Thursday, March 6, 2014

Two Dragons

A cross stitched sea dragon in green, blue, and purple

A Sea Dragon designed by Joan Elliott and stitched by me.

I'm kind of a TV junkie. I watch an ungodly amount of first run TV--by which I mean I DVR it and watch it at my leisure--and I'm always keen to discover a new series or two I can sink into on DVD.

I'm also a big fan of cross stitch, which I like to think of as a reallllly slooooooow sort of paint-by-number. I get such a kick out of watching the picture emerge with every stitch. It's oddly satisfying, and oddly addictive.

Since my TV habit gives my hands plenty of downtime, I generally combine these two interests. In fact, I'm not above spending a little more time in front of the TV than I would otherwise do just so I can work on my latest interminable cross stitch project.

I got in the habit of calling them interminable back when I was stitching ginormous designs that took me two or three years of sporadic work, but my last two flew past. The Sea Dragon pictured above took me just under a year (with delays due to floss shortages and a pressing need to make earrings instead of stitching), while the Mountain Dragon I finished last week was a two-month job.

A cross stitch mountain dragon in shades of orange and green

A Mountain Dragon designed by Joan Elliott and stitched by me.

I've always wondered how long it actually takes me to stitch a project from start to finish, so I kept careful track of the hours I logged on the Mountain Dragon. And, being the TV junkie I am, I used visual media as my primary unit of measurement.

All in all, the design above took me:

  • 2 episodes of NASHVILLE
  • 2 episodes of REIGN
  • 2 episodes of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER
  • 2 episodes of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES
  • 3 episodes of ELEMENTARY (not including the episode I spent winding new floss colours onto bobbins)
  • THIS MEANS WAR (movie)
  • HAIRSPRAY (movie)
  • 3 episodes of DOWNTON ABBEY
  • 3 episodes of THE ORIGINALS
  • 2 episodes of CASTLE
  • 1/3 of an episode of SHERLOCK
  • 2 episodes of CORONATION STREET
  • 38 episodes of VERONICA MARS
Add 'em all together and you've got 73 hours and 12 minutes worth of stitching.

...I almost wish I didn't know that.

I mean, that's a lot of TV for a two-month period, even considering it overlapped winter holidays.

At least it's better than drugs? And I did get a pretty little dragon out of it.

Both dragons come from MAGICAL CROSS STITCH, a multi-designer collection which, alas, has gone out of print. They're part of a three-design set by Joan Elliot--and yes, since you asked, I've already begun the Cloud Dragon that rounds out the collection. I think I'll take that one a little slower, though, if I can possibly help it.


  1. Love the dragons!

    I love to cross-stitch while I'm watching TV so that I don't feel as unproductive. :p Right now I'm working on an incredibly elaborate old-fashioned Christmas stocking for my friend's (future) baby, and I expect it to last me for at least another four months.

    Very slow paint by numbers! Is exactly what it is! I tell that to my friends when they act impressed that I can do this craft and I am trying to explain to them how easy and not-that-impressive it is (I'm not a crafts person).

    1. My neighbor taught me how to cross stitch when I was twelve, since I was mighty impressed with the various projects she showed me. "It's so easy," she said. "If you can count, you can cross stitch."

      Really, that's all there is to it. Except I generally miscount at least once per project, so maybe I'm not as good at counting as I think I am.

  2. I really really need to get the guy to be more structured when it comes to TV. We are discussing getting a second television... I hate how he just watches whatever is on. And, our TV is on ALL the time when he is around. When he is not, I like silence. I should multi-task more, though, and watch the shows that everyone loves!

    1. Yeah, I'm not a big fan of having the TV on unless I'm watching something specific. If someone else is watching TV, I have to go into another room to read or write.

  3. Oh wow, these are great! I did some cross-stitching a long long time ago. I don't think I would have the patience for it anymore. :)

    1. It does take a looooooooooooooooooong time. I have no idea how people finish projects in a single weekend. They must be Speedy Gonzales with a needle.

  4. I did a lot of counted cross stitch as a teenager, but got out of the habit when I moved to DC because I didn't feel like dragging all my craft stuff with me. Seeing those dragons makes me want to get back into it. :)

    1. My cross stitch stuff was pretty well the only frivolous thing I took with me to New Zealand, but I pared it down to just an embroidery ring, the flosses I needed for that year's project, and a needle book. I ended up being pretty glad I brought it.

  5. Your dragons are GORGEOUS!!! I *must* be doing something while I watch TV/movies--I can't stand to not be doing something with my hands. I absolutely love how you kept track of what you watched all through your project! :) I tend to think of my projects by the show that I watched most while making it. Like a couple Christmases ago, I crocheted Ana a small afghan, and in my head I call it the "Battlestar Galactica Ana Blanket."

    1. I can relate. Even though I watched more than one show while I worked on the Sea Dragon, I sort of think of it as the Gilmore Girls Sea Dragon. :)

  6. The dragons are awesome.

    I knit while watching TV and often find myself thinking, "Hey, great progress and also, that is SO MUCH TV."