The lighting was terrible when we took the photos so you'll have to trust me that the piece looks absolutely gorgeous in the frame. The matte board is a suede matte in a lighter shade of brown than it appears here and it really helps to make the picture pop.
Below is a somewhat more wrinkled picture of the cross stitch that I took before the framing was done. The lighting was better here and you can get a truer sense of the colours. The pattern I was using is called Oriental Butterfly and it was published by Dimensions. I searched every inch of the leaflet, but I was unable to find a designer's name anywhere. It's a shame because I do like to give credit where credit is due.
I used the original counted cross stitch version of this pattern, but Dimensions has released several other variations on the design. I've seen it sold in kits and as a stamped cross stitch set, where you only have to stitch the central part of the design and the Chinese characters and shading are pre-printed. The version I have doesn't seem to be in print from Dimensions currently, but they do sell this very similar Oriental Butterfly design. I'm not sure what prompted the changes.
On my piece, everything was stitched. It was quite an interesting pattern because it uses a lot of different types of stitching. The number of strands you use also varies between 1-5 to help achieve the textures and shading of the final design. Hopefully in this picture you can see that the background is composed of slant (or 1/2 cross) stitches while the foreground elements like the butterfly, coin and chopsticks are made using regular cross stitches.
I didn't use anything too fancy for the fabric here. Since it's mostly covered up by stitching, I made the piece on an 18 count cream aida cloth.
Two close up shots of the butterfly and it's beautiful colouring. The top picture was taken before the piece was framed and the bottom one was taken after. In real life the butterfly still looks just a bright now that it is framed. Here, it's just problems with the camera and light reflecting off the glass changing the colours. Still, I liked the second picture because I thought it showed the stitching a bit more clearly.