Design: Stitcher's Heart (freebie available here)
Designer: A Mon Ami Pierre
Threads: DMC 75
Fabric: 28 count evenweave, cream
I stitched this lovely freebie for the Stitch Red for Your Heart Exchange over on Hooked on Exchanges. My partner was Marie, and she tells me that due to all the bad weather she has been having, it was one of only two valentines she received this year - I'm glad it cheered you up!
The theme was dear to me, as it is to Jill, the exchange organiser. My dad was taken ill in November last year - frighteningly so. Tests have shown that although he is basically very fit, with low cholesterol and such, his blood pressure is way too high and his heart isn't pumping as efficiently as it should be. He has mild Left Ventricular Dysfunction, and possibly has had it since he was a child, when he had rheumatic fever. The good news is that he's reached 68 without it being a problem before - and he was a coal miner when he left school, and then was a builder's mate and spent 27 years in the police force, all fairly hard on one's heart in various ways. The bad news is that he's going to be on medication for life now, and there is a chance of reduced life expectancy. It's been a bit of a shock, but I think we're all getting adjusted now. My ma's biggest complaint about the situation at the moment is that she had to spend a day phoning round and internet searching because their insurer wanted to triple their holiday insurance premiums! (She's found a company that will cover them for pretty much the original premium, so it pays to shop around!)
Anyway, back to stitching! This freebie was a joy to stitch, and I used a discontinued DMC thread (75) to work it. Actually, I think the thread may only be discontinued in the UK ... although 115 is a close substitute. I traced the heart freehand using the chart as a guide - and it doesn't look as uneven as the picture. I used some vintage Laura Ashley fabric to back it, and some bought cord to trim.
The observant among you will have noticed that the fabric has changed colour between the photos. This is because when I mounted the stitching on the board, I used an aerosol glue, and there was a little seepage in one spot. Using solvent didn't remove it, and the Hermit suggested coffee dying the piece! As I couldn't dismantle the piece, I brewed some strong coffee and dabbed it on with a cotton wool ball, so that I wouldn't soak the card - and then used a hairdryer to "set" the dye and to stop any potential buckling... so, if things do go wrong, all I can say is don't panic and think laterally!