Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cross Stitch a Coven

A dark Cave. In the middle, a Caldron boiling. Thunder.
Enter the three Witches.
 Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.
Thrice and once, the hedge-pig whin'd.
 Harpier cries:—'tis time! 'tis time! 
Round about the caldron go; 
    In the poison'd entrails throw.— 
    Toad, that under cold stone, 
    Days and nights has thirty-one; 
    Swelter'd venom sleeping got, 
    Boil thou first i' the charmed pot! 
        Double, double toil and trouble; 
    Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
William Shakespeare - Macbeth 

The next letter in the dark alphabet Julie has designed for us is “C” for Coven and Cross Stitch.  Below are some short descriptions of both for you to enjoy.

An assembly of witches, usually 13
A family or group of people with similar interests.

Thesaurus entry:  Coven (n) – an assembly of witches; usually 13 witches
Assembly – a group of persons who are gathered together for a common purpose
Witch – a being (usually female) imagined to have special powers derived from the devil.

And yes, there are still covens practicing today. An online search showed several active groups. As in other belief systems, there are a variety of directions a coven can take depending on the direction the high priestess or priest takes the group.  So I guess if you are interested, shop around and find the one that is right for you and make sure you are ready for a commitment.  I found one site that goes over what questions you should ask and what you should look for if you are interested in finding a coven right for you… there should be no requirement of sexual rituals. Whoa, glad for that!

Internet Resources on Covens: Here are a few of the links, there are many if you Google coven for further information or research.

Cross Stitch:

Cross Stitch is my absolute favorite of all the counted thread stitches. It’s relaxing in the repetition and rhythm that you develop as you stitch it.  But how do you stitch your cross stitch and what name do you call it by? This stitch by far is the easiest and has the most varied directions of all of the stitches commonly used.

Did you learn to cross stitch in the continental method, the Danish method, the English method…..

Do you make half of a cross all the way across a row before coming back and completing it in the other direction or do you complete each stitch as you go?  And make sure your top crosses completing the stitch are all going in the same direction!
Do you cross stitch over two, possibly three or of course for those with good eye-sight over one!

Do you call it Cross Stitch, Berlin, Gros Point, Point de Croix, Point de Marque or Sampler Stitch?  We also have the Marking Stitch or Reversible Cross Stitch, which also can be found to be called Brave Bred, Double Sided Cross, Point de Croix Sans Evers, Sampler Stitch and Two-sided Cross Stitch.

And then there are variations of the stitch, ¼ Cross Stitch, ½ Cross Stitch, Long-Armed Cross Stitch, Upright Cross Stitch, Diagonal Cross Stitch,  Double Cross Stitch, even the Montenegrin Cross Stitch, and the Plaited cross stitch to name a few.

Do you start in the middle and work your way out? Do you start at the top left and work your way across? Do you start at the bottom left and work your way up? Do you start on the right?

Cross Stitch is predominantly used in many countries to adorn their native costumes, home furnishings and church vestments.  It is the first stitch many young girls learned as they were taught to embroider and mark their home linens and clothing at an early age and then this stitch led them into their first sampler-making. 

Instructions for cross stitching were not only given in school, but by 1882 they had moved into print in Caulfeild and Saward’s Dictionarty of Needlework, in which a paragraph is devoted to the subject. As you can see if you enjoy Cross Stitch as a counted thread stitch there is a vast history available to learn more information on this simple stitch and the life it has had throughout history.

Book Resources:

Internet Resources:

How to Do Cross Stitch:

There are many more sources - these are just a few to get you started.


Click on the picture to take you to the Dark Alphabet page.

As a side note - I intend to stitch my alphabet on a dark grey linen, but if you are stitching on something lighter, you might want to "fill in" the sky with a midnight blue shade, as we all know that "when witches go riding" it's dark outside!

Click on "Freebies" on the sidebar to take you to other freebies we've offered.

The contest is over - thank you so much to everyone who made a comment - we love to hear from you!  We'll announce the winners next time!
And here's a notice we received - we put it on the calendar, but it's worth a special mention.
Embroiderer's Guild of America presents the International Embroidery Conference:  Embroidery of the Americas and the Influence of Colonization

September 8-10, 2011 at the Naples Grande Beach Resort, Naples, Florida

Registration Information and details at;  you do not have to be a member of EGA to attend.

See you next time!



  1. Thanks for posting - trying to make decisions about the different fonts and colours used for the text on each square. Having three makes it easier!

  2. I'm beginning to think I like the story of witches too much, lol. When I was a kid, the scariest movies were of witches, but I find it all fascinating today.
    I got my "C" that stands for both coven and cross stitch...what a pair!

  3. hey how did you get the picture of us on your blog. thanks for the freebies.


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