I just to add my initials and the date once upon a time, but the year a project is finished is now sufficient for me, not that I couldn't add a flourish of signature and date to make it really mine. I do have those skills, but a simple year of finish is enough.
Celtic Summer posed it's own problems because there are actually hundreds of beads that need to be applied and I don't really have the kind of equipment that would help make the beads stand out sufficiently for viewers to see. The only real way to appreciate cross stitch is in person. That is the way to let the glimmer of the gold braid and the shimmer of beads have their full effect. They are quite lovely and the texture is simply wonderful. The fabric is also much heavier -- and sturdier -- since the stitches, gold treasure braid, and beads have been added to the weight, and it is a discernible weight.
I don't use an embroidery hoop or stretcher bars, although I have tried both from time to time. I feel they hamper the stitching and make things a bit too awkward to handle. Instead, I roll the fabric to the point where I'm stitching (usually ends up being folded especially with fabrics like Aida which are stiff and not amenable to rolling and holding) and it works for me. I don't have problems with stretching or bunching, but I think that's because of the way I stitch -- not too loosely and not too tightly. As Baby Bear said, "Just right -- and here she is." She's not sleeping in Baby Bear's bed, but here.
Close-up of face and top border.
Details of the dress and hem.
The finished piece - Celtic Summer
Another shot of the face, which actually looks really there with the back stitching
There is a bit of sadness to go along with the joy of having finished this particular piece. It took longer than usual -- for me -- and I did work on other projects in the meantime because it was such a long, involved, and very complex piece. Seeing it now finished with every last stitch in place, I have to say that I am happy with it. There will be other pieces in this series (Winter, Spring, Autumn, and Christmas) and I imagine I will get to them all eventually, but for now this is enough. I know that I can do a piece like this and not savage random stranger or lose my mind (what little that remains).
I got the fabric, pattern, beads, and floss at Celtic Summer at 123Stitch.com. The pattern is, as of 07/07/13, not available, but will be available again soon, as are the companion pieces. The only part of the project not available through 123Stitch is the Petite Treasure Braid, and I found that at Stitching Bits and Bobs. The company that makes the Petite Treasure Braid only sells to brick and mortar stores. Still, it's nice to be able to get everything I need online.
That is all. Disperse.