Last weekend was the Christmas Ornament Stitch Along. I finished my March Ornament and started this Just Cross Stitch 2004 ornament (Woodland Snowfall by Little House Needlework) for April. Since I was just getting home and leaving the next day for the board of director's retreat in Oxnard, CA, I had only an hour to find a pattern and gather all the fabric and threads that it needed. When I saw this pattern with squirrels and a tree and found out that it was all stitched in DMC threads, I knew I had found the right pattern.
The original pattern called for a very dark rustic brown R & R fabric. I thought that it was so dark that the tree and leaves seemed to fade into the fabric. I had a large piece of 28 count Country French fabric in Cafe au Lait. When I put all the threads against the fabric I really liked how the dark colors popped out. I started stitching and loved how the trees, bird, and squirrels looked. Then I started stitching the snow. Uh, oh! Although the full hank of DMC 712 (Cream) looked pretty distinct against the fabric, when I was stitching just a single stitch, it all seemed to fade into the background. I had already changed out the DMC 3781 (Mocha Brown) of the squirrels' tails for Rainbow Gallery Designer's Dream in a greyish brown. It's much fuzzier and looks great on the squirrel. Now I decided to change out the DMC 712, but for what? Mmmmm. I ended up with a single thread of 721 and two threads of Kreinik Blending Filament in white. It doesn't show up much in the picture, but is pretty and subtle in real life.
Since I had started trading out the threads, I decided to trade out the plain borders of DMC 433 (Medium Brown), same as the tree. I looked for something not too different and came up with some Weeks Dye Works in Hazelnut. Now while many Weeks Dye Works threads are very variegated, this one isn't. I had hoped for more variation, but I probably could have just used the DMC 433. I do, however, like the effect of stitching a Smyrna cross for the red berries the squirrels are holding instead of a plain cross stitch. The extra crosses make a single stitches stand out much better.
Well, this is something we all learn. You can follow the pattern exactly and can end up with something that you are not quite happy with. Or you can substitute like crazy and gets some things right and others...not so much. I still like this pattern and I am not sorry to have used a lighter fabric, but I think I could have done better finding some thread for the snow.