First, can I even begin to tell you how hard it is for me to take a picture of a mesh canvas at night? Here's my final and best attempt, if you can believe it:
The picture looks better than it does in real life! I went to my local needlepoint shop-- which is different from a cross-stitch shop, which I learned after first visiting a cross-stitch shop that couldn't really help me. I wanted to follow the directions quite closely, as I'm in love with these pillows and wanted to make my time worth it. So I learned the differences between needlepoint, embroidery, crewel, and cross-stitch. I won't go into it, because it's not nearly as exciting as the details of this project, but you can google it, if you're interested.
I originally thought I wanted to stitch this on 7 or 10 hpi (holes per inch). Turns out that's really quite large, and the shop didn't carry it. The higher the number, the smaller the finished design ends up being (for example: 7 hpi would yield a much larger product than 14 hpi, which is what I ended up buying). One of the advantages to going to a local place instead of winging it in the floss aisle at Michael's is just like when you start out quilting: sure, once you know what you're doing you can find the Robert Kaufmann or Alexander Henry between the lesser-JoAnn brands, but starting out it's pretty intimidating.
The woman at the needlepoint shop was able to determine exactlywhat kind of canvas would be best for my project, and about how much to buy. I'm going to have some left over... maybe I'll make some bookmarks or something. The canvas above cost me about $20. Then, she was able to show me the kind of floss I needed that would provide accurate coverage, be durable, and wasn't something I needed to split, because that drives me crazy. It's still by DMC, that craft superstore standby, but this is size 3 Pearl Cotton. It takes 12 different colors, which makes it fun but not obnoxious to do.
I'm really enjoying this project-- it's so perfect to work on while on the couch. I do wish it was a bit bigger, but I'm sure it'll look OK when I'm finished. I'm also still working on the Lotus quilt. I added a fun border of Good Folks and Andalucia, which is keeping things interesting. My one sticking point is that it's currently a square, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about square quilts. What do you think? Should I keep it a square, or try and lengthen two sides? How would I do that?