I came across one of the Little States Samplers by Alma Lynne on Ebay, and then bought a second state as a companion piece. The two states I chose were California and New York. California is where I live, and New York was where I was born. The finished size of the designs are 4-1/8 by 5-3/4 inches when stitched on 14 count fabric which will fit nicely in a 5×7 frame. I stitched them on oatmeal colored Aida.
New York snagged the best symbols: the state bird is the bluebird, the state flower is the rose, and the state insect is the nine-spotted ladybug. I didn’t know there was such a thing as a state bug, but the ladybug is about as lovable as a bug gets. I liked this design, and stitched it as written with few changes. I used floss I already had, and didn’t use the exact colors as charted. I just looked at the photo and chose similar shades.
There were a large number of partial stitches which made the chart hard to follow. For the rose, I stitched the outline first and then filled in with 3 or 4 different shades of the same color. The blue leaves were the result of not being able to tell colors apart when stitching at night.
The California grizzly bear is on the state flag, and is the state animal. I liked the bear design, but not the collar and bib. That’s just wrong for a wild bear, and suggested captivity which is sad. The grizzly is a type of brown bear, and has been extinct in California since 1924.
Our state flower is the California poppy which bloom in March and April. I have photographed them many times.
I thought the poppies were too small and simplistic in the design, so I redesigned that as well. With the bear and the poppies as the only motifs besides the grapes at the top, I felt the design was lacking. The state bird is the California quail which wouldn’t be recognizable as a small cross stitch, so I can see why it wasn’t included. I got out my very old graph paper and tried to come up with something. I had never done this before and enjoyed the challenge and the creative process.
I sketched a pan of gold, but had trouble making it look appealing. Eureka is our state motto which means “I have found it” referring to the discovery of gold in 1848 leading to the gold rush of ’49. I settled on a mission bell tower and a wave as my motifs.
The wave represents California’s 840 miles of scenic Pacific coastline. California is also known for its 21 Spanish missions. The first, established in 1769, Mission San Diego de Alcala, is the inspiration for the bell tower design I created.
I haven’t framed these two pieces yet. Because they are so small, I will probably display them on a shelf.