A Christmas Cross-Stitch
I made this counted cross-stitch bell pull banner as a Christmas gift for my parents in 1993, when I had very little money to buy gifts but a fair amount of time (and talent, if I do say so myself) to make them. Every year it gets hung up with the Christmas decorations, usually on the left end of the mantle, then in January it goes back into storage until the next December. I first displayed it online in 2000 and have done so every year since. The running joke is that someday my great-grandchildren will see this and will consider it a quaint relic. Ha!
But back to the banner. It’s from a Mary Maxim kit, stitched with cotton floss on off-white 14-count aida cloth and backed with muslin. The bottom edge of the aida is fringed; the top is stabilized with a strip of thick cardboard sewn in. It hangs from roped perle cotton, with the top corners are adorned by hand-made perle cotton tassels. The finished dimensions, excluding hanger and fringe, are approximately 6 inches wide by 22 inches long.
At the top of the banner is a nativity scene. Under that is a verse from the Gospel according to Matthew: “And, lo, the star which they saw in the east went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.” Next are a kneeling shepherd, a row of bunnies (I don’t know what bunnies have to do with Christmas, but they were on the pattern so I stitched them), and a gift-bearing Magus come to visit the baby Jesus shortly after his birth. At the bottom is my dated signature. Country colors and decorative elements are used throughout.
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