Never one to ease myself back into anything gradually, I ordered myself a large kit measuring approx 16" x 12" from Dimensions and set to work.
The kits are really good value, with plenty of thread supplied - in fact I had so much left over at the end, I wondered if I'd done something wrong! The only thing I hadn't noticed when I bought it was the metallic thread used (mixed with normal thread) for the bamboo 'framework' around the outside. I'd never used metallic thread before, and I have to say, I didn't particularly enjoy it, and wouldn't mind if I never used it again, but it does look very effective!
The whole thing took me roughly 6 months to complete, although I put it in a cupboard over last Christmas and forgot about it for about 6 weeks, which didn't help, but I got there in the end.
I seem to remember trying to work out how many stitches it actually contained at one point, but can't remember the figure I came up with now - whatever it was I'm fairly sure about 30% of them aren't in quite the right place, but it didn't look too bad once I'd got it stretched and into a frame.
Once I'd finished, I decided to buy another Dimensions kit straight away. 'Fleurs De Paris' didn't have any metallic thread involved - I made a point of checking - and measured approx 14" x 8"
I managed to get this finished within about 6 weeks, framed and up on my bedroom wall. It really suits the current trend for 'shabby chic' decor and accessories, and was really enjoyable to do (I've also seen this kit available from some Ebay sellers, with a black background, rather than the parchment colour seen here)
The only problem with this kit was that it wouldn't fit any standard, pre-made frames, so I ordered one made to measure from www.ezeframe.co.uk
I've bought their frames for other projects since, and I'd be happy to recommend them - they're reasonably priced, quickly dispatched, and securely packaged. They use non-reflective acrylic glazing in the frames, instead of glass, making them light, and less likely to get damaged in transit. They also have the facility to upload a photo of your picture to the website, and 'try out' all the different frames so you can get an idea of what it will look like on your wall, which could save a lot of expensive mistakes!