Epic Fandom Blackwork Sampler
Intro, Part 1

It’s here at last. To help tame the excitement, here are some details to help you get ready.

First, after the intro material the individual bands of this project will debut in The Enablers group on Facebook, and be echoed here on two-week delay.

The total stitched area for all 19 bands together is 134 x 449 stitches including narrow buffers between the bands, but the pattern will be released band by band over a period of many weeks. If you want to do just some of the bands or all of them, that’s up to you. Make sure to leave space for framing, a 2-3 inch margin around the edges is recommended both for ease of stitching and for later mounting. I suggest you use a fabric calculator to determine the size of the piece you will need based on your chosen fabric type and its count, like this one.

Thread requirements: The options are limitless here and we cannot wait to see your creativity come to life! You can choose to work the entire SAL in one color, start to finish; pick one color per band; work each band in multiple colors to highlight interesting elements; or bravely use variegated thread. There are even bands that can be done with a voided background if you so choose. Voiding is optional, and we’ll explain this in more detail when we get to those areas. Just be warned that voiding eats thread, and you may want to pick a different, perhaps lighter color for the voiding (the background fill) than you use for the straight stitch outlines. Since fabric size will change your total thread usage, here are very rough estimates for the amount of standard yardage 6-strand embroidery floss needed based on fabric counts. Please note that this assumes the use of just ONE color for the WHOLE 19-band project, in back stitch WITHOUT voiding. Use of double running stitch, or more (or fewer) plies will also change your consumption. Note that if you are planning on using a hard-to-get thread please plan on having leftovers by buying at the top end of the estimate. We do not want to see anyone run out and be unable to complete:

  • 11 Count Aida (2 plies) – uses at least 21.5 skeins, suggested purchase 22-26
  • 14 Count Aida (2 plies) – uses at least 17 skeins, suggested purchase 18-21
  • 16 Count Aida (1 ply) – uses at least 14.75 skeins, suggested purchase 15-19
  • 18 Count Aida (1 ply) – uses at least 13.25 skeins, suggested purchase 14-16
  • 20 Count Aida (1 ply) – uses at least 12 skeins, suggested purchase 12-15
  • 22 Count Hardanger (1 ply) – uses at least 10.75 skeins, suggested purchase 11-14
  • 28 Count Evenweave (1 ply) – uses at least 8.75 skeins, suggested purchase 9-12
  • 32 Count Evenweave (1 ply) – uses at least 7.75 skeins, suggested purchase 8-11

A caveat on the numbers above – they are based on the beta testers consumption, but those figures varied widely. I HOPE they are accurate but cannot swear to to-the-inch veracity. People do stitch differently, bridging areas, using multiple colors or otherwise doing things that introduce variation in the amount of thread they use. Please forgive me if we miss the exact mark, but these estimates should be in the ballpark. And having leftover thread is just the seed of the next project, right? 😊

Schedule: The first band of this beast, the Giant Robot and Kaiju strip, will be released on Tuesday, 3 August on The Enablers forum. It will be echoed here on Tuesday 17 August. The remaining bands will follow over the ensuing months, with the project proceeding well into 2022. Because some of the strips are wider or more complex than others, we will schedule for four weeks to complete them, and tighten up a bit on the less complex, narrower strips, slotting them in for two weeks.

More on this including a roster of all the bands and the counts for each tomorrow. I leave you with a preview of the goodies to come.

Epic Fandom Blackwork Sampler
Intro Part 2

We inch up on the release of the first band here, which will be on 17 August, two weeks after its debut on The Enablers group on Facebook. Here is more background and information that may come in handy as you prepare.

Color Recommendations:

I’m afraid you are largely on your own here.  I am not going to issue a dogmatic proclamation of what colors go where.  Possible approaches include:

  • All bands done the same color, no voiding on any strips.
  • All bands done in the same color, those with voiding with backgrounds worked in a second, lighter color (If you do work the voiding I recommend it being in a second color because there is straight stitch detail that would be lost if the background were done in the same color as the foreground stitching.)
  • Each strip worked in a different color, but only one color used per strip (with or without voiding in a second color). 
    • Limited color set (colors repeat), or
    • 19 different colors (plus optional voiding)
  • Each strip worked in multiple colors, picking out the various design elements.  For example, working the giant robot in the first one in a different color than the dead dragon-monsters.  Again, limited color set, or wild abandon in choice on a strip-by-strip basis.
  • Using variegated threads on some or all of the strips (this would require using back stitch rather than double running, to best present color gradations).

Go where your inner nerdy heart leads you, and make this your own.

How much thread you will use will depend on what size and stitch count ground you are using, whether you are working the piece in double-running (the most economical), or back stitch.  Other factors include the number of colors and their placement, and whether or not you are opting to work one or more of the strips voided. Working that background eats a lot of thread.

Whatever you decide, I suggest you use easily available mass-market threads for most of this project.  As lovely as custom-dyed variegated threads are you may not like their effects in the larger, more complex strips, and you might run the risk of not being able to get more of the same dye lot over the course of this adventure if you need additional materials to finish. 

Beta Testers’ Thread Consumption Estimates:  

Here is the list of all bands, with their widths and heights and some notes on thread consumption for each, courtesy of our intrepid beta stitchers, who plunged in and kept notes as they went along.  We don’t have complete thread use info, but maybe this little bit will be helpful. Note that the counts below DO NOT include the two unstitched rows between each band that I recommend, and that are factored into the whole-project height count of 449 units.  Unless otherwise stated, consumption below is for one ply of standard 6 ply embroidery floss, worked in back stitch.  This list is subject to update as more data rolls in.

  • Band 1 – Kaiju and Giant Robots – 134 x 47 units
    18 count Aida – less than 1 yard
    28 count evenweave – about 2.5 yards
    28 count evenweave in double running, 2 plies – less than 1 yard of green, less than 1 yard of blue, less than 0.5 yards of red
  • Band 2 – Tulips and Raspberries – 134 x 13 units
    18 count Aida – Less than 1 yard
    28 count evenweave in double running, 2 plies – about 0.75 yards each of red and light red
  • Band 3 – Pirates (voided option) – 134 x 20 units
    18 count Aida outlines only – about 3 yards (includes lots of frogging)
    28 count evenweave – outlines , about 2 yards; voiding about 3.5 yards
    28 count evenweave outlines in double running, 2 plies, less than 0.5 yards each of blue and green, less than 0.25 yards of yellow, remnants of red. Voiding not yet completed.
  • Band 4 – Palm Cluster – 134 x 7 units
    28 count evenweave – less than 1 yard
    28 count evenweave in double running, 2 plies – about 1 yard of light green, remnants of red
  • Band 5 – Game Room – 134 x 28 units
    18 count Aida – about 3 yards
    28 count evenweave in double running, 2 plies – about 1 yard of blue, 0.5 yard of red, and 0.25 each of light green and light blue
  • Band 6 – Grape Balloons – 134 x 16 units
    18 count Aida – about 3 yards
    28 count evenweave – about 2 yards
    28 count eveweave in double running, 2 plies – about 1.5  yards of light blue and 0.5 yards of light red, plus remnants of red.
  • Band 7 – So Sue Me! (voided option) – 134 x 30 units
    28 count evenweave – outlines, about 3 yards.  Voiding in cross stitch 5.25 yards
    28 count evenweave, outlines in double running, 2 plies – 1.5 yards of blue, 1 yard of green, and 0.25 yards of red.  Voiding not stitched yet.
  • Band 8 – Snakes.  And They’re Plain – 134 x 16 units
    28 count evenweave – about 2 yards
    28 count evenweave in double running, 2 plies – about 1.5 yards each of light red and light green, plus about 0.75 yards each of light blue and yellow
  • Band 9 – Invasion! – 134 x 18 units
    28 count evenweave – about 2 yards
    28 count evenweave in double running, 2 plies – about 1 yard each of red and green, .75 yards of blue, plus remnants of yellow.
  • Band 10 – Portal to Nowhere – 134 x 17 units
    28 count evenweave in double running, 2 plies – about 1.5 yards of light red, about .25 yards of light green.
  • Band 11 – Where No Stitcher Has Gone Before – 134 x 26 units
    28 count evenweave – no data for outlines, about 4 yards for voiding in long arm cross stitch
    28 count evenweave in double running, 2 plies for outline, 1 ply for open crosshatch voiding – about 1.25 yards of dark blue, .25 yards each of yellow and red.  2 yards of light green.
  • Band 12 – Dragon’s Hoard – 134 x 8 units
    18 count Aida – less than 1 yard of metallic thread, plus 1 yard of standard floss total (various colors together)
    28 count evenweave in double running, plus cross stitch in between the “gems” and their borders, 2 plies for all – .75 yards of yellow, .5 yards of dark red, dark green, and light blue, plus 1 yard of light yellow for the cross stitching.
  • Band 13 – Where’s My Flying Car? – 134 x 15 units
    28 count evenweave – Less than 1 yard
    28 count evenweave in double running, 2 plies – about .75 yards of light blue, less than .25 yards of dark blue, dark red, dark green.  Remnants of yellow and light red.
  • Band 14 – Pretzel Twist – 134 x8 units
    28 count evenweave – Less than 1 yard
  • Band 15 – May the Floss Be With You (customizing option) – 134 x 17 units
    [no data due to large amount of customization]
  • Band 16 – Mercy – 134 x 5 units
    28 count evenweave – Less than 1 yard
  • Band 17 – Jurassic Jumble – 134 x 22 units
    [no data]
  • Band 18 – Mutual Support – 134 x 30 units
    [no data]
  • Band 19 – Whovian Nightmare – 134 x 68 units
    28 count evenweave – about 4.5 yards

In order to spark your creativity, when we share the individual charts for each band we will also share detail shots of the various beta-tester versions.  As I wrote before, I am really looking forward to seeing what folk do with these designs.

Other Materials:

Optional Seed Beads.  Band 5- Game Room includes a few dot-type details on the depicted dice.  Those can be worked as French knots, or tiny scattered stitches.  Beads or very tiny sequins might also be used (you will only need 14).  One beta tester used seed beads for the eyes of the snakes in Band 8.  Again – this is yet another way you can make the piece your own, and is totally up to you.

Optional Beeswax:  I highly recommend having a small lump or two of REAL beeswax (not standard candles or candlewax and not beeswax candles – these often have other ingredients in them), not the “beeswax” sold in honeycomb sheets for rolled candles, and not lip balm with beeswax in it. 

I run my threads lightly over it before stitching.  Our stitches in this style are very short so the thread’s sheen doesn’t show up very much, and the wax won’t interfere with it.  It does make the thread easier to maneuver through the needle’s eye, lets it slide more smoothly through the ground cloth, reduces surface fuzzies and crocking (dye migration onto fingers and cloth), helps defeat differential feed (when you are using two or more plies, and they seem to be eaten at different rates as you work), and enables sharper corners and cleaner lines.  I usually keep two small two lumps going at any one time – one for lighter colors and one for darker colors to avoid any possible contamination of the lighter ones by fibers or dye left behind in the wax by the darker ones.  One one-ounce bar is more than enough for years of work, even broken into two to use for light/darker threads.

Stitching Set-Up: I also recommend you have a comfy chair, a frame or hoop depending on which is more comfortable and practical for you, a strong light source, sharp scissors and a pair of tweezers (in case you have to pick out mistakes), and a good sense of humor if that does happen.  Not a one of us is perfect – the nasty secret is that we all make mistakes.  Sometimes we rip back, but sometimes we decide to live with them.  There is no race to perfection here, just a shared journey presented to entertain and delight.

On Stitching:

On Charting, Alignment, and Gridding or Basting Guidelines

My charts include an indicated vertical center line (the black triangles), and hash marks all the way around to help you count.  Hash marks are 5 stitches apart, with the ones marking 10s being larger. Please note that all but two of these designs mirror or have a repeat point on that center line.  (The two that don’t are explained in detail).  I did not include horizontal center lines for each strip. Although the actual repeat-count of those strips that do repeat all differ, as stitched on this piece, all bands will be worked to the same width from the center point, and will truncate at our project’s maximum width, regardless of the point in the repeat where that cut-off falls.

Working an alignment grid is entirely up to you.  I know some people swear by them.  I work without, but I would baste a single vertical center line. That line corresponds with the point marked by a black triangle on all of the project charts.  I usually use some light color regular sewing cotton for this – something that won’t mark the fabric or mar the weave. As I work, I snip and tease out bits of my basting line, so that I am never stitching over it.  That way I minimize the chance of catching it as I work my design, or having a difficult time removing it after the stitching done.


For the most part these are outline-type designs that can be worked mostly in double-running stitch.  Back stitch can also be used and is perfectly satisfactory.  Some people find it easier to keep their place when using back stitch, and don’t mind the increased thread consumption.  

Chain stitch can also be used (one chain stitch per illustrated line segment – a line that continues for three units would be three chain stitches).  I do warn that diagonals being longer units than the up/down stitches present as visibly longer in chain, and the line itself is heavier than the other methods. If you chose to work in chain stitch, I recommend using only one ply. The choice is yours.

Please note that I include NO “knights’ move” stitches (1×2 chart units), and NO half or partial stitches.  Every unit is intended to be one full stitch, and these designs are entirely composed of straight lines, right angles, and 45-degree angles.  Nothing else.

Every strip includes some stitches marked in red at the top or bottom edge (mostly on both).  These are orientation/alignment aids – and represent the stitches of the band above or below the current one.  They are just there to help you keep your place, and are NOT intended to be stitched as part of the current band being worked.


Several of the strips are presented with the option to stitch their backgrounds in voided style (aka “reserva”) – similar in effect to modern Assisi-type work.  Those bands have the background areas of their right-hand sides shaded.  I have left the left-hand sides of those strips plain as an aid to navigation, but at all instances I do suggest that if voiding is chosen the entire panel be done that way, not just the right-hand half.

To work the voided areas you can use the same method used in modern Assisi – plain old simple cross stitch; or you can work the grounds in any of the methods common in pre-1700s voided pieces.  One of the simplest of those is long-armed cross stitch (LACS).  Personally, I prefer LACS – the coverage is better, and if the stitcher works alternate rows back and forth, the ground takes on a very appealing, almost plaited appearance. 

Any voided areas can be worked in the same color as the foreground outlining, or in another color.  I would suggest a second, lighter color because most of the voided panels are complex, and details would be lost if they were done entirely in monochrome. 

Please note that voiding need not be worked solid in LACS or plain old cross stitch.  It can also be done as a grid of four stitches (think making a box instead of a cross stitch, and covering the ground with what looks like a grid of empty boxes), step-wise (zig zag stair stitches), diagonal or horizontal lines, or a grid worked on the diagonal – lozenge shaped diamonds made of four stitches like the empty grid box, but predicated on diagonals instead of squares.  More on various voiding treatments can be found here:

Finally, note that if you do choose to work some of the panels with voiding, although I have not used any partial stitches in the patterns themselves, partials are unavoidable if you are working a solid background right up to the established lines of stitching.  Diagonals in the design are especially tricky.  The historical way to deal with this is either to fudge as best as possible, working partial stitches to eke out the fills where they meet problematic parts of the outline, or to ignore them all together, either stopping the voiding at the last complete background stitch, OR leaving a one-unit halo around ALL established stitching (stitching until there is one blank unit outside the outline, and leaving that unit unworked).  Any of these three approaches will work, but I do caution that they look best if they are applied consistently within the same strip.  Pick a method that makes you happy and stick with it.  At least until the current strip is complete.

Band 15

One band is set up with two customizable areas in it intended to allow you to include your initials and a date, or one or two short mottoes or dedications, or a couple of small motifs – as-supplied, or your own original creations.  Or any combo of the above.  That band is presented with a page that’s a print-me worksheet complete with alphabets and available-space templates, to allow you to doodle away and personalize your piece. 

I am sharing this set of charts gratis, through The Enablers Facebook group as part of their Stitch-Along program; and (with a short time delay) on my website.  I will be delighted to see these designs pop up all over the craft-i-verse, either alone, in combo with others from this collection, or as part of other works.  Please feel free to play with them, adding your own touches, borders, or other embellishments; or use them on non-Stitch-Along projects.

However, please note that I am releasing these for your own PERSONAL use.  Please do not republish them.  Please do not excerpt/reprint them without my source attribution.  Printing out a copy for your own reference is not a problem however, you may not include them in them in other collections, or post the charts or host them on other websites.  Finally, please do not include them in designs published for sale, or use them on articles you intend to sell – either for personal profit or charitable sale/donation – without seeking my permission first.  You can reach me via Contact info is on the About page.  And I’m not draconian – I usually say yes, but I do track these things, and appreciate the courtesy of being asked.

Copious Thanks

Finally, my most sincere thanks to the team that made this possible:

  • The Enablers Fearless Leaders:  Roz MFer, Kristin Selleck
  • Modmin Team: Kelsey Liaw
  • Beta Testers:  Callie Farr, Danielle Morgan, Heather Glasgow, and Robert Himmelsbach

Band 1: Giant Robot and Kaiju

Time Factor 5 for size. We’ll wait four weeks before the next release.

For all the Voltron, Transformers, giant mech-suit anime, and Pacific Rim fans out there, our first strip. Destruction not included.

SamplesFabric usedStitch usedEstimated thread consumption
(Yards of standard 6-ply cotton embroidery floss)
28 count even weaveBack stitch,
1 ply
Less than 1 yard of floss
28 count even weaveBack stitch,
1 ply
About 2.5 yards of floss
18 count AidaBack stitch,
1 ply
Less than 1 yard of floss
28 count even weaveDouble running, 2 pliesLess than 1 yard of blue. Less than 1 yard of green, and less than ½ yard of red
Top to bottom:  Renditions by Beta Testers Callie, Heather, and Danielle; plus Kim

132 stitches wide x 47 stitches tall. 2 blank rows left between this and the following strip. One full panel if worked as stand-alone (not intended to be a repeat). 

Giant Robot and Kaiku was released on 3 Aug 2021 on The Enablers Facebook Group and is being posted here on String today, 17 August 2021.

Click here to download a PDF that includes the chart for this band
plus all of the general project info that precedes it.


  • Start in the center with the robot’s head, then work down its body to the baseline.  Once Robot is established, move out left and right – house then Kaiju (starting with their inner facing wings), and the rest.
  • The back frills on the Kaiju are savage, but can be tamed if you work their outermost edge, taking detours back to the body as they are encountered.
  • No shame in skips or lots of knots on the back.  There are many elements that are little “islands” (bits that don’t connect to the rest of the work) and tons others that work into dead ends if using back stitch.  Spare yourself agony – if you are happy with the front, the piece is perfect.

The next band in this piece will be released on Tuesday, 31 August on The Enablers Facebook group, and posted here on Tuesday, 14 September. Feel free to post questions there or here. And stay tuned for further Epic adventures in String!

Band 2: Tulips and Raspberries

Time Factor 2. We will wait two weeks before the next release.

Every other block in this piece will be more traditional and simpler in aspect, as a respite between the more challenging ones.

This one is an up/down meander and would make nifty cuffs, napkin borders, or bookmarks if done independent of this project. The samples show a several different approaches – solid color monochrome, a variegated thread, and a two-color treatment, where design elements are picked out to highlight.

SamplesFabric usedStitchThread consumption
28 count evenweaveBack stitch 2 plies 
18 count AidaBack stitch 1 plyLess than one yard of variegated floss
28 count evenweaveBack stitch 1 ply 
28 count evenweaveDouble running 2 pliesLess than 1/2 yard each of red and light red

134 stitches wide x 47 stitches tall. 2 blank rows left between this and the following strip. If worked as a stand-alone continuous band, one full repeat in 30 stitches. 

Time Factor 2 this one’s simple up/down meander repeat looks far more complex than it is.  Because it’s not killer like Band 1, we are allowing only two weeks hiatus before releasing Band 3. 

Remember that in the chart the red stitches above and below the target band are those of the designs appearing above and below this one, and are there solely as alignment aids.


Band 3: Pirates!

Time factor 3 for just outlines, Time Factor 4 for voided (working the background, too)

We sail the seas for plunder – a special for the fans of everything from Peter Pan, to Pirates of the Caribbean, with side trips through Penzance, old adventure movies, and hundreds of books. I’ve included a discussion on various types of voiding for those who wish to work the background. Note that it’s highly optional – this band works well both as outline-only and voided.

This strip is 134 stitches wide x 20 stitches tall. 2 blank rows are left between this and the following band.

SamplesFabric usedStitchThread consumption
28 count evenweaveBack stitch 2 plies 
18 count AidaBack stitch 1 plyAbout 3 yards of floss, including three major froggings
28 count evenweaveBack stitch 1 ply
Voiding in LACS, 2 ply
 Back stitch 1 ply
Voiding in LACS, 2 ply
28 count evenweaveDouble running 2 plies
Voiding in LACS, 1 ply
Less than ½ yard of green, less than ½ yard of blue, less than ¼ yard of yellow, remnants of red.  Voiding 2.25 yards of light blue.

Top to bottom: Renditions by Beta Testers Heather, Danielle, and Callie. Plus Kim.


  • Note that the center of this design runs right down the middle of the two-unit-wide trunk of the centermost tree.  The coconut in the foliage is NOT centered. If you start this at the center (which I recommend) use the red stitches at the top of the graph that show the final two rows of Band 2 to align yourself.
  • The birds and stars are “islands” unto themselves. There is no shame in skipping over from the nearest larger bits to work them, leaving a strand on the back.  Or if you wish (or if your color choices so declare), start a new thread and end it off for them, as you see fit.  There are no embroidery police – your back is as private as your underwear.  No need to let others see it up close and personal, without your specific invitation and clearly expressed consent. 😊
  • VOIDING IS HIGHLY OPTIONAL, and as you can see, this strip is dramatic both with and without it.  There is no mandate to do it, in any method. 
  • If you do chose to work the voiding note that there is a fair amount of fudging where the background stitches butt up against the foreground outlines. Depending on the voiding method chosen you may need to work half, quarter or other partial stitches if you want the color to wash up directly against the outlines.


Voiding or reserve work is a family of techniques used to create a piece that has a background that’s solidly (or evenly but not solidly) stitched, and foreground images that are left either totally unworked, or sometimes slightly embellished or detailed.  It was wildly popular during the Renaissance, and experienced a big revival in the late 1800s.  Modern Assisi work is the descendent of the simplified forms and techniques used in that revival.  There are many ways to do a filled in background.  Here are some.

Plain old cross stitch.  Yes, the cross-stitcher’s friend.  This is the stitch that is used in Assisi work.  I have never seen it in a sample of voided stitching produced before the 1800s, but I will stop short of saying it was never done.  Just that after extensive research, I have not turned up any evidence that it was.  That being said, it’s one of the easiest to do.  For this particular design it is probably best to work it in a contrasting color to the foreground outlines, otherwise the stars and slender birds will be lost against the background.  I apologize for not having a sample of plain cross stitch ground to show off.  I don’t use it myself.

Long arm cross stitch (LACS).  Common in Renaissance era works, LACS is a denser form of cross stitch.  When worked back and forth across a piece it produces a distinctive almost plaited appearance.  Or if all rows are worked in the same direction, it looks like a procession of bands.  Because it is heavier than plain cross stitch it does have an even greater tendency to overwhelm details like the stars.  Again, a contrasting color is suggested. Samples from my work (in monochrome):

Other easy to work fills

Diagonal fillZig-zag fillDiamond fillGrid fillStraight line fill

Meshy fill.  Included here only for sake of completeness, this is a pulled thread technique that produces a totally overstitched net-like background, and is extremely common in surviving museum pieces.  I do not advise it for this project.  It’s unsuitable for Aida and for cotton floss.  It requires the tensile strength of silk thread and a 100% linen ground, preferably at 38 threads per inch or finer. Another sample from my prior work:

Whichever you chose, note that if you run the fill all the way up to the outlines and want to leave no ground showing at all you will have to fudge with partial stitches where the fills meet diagonal lines.  One way around this problem is to NOT work the partials, but to leave a “halo” around the foreground motifs.  Here’s an example, charted out so  you can see what I mean.  The red is the foreground outlining stitches.  The yellow is the partially worked background voiding:

If you are interested in learning more about voided grounds and finding links to museum examples of it, here are two web articles I’ve written about it:


Band 4: Palm Cluster

Time Factor 1

The second traditional strip. Very traditional in fact, derived from several historical sources, but changed a bit to make it new again.  This strip should be a quick bit to complete after the torture of the previous three.

If worked as a stand-alone continuous band, one full repeat occurs over 36 units. Note that the narrow border beneath it, shown in red, is actually the “companion edging” of the next band and should not be stitched until next week.  But if you are using this palm cluster as a stand-alone strip there’s no reason why you couldn’t adopt that line as a nifty finishing touch for your bookmark, collar, cuffs, or other trim, echoing it both above and below the palm cluster strip.

Time Factor 1 because as I mentioned above, you deserve a break.  This is a very simple up/down meander, that’s totally symmetrical. It has no long or difficult to count runs, no “dead ends,” and no tricky bits. 

This strip is 134 stitches wide x 28 stitches tall. Two blank rows are left between this and the following strip.

SamplesFabric usedStitchThread consumption
28 count evenweaveBack stitch 1 ply
18 count AidaBack stitch 1 plyVariegated floss
28 count evenweaveBack stitch 1 plyLess than 1 yard
28 count evenweaveDouble running 2 pliesLess than 3/4 yard
of light green,
scraps of light red
Top to bottom: Renditions by Beta Testers Heather, Danielle, and Callie. Plus Kim.


  • The center of this new strip aligns to the center of the little “patch of grass” at the middle of the centermost Pirate island.  Very easy to start there, then work right and left to complete.
  • After the last three, this one should be quite easy.  The repeats are regular, with no surprises. 
  • For the record, Beta Testers Heather and Callie completed this strip in solid color floss.  Callie used a variegated, and I – never one to shy from gilding the lily – used two colors, even though I’m working in double running.  Yes, there are knots on the back.  Each of those little light red collars at the base of the palm plumes is done separately.  I did not strand between them.
  • If you’ve fallen in love with voiding, but are hesitant to try it on one of the wider panels, Palm Cluster with its simple shapes would be a lovely first design for experimentation, either as part of this project, or on a separate smaller bit.


BAND #5: Game Room

Time Factor 3, mostly for lack of repeat, plus long straight runs that can be difficult to count.

The latest installment revisits things (some of us) used to do – like going to SF, fantasy, and gaming conventions. There were costumes, there were things to see and buy, there were presentations and panels, and there were also game rooms, where anything from hand-helds to console games, to video games, tablet games, and board and tabletop games were played for fun and sometimes prizes. If you squint carefully, you’ll find the little terrier from Monopoly, a tribute to Settlers of Catan, a D&D figurine, and more hiding out in this one.

This strip is about the only place I’ve deliberately used a different stitch. Feel free to work the pips on the dice as French Knots, tiny little 1×1 thread cross stitches (if you are working on evenweave), or use seed beads or tiny sequins/paillettes if you like. There are seven pips per die, so you’d need 14 beads or paillettes, total if you wanted to use one for each pip.
Because Game Room has several very long straight runs which can be easy to miscount, I provide the narrow companion border. Work the top one first, then use it to help “proof” those annoying long runs to keep you from miscounting.

.And sincere apologies to our stalwart Beta Stitchers. I discovered an error, and also inadvertently made an addition when I stitched mine up. That’s why on the last provided sample, the hand-held unit on the left in mine actually has a left edge, and the mane of the chess knight is a bit more elaborate. The chart has been updated to include those fixes.

This strip is 134 stitches wide x 28 stitches tall, including the narrow companion border at top and bottom. 2 blank rows are left between this and the following strip.

SamplesFabric UsedStitchThread Consumption/
28 count evenweaveBack stitch, 1 plyPips are French knots
18 count AidaBack stitch, 1 plyAbout 3 yards.

Pips are French knots
28 count evenweaveBack stitch, 1 plyPips are French knots
28 count evenweaveDouble running,
2 plies
About 1 yard of blue,
1/2 yard of yellow,
1/4 yard of red,
1/4 yard of light blue.

The snake eyes
pips are each 2mm paillettes. Other
pips are tiny 1×1
cross stitches
Top to bottom: Renditions by Beta Testers Heather, Danielle, and Callie; plus Kim


  • Centering this one is tricky. There’s no clear centermost axis, everything is offset. As mentioned before, the narrow band above is VERY useful for determining starts and stops, and for proofing positioning of the individual elements as you go along.
  • On the last example, I did the large round “one pip” sides of the dice using a tiny 2mm black paillette (flat center hole sequin). I happened to have a few, shed from a knitting yarn I used in a recent project. They are too big to use for every pip, but there are lots of dice that emphasize that singlet side. The other pips I worked as tiny 1×1 thread cross stitches, done carefully so they don’t slide into the ground cloth’s weave. If I hadn’t had the paillettes to hand I would have used a seed bead in exactly the same way.
  • If you choose to use seed beads, you will need EXTREMELY tiny ones. Probably size 14 or 15. Note that with only 14 needed, it’s probably not worth the expense unless you happen to have some in your stash. Which knowing the creative types who pick up projects like this, might not be unlikely.



Time Factor 2.

This one is another original, loosely based on a historical pattern family. Bands or horizontal columns with lozenges and/or striations are pretty common in strapwork of the late 1500s to 1600s, as are grape clusters. But sprigging them together this way is something I doodled up.
This one should be comparatively easy to stitch, especially after the last no-repeat panel. All you need to do is remember that the slanting bands on the center rod mirror – everything else is a simple flip, either up/down or left/right – no tricky half-drops, or meanders.

134 stitches wide x 16 stitches tall. 2 blank rows left between this and the following strip. If worked as a stand-alone continuous band, one full repeat in 17 units.

SamplesFabric UsedStitchThread Consumption/
28 count evenweaveBack stitch, 1 plyAbout 2 yards of floss
18 count AidaBack stitch, 1 plyAbout 3 yards of variegated thread
(not floss)
28 count evenweaveBack stitch, 1 ply
28 count evenweaveDouble running,
2 plies
About 1.25 yards of light blue, 0.5 yards of light red,
scraps of red.
Top to bottom: Renditions by Beta Testers Heather, Danielle, and Callie; plus Kim


  • The merry band of Beta Stitchers is now familiar with the design’s charting method, and jaded by some of the challenges already thrown their way, so they all report that this one was pretty easy, and a good rest after the last strip. No particular difficulties were noted, other than remembering to mirror the “peppermint stripes” on the center horizontal band.
  • Variegated in back stitch plays nicely in this one.
  • I chose multiple colors, and did the balloons/berries/grapes all in the same color, but if someone were to be VERY adventurous, they could mix colors on those bunches or work a quick change gradient on them while using a solid color for the more architectural center band with its stripes and knots.



Time Factor 3 for height and mirror flip complexity, Time Factor 4 if voiding is chosen.

Every movie with a ravenous T-Rex in it looms in front of us now.  Let’s see, aside from the obvious, there’s the original King Kong, Lost World, Fantasia, Prehistoric Beast, Land Before Time, Night at the Museum, Land Before Time, Dino Riders, several Dr. Who episodes, and many, many more.  How could we continue without including an iconic dinosaur?

If desired this band, like the Pirates band can be worked voided – with the background filled in using long-armed cross stitch or plain old cross stitch, squared or stepped filling, diagonal filling, or another fill as desired.  This is highly optional – no pressure here because the T-Rex strip would look good either way. 

If voiding is chosen I think the design would show to best advantage if the background fill was done in a different color than the outlining, because if both were worked in the same thread the slender stems of the flowers curled in the tail would disappear. Remember – voiding eats both time and floss in direct proportion.

Oh.  And the title?  Named after Sue, a very famous Tyrannosaurus Rex specimen now on display at the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois.

134 stitches wide x 30 stitches tall. 2 blank rows left between this and the following strip.  If worked as a continuous band, one full repeat in 57 units.

SamplesFabric UsedStitchThread Consumption/
28 count evenweaveBack stitch, 1 ply
18 count AidaBack stitch, 1 ply
28 count evenweaveBack stitch, 1 plyAbout 8 yards
for outlines,
6.5 yards for voiding
26 count evenweaveDouble running,
1 ply
28 count evenweaveDouble running,
2 plies
1.5 yards blue,
1 yard green
0.25 yards red,
2 yards light red
for the voiding
Top to bottom: Renditions by Beta Testers Heather, Danielle, Callie and guest Beta Tester, Robert; plus Kim


Voiding is HIGHLY optional.

  • Because of all of the diagonals on this design, especially around tail; plus there being lots of very narrow irregular bits to fill in with voiding; if you choose cross stitch or long-armed cross stitch be aware that there will be lots of fudging to fit your stitches around the nooks and crannies. 
  • If you do choose to work the background, the squared fill I used in the last sample is far more user-friendly for working the fiddly bits.  You can do it stepwise in double running like I did, or work it in back or running as straight lines with one unit “sprigs” to attach the new line to the one previously worked.  Both methods work just fine.
  • Guest Beta Tester Robert (known to some of my friends as Master Geoffrey d’Ayr of Montalban) has proven the point that some of these repeats can be successfully worked as long strips independent of this sampler project. His is part of a set to trim the cuffs and collar of a late 1500s style man’s shirt.



Time Factor 1. Sweet and easy, with two rows of a simple progression repeat.

OK. So, this one is a bit more creepy-crawly than it is classic-blackwork-floral-ordinary. My excuse is that I drew it in the run-up to the 2019 Halloween season, adapting it from a design in Ensamplario Atlantio II, one of my free books of blackwork fills and borders. Plus, we should only ignore those who adore campy horror movies at our own peril.

Time Factor 1 for height and the ultra-simple straight repeat. Our scaly friends are all identical, with the second row flipped and travelling the opposite direction. Feel free to work all the right-bound crawlies in one pass, and then all the left bound ones, or hop back and forth as you please. Use one color, multiple colors, or variegated threads, as you prefer. There are no rules or must-do approaches here. One of the beta testers used beads for the eyes – a charming enhancement shown in more detail in the Hints section, below.

134 stitches wide x 16 stitches tall. 2 blank rows left between this and the following strip. If worked as a continuous band, one full repeat in 23 units.

SamplesFabric UsedStitchThread Consumption/
28 count evenweaveBack stitch, 1 ply
18 count AidaBack stitch, 1 ply
28 count evenweaveBack stitch, 1 plyAbout 2 yards,
plus 20 beads
28 count evenweaveDouble running,
2 plies
About 1.5 yards
each of light red
and light green,
about 0.75 yards
of light blue and yellow each
Top to bottom: Renditions by Beta Testers Heather, Danielle, and Callie plus Kim


  • Callie added small beads for eyes after the official Beta Test photo was taken.  Her snakes are doubly adorable:
  • Because of the long body that gives color runs a chance to play, variegated threads work particularly well for this strip. 
  • Folk have been asking about the stitches shown in red on the chart.  Those illustrate the nearest block of stitches above or below the current strip and include the two blank spacer rows between the strips. While I always start in the center and work left, then right, I know not everyone does, and I hoped that having the earlier (or later) rows as reference guides would help people align the new sections with work previously completed.


5 responses

  1. No Irwin Allen fandom? LOL.

    1. We do have dinosaur strips coming up, so we can dedicate at least one of them in part to The Lost World. And I am taking nominations for Return to Epic (a possible sequel.) 🙂

      1. Wish Allen had followed Conan Doyle’s book more closely, but that’s Hollywood. Must have the Seaview and the Robot from Lost in Space. LOL!

        1. I duly note your nominations of the Seaview and the Lost in Space robot for Return of Epic. No guarantees but I will give them due consideration if interest in Epic is enough to warrant the follow-on.

  2. Sue is wonderful and MUST be stitched! I like both the voided and non-voided versions – the non-voided because you have to look twice.

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