Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Cross Stitch Questions

I've only ever attempted one cross stitch project before and that was years ago. It was a white cat sat in a bed of pink flowers and I got so fed up of all the white that it never got finished. It must have been well over thirty years ago, though I've still got the unfinished project in my sewing box but I can't remember much about working on it to be honest.

After seeing lots of pretty cross stitch projects on blogs, I quite fancied having another go so Mick bought me a kit for Christmas. Isn't it lovely?


The problem is, I don't really know where to start. I have lots of questions so I hope that some of you can help. Firstly, is there a particular way to stitch, i.e. top to bottom or left to right, changing colour as you go, or do I complete everything in one colour first before changing to the second colour, or do I complete different parts of the picture such as the roof, then the door, then the windows etc.? Do I need to use an embroidery hoop? How many strands of thread do I use at once, I seem to remember using two strands together?

I'm sure I'll have lots more questions once I start it. If you can think of anything else I might need to know, I'd be very grateful for your help.

32 comments:

  1. Jo, that is a lovely cross stitch pattern. First of all, you should edge your fabric either with a zig zag stitch or with fray stop or something on that order so the edges won't unravel. Then find the center of your fabric by folding it in half and then in half again. I usually pinch the point really firmly between my fingers so I have a crease at the center. You can also do a running stitch in both directions that will mark your center very well.

    A hoop is fine if you choose to use one. I don't. I like the control I have holding my fabric free hand but using a hoop might be more comfortable for you on this try. The number of threads you use is dependent on the fabric count. I don't see that on the photo but it is probably 14 count so you would use 2 threads for your cross stitch and 1 for any back stitching (the writing and outlining). Since you are starting again, I would recommend you work only on a small area at a time. Pick a color that is close to your center and work from there. When you get ready to move, count and recount. I've been cross stitching for years and years and I still get lost sometimes. Do your back stitching last.

    If you have any more questions, please email me sb34830@gmail.com. I will be happy to help. I may not be near a computer for a while, my Mom is going to have surgery next week but my phone gets my email.

    Good luck, relax and enjoy.

    Hugs,
    Sharon

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    1. Thank you for all your tips, that's really helpful. Hope everything goes well for your Mom next week, I shall keep you all in my thoughts.

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    2. You can also check out this. It will give you lots of tips. Thank for your thoughts. It will be a tough time but knowing all my bloggy friends are behind me is so comforting.
      http://countedcrossstitchpatterns.net/

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    3. I shall check that out, thank you. It's extremely difficult when a member of the family is going through such a tough time, I know first hand from all different sides. It's important that you look after yourself though too. Sending my very best wishes to you all.

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    1. Thank you. I'll probably need it, I'm not very good with a needle and thread.

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  3. What a lovely project to rekindle your cross stitch adventure. I do use a hoop as I find it helps with the tension, although do remove it when not working on the project to minimise the hoop mark. I also photocopy/enlarge the pattern so I can mark off the stitches as I go, helps me to focus where I am and keeps the original in tact. I tend to do a run of stitches first one way then back again rather than cross every stitch, and sometime I park the thread when I know I shall want to use it again a little way away but need another colour to help with the position.
    Depending on whether your kit has presorted threads, I always put mine on little cardboard bobbins to identify the number of the thread.
    I hope you really enjoy your lovely gift, do contact me if you need any help
    Happy stitching xx

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    1. I love the picture, it will be nice to frame if I manage to complete it. It's a good idea to remove the hoop when not working on the project, I'll remember that tip. Also, enlarging the pattern will work well too. The kit does come with presorted threads so that's one less thing to worry about. Thank you for all your hints and tips.

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  4. Hi, Remember the important thing is to enjoy it and the worst that can happen is you make a mistake and unpick an area. I made my Mother-in-law a Footprints cross stitch. Sadly the Foot and the Prints are a line away from each other and every time I see it it makes me go Grrrrr but I never noticed it at the time.

    Yes fold in half and half again to find middle. Choose a colour closest to middle of chart and get going.

    It doesn't matter which way you make your squares as long as you are consistent. I usually go bottom left to top right then bottom right to top left - it really doesn't matter. Do a colour, weave into the back (fasten off), and then get another colour. I started by buying a magazine with a free kit- I used to get Cross Stitcher. They usually have a small free kit and clear instructions to help you do the kit - it may help you find your confidence before you try your kit? (or go to Smiths - towards the back of the mag they show you the basic stitches to help you get started!!!!!!). Have fun and the kit is lush.

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    1. Thank you. I think it does help to remember that it's something which should be enjoyable, I tend to get stressed over the slightest thing so I do need to remember that. I'm sure the Footprints cross stitch is wonderful and something which your mother in law treasures, the mistake will only be visible to you because you know it's there. Thank you for your help.

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  5. I enjoy a bit of cross stitch, find it relaxing. I usually edge my fabric with plain old masking tape to stop it fraying if that helps. It's a lovely design xx

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    1. I love the picture, it's my sentiments exactly so I'll enjoy doing this cross stitch. I never thought about the fabric fraying and using masking tape is a great tip. Thank you.

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  6. As above. I find a hoop better with cross stitch projects. With tapestry I'd rather do without. It's usually two strands to work with. Your kit should have instructions with it. I complete the large blocks of colour first as they are easier to count on the pattern and provide a way of locating smaller areas of colour. Make sure you can see the holes. I need to use a magnifier or reading glasses now to keep them in focus!
    Love from Mum
    xx

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    1. My eyesight is getting worse by the day. I've only had my reading glasses just over a year, but I know I'll need stronger ones by the time my optician appointment comes round again. Thank you for your tips, they're very helpful.

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  7. Jo I have been struggling with a cross stitch for nearly 6 years and there is still over half to do yet. Good luck with yours though XX

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    1. Six years isn't quite as bad as the one I've had in my sewing box for over thirty years. I've given up, I'm starting again.

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  8. You've gotten great advice. I always use a hoop and I always start in the center of the pattern and work my way out from there. Enjoy your project!

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    1. Thank you. I wouldn't have started in the centre of the pattern without everyone's advice, I thought it would have made more sense to start at one side and work my way across, but I can see how starting in the centre would work better.

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  9. I've done a bit of cross stitch and by the look of some of the comments, you've certainly got plenty of advice, though my daughter is a whiz at it. I must look out a tiny one I've had on the go for many years and may finish it now that you have posted about it. BTW, I've finished my first ripple and now hubby wants one too. Take care.

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    1. You never know, if I enjoy doing this one, I might even get the one I started over thirty years ago finished. I'm looking forward to seeing your ripple, I haven't picked the one I'm doing for Eleanor up for quite a while.

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  10. I was going to refer you to Chrissie, but she has already helped! I think that it is a beautiful cross stitch and hope that you have fun with it. xx

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    1. There's always someone in blogland who can help, isn't there? I knew I'd get lots of great advice, and I have. I do love the picture, I'm sure I'll enjoy stitching it.

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  11. You've got a lot of good advice already, Jo, so I won't add any more. I'm getting slower with my counted cross stitching because of eyesight problems so I only do a little at a time. I have to do the larger cross stitch pieces these days and prefer doing picture tapestries with thicker thread and a pre-printed picture on the material which I can get when I'm in Italy. I'm probably not as methodical in my approach as some of the other contributors to your post. It's a lovely piece you're going to work on and I like the quote so enjoy stitching. Looking forward to seeing the finished picture.

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    1. It's such a shame when failing eyesight prevents us doing things we love to do, one of the many curses of getting older. I was only prescribed glasses last year but I can tell already that my eysight is deteriorating still, I can't see a thing without them now. I love the quote on the cross stitch kit I'm going to attempt, I just hope I can do it justice.

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  12. What a lovely kit Mick chose for you. Hope you are getting along with it ok. You've been given so much useful info. Bloggers are very helpful people!
    Lisa x

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    1. I haven't started it yet, I'm going to buy an embroidery hoop when I next go somewhere where they sell them. I knew I'd get lots of helpful replies, the blogging community is so helpful, as you say.

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  13. Lovely cross stitch kit, my mum gave me 2 she bought herself last year, i knew when she bought them it was beyond her, at 80 her fingers are no longer nimble enough and she has 3 breaks in her right shoulder which has put a stop to most of her hobbies. Hopefully I can get them done and framed and give her them back to enjoy. I will look forward to seeing yours stitched and framed too xx

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    1. It will be lovely for her to enjoy them once you've completed them. My mum's eighty this year and she stopped knitting quite a while ago, it's too painful for her now, plus her eyesight isn't what it used to be.

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  14. What a great gift :) You've had some really good advice here, you'll nail it I'm sure!

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    1. I've had some great advice, I just hope I can manage it. Anything with a needly and thread isn't really my forte, but I'll give it a go.

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  15. I am sure you will do fine with it once you get going. I leave the cross stitch to my sister. I lack the patience for cross stitch and she lacks it for knitting! ;) Some of the ones I have seen through blogs are so lovely it does make you want to have a go though!

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    1. I'm so inspired by what I see on blogs. I'm not very good with a needle and thread, but I'd like to learn so maybe this is the way to go, we'll see.

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