Let's Celebrate: Westie Counted Cross Stitch & No Sew Cube Finish
This project is a counted cross stitch kit from DMC, titled Let's Celebrate, that depicts a mischievous Westie perched on top of a stack of wrapped gifts. I purchased this kit last December through the "All Things Westie Craft Marketplace" group on Facebook, from a stitcher in Connecticut who was downsizing her needlework stash.
The kit is from 2007 and appears to be still available in the UK. It's part of a series or collection called Best Friends by Sue Hall.
I started the cross stitching for this project on October 7, 2020 and all stitching was completed in a little over 3 weeks on October 29.
I originally thought that the design was stitched on black fabric, but when the kit arrived, I realized that the dark background was really half cross stitches in dark navy floss. To save stitching time, I decided to change the white aida cloth in the kit for denim blue evenweave from my stash and skip the background stitches. My evenweave wasn't labeled other than color and thread count, but I'm pretty sure it is jobelan.
Threads included in the kit were already separated and sorted which was another great time saver. The threads included two shades of DMC Light Effects floss with a metallic finish, which were new to me. Considering I hadn't done much needlework between 2003ish and just a few years ago, there are a *lot* of threads and notions that I haven't used before, LOL!
I also changed the colors of the bottom gift box from lavender blue to blue violet to look more like the cover photo and to stand out better on the denim background.
When the stitching was completed, I considered a variety of options for displaying this piece. Even though the Westie is sitting on top of a pile of gifts, I didn't feel like this was a strictly Christmas design, and I wanted to display it year round.
I thought the dimensions of the design were too large for a flatfold finish, but I didn't want to frame it, or make a pillow or a wall hanging, so I searched Pinterest for alternative finishing ideas. I found a few examples of a no sew cube finishing technique that seemed just perfect (links for two very helpful tutorials are at the end of this post).
The design area of this piece measures 5 x 7 inches, so I wanted a Styrofoam block about 6 x 8 inches. I couldn't find a block that size from any of my usual craft sources, so eventually I decided to buy a block and cut and glue it to size.
I ordered my Styrofoam online from the local Michaels (with in-store pickup so I wouldn't have to wait another week). I ordered a block size 2 x 4 x 12 inches and received this one, 1.9 x 3.9 x 11.8. I also ordered an inexpensive cutting tool set.
There are other tools available to cut Styrofoam with heat that are probably more accurate and less messy, but they were also much more expensive and since I don't intend on doing much crafting with foam in the future, the expense was reasonable.
I measured and marked the center of the block with a pencil, then marked the cutting edge on all four sides with low tack painters' tape as a guideline.
I cut the block into two pieces, each about 6 x 4 x 2 inches
Next, I used tacky adhesive glue along the long edge to make a new block measuring about 6 x 8 x 2. The two pieces were taped together with painters' tape while drying overnight.
When the glue was completely dry, I added 2 pieces of quilt batting to both the front and back, adhering them with quick dry tacky glue.
Before pinning the finished needlework to the foam block, I measured and basted the 6 x 8 design area to help align the top, bottom and sides. After the needlework was pinned, the backing fabric was pinned in the same manner, overlapping the needlework piece.
I chose a dark denim color quilting cotton for the backing and side strip. I felt there were enough colors in the cross stitch and that the backing should be a coordinating color without a design to distract from the Westie.
The side strip was pinned to the foam block, beginning at the bottom, then wrapped all the way around the outer edge.
The side strip was secured again at the bottom with straight pins.
I could have stopped here, but the piece didn't seem quite finished ...
... so I added a layer of red ribbon around the side strip and added a bow on top to mimic the red ribbon in the Westie's mouth.
I still felt like something was missing.... it occurred to me that maybe some kind of star-shaped buttons or charms similar to the stars in the stitched design would be the perfect finishing touch. Of course, I didn't have anything in my collection in the right shape, size or colors so I had to get a little more creative.
What I really needed was some sort of push-pin. I tried a few ideas before settling on stars made of silvery-blue glitter cardstock, cut to size and shape with my Scan N Cut machine. I cut out the front and back sides of the stars, applied adhesive to the front pieces and poked a straight pin through the back before applying the front to the back.
The star pins are arranged in a somewhat random pattern. And now the piece feels like it's finished. Unless I decide to add a couple more slightly smaller stars.....
The most difficult and time consuming part of finishing this project was cutting the Styrofoam, gluing it back together and waiting overnight for the glue to dry completely. The no sew cube finishing steps took only a couple of hours to complete.
I like this finishing technique because it was fairly simple, but also because if I change my mind, it can be changed easily. All of the fabrics and embellishments are simply pinned in place and can be replaced if desired. And the cross stitch piece can still be displayed in a traditional frame someday, if desired.
Supplies used in this project:
- Completed needlework design
- Cotton fabric for backing
- Styrofoam block, cut to size
- Quilt batting
- Fabric/tacky glue, flat head pins
- Ribbon and other embellishments
Finishing tutorials I used for reference:
Blog post from November 2007, contains photos and instructions
Tutorial has good photos and step by step instructions
All of my in-progress photos of this project can be found in my Google photo album: Let's Celebrate - Westie Counted Cross Stitch Kit DMC