I like the partridge in a pear tree motif and have stitched it in many variations, so when I saw The Sisters and Best Friends First Day of Christmas ornament in the JCS 2005 ornament issue, I saved the page. I pulled it out of the Christmas binder just before Thanksgiving. It called for GAST floss. Okay, I have a really deep stash of GAST, probably 60-70 skeins. I should have realized I was headed for disaster when I had to order four skeins of GAST to completely kit it up ... and when it was finally kitted up, I had a dozen GAST on my floss ring ... this for an ornament that is less than 4"h and 2 1/2"w. That's a lot of color in a small space ... especially when you factor in the color variations of overdyes.
But did I pause to reconsider the wisdom of stitching this piece? No, I most certainly did not! Blindly, and I mean this literally, I carried on ... not thinking to compare the photo of the stitched model with the chart ... and we all know that the JCS ornament issues are not the most carefully proofread publications. The photo depicts a pear that is primarily golden with a delicate blush of pink diagonally crossing the pear from top left to bottom right ... quite pretty and almost realistic. Did I even remember the image in the photo as I started to stitch? Clearly, no, I did not! See the evidence in this photo of a garishly bright pink pear with blotches of gold resembling ulcerated bed sores. And even as this monstrosity began to emerge beneath my hands, I still continued to stitch, hoping against hope that the final result would be less ghastly than I knew it would be. It was only after the last stitch in the pear and the better part of the leaf were stitched that I admitted to myself that things were not going all that well. I did call a halt to the process when I saw that the chart called for me to stitch 8 little x's of Royal Purple right beside 6 x's of Burnt Orange in the frigging leaf, along with the 4 different shades of green already there. Mind you, I actually bought a whole skein of Royal Purple to stitch about 2 inches of floss into this travesty. There is no plumbing the depths of my idiocy.
At this point, no longer trusting my sanity, I posted a request for advice both on my blog and on a stitching mb I frequent. I was considering frogging 50% of the pink and restitching in shades of gold or just ditching the whole thing. Ditching it was an irksome option since I had used a remnant of rather pricey Silkweaver overdyed fabric and had invested a small fortune in GAST. I wanted to hear that I had some hope of salvaging this little ornament. The advice I liked best was the suggestion to dye the piece in some strong coffee to mute the garish tones ... mainly because it involved the very least effort with the best promise of decent results. I checked on the piece after 1/2 hour in the coffee, giving it a quick rinse in cool water, took one look and promptly put it right back in the dye bowl. Here are the results after two hours in the dye liquid. I am still not happy. I'll give it one more shot, soaking it overnight. If that doesn't work, it is headed for the trash. Or maybe I'll send it to Sisters and Best Friends with my most sincere holiday wishes! Yeah, I like that option ... civilized but satisfyingly snide!!! Ah, the Christmas spirit is grand, is it not?