The art or craft of cross stitch is one of the most popular hobbies in the world. Easy to learn and do, ‘cross stitch’ is simply embroidery stitched with lots of little ‘X’ stitches to create a lovely design.
This fun craft is sometimes referred to as ‘counted cross-stitch’ because the pattern and fabric require the crafter to count the number spaces to know where to place the stitches.
Most often, cross stitch patterns are done using a woven fabric called Aida cloth. Some advanced stitchers create designs on other types of fabrics using a special backing to help keep the stitching uniform.
The kind of fabric you use depends on your skill level and the type of design you’re creating. I’ve cross stitched designs on my children’s clothing, bedding and other items for my home and as gifts.
Skilled cross stitch crafters create beautiful projects by stitching on plastic and various different papers as well. Gift cards and scrapbook designs may be made by stitching on paper of varying thickness and fiber.
Of course you can’t cross stitch without the proper thread. The threads used in counted cross stitch range from basic cotton, to wool or silk threads. Usually very colorful, embroidery floss as it’s called, comes in all kinds of colors and textures for you to play with.
If you’re just beginning to consider learning to cross stitch, your best bet is to learn about the craft itself before you start buying supplies. Your local craft store, bookstore, or library will most likely have several books available that will teach you and provide easy patterns to start with.
Once you know what’s expected of you in the craft of cross stitching, you’ll want to find some easy projects to begin with that will allow you to learn as you go. You’ll want to start with a project that requires only a few colors of thread and a larger weave Aida cloth. By doing so, you’ll prevent a lot of unnecessary learner’s frustration.
When you sit down to start your first cross stitch project, you’ll want to have all of your materials available and easy to get to. Start out by reading through the project instructions. You’ll want to look over your pattern and make sure that you understand all of the jargon and markings that you may find on the pattern.
There will be a color key that you’ll need to understand so that you use the correct thread color. Make sure to have a pencil handy to make notes or your own marks on the pattern for later reference.
Cross stitching requires you to use a six strand of floss or thread and separate it into individual threads. Your pattern will tell you how many threads you’ll use at a time. Most often, the larger the weave of your fabric, the more strands of embroidery floss you’ll need at a time.
Don’t rewind your floss and by all means don’t let it get tangled or bunched up. Your end project will look flat and even if you take care of your floss.
One key factor in learning to cross stitch is remembering not to knot your thread. Knotting threads in a cross stitch project will make your end result look lumpy and uneven; not a good thing. Just pull your thread through your Aida cloth and make sure to leave a length of thread on the end in the back.
You can keep the bit of tail from going completely through the fabric by holding onto it on the back of your fabric as you make your first couple of stitches; they will overlap and hold the thread in place. You may have to practice this easy technique a few times, but you’ll get the hang of it soon enough.
Another handy cross stitching tip is when you’re ready to change thread colors, just simply pull your needle through the stitches on the back of your fabric to hold your thread before you snip it off with scissors. Make sure to leave a little bit of thread so that it does not come loose and unstitched.
Change your thread color and start on the next area of your project as you did before. And during the stitching process, remember to drop your needle every few stitches, meaning, just hold your project in one hand and let the attached needle and thread dangle from the fabric so that the thread unwinds and your next few stitches will be flat.
We all know how this story begins. Shopping at your local craft store and something catches your eye. Impulse buy, in a manner of speaking. You get it home, you open it up, you even organize and begin the project only to find its more than you may have bargained for!
So you put it away for now and go on about life as usual. Projects come and go and you get to the bottom of the project bin and there it is again, the Unfinished Project (Object)! You take it out, look at the parts and wonder will it ever be done?
How does a project become a unfinnished project? Well, usually it’s something that was too time consuming. However there are many other reasons as well. It could have been more difficult than it first appeared and you needed to learn more before continuing it.
It may have been larger than your eyes perceived. Perhaps the pattern is difficult to read. Maybe the directions aren’t as concise as you would like them to be and it leaves you wondering.
We’ve all done it and we’ve all had them. Now the question is what do we do with them?
I had a unfinnished project for about 2 years, then one day as luck would have it my curious toddler lost some of the floss and a page of instructions for me ~ and the first thought in my mind was GREAT, I can Finally throw it out! Which is exactly what I did with it, threw it out. This is our first option for your dreaded unfinnished project ~ throw it out.
Now you may think this is harsh but if it’s been hanging around long enough to down right annoy you its time to part with it. If your stitching (or any other craft) for relaxation and you dread even looking at the project that is hiding in the bottom of the project bin then it is defeating its purpose. We want to enjoy our crafts, relax and relieve daily stress.
What else can I do with my unfinnished project?? I’ve gotten too far to throw it away now! This is an excellent questions. Below is our list of suggestions and ideas for cleaning out your project bin and either getting rid of or finishing all of your unfinnished project’s.
Put it in rotation. Work on it every few weeks, or for so many hours in between your other projects, eventually it will become a finished project.
Donate it! ~ Many times I’ve seen just started or half finished pieces for sale at the local thrift shop for a few bucks. Someone will pick it up and hopefully it will bring them enjoyment and relaxation!
eBay it! ~ I have also many a unfinnished project up for auction at Ebay! Yes Ebay, the worlds largest marketplace has a large array of unfinished handwork. In these cases the seller is generally trying to recover some of their supply cost. They still sell dirt cheap though.
Share it! Give it a friend that may be looking for a new project or that might like to try something different.
Turn it into something new! This is the most flexible option of all! Create something totally new and different than what it was supposed to be. Examples: Were you making it a quilt and just couldn’t take it anymore?
Make a pillow with the pieces you have done. Knitting or crocheting a sweater and just cant look at it anymore? Use the finished part to stuff a pillow and save the left over yarn for another project. Stitching a piece you just cant bear anymore? Find a small portion that is finished on it if any, cut that out and use in a patch work quilt or put it in a small frame.