Scarlet Macaw Preening


I am desperate to stitch this chart (well, the parrot not the background) yet everything seems to be against me. This is a summary of my frustration over the last couple of years:

Shinysun's Cross Stitching
Stitch Count 400 x 532 (260 x 470 without background)

Attempt 1 - April 2014 - I ordered a piece of aida which should have been a lovely brown and buttery-yellow colour but which was awfully plain and bland and actually 15ct instead of 16ct! With every stitch I hated the fabric more and more so gave up after 20 hours.

Attempt 2 - January 2015 - This time I absolutely loved the colour of the fabric but had to resort to linen to get the depth of colour I wanted. After just 2 hours of stitching I knew that linen was definitely not for me. I was in tears and, with huge disappointment, I gave up again. This beautiful fabric has now found a new home and a delighted owner.

Attempt 3 - March 2015 - I really thought I'd get the right fabric this time. The lady who dyed it claimed she could "recreate" the background but instead created a salmony-orange colour with a touch of purplish-grey. I admit it is a lovely fabric but it is definitely not suitable for this project. I was extremely cross at how a "professional" could get it so wrong. Does that look like the background to you?

Attempt 4 - April 2015 - I decided to dye my own fabric! I bought some Rit liquid dyes and a meter of cream 16ct aida to see what I could come up with. My first attempt wasn't too bad, it just needed a bit of tweeking to get the colours right. But I left the fabric in our conservatory and on returning found that the colours had faded! I was so pleased I hadn't actually started the stitching otherwise I would have been furious!

Attempt 5 - September 2015 - I contacted another company to ask how realistic their greeny-brown fabric screen-shots were compared to how aida would actually dye. Instead of answering my question they replied that I should stitch the design on a parchment/sand coloured fabric. Thanks for your help - not. You lost my custom.

Attempt 6 - October 2015 - I thought I had found another company which may have the correct colours. There were about 8 in their collection that could have worked, I just needed confirmation that the colours would be as bright and bold as their screen shots indicated. The reply was quite positive but their attempt at dyeing wasn't. More disappointment.

Attempt 7 - I FINALLY found a company who would listen to my dilemma and work with me. They are the wonderful Sarah and co at The background they created was so different to anything I had previously looked at or imagined that I was taken aback and not sure I liked it at first. But..... once I'd seen it with the thread colours and appreciated what they had created I quickly grew to love it.

I am so happy to have now found a suitable fabric to stitch my parrot on! This will no longer be a saga but a delightful 2-3 year adventure!

You probably think I'm a spoilt brat for all the fabric I have bought and discarded. But, as Sherlock is a big project and will take about 650 hours to stitch I had to get the colours right.

This page will now be updated with every 10 hours of progress. I can't wait to get started!!

After 10 hours - 3rd April 2016

After 20 hours - 10th April 2016

Projected finish date - 8th August 2018 (although I have a feeling this will be much sooner!)

Rachel x


  1. I hope you will finish this project
    One word : stunning
    I will follow your blog to see how you will go on with this project
    For inspiration take a peek at my blog
    My biggist project is now over 1000 hours and need another 3000
    So i would say never give up, just go for it and try to find a way wich works best for you
    If i would own that stunning project i would work 2 different weeks in a month on it and between i would work on someting totally different in coulor so you dont get bored
    You will see some progress very fast :) if you make this your priority project ( i think you love this one )

  2. I admire your patience to wait till you have found the perfect fabric
    I will look forward to see you finally get started and enjoy this wonderfull piece


Thank you for taking time to view and comment on my blog. All comments are read and greatly appreciated. I try to reply, even if it's just to say another thank you. :)