I also gave up on using 25 count fabric. My 49 year old eyes just didn't appreciate stitching on something that small. I did a test run, and stitched a block of stitches 5 x 5. Twenty-five stitches were the size of a pencil eraser.
I'm using 18 count fabric. Much easier on my eyes.
So, it will be a little bigger, but I will not stress as much about small stitches, I'm happier.
The above stitching represents about 15 hours of work. (I stitched most of the day last Sunday, and some evenings.) On the pattern, it's almost the complete top row. I think there's one more block to do.
Yep, it's gonna be a long project!