Forever Be Deer Valentine

I used to make lace and do cross-stitch and embroidery as a kid before the optometrist told me to knock it off. Every once and awhile, though, the urge pulls at me again and I pull out my needle and thread. This is a Valentine I made in 2010 from a pattern of my own devising.  Making cross-stitch patterns is probably the easiest thing with modern technology, (each cross is a pixel, basically), but I did it all by hand on lined paper to challenge my brain into remembering rusty skills.

I started, however, not by drafting my pattern, but by picking up a small embroidery hoop at a yard sale in Seattle, then fitting it with material I had left over from a sewing project, a beautiful, shimmering two-tone burgundy-teal scrap of 100% pure silk. (The dimensions of the frame were 5″ x 7″, so it didn’t take very much to fill.) It was only then, once I had the fabric tightly pressed into the frame and properly trimmed the edges, that I began to determine the image I wanted.

I’ve always loved puns. And antlers. A sly play on dear/deer was obviously the way to go. Thankfully, I already had a rainbow collection of six-ply cotton floss on hand, as they’re my go-to for visible mending. Obviously scarlet had to be involved, for hearts and lovey dove and to match the frame, but I wanted the focus of the Valentine to be on the deer, so it had to pop and shine against the already glimmering fabric. For crisp, vivid pizzazz, though, is there anything better than chartreuse? Never. Especially against a dark background. So that was that! Green and purple and a bright, happy red. And eventually, stitch by stitch, a few hours later, I had a finished piece. I didn’t stick to my pattern exactly, but who does?

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