As we approach the two year anniversary of the inaugural Past Impressions blog, it's time to tackle one of the really big questions: what is our favourite cross stitch kit? Being a question unquestionably impossible to give a single answer to, we've decided to go an extra few miles and count off our favourite embroidery patterns. Determined using the popularity of products on our site, how much they've been liked and shared on social media and a little bit of our own personal choice, we'd like to begin with the first 20 pieces in our top 100.
100 - Beatrix Potter Birth Sampler Cross Stitch Kit
We start the countdown with a familiar set of faces. The character's drawn and written into existence by author, conservationist and icon Beatrix Potter, this birth sampler lets you welcome a newborn into the world with Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck and more besides. Little ones will always have new heroes and story-book friends to find, but Beatrix Potter's creations will continue to find their way onto nursery walls and hearts of many, just as they've always done.
99 - Shakespeerkat Kit
A committed performance, a not-so-subtle pun and a mischievous meerkat; what else could you ask for? We're not sure whether to be or not to be more impressed by the dead-pan determination our furry friend has whilst he soliloquises over poor Yorrick's skull, or the way he does it whilst wearing tights outrageous even for the 17th century. Either way, we can't leave him on stage without some sort of award.
98 - Stitching ABC Kit
Alphabet sampler kits are more often than not a fun way for kids to learn the essential ABC's with the creative joy of cross stitching. Rightly so, but once in a while we adult crafters like to remind ourselves of the essential building blocks of sewing, and this cross stitch kit works perfectly in that regard. Full of the essential emblems of our favourite hobby, and just perfect for our sewing room, it's a wonderfully illustrated pattern made to celebrate those with needle in hand.
97 - Celebration Cup Cakes Cross Stitch KitWe can't let a good British bake-off go by without cracking out the cupcakes, and it always helps to have a passionate embroidery pattern to work on whilst we feel at our most patriotic. This batch of celebratory cupcakes each take inspiration from the Union Jack in their own unique way, and though they aren't real, they endless inspire us to click the oven on and whip up some frosting.
96 - Bruno in The Kitchen KitBruno is one of the treasured characters we're honoured to have with us on Past Impressions. From Luca-S' Bruno & Bianca collection, here we see the bashful teddy bear with his chef's toque on, cooking up a storm in his own little kitchen. Part of the Bruno Bear kits is how they put this little teddy in such simple, everyday scenes, and this one makes us hungry to stitch and, well, just hungry.
95 - The Leopard Cross Stitch Kit
Riolis are remarkable at designing patterns at photo-realistic levels, and no animal is more deserving of detail than the leopard. Caught in one of his lazier moments, this relaxing hunter chills in a pose for a piece set in his own home environment. It's a quality design that forgoes the more traditional image of the leopard as a fiercesome hunter to show him off as just another sleepy cat.
94 - Four Owls Cross Stitch Kit
It's good to have a bird around for every season when they all start flying south for the winter. This kit has a hooting quartet of big-eyed feathered friends, each one decked out and digging one of the four seasons. Despite its cartoony feel this is a very recommendable piece for adults and children alike, and ideal for the kitchen or conservatory.
93 - Tsubaki Kit
To us, the cultural richness and inherent grace of Geisha's make them a much favoured embroidery subject, despite there not being nearly enough cross stitch kits to seek out. It's one of those rare times where the complexity of the piece is vitally important, and the oriental image is easily worth the effort.
92 - Passion Flower Angel Kit A long-time beloved pattern on Past Impressions, the appeal of this little angel doesn't even need description. What we personally get out of this piece is the subtle level of interpretation; is it a little girl in immaculate dress up, or is she a real fairy? The ambiguity is charming, and this piece is a dream to complete.
91 - The Great Wave Off Kanagawa Kit
Even if the name is new to you, everyone has seen this image at some point. A ukiyo-e (woodblock) print that stands as one of the most recognized works of art in the world, certainly Japan's most iconic, it transitions nicely to cross stitch with minimal loss in the colour and overall effect from the crashing wave. An excellent tribute to both a relic of history, and the awesome power of nature.
90 - Poinsettia & Holly Christmas Card KItIf it wasn't so early (even for cross stitch standards) in the year, this may well have turned out to be the 'Top 100 Christmas Card Kits' list. Suffice to say we've struggled immensely to pick a fraction of our favoured holly-covered and santa-soaked kits to feature in the coming weeks. This Poinsettia floral kit is one such admission, showing off the beauty of this stunning natural Christmas decoration on a most thoughtful card pattern.
89 - Girl Christening Cross Stitch Kit
For christening birth samplers, you'll either want something with a photographic quality to it, or a cross stitch kit that lies more in the traditional realm, such as this piece by Nia. This stands as our only piece thus far to mark this particular hallowed occasion, but for now we're quite happy with the old-school magic of this church-centred, commemorative cross stitch.
88 - Tatty Teddy Birth Sampler Cross Stitch Kit
The first, and we absolutely promise you not the last (just look further down...) appearance of Tatty Teddy in the countdown. The iconic character from the Me To You Bears collection was made for birth samplers, but this one in particular just works. It doesn't require a border or motif collection; just one scruffy symbol of childish innocence and his own tiny teddy bear.
87 - Noah's Ark Birth Sampler KitA cartoonish image of the Ark from Noah's flood, the big smiles (and considerably more decorated house-boat than we're used to) make this a charming birth sampler kit for any nursery, bedroom or playroom. There's big smiles on all the animals, and we like how the name, date-of-birth and weight of the newborn can be written onto clouds rather than just a plain background.
86 - Meadow Cross Stitch Kit Simply beautiful. There's a mix of every colour in this healthy meadow, which has been illustrated in a solidifying, water colour fashion. Crafts company Maia excel at this form of design; cross stitch kits that act as artworks in and of themselves, and one we definitely intend to feature again in upcoming instalments of this countdown.
85 - Alphabet Fun Cross Stitch Kit Learning letters is such a funny thing. It's strange what alliteration we choose to introduce our little ones to letters, but undoubtedly it works wonders, and this cross stitch kit brings the whole 26-letters to life in a way that virtually any child can learn them. Made for a nursery, having your alphabet chart be home-made is sure to be a boon during their learning and development.
84 - Baking Tatty Teddy KitSee, we told you we can't more than three numbers without this lovely little bear showing up again! From the nursery to the kitchen, this kit also whips up our love of cupcakes in one very messy baking scene. A colourful and most adorable pick of the Tatty Teddy patterns for everyone to enjoy.
83 - Wedding Cake Card 3D Cross Stitch KitThe Nutmeg Company are one of our first ports of call when it comes to finding the perfect cross stitch card kit. Their 3D designs and wide range of motifs for every occasion always stun us, as does this beautiful wedding cake card, with the bride and groom standing many dimensions high in this multi-layered labour of love.82 - To Have & To Hold Cross Stitch KitContinuing the wedding vibe, this marital cross stitch pattern has been a popular favourite on our site for some time now. With its high detail and similar shades, it can be a bit of a daunting pattern to take on if you're intending to give it away as a gift, but once completed it's sure to see you showered with compliments from a most gracious bride and groom.
81 - Fleur Cross Stitch KitAs we near the end of this first instalment of our top 100, we're very glad to bring you the first of the Heritage Crafts' Elegance series kits, designed by John Clayton. Each features a stunning lady in an incredible vintage outfit. Like all in the range, Fleur appeals to the fashion concious and those who admire grace. Amongst the silver dress, luscious blonde hair and flower headdress, we're glad we have to start stitching from the centre of the kit; else we'd never be able to decide what to complete first!
80 - Tiger Cubs KitAnd finally for this time, an irresistible cross stitch pattern that looks like something right out of a fairytale. Featuring two beautiful tiger cubs, and breathtaking forest scenery bathed in a winter's touch, perhaps what gives us a tingle of this piece is knowing that somewhere in the world this scene is possible to witness. We hope it always is.
What cross stitch kits of ours are you hoping to see pop in our continuing top 100? Let us know in the comments. Or for that matter, why not send us YOUR top 10 patterns to us via Facebook, Twitter or Google+? We'll see you next time as we move into the 70's and 60's of our list..