19 Sep 2011

Is it just me? (please say no)

I have just finished looking at everybodys projects for IHSW and I am in shock and awe.

Awe at the amazing projects people are working on and the brilliant results of a stitching weekend and shock at what a real stitching hermit I am!

What I mean by this is that, when is comes to cross stitching, I have realised I have pretty much been keeping myself to myself and hermitting away under a rock somwhere.

Why do I think this?

Well - I have been stitching since forever (about 30 years!!!!!) and it has never occurred to me in all that time (and I mean EVER) to mark the fabric with gridlines! Seriously, I saw some peoples work with the lines on and at first I was thinking it was waste canvas (that sometimes has blue lines on) and then I realised that the lines were there to guide the stitcher and make it less likely that they will go wrong. It makes sense, and is such a logical thing and yet it has never occurred to me - why not?  It does explain why I always have to unpick some part of every design and why there are always parts in it that I have made work (that arent exactly true to the original). I like to call this artistic license but I guess it could also be fraud! lol

It also occurred to me that I am a messy stitcher - I saw bloggers who work page by page on large designs, and dont veer from it, some also have lots of threads threaded? I know it is a technique but am not completely sure how its done maybe Sara (xeihua) (my first ever follower) can enlighten me as to how its done.

WARNING: Pefectionist stitchers may feel slightly nauseous when reading the following. Do so at your peril.

This is my process:

Step 1: Get the fabric cut to size
Step 2: Sort out the threads and see which ones you have and which colours you can use instead and which you really cant and need to buy.
Step 3: Keep the work in a separate container to everything else (I am not consistent either, I have a variety of WIP holders)
Step 4: Find the centre of the picture and the fabric. For some reason I always start in the middle.
Step 5: Start stitching. Stitch with this colour until all parts that colour are stitched or until I get bored and fancy using a different colour.
Step 6: Choose a different colour and stitch. Repeat as above.
Step 7: Fill in all the gaps!!
Step 8: Do the backstitch.

I feel slightly ashamed and should seriously change the blog name to something more suitable, such as 'how the hell this womans stitching doesnt come out looking like an inkblot, squashed bug or something, I do not know! Island'.

I would love to know your methods! Maybe I could pick up some new habits, you never know I could have untapped potential! lol

I feel so bad - 30 years of messy stitching - there are many perfectionists out there who praise the joys of cross-stitch because it is so neat and counted and .......I feel so bad :(

I nearly forgot to mention - I dont properly or even understand a stitch-a-long, what are the rules? Also, what is an exchange? and are some like or similar to round robins? Like I said, I have been stitching under a rock. Please help me understand this strange new world :)


  1. I too follow the beat of my own drummer so to speak when it comes to stitching. I RARELY use the floss called for or the fabric for that matter. I love giving some designs my own touch. lol


  2. I use "artistic license" too! Mainly because I made a mistake and don't feel like taking everything out. Sometimes the colors just don't work for me either, and I have to change them.

  3. Hi Kate,
    Don't worry about choosing your own colours for the charts, that is what's going to make your stithing unique and I know a few designers that would be happy to see their designs in different colours, after all what would you prefer seeing the same design stitched exactly with the same colours over and over again or seeing the same design but each one different of the other (I know I would pick the second for sure eheh).

    In terms of gridding the fabric I do that because it helps me making less mistakes if I count where the stitch has to go inside of a 10x10 square that if I have to count from another stitch done (and then if that stitch has misplaced all the following stitches will be misplaced to while if I have the square there I know it's misplaced if it falls outside the square right (if you have trouble counting the fabric like I do, I really advice you to give it a try to see how it works for you, you can use a water soluble pen, like most of us do, or you can simply grid with a thread, I've heard some people use fishing rope to grid and are very happy with it and it's a very cheap way).

    In relation to techniques, yours is as acceptable as anyone else, everyone has their own way of stitching and only you know what you like the most and what's easier for you. As far as I know (which is not much, I'm no expert believe me) the two main techniques are parking and cross country stitching) I use a mixture of both. In parking you start with the first symbol that shows in the 10x10 square, you stitch all the squares that use that symbol inside that square and you park your thread on the first stitch for that symbol on the 10x10 square that follows the one you're doing, after doing this you move to the second symbol on the square your working and you keep doing the same until you have the 100 stitches done on that square and you move to the next one (that's why you see) many threads threaded, cross country stitch is what you do, you choose one colour and stitch all the symbols for that colour before moving to the next one. (Hope my poor explanation helps you understand a bit better) For me what works best is to mix both, for my HAED (because they have several pages) I stitch all the sitches for one colour in the first column and when I reach the bottom of the page I park the thread on where the next stitch is going to fall on the following page, then I move to the second symbol on the column, and so on until I have the page complete (it's easier for me because that way I just need to focus on one page of the chart at a time).

  4. Now trying to answer your last few questions, SAL (stitch-a-long) there are a specific group of rules, they will adjust according with the SAL in itself, it works a bit like the IHSW, there is a weekend or week, where you along with the other people on the SAL, will stitch something in common, it might be a theme (like something with flowers, related with Autumn, with animals, and so on), it might be stitching something from a specific designer (Lizzie Kate, HAED, etc), or it might be a specific chart that everyone on the group has and then you compare the choice colour you made, ow far you've reached on the chart, and what kind of "artistic licensing" you've done, SAL are mainly to give a "group proximity" (if I can say this) feeling when you're stitching because you'll know that there will be more people stitching something related with what you're stitching, it's good when you don't have any stitching group gatherings near you.
    Now exchanges, if you take part in one you commit yourself to send something, stitched related or not to someone else and you'll receive something from another member of the exchange, for example if you join a thread and fabric exchange the organizer of the exchange will give you the name and address of a person to whon you'll have to send x number of threads and x pieces of fabric or a fabric a determined size, that you choose to send, and then you'll receive the x number of threads and fabric from another person too.

    Don't feel bad if your stitching isn't as perfect as you other people would say it must be. The important in cross-stitching, as in any other hobby, is that you enjoy what you're doing, and as long as you like your results, that for me is the perfect stitching, I rather have something that has a totally awful back (as many of my projects do)and that I enjoyed stitching, than fighting with the project to make sure it's all perfect and "according" with the rules of a perfectionist and I stop enjoying it and it will end up as an UFO.

    Sorry for my extremely huge comment, but I really wanted to help you with your questions, so that you wouldn't feel as a total hermit on the cross-stitching world, afterall this is one of the reasons why we are here on the stitching online world, to give some help when we can and to ask for help when we need right :)

  5. Ahahaha..... you stitch like I do. We call ourselves "cross country" stitchers. Basically, one color and go alllllllll about till it's finished and then work on the next and the next. ;)

    The HAED charts you're talking about, you could do that too.... but I find it easier to do page by page.


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