design as a cross stitch pattern, I really should have consigned them to the great big pile of unfinished cross stitch patterns in the sky…

I think the inclusion of cats was the soundest advice I had, and it was embedded in a sweeping generalisation which came from a fellow vendor’s years of experience. It’s that cat lovers will buy pictures of any cat. It should be a good picture, but “a cat” will generally do. For dog lovers, it must not only be the right breed, it must also look like their dog. This woman had an exhibition stand covered in every possible breed of dog. It was a dazzling array, and an education on its own. Still, punters would approach her and have exchanges like this one:
“Where’s your Westie?”
Woman points to image of Westie, happy, smiling dog, skilful representation of a west highland terrier. Punter briefly peers critically at picture.
“Oh, no,” she says in a tone of voice implying that the vendor has, in fact, pointed to a picture of a shire horse, “that looks nothing like my Benny.”

In the Electronic Cigarette vendor’s shoes I would have a hard time not saying something very rude. The entrepreneur’s response would be to charge an arm and a leg for a custom kit of Benny, although the odds are, that an intentional likeness of said dog would still be dissed.

Over the years I’ve thought up several quite rude responses to this, but I like to think I’m better than that now.

Instead, I developed a kit with a cat on it. And sold loads of them.

Art Nouveau Cat counted cross stitch (code GR24)

This pattern is once more available in chart form. The upside to this is that the simple colour scheme means that if you want to, you can adapt the colours used to your own taste and you havent wasted cash on thread you’ll never use. If you’re not a “pink person” – which I never used to be – you could do the roses in yellow, peach, red, blue or even an utterly unrealistic purple to match your curtains. Or, if you don’t have a black cat and find the idea of stitching a cat that could belong to someone else, the colour of the cat can be changed to match those of your cat. I’d even be willing to chart it for you. For a fee.

Tha Art Nouveau Cat chart is available as a pdf pattern for just £2.99 (just under US$5 at today’s exchange rate), delivered electronically so there’s no postage!

You can order this chart and have it digitally delivered in an instant here ~ order Now!

coming soon…

I know there’s been a bit of a hiatus – OH WHAT A GOOD START – but we are very nearly there with the first re-published blu electronic cigarette pattern and its means of electronic delivery.GR24-snapshot

Bear with me, we just need to get the file size measured in K not M ;-)

Re-Entry Re-Intro

Stitched up is a needlework project whose aim is to bring you the designs you won’t find in the shops. Run as a company 10 years ago, it was founded by me, Jude Hanlon, because although I was addicted to doing cross stitch, I had difficulty finding designs which I liked. Never having been a “girly-girl” or especially attracted to soft toys and cute animals, it felt like the booming counted cross stitch market had a big fat me-sized gap in it.

My mother was an artist, sculptor and art teacher and always encouraged us to be creative, so it never occurred to me that designing my own kits was supposed to be challenging. And so I embarked on a career as a cross stitch designer, with the lofty qualification of art & Design GCSE and home schooling from an art college graduate in my arsenal.

At the time, I really loved the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh, so that’s where I began. From there I moved on to more traditional Celtic designs, then drew on the work of other artists and used the work of native Australian artists as inspiration at one point.

Running the company that was Stitched Up electronic cigarette fifty-one Ltd was a valuable experience, but sadly it never paid the bills, so was mothballed just after our second child was born.

Indeed, it was mothballed so well that for a few years I thought I’d completely lost all of the designs I had come up with, which was… disappointing. Happily, just recently, my husband, one-time business partner and most enthusiastic cheerleader, Steve found the electronic casket containing stitched up and prised the lid off.

My intention, now that we are several years on from its first incarnation, is to offer the designs in their electronic versions: a process which would have been (to say the least) non-trivial before, but which thanks to the wonders of the internet is now much more straightforward. The pick of the crop will become available over the next few months, those with a back story will be presented as such, and the ones which really weren’t a very good idea (i.e. with an aesthetic appeal to at most one person, and even she isn’t that convinced any more) will be quietly left in the box.

There may even be a few new ones scattered in there… let’s ride this wave together!

Hello? Hello? Anybody there *echo* ?