cross stitch

FO Friday: Desert Mandala

I wanted to do a separate post just on my finished Desert Mandala since it was a very long-time, epic-sized project and I am really proud of myself for getting it done this year!

The design is from Chatelaine Designs. It was originally a “class”, so the pattern is broken up into sections, although I didn’t work the sections in exactly the order they were presented. This is an older design and Martina sadly passed away quite suddenly a few years ago so there will be no more newer designs from her, although her daughter has taken up the reins for the business and you can still buy the PDF online. I believe I started this in either late 2018 or early 2019, although I didn’t work on it exclusively until this year (2022). When I decided to start this, I opted to kit everything up myself. It was kind of a hassle and I don’t think I really saved myself anything over what I could have gotten with European Cross Stitch (which, despite their name, is a US-based company). I decided to go with a blue fabric like our famous New Mexican sunny skies rather than the more neutral sand color Martina chose for her sample. I also used the hand-dyed silks called for in various ways throughout the pattern although I think you could substitute in all DMC and have this be equally beautiful. I did wind up running out of English Ironstone, which was a hand-dyed silk used in the feathers and clouds (it’s the creamy off-white color) but I subbed in a DMC of similar color and I would guess you can’t tell where I did that.

I worked the center section with the hexagonal “wreath” first. This has a border with specialty stitches and loads of sparkly beads, both the smaller seed beads and larger square crystals. Lots of metallic threads in this section as well in the central cactus and lightning bolt, as well as some of the border details.

The center of each side has a landscape vignette including some better-known Southwest locations like Saguaro National Park, Joshua Tree, Monument Valley and Arches. Each of the landscape vignettes also had a motif from artwork from Native Americans in the area – the thunderbird, dream catcher, the bear and the skull (which is also the symbol for Ghost Ranch, the home of Georgia O’Keeffe, which is about 45 minutes north of where I live).

Each corner of the design also has a “nature” corner that highlights some of the native flora and fauna of the region, including painted lady butterflies, a jackrabbit and rattlesnake……

roadrunner, scrub jay, scorpion and one of our black beetles, as well as various flowering cacti.

I am so pleased with how this turned out! The level of detail in Martina’s designs is truly amazing and I plan on taking this to my local framing shop to get a proper framing with museum UV-filter glass since this is an heirloom and I want to make sure those beautiful vibrant colors stay that way for many years to come.

9 thoughts on “FO Friday: Desert Mandala

  1. This is amazing! I hadn’t heard of the company until I saw your posts about them when I started following your blog, so I hadn’t realized that the designer passed away. That’s sad, especially since it was so sudden. I’m glad her daughter is keeping the company open, though, since it means I can buy the designs too! And I used the European Cross Stitch company to get my supplies for the pattern I bought. Much easier than trying to source everything myself! 🙂

    You should be really proud of this one. It turned out great. (And no, I can’t tell where you switched in the DMC floss.)

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