I have just completed the Butterfly Garden cross-stitch kit by The Drawn Thread. I started it three months ago having fallen for it at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show on the Nimble Thimble stall last year. They had a beautiful display of samplers which really sold it for me.
I have thoroughly enjoyed stitching it, partly because of the variety of stitches involved. There were lots of new stitches to learn but the instructions and the charts were very clear. The subtle colour variation from the Caron Waterlily threads were very effective with the flowers in particular, I always felt they were rather expensive before but I must admit I would be tempted to buy them now. Chris from Nimble Thread in Oswestry was very helpful when I ran out of a couple of threads, sending out more than I had asked for and very promptly too.
Buddleia were stitched in Smyrna cross-stitch, which is like a double cross, phlox were in lazy-daisy stitch, tansy were stitched with French knots.
Bergamot, salvia and campsis were stitched with a variety of backstitch combinations. Sunflowers were stitched with lazy-daisy and French knots, verbena with Smyrna cross-stitch.
Mallow flowers were a mixture of a broad cross-stitch for the centre, surrounded by woven satin stitch. Blackberry flowers were double cushion stitch and the berries were in square boss-stitch. The little bumble bees were very cute, they were stitched in cross-stitch but over a single thread of linen.
I had it framed down at Artworks in Otley, they always do a fantastic job of framing and just as importantly I trust them with my embroideries. I just need to find somewhere to hang it now!
So if you fancy doing a cross-stitch kit that grows quickly and has lots to keep you interested, I can recommend the Butterfly Garden.