Vervaco “Fox on Travel” Pattern Review

After finishing two small projects I felt pretty ready to move up to something a little larger. So with our daughter, Edie’s, first birthday on the horizon I decided that a birth record would be just the thing. I chose this pattern after a bit of searching because it looked like it wouldn’t be too difficult in terms of stitching but also because it offered a few challenges for me such as the backstitching and felt hearts. The design called to me for a variety of reasons, too. A fox was the first animal that Edie took an interest in when she was a few months old, and I liked the suitcases since we had traveled to Yellowstone National Park when I was pregnant. I also liked the colors and sort of mid-century modern appeal along with the linen aida.

Kit & Pattern Review

Another reason I chose this pattern was that it was a kit. All the materials were included, which I needed at the time since I was still getting back into cross stitch. The hoop is a very nice quality and suitable for keeping the finished piece in if that’s what you’d like to do. The main issue I had with this kit was the amount of floss included. I ended up running out of orange and had to choose another color for the handle of the pink suitcase. I also ran out of blue and had to finish that suitcase with a similar DMC color that I had on hand. You can totally see it if you look in the photo, but it’s not visible in person. While I definitely didn’t do the best job of using my floss efficiently, there’s really no reason for Vervaco to cut what was included so short. I’ve noticed this is kind of an issue in general with kits, though. It’s now become one of my cross stitch pet peeves, but I digress. As for the pattern, it was very easy to follow. The symbols were clear and not confusing, and I appreciated the lines in the blank areas to help with laying out the birth details. A separate pattern for the backstitched alphabet is also included but, bizarrely, it doesn’t include numbers! I guess Vervaco figures that numbers are easy enough to figure out on your own. Which, they are, but still. It’s odd that they didn’t include them when there’s a whole separate sheet for the letters. Finally, I wish I had noticed the spacing of the blue suitcase before I was too far into stitching it. I would prefer an additional blue column on the right side so that it would match the left, and there’s enough space to accommodate that adjustment in the pattern. That’s an extremely minor complaint, though, and probably not an issue for most people stitching this pattern.

What I Learned

So far this is the largest piece that I’ve completed stitching, and I definitely learned a lot along the way. In an act of radical cross stitch honesty, I’ll even show you my back!

Neatness is overrated, am I right? I’m not one to be overly concerned with keeping a neat back, though, because guess what? Nobody sees the back once it’s complete! This is a great representation of everything I learned along the way, though. I started stitching this piece in the middle, and you can see where I stretched the orange floss across the fox’s belly at the bottom. This was a big part of why I ran out of that color, and I learned a valuable lesson about planning my stitches better. That is, in some instances, it’s fine to stretch your floss across a blank area. It certainly saves time! But now I’m able to see the areas where it’s better to count carefully and stitch around or bury, clip, and start again with your floss where that color picks up again. I can also see where my stitching improved by the time I got down to the pink suitcase, which is nice to see. Another worry of mine when I started this piece was stitching on the felt hearts. I figured I could always glue them on if needed, but when the time came I decided to go for it and stitch them as indicated. I’m so happy that I did, too, because the effect is beautiful. I’m proud of myself for accomplishing that part of of the pattern, and I learned the value of taking my time on things that seem intimidating at first.

Overall, taking my time is the most important thing I learned while stitching this piece. I had moments where I was worried about something going on with Edie or trying to quickly complete stitching an area for whatever reason. Later I noticed that my stitching wasn’t as good during those times. So I learned that sometimes stitching is a lot like writing. Sometimes you’ll have a great session and you’ll get so much done! Other times you won’t. And that’s ok! It’s better to focus on the journey rather than pressuring yourself to prove how much you can get done to, well, no one. Of course, sometimes you’ll have a deadline, but learning to focus is a byproduct of slowing down and taking your time that will benefit those moments when you’re in more of a crunch.

Final Thoughts

On the day after I finished stitching this piece I found myself feeling quite emotional. That morning I rounded the corner into Edie’s bedroom, and saw her sitting on the floor playing with her toys as usual. She looked like such a big girl! I missed her a lot while I was at work that day and thought about how much she’s grown in a year and especially over the past few months. We cross stitch because it’s a fun hobby that relieves stress (most of the time), but each project also creates memories of the time in our life that it took to complete. This piece will always remind me of the anxiety I worked through as a new mom and got help for while stitching it and the milestones that Edie accomplished. It also commemorates her first birthday so I decided to get it professionally framed. We presented it to Edie at her dol and it now hangs in her bedroom. I know it’s probably more traditional to stitch birth records closer to the time of a child’s birth, but I’m glad to have so many memories incorporated with completing this for Edie’s first birthday.

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