Cymberleah by Black Swan Designs 

Copyright Karen Weaver, Black Swan Designs, 1996.

Guardian of the Enchanted Forest

Cymberleah by Black Swan Designs

Chart: The chart uses easy to see and easy to distinguish symbols. The chart is on a large A2 folded cardboard sheet. The outside panels are the front and back covers, the Enchantra story and advertising. The inside unfolded sheet is the entire chart, symbol key and stitching instructions. When working from a large chart like this, the symbols on the creases tend to rub and wear off over time as the chart is folded and unfolded through use, so I would make a working copy of smaller sections and stitch from those, to minimise handling of the orignal.

Stitches: Pattern uses whole cross stitch, quarter cross stitch and backstitch. There is an alternate legend provided for “African-American colors” to stitch Cymberleah’s skin tones and hair colour.

Materials: DMC stranded cotton, Kreinik blending filament, Kreinik #8 Fine braid and Mill Hill beads. Stitched on 32ct Zweigart “Dirty” Linen or Wichelt “Natural” Linen. No, there’s no way I’m stitching this one on Dirty Linen. There’s got to be a nicer background!

Designer’s Notes: Meet Cymberleah, Guardian of The Enchanted Forest. All who inhabit this magical land are under her protection. Her eyes and ears are the forest’s wild creatures whose finely tuned senses forewarn of danger or need. Legend has it that Cymberleah and her faithful wolf companion, Vartan, were the first inhabitants of The Enchanted Forest. This is a land of perfect peace and balance and Cymberleah invites you to join her in the world of Enchantra.

The belief in magic is fragile and so are the boundaries of Enchantra. Danger may be found in forms of magic or in the simple disbelief of what cannot be seen, touched or heard. Suspend reality for a while and enter “The Enchanted Forest” where Kings, Queens and Gnomes reside – but more about them later …

Why I was attracted to this design: Like Dragon Lake, this is another of the Enchantra series. I had plans on stitching the series and then framing them identically and framing the story of Enchantra that goes with these pieces.  I was in the SCA when these pieces were released so I had grand plans of asking a friend to calligraphy the story not just frame my typing or cut up the charts.

So why haven’t I stitched it? I love the drape of her cloak, I love the bunny and the deer. But the wolf always looked a little too blocky to me. And the background fabric. I have this irrational dislike of dirty or natural linen – perhaps its the name?  However, I wonder if this would work on the Sunny*Dyes Faerie’s Deep Woods or Polstitches Nature’s Grace or closer to the original, Doubloon from Picture This Plus?

Where can you buy it? Your LNS can order this in for you via Needlework Showcase. According to the Black Swan site this chart should cost around $8US.

Discussion questions: Am I being hypercritical of the wolf. This was designed in 1996! Is fur really difficult to design? Should I stitch the wolf in Rainbow Gallery Whisper thread? Also fabric, help me out here – suggestions, recommendations?


28 Feb: Still confused on fabric