Woman takes ten years to cross stitch a replica of the Sistine Chapel

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It took only four years for the great artist Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome in the early 1500s.

Half a millennium later, it took Joanna Lopianowski-Roberts nearly ten years to cross stitch a replica of Michelangelo’s original – and publish a book showing others how to do the same. But then Michelangelo, unlike Roberts, was not working days as a software consultant.

The book, titled “Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in Cross Stitch,” appears on Lulu (http://www.lulu.com) on February 10 – the same day as Roberts’ epic cross stitch piece. is on display at the 17th Needle Arts Exposition, in Austin, Texas, near his home in Junction, Texas.

Roberts doesn’t expect the book to become a bestseller. Indeed, she was worried that she would not find a publisher until she found out about Lulu.com, which allows anyone to publish a book at no upfront cost. But she hopes the cross stitch community will like it.

Although this is only a scale replica of the original, Roberts’ work still measures 80 by 40 inches. She asked the Guinness Book of Records to have it recognized as the largest finished cross stitch in the world.

Roberts, 41, started the project in October 1995 because she was looking for a challenge. “When I came across a photo of the Sistine Chapel, I realized that reproducing it in cross stitch would be a laudable project.”

It took him almost ten years and 2,872 hours to sew the piece, which has 628,296 stitches in 1,809 different color combinations. That doesn’t include the nearly 700 hours it took to design it in the first place.

The book features patterns representing the 45 scenes of the ceiling of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: “They were created one square at a time, which allows me to transform the curved ceiling of the Sistine Chapel into a flat pattern.”

“Anyone who sees the work is blown away,” she says.

So how did Roberts feel when she finished the epic project? “I thought, I enjoyed it so much, I would gladly stitch it up.”

ABOUT LULU.COM: Lulu, the world’s fastest growing source for print-on-demand books, lets you publish your own books, eBooks, calendars, images, music, and videos at no up-front charge. Lulu was founded by Bob Young, who previously co-founded software company Red Hat.

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