Ed Hardy's Gambling Man - stitched by Rachael Lazenby
I am in even more awe than usual of this above piece, which is the Gambling Man from Ed Hardy's cross stitch book Love Kills Slowly and is stitched so ably by Rachael Lazenby, because I also have this book and have been about half way through one of the butterfly patterns in it for about a year and have been failing miserably at it. It's lovely to see a finished piece from it.
Love Kills Slowly is not a beginner's cross stitch book, the patterns are quite complex and no matter what size the pattern is, each pattern is printed on on only one page of the book, so if it's a large pattern be prepared to squint. This is also not helped by the patterns being in black and white and some of the colour symbols are minuscule.
However, if you're prepared to grit your teeth a bit with the pattern pages, this book is a great source of some unusual patterns. If you're familiar with Ed Hardy's work you'll know what I'm talking about but if not be prepared for lots of tattoo inspired cross stitch, with lots of skulls, roses, daggers and butterflies. Love Kills Slowly would be a good book to find patterns to stitch for the teenager in your life (or for someone unhappy in love and wants to celebrate the fact in cross stitch!).
Not completely forgetting Christmas here, there's still time to stitch something, so for those looking for some Christmas pattern inspiration may I recommend this excellent guest post with a tutorial by Wendi Gratz and free embroidery patterns by Joel Henriques, on one of my favourite (normally non-embroidery but still crafty) blogs, Made By Joel.