Imperial Phoenix by Serendipity Designs 

A Project A Day – Counted embroidery work is my main hobby and I have a huge stitching stash. Some of these projects are huge and take years to stitch, and while others are quick projects, I often spend months without stitching at all. So while I have hundreds in my stash, only a half-dozen ever see attention any given year.  To address this imbalance in 2012 I will each day write about one project languishing in my stash.

Imperial Phoenix by Serendipity Designs

Copyright Carolyn Meacham, 1979.

Imperial Phoenix by Serendipity Designs

Chart: The chart is print on a folded A2 Glossy paper sheet. The sheet is folded in four with the design covering the entirety of one side of the sheet.  The glossy side has four panels: cover sheet, symbol key and instruction sheet, and two panels of advertisements. As this is an older design the symbols are hand drawn. However the symbols are drawn nice and large and some are printed in red so it is an easy chart to follow. Also as a result of being an old chart, many of the symbols printed along the fold lines have rubbed away. As this is a simple design, I can pretty much guess from the surrounding symbols which ones to use.

Stitches: Pattern uses whole cross stitches and backstitch.

Materials: Stitched in DMC stranded cottons and metallics on 14ct Ivory Aida.

Designer’s Notes: The mate to the Imperial Dragon, the Imperial Phoenix was long associated with the Empress of China. This mythical bird also symbolized life eternal, as the Phoenix was thought to be able to recreate itself.

Why I was attracted to this design: I love mythical creatures. I grew up reading  fairy tales, when my local library threw out their collection of Andrew Lang colour Fairy Books I was heartbroken. I devoured those books as a kid.  I still read a lot of paranormal and outright fantasy fiction now.  It’s so rare to see mythological creatures treated as serious subject matters in cross stitch that I tend to grab the patterns when I see them.

So why haven’t I stitched it? I find the colours a little muted for my taste.  I don’t know enough of Chinese mythology and Chinese art aesthetics to know if these muted tones are appropriate for the style of the piece or whether Carolyn was having a sad day when she designed this.  She’s designed some other brightly coloured pieces so these muted colours are a distinct choice on her part.  I just don’t know if it’s the right choice.

Where can you buy it? This chart, first designed in 1979 is still in print.  You or your LNS can order it from Serendipity Designs for $6US.

Discussion questions:  Do I brighten the colours or keep the muted tones? I’m tempted to use silks – which silks would I use?