Welcome to the pinkest article ever written on XStitchNerdism! Today, we’re going to look into an exciting new fundraising incentive by DMC with Pink Ribbon Foundation – to raise awareness and hopefully raise financial support all in aid of breast cancer.
Pink Ribbon Foundation is a wonderful, UK based grant-making trust focusing on breast cancer. Considerably small in structure, the charity work on raising funds to delegate to other charities for their research projects and support systems. They support the larger charities – such as the more well known Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support – as well as much smaller, more unknown charities where a grant from Pink Ribbon could ultimately provide vital funds for their projects. With patrons such as Jerry Hall and Joseph Fiennes and celebrity support from Beverley Knight and Amy Childs, Pink Ribbon are on the rise in the public eye.
It’s also really prevalent for me to also note that they have a brother charity as well – Blue Ribbon Foundation. They focus on promoting better health and wellbeing; as well as support for illnesses that primarily affect men. It didn’t really seem completely sensible not to mention Blue Ribbon at all, seeing that the work they are doing is incredibly important!
So, fantastic causes – leading me on to some of the best craft news I’ve heard in a while. DMC – one of my favourite needlework brands – is working together with Pink Ribbon Foundation on a special fundraising project called ‘Crowd-Crafting for Breast Cancer‘ or hashtag #MyDMCPink. They are planning to build the biggest, handmade pink ribbon at The Handmade Fair in September 2016. This gigantic accomplishment is going to be pieced together with individual 10cm x 10cm mini projects provided by stitchers potentially from around the globe, all brought together with the love of stitching and in aid of Pink Ribbon. If this isn’t a charity event I can get behind, I really honestly don’t know what is.
Firstly, there is tonnes of information over on the DMC charity page located here which explains what they’re doing (and essentially paraphrased above) as well as instructions for what to do with your piece. I’ve included them just below for reference too!
Instructions for #MyDMCPink
- Your finished project should be no bigger than 10cm x 10cms
- The projects cannot be returned to you
- If you need to post the design (as you can’t get to the event) you need to have it arrive with them by 5th September 2016
- The project may be featured on social media (to help inspire others and generally to celebrate and all things awesome)
- If you provide your social media details, they may be able to shout out some of the projects on the relevant channels
So there’s not much to it, certainly not much to hold someone back from getting stuck right in. But the biggest question is; what to do?
First things first; for those who are not sure what to do and perhaps would like some available free patterns, your first stop absolutely has to be the main DMC homepage. Why? Because they have a lovely pink ribbon (in aid of Pink Ribbon) for free download! It downloads as a pdf pattern with the information about the event on the same document – perfect to print out or work from screen!
Perhaps you want to make something more unique – I personally do! My family has had to deal with the effects of breast cancer (both successful and unsuccessful stories) so for me, I want to pick something which has some heart and meaning to me. I can’t keep the project sure, but I can ensure that my finalised piece goes off into the world as perfect to my emotions on the subject as possible.
I initially thought of doing a small design with a cloud and a sun, representative of both the good days and bad days of cancer suffering and treatment. But I felt that the design I could foresee in my head and initial sketch of, was a little too cartoony and I didn’t feel 100% right behind the idea. Time to move on the drawing board.
I also contemplated simply stitching a boob, or perhaps a pair of boobs (seeing the significance to breast cancer as a subject) but I feel that perhaps this will be the choice of many – especially seeing as the fabulous Mr X Stitch will be there doing the DMC workshops for this very subject, I foresee a lot of stitched boob designs coming out of the woodwork! So I wanted to think more unique and abstract.
Also as a quick sidenote, if you are going to the Handmade Fair in September, please do consider booking a place and a ticket for one of the DMC / Mr X Stitch workshops. I unfortunately won’t be able to go (although I will be at the event) and it’s destined to be an absolute gem of a session.
I let my mind flow for a little while, until I settled on this idea of a phoenix. A phoenix, in Greek mythology, represents a bird that lives for long periods of time, but who regenerates or is reborn. I’ve been reading an amazing book on Classic Mythology recently (if you’re interested, here is the Amazon link) which has really helped me to learn something new, but also to understand the use of classic mythology within the modern world. The phoenix here, would be nicely representative of the individuals who are reborn or regenerated from the flames of a terrible illness.
I find the phoenix incredibly poignant – not just because of the symbolic nature mentioned above for the ‘rising from the flames’ but that in most mythological tales of the creature, the events leading up to the initial death or regeneration are long-winded and painful. In fact, some stories state that the first phoenix will die, leaving rise to another new, second phoenix to rise in its place. Cancer is a brutal, unforgiving mistress of an illness, one that can be lifelong, long-winded, extremely painful. Not all survive. The ones that do – the ones that have beaten the battle for example – they are essentially ‘reborn’ into a new chapter of their lives. For those that we sadly lose, the continued support and research into cancer and treatments will help the next generation of sufferers.
There are some creative opportunities as well with the Phoenix idea. You can create something very solid (using whole cross stitches) or with a combination of stitch types, you could create a very artsy piece. I felt that with this idea I could use a whole range of pink DMC threads, from the pastels, to the metallics, to the solid stranded cotton stitches.
A phoenix has appeared on multiple patterns over the years (just search Etsy for some ideas) but I wanted to make mine personal and to structure it differently than the ones I’ve seen. I’ll make the pattern free to download as soon as it’s done, so if you wish to also create the same design (for any reason, perhaps also to send in for #MyDMCPink) then feel free!
Okay so, I’m going to be honest here. I cannot, for the life of me, draw. Or basically be that sort of creative. I already knew this was going to be a difficult process and… it was. I spent roughly about 8 hours trying to make… something.
In all honesty, pattern creation is definitely harder now than I remember it being, back when I got my first ever cross stitch pattern designer for my Windows 95 PC. It’s more user friendly, there’s more options and versatility, but all in all, my drawing and translating into embroidery skills are severely lacking.
So here it is, in all of it’s newbie splendour – my personalised pink phoenix, rising from the ashes of all that is negative, to spread the word and raise support for Pink Ribbon Foundation! Woohoo!
Okay, so yeah – I’m not great at drawing in real life, which translates pretty much the same way into charting software. I have some issues I’d have liked to have changed if I had the time, mainly being:
- A phoenix usually has a much larger nimbus around the head than what I’ve given it
- The wing is… rather large
- The fire isn’t very realistic (but then what is on this design?!)
However, I had such limited time – and as I’d already spent 8 hours trying to get to this position, I figured to just stop whilst I was ahead of myself and go with it!
Plus, it’s supposed to be from the heart. So. HEART. It’s made with heart, rather than pure artistic skill, which I think is more poetic.
As I created this for the charitable cause (and se-eing how it’s not exactly amazing!) please feel free to obtain the pattern here– I did make some ‘on the fly’ amendments but I’ll describe these in the actual final photos.
Now that a pattern is ready (and swiftly printed off in pdf format, with handy charts and everything) I got all my basic tools and needlework supplies ready. For reference:
- Stitching on 18 count white aida from Zweigart
- All colours are DMC
- My handy 5″ Susan Bates plastic hoop (which I use as it doesn’t cause as many aches which I get from holding wooden hoops, for some reason)
- Size 24 gold plated needles
Work In Progress Photos
I got a bit carried away with wanting to get this article done (and hopefully inspire others to get involved) that I didn’t actually take really any ‘WIP’ photographs. So here’s two I did take at the very start of the project for fun! Look at those delicious fruit salad colours…
Finished Project Photos and Conclusions
Presenting, in all of it’s super bright and glorious pink wonderous-ness!
So, as mentioned previously there were a few slight ‘on the fly’ amendments I made – the first being that instead of outlining in the darker pink, I decided to pull out some of my Glissengloss pink metallic thread (which is super thin, so this was doubled up) to create a more ‘magical’ outline and give it a bit of sparkle. The second was that I gave it a little border to the image with the same metallic thread just to give it a frame.
I also discovered whilst stitching this, that whilst I’d specified and planned for this to be on 18-count aida, I must have screwed up the settings in the software because these dimensions are much smaller than expected. It’s nearly 50% less than I had wanted. Seeing as it’s done now and a little too late, I’ll be happy to leave it like this and will just ensure to give it a nice lovely felt backing so it can hang / be attached to the big pink ribbon better.
All in all, very much a learning experience and one I hope to continue challenging myself with!
Here are some more daylight photos of the finished design because stitch photos = drool, and because you might be able to see the glitter/metallic effect a little easier.
Other Projects – 8 Bit Stitch & Pattern
If you’ve read any of my other blogs or follow me on social media, you’ll know I speak highly of another pattern designer and all-round fabulous human called Kari who runs 8BitStitch – a wonderful shop on Etsy! Whilst she lives in the US, I got in contact with her to get her involved in the #MyDMCPink project and she’s created this awesome sugar skull-esque pink boob project – and donated us the pattern to make it ourselves! She’s a gem.
She included some awesome little pom poms around her round boob design. She’s just super creative like that!
What’s even more awesome, she’s kindly donated the pattern to me to put up here, in case anyone else wishes to make the design! You can find the pattern here!
To ensure it fits to the requirements of #MyDMCPink, make sure you stitch this on 18 count aida, so that it comes to 9.5cm x 9.5cm!
Need Some Pink Inspiration?
It doesn’t seem right not to have some thread photograph porn on here, so let us enjoy some of these luscious DMC pinks which I pulled out of the collection. Surprisingly, I thought I had more. Either way, immerse yourself in fabulous pinks!!!
And just for good measure, here’s me with bright pink hair. I like to look upon these times as the ‘good ol’ days’!
Because pink is legit!
I wish you all the best of luck with the creation of your own #MyDMCPink and hope that you show off your photos and get them all up and about on social media! In case you need any further information, please check the following links:
Blue Ribbon Foundation (just in case!)