Somewhat more detailed images of the top and bottom halves. I ended up using flat little crystals (sometimes called pailettes, at least when used on Sweetheart Tree charts!) in place of the large beads that were meant to represent stars.
And here's a detailed closeup of her face and arms, showing the beading on her dress, the netting in her hair, and best of all, the star-shaped Swarovski crystal I placed in her hands.
I made a number of changes to the pattern to compensate for things that were over the top (beads in the border, solidly stitched background) or things that I didn't like (boldly veined wings, text at the bottom, size 6 beads in the sky):
- Replaced size 6 beads with pailettes.
- Added a star in her hands.
- Used a blue fabric instead of doing the solidly stitched blue background.
- Left out the veining on the wings.
- Removed the text at the bottom (and modified the border to match).
- Removed about half of the beading in the border.
- Replaced the remaining purple beads in the border with variegated thread.
- Filled in "empty" section of her left leg with appropriate dress color.
- Fixed/smoothed backstitching and/or modified stitching to match backstitching better.
The most annoying part about this chart was the horrible backstitching. There are so many places where the backstitch doesn't make sense when you look at the stitching under it. I had to go back multiple times to add or remove stitches, or redo the backstitching, to make it look okay. You can still see a purple spot on her neck, inside where the straps of her dress cross, which I still need to fix. It's clearly not supposed to be there, since the backstitch line is charted to exclude that stitch from the "inside" area of the strap! There were little problems like that all over her skin and dress.
In addition to that, the backstitching was poorly planned and often called for piercing the exact center of an existing cross-stitch. Other times, it was impossible to stitch as charted because the stitches didn't match up with any holes in the fabric, even on linen.
Looking at the completed project, I also wonder about the dress color on her right leg (left side in the photo) and the matching dark purple nearby on her cape/wrap thing. They seem really out of place, like they should have been done in a lighter color.
Lots of complaints, I know, but I'm honestly glad to be finished with this project, even though right now it's mostly a sense of relief! I will not be buying charts from this designer in the future. I also won't be signing up for any other mystery SALs!