We'd like to start this blog post with a big thanks to our readers, customers and followers. This year has been a great one for Past Impressions, with some of our most exciting products and patterns going out to avid stitchers across the country and beyond. We can only hope 2014 yields the same, if not better cross stitch kits and tapestries to bestow upon the stumblers of our humble store!

So, we'd like to close up the year with a little something for us: a countdown of our absolute favourite embroidery/needlecraft subject matters, themes, ideas, what have you. From fantastical to functional, we tell you why each type of design really works for us:

#1 UnicornsIt's rather hard to put a finger on what makes this mythical creature so intriguing. More than just a horse with a little narwhal inspired add-on, the unicorn is very much the symbol and epitome of fantasy stories, both in high examples of the art-form and in children's entertainment. Their use in textiles is startlingly abundant, particularly in the iconic tapestries 'The Hunt of the Unicorn' and 'The Lady and the Unicorn'. As of writing, admittedly our products are woefully underpopulated by these majestic creatures. Hopefully in 2014 we'll move further on from the tip of the horn and tame this beast.


#2 Japanese Art

Fantastically exotic, and drenched in a culture equally so, we feel lucky to have such eye-catching images as these oriental masterpieces. Modelled heavily after Japanese woodblock printing art, known as Ukiyo-e, they're depiction of women and traditional scenery makes you feel closer to stepping on the country's soil with every inch completed.

#3 Couplesimage of Big City Rendezvous Cross Stitch KitLike Robert Doisneau's iconic 1930 image Kiss by the Town Hall, we absolutely love the way cross-stitch, whether made from an illustration or photo, permanently captures beautiful couples within an instant. Whether it's a passionate embrace between lovers, or an innocent exchange between two star-crossed children, it's humanity unfiltered, and is something we'd happily sew into existence for a thousand lifetimes.


#4 PortraitureAs previously described in our blog post on portraiture cross stitch kits, one can capture the many facets of the human face with such ease on coloured canvas. Whilst there are massively elaborate patterns that depict roaming backdrops and landscapes, we're still marvelling at the way these kits can depict a single moment in time and history with just a careful look, a specific posture and a few pieces of cultural apparel. We feel like a fine artist each time we complete one of John Clayton's Elegance collection pieces from Heritage Crafts, and there's always another one loaded up in our stitching queue.


#5 Tapestry Lavender HeartsImage of Love Lavender Heart Tapestry KitImage of Scandinavian Lavender Heart Tapestry KitImage of Alphabet Lavender Heart Tapestry KitPossibly our favourite addition of the year, we can barely move for all these wonderful, sweet smelling decorations. Simple to make, wonderful to give and multi-purposeful, they may be the best use of needlecraft we've seen to date. Whether tucked into your lingerie draw or hanging from a sturdy branch of your Christmas tree, these crafting projects from Cleopatra's Needle come with our highest recommendation.

What was your cross stitch/tapestry highlight of the year? Let us know in the comments, and definitely send some photos to our Facebook and Twitter pages, or share them on our Google+ communities if you haven't done so already. We look forward to providing you the same high quality cross stitch kits and accessories next year and all time to follow.


Don't forget, you can still vote for us in The British Crafting awards for 'Best Online Retailer' in the 'stitch' categories until December 20th: VOTE HERE


Post By Graham Ashton