While Julie was off celebrating her wedding anniversary, she invited me and several other bloggers to write a guest post about our libraries. Around that time, I had been chatting with Michelle from Reader’s Respite about life and blogging and how I’ve been feeling uninspired. We both love historical fiction and we both love crafting. She pointed out that I could put the housewife in Literate Housewife to spice things up a bit. I thought she was brilliant and I’ve been giving that some thought. Also around that same time Amanda from Dead White Guys posted her progress on a Heaven and Earth Designs cross stitch piece that she’s doing. It is and will be gorgeous. I had never heard of that designer before and took a look by artist. I of course had to click on the Hans Holbein link and then I saw this:
And breathlessly I thought to myself, “My own, personal Henry!”
I went back and forth in my mind over the likelihood of whether I’d ever really finish something this size. I also wondered where I’d hang it if I did. I continued to search the site and found beautiful Van Gogh pattern. When I couldn’t decide, I put it up for a Facebook vote. Then I bought them both. I bought the Van Gogh for the windmills (I embrace my inner Dutch every chance I get) and I bought the Henry VIII pattern because he has been all over my blog and I have read more books about him or during his reign than any other historical figure or character. My post about Philippa Gregory’s Tudor novels in chronological order is without a doubt my most popular post. Wouldn’t a ginormous cross stitch likeness of him make the perfect addition to my future planned library which I dreamed about in my guest post?
Michelle liked it so much that she bought the pattern. We decided to spend the next 15 years of our lives stitching this together. As my eyes aren’t what they used to be (I cross stitched obsessively before I started a family – and always on 32 count linen), I opted for 18 count Aida. The piece of fabric I bought was 31 X 37 inches. Henry’s going to be huge! Then I assembled all 90 colors I would need. By far, that’s the most I’ve ever needed for any project I’ve ever started (note that I didn’t say finished because, sadly, most of my projects don’t ever get to that point…).
This pattern is really a large rectangle with every single square filled in. I quickly decided that if I was going to be able to keep my place as I went that I would have to highlight each section of each row I’ve completed. Thus far, here is what the first page of 26 total pages looks like:
Here is what the highlighted pattern translates to on fabric:
As you can see, I have a ways to go. I am also getting sick to death of navy. You can’t see the variation of colors that there are in this picture, but it really is gorgeous up close. Soon I’ll be to the wording to either side of Henry’s head and to his hat. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. In the meantime, I’m listening to audiobooks while I pretend to be a modern day Holbein of an on during the week days and a little more regularly over the weekend. I’ll continue to post my progress over time. I’ll also be contacting a lawyer. If I do finish this project, I will haunt my children and their children’s children until the ends of time if this ends up in a yard sale or *gasp* dropped off at Goodwill. I need to put an ironclad provision in my will to ensure that my Henry stays in the family.
Are there any literary or historical characters you’d like to turn into a craft project? Have you created them already? I’d love for you to share.