Starsky & Hutch “Striped Tomato” Cross Stitch

Guilty pleasure time: I love Starsky & Hutch. Well, that’s not quite a guilty pleasure. I’m a vintage clothing fan, a fan of ’70s pastiche in general; I’ve always preferred mystery/thriller stories where the investigators are ever so slightly removed from the law and I see nothing ironic or embarrassing about enjoying this show (unlike some of the other Spelling/Goldberg productions from the era).

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at cross stitch for a while now and watching the DVDs I recently re-bought, I was inspired by the much-imitated red and white Torino.

Torino side view image
6″ yellow plastic embroidery hoop
Embroidery hoop
Red cotton embroidery floss
Cranberry cotton embroidery floss
Grey cotton embroidery floss
Black cotton embroidery floss
White cotton embroidery floss
Transparent packaging tape
Scrap denim
Tapestry needle

I found the original side view image I wanted courtesy of Blues Brothers Central, always a great resource for classic movie car images. I flipped the image in Paintbox and used Photobucket to crop it down to just the image of the car, which I then reduced to 400 x 117 pixels to make it a good size for stitching.

Initially, I tried using Knit Pro to create the stitch grid for the pattern, but it didn’t quite work, so I returned to my old method of using my laptop as a light box and tracing the outline and details onto the cross stitch cloth with a pencil.

Colors for the “striped tomato” pattern were well established and didn’t require too much imagination in the design process. I picked cranberry floss to give the pattern some contour and dimension and to differentiate the red of some of the car details (lights, side mirror) from the red of the body of the car.

The wheels, wheel wells and hub caps were the real challenge here — as I am physically incapable of drawing a circle, even on a square grid. I initially created the clock-style circle of crosses, hoping to create an outline for the tires that was proportionate to the car and I ended up liking just the circle of crosses approximating the tire. I reinforced the “circle” by embroidering the hub caps in grey floss (a cross at the center with a circle around it).

The design ended up being a shade too large for most of the smaller embroidery hoops I found at Michael’s and the larger hoop made sense when I thought of the caption. I picked yellow because it was the least cutesy of all the colors on offer (no light blue or pastel pink for Starsky’s baby) and reminded me of the color schemes on the DVD box sets.

For the caption, I didn’t have a template for embroidering the letters, so I guessed the size I wanted and kept to a 3 x 4 grid pattern for the larger letters and a 3 x 3 grid pattern for the smaller ones. It took quite a few re-touches as I worked to make the letters more toward the center of the pattern. Not stellar but pretty good for a first effort.

Owe a lot of love to Floss & Mischief for the instructions on how to both frame the design in the hoop and add a backing. For the backing, I ended up using scrap blue jean denim, cut into a 5″ circle (traced with a protractor) to draw the dimpled embroidery cloth a little tighter.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with my first serious cross stitch project. What do you guys think?


~ by blackmoodcraft on May 16, 2013.

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