Annick Abrial · Corinne Lacroix · Marie-Anne Réthoret-Mélin · Monique Bonnin · Nina's Threads · Perrette Samouïloff · Stitch enigmae · Véronique Enginger

Couleurs et Nature au point de croix

I noticed that my WIP snap from yesterday has raised many questions from readers here and on Instagram so, so I reckon it’s time for a lon overdue explanation of how it came to be.

WIP - French Rose Sampler

originally I planned to use these linen & threads I had in my stash for Blackbird Design‘s SAL called Her Sampler last May.

Blackbird Designs - Her Sampler 1796

I don’t remember how but I got this idea of incorporating some motifs and borders using a series of designs published in these booklets by French designers Perrette Samouïloff, Annick Abrial and Marie-Anne Réthoret-Mélin (for Couleurs au point de croix) and Monique BonninVéronique Enginger and Corinne Lacroix (for Nature au point de croix).

Couleurs au point de croix

Nature au point de croix box

I bought these coffrets (boxes) back in 2010 and 2012, respectively, and never took enough advantage of the designs included in them.

once I got the outer border stitched up with Nina‘s pink cotton and silk threads, I came to the conclusion that the French vibe was too strong to mix it with an American school sampler, so I decided to follow this new road Ia accidentally took and see where it’d take me.

don’t get me wrong, I like Her Sampler too and will definitely stitch it at some point, but it was so exciting to be in control of what to stitch, I was too thrilled to give up that feeling!

since the pink linen cut (it’s 40ct. Cherish hand dyed by Nina) I had was fairly big, I decided on the width of the band sampler and cut its entire height. I then sew the top and bottom to the scroll bars of my stitching frame and started leaving a margin on the top & left of the fabric.

I picked the outer border I wanted to have on the top and sides of the sampler and made two working copies with my printer: one just like in the booklet (Taras has the tendency to sleep/jump on everything that’s printed that I need so I’m not taking any chances of getting my booklets crushed 😀 ) and another one mirrored; this way I got identical flower blooms looking at each other that I stitched one facing the other, and that’s how the top row was born.

I went on with the vertical outer borders long enough to have a guide-line of what I could fit in the sampler and used my own choice of Nina’s Threads 1 over 2. the dark purple is silk, the rest are cotton threads that returned in other motifs/borders later on.

WIP - French Rose Sampler

once the outer sides were marked, I picked another border from these booklets, chose threads, centred it and stitched away! 😀

since many of these are repetitive borders, you only need a small section charted: at that point you can repeat it as long as needed, but I always make sure I leave a congruous margin on both left and right so that each band is centred.

alphabets are trickier: I’d have to make working copies and cut & paste them in rows that would fit my sampler’s width, but it’s much more practical for me to just make notes on the width of each letter, the spacing between them, and calculate how many I can fit in a row, how long can the decorative borders be if I’m left with 3/4 letters, etc.

basically I feel like I’m doing something similar to what those school girls from the Her Sampler age were doing back in the day, except I have a printer, printed charts, graph paper, hand dyed threads and linens, .. honestly they got the short end of the stick, big time! 😀

if I remember correctly I estimated that this linen band can host two more alphabets and at least two more animal borders, dividing borders included, but I must find my notebook from last year before I can be sure of anything. with all that happened last summer I was lucky to find my head on my neck every time I got up, right now I have no idea where to start my search for those elusive notes. 😦

because this is a collective work I cannot credit each designer for her specific part, but I can safely say that so far it’s a mix of these three sets of hands (Perrette SamouïloffAnnick Abrial and Marie-Anne Réthoret-Mélin) and mine. 😀

the designs are charted for DMC threads and always come in a set of colours that depends on the booklet they were featured in, but it’s very easy to switch them up to choose your own colour way because they always consist of: a light, a medium, a dark tone – and sometimes a very light and a very dark tone all in the same colour family. once you divide them in:

  • very light
  • light
  • medium
  • dark
  • very dark

you can use your pink set of colours you chose for a motif that was charted in blue, or green, or beige, etc. and vice versa.

the reason why this is, is that these coffrets came with 4m long DMC (half) skeins in those sets of colours, so that you could start stitching straight away on a fabric of your own choice.

from what I know these boxes are now being discontinued (Couleurs and Voyage actually are still available). since then the colour booklets (and I’m confident it happened to the nature ones too) have been published separately by Mango Pratique (they carry the name of the colour: Rose, Violet, Naturel, Bleu, Rouge, Vert), they’re still being sold and they could be enriched in charts, I cannot say because I’ve never had the chance to compare the two editions.

they also published a single volume called like the first box: Couleurs au point de croix which should have all the charts & motifs featured in the booklets. I found a video on YouTube that shows how these boxes work and how those booklets look like.

Mango Pratique sells online, or you could take these info & links to your LNS and ask if it’s possible for them to order Mango Pratique publications from a local distributor. I’m sorry I cannot show you more of the designs featured in them but they’re charts only; I cannot show anything without sharing the actual charts. the only stitched bits I can show are the ones I stitched myself 😀 here’re a couple of snaps from the Nature booklets:

Karin's flowers project

WIP - Karin's flowers

WIP - Karin's flowers project

WIP - Karin's flowers

I hope you found these info & links useful; from now on anyone asking about the genesis of this piece will get redirected to this post! 😀

– – –

here’s your clue for today, I hope you’re having a great week and see you tomorrow for the third game!

ciao! chiara

stitch enigma '15 clue 4


14 thoughts on “Couleurs et Nature au point de croix

  1. Very cool explanation. Hope you keep stitching on this piece! Can’t wait to see how it ends up looking 😀


  2. I was pretty sure yesterday that you were going to say just this. It looked like a lovely hand made sampler. I went to the site and tried to order a few but got a bit hung up. Who knew 2 years of French in college would evaporate so fast from my brain!! LOL! Thanks so much for the explanation!!


  3. Your sampler looks lovely, thanks for the very detailed explanation on how you are designing it. It’s such a good idea to mix and match bands and motifs to make your own unique piece.


  4. Those boxes sound awesome, I’ll have to look into getting the seperate booklets you mentioned 🙂 I love what you did with them, those borders look gorgeous in the pink shades!


    1. thank you! I recently got the Voyages series and there’re so many nice things! some others are hilarious but who knows, I might stitch them for next year’s enigma.. 😂


  5. Oh, you are such an enabler! Thanks to you, the internet and Paypal, I have ordered the Voyages Box, the Colours book and a gorgeous Christmas book, too! lol! Thank you so much for this post, I am so excited!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh my goodness!! how cool is that!! 😍😍🙌🏻 I just got the Voyages Box too, you’re gonna love it!! mostly traditional, really adorable patterns like in the other boxes, but there are some funny/crazy bits too, like a couple of punks for the UK, Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck on a Vespa for Roma, a Picachu for Japan, .. 😀💛
      you must tell me when they get there so that we can both stitch something from them!!


  6. I love this piece so much and it’s the one that led me to you on IG over a year ago! Thank you for explaining your inspiration behind it – I always thought it very French which is probably why it caught my eye. Mixing and matching your own bands must be so satisfying – I plan on trying it myself one day!


    1. oh, that is such a gratification.. you definitely have to try it at some point. it’s almost liberating, and inspiring, and you get on such a high from all that freedom.. I simply have to get back to mine in June, it’s so addictive I could even finish it! 😀
      it always amazes me that you knew me way before I knew you. how cool is the needlework world.. I can’t even say! 🙌🏻❤️


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