A large proportion of stitchers were doing something called HAED. Never heard of it. So, I went on another hunt. I found a link to Heaven and Earth Designs. Ding! Ding! Ding! Wow. Stunned by what I'm seeing. On this website are some of the most elaborate cross stitching designs I have ever seen. I started browsing. About 20 minutes later, I stumble upon this guy, herein called "The Hermit".
I showed the Hermit to my husband who immediately verbalized why I fell in love with him. He looks exactly like my darling cat, Scully. Here, you be there judge.
I spent over a week researching how to do the Hermit. For the first time, I wasn't buying a pre-made kit that had everything, ie. floss, fabric, chart, instructions. First step was to buy the chart. So I did, then downloaded and printed it. All 25+ pages. HUH???? Excuse me?! How many stitches is that?! 140,000+ stitches.
Next, fabric. All I had ever stitched on was 14 ct Aida. I didn't even know what that meant!! This design called for 25 ct. What the heck does that mean? So, back I go to the trusty cross stitch forum and start asking a bazillion questions. The stitchers there are amazing. Over the course of a few days, I was suddenly sounding like a pro, explaining to my husband that 22 ct means 22 squares per inch rather than 14 squares per inch. I learned how to figure out the size of my finished design based on whether or not I did it on 22ct or 25 ct. I learned all about fabric - Aida, Hardanger, Lugana, Linen. Since I was a novice, I decided to split the difference, sort of, and stitch this monstrosity on 22 ct. All my research pointed to Hardanger as being the best fabric choice for this project.
Next, needles. I'd need newer, finer needles, right? Cue another few days of research on which needles were the best.
Next, floss. I'd need how much? 87 different colours? Am I crazy?! (Please, don't answer that!) Should I buy the floss online? Is it cheaper than in a retail store? How do I store all that floss, anyway? Thankfully, I found a store in my area (well, not really, but we'll pretend it was close by) that sold the floss I needed (DMC for those that care), as well as everything else I'd need. I was set! The most expensive, elaborate project I'd ever embarked on was about to begin.
Stay tuned!!! ;)