Ask Jo: Cross Stitch Questions

I recently had two different blog readers ask me about floss and what I do when I’m kitting up if two projects need the same thread.

Here is an example of what I sometimes do if two projects are small and need some of the same flosses.

First off both of the charts you see below are from the same designer, Brenda Gervais of With Thy Needle and Thread. I’ve found that many designers gravitate towards the same thread. They find what they like and they use it.

If I stitch both of these small projects, I will not use a whole skein or anywhere near a whole skein of floss. Both of these are seasonal and could easily be stitched at the same time of year. (I was hoping to have these both stitched by now)

I ended up putting both projects in the same project bag. Rather than split the threads out and put them on their own ring, I just put all of the threads for both of the projects on the same ring.

It’s pretty much a given that if you stitch a Brenda Gervais chart and there is a flower stem or anything green on it, she will be using Olive and Oscar…Grits too!

These are quick projects…small projects and something that can easily all be housed in the same bag so it’s easy for me. I do make sure to label them though.

Once I get one of them stitched I typically take the floss that I won’t be using on the next piece and put it away just in case I need that for an upcoming project.

When it comes to big pieces that I am stitching…I typically give all of them their own skeins of floss. I never know how much is going to be used in a large chart and once I start with one dye lot of color, I want to stick with that if I can. I’m not super picky about it…but, if I can stay with the same dye lot, I do.

The other thing…for the most part, I stitch most of the same designers. Teresa Kogut who I have stitched several pieces of often uses Kudzo. If I end up with an extra Kudzo, I don’t worry…I’ll use it in another project.

I know some people say that they “steal” floss from one project bag and use it when they need it. Me, I wouldn’t do that because goodness knows, the next time I sit down to do the original project, the floss that I want will be the one that’s stolen and I’ll be all frustrated. I know me and don’t want to do that.

I know cross stitching isn’t a cheap hobby but if I calculate out bang for my buck, it’s pretty good.

When I stitched my Newcastle Bouquet piece by Teresa Kogut…

The cost was this:
$16 chart
$25.50 threads
$18 linen

Total $59.50

I worked on this project about five times a week for four months. That is cheap entertainment. Even if you add in the cost of framing, it’s still cheaper than most forms of entertainment.

So for me, another $2.50 for an extra skein of floss is really not something I worry too much about.

Here is Floral Motif Sampler from The Scarlett House.

The cost was this:
$22 chart
$45 threads-if all were purchased new but I had 3/4 of these threads left from other projects so my cost was closer to $12.50
$28 linen

Total $62.50

I stitched on it for two months while I was being treated for my thyroid cancer.

This project gave me something to do with my mind. At the time, that was priceless. As they say, much hobbies are cheaper than therapy.

If you are wanting to decrease the cost of your cross-stitch hobby I would make the following suggestions:
1- don’t over-buy. 90% of the charts will be available for a long time so we don’t really need to have a huge stash of charts unless you are like me and reads them over and over again like books. I do buy the Blackbird charts because I love them and they do go out of print.
2- Have an organizing system for your floss so if you are starting a new project, you can go through your old floss and see if you have the colors that are called for
3- If a color isn’t used much in a chart and variegation of the thread isn’t needed. Sub in the DMC. DMC 3011 is a WONDERFUL replacement for the color Oscar.
4- Use only 2″ borders with your linen. Framers only need that much unless you are someone who wants a big linen border around your stitching. Use the leftover linen for small projects.
5- Put your supplies away after you are done stitching. That way your floss is organized and available for your next project should you need that color. I know a lot of people who throw the floss into a bowl that is leftover and then just buy new floss all the time.
6-Frame and finish things yourself. This is the biggest money saver. The more you do the better you become at it. I still take my largest pieces to the framer but I typically bring my own frame. I don’t like lacing large pieces…so having them laced is my luxury.
7- Don’t keep a ton of UFO projects. If the projects get finished, the floss can go back into your storage system and can be used for a different project.
9-Kayla, my daughter, and a friend both bought the same small project. They split the floss between the two of them.
9- Don’t try every new-fangled notion. I have a light I like and I don’t try new ones.
10-Know what you like before you buy too much. When I first started stitching again, I was wild about Lizzie Kate. Most of the stuff she designed was on a 28 or 32-count linen. I bought it. I bought a lot. Fast forward to 2020. I discovered 40-count linen and liked less cute things and more samplers. Now I never stitch on 28 or 32-count linen. I don’t stitch many Lizzie Kate things either. That was a waste of money.
11- If you do buy as I did, find a stash unload site on Facebook. You might not recoup all of your money but some..then buy more reasonably.

I think doing some or all of the 11 things I listed above will save you more money than buying an extra skein of floss now and then.

As always…this is not the gospel. You do whatever makes you happy!!

16 thoughts on “Ask Jo: Cross Stitch Questions”

  1. Polly Currier

    Last night’s post, 6/13, about Kayla and Jasper was all gobbly, both with email and going directly to your site.

  2. Very good and helpful information about cross stitching. Thank you for sharing. BTW I had no problem opening the Kayla and Jasper visit post.

  3. Good advice, Jo. I often work on 2 things at once and sometimes using the same floss can be a problem.
    Love and prayers

  4. Last night’s post worked just fine for me. No problems using the Feedly RSS reader on my iPad and Mac. Those who have problems, please include the name of the app you’re using, and the device. (PC, Mac, Android, iPhone, Chrome, Safari, Edge, etc.)

  5. This is more of a question regarding cross stitch finishing. When you are framing your piece yourself, where do you buy your spacers from?

    Thank you.

  6. Tonight’s post Come into the garden all gobbly, unable to read. The post came through my email, this post was great.

  7. I have also had problems with post coming through with only a pinkish wording showing. However, if I click on the wording the post does come up in normal fashion.

  8. UGH!! Gobbledy gook again on your Come to the Garden finish post. Couldn’t even leave a comment there, had to come to this post to comment.

  9. Susanne Scheurwater

    Sure wish I could read about your “Come to the Garden” finish but it was all greek jiberish. Hate when that happens!! Hope you are able to repost or fix the issue. Thanks, love your blog.
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  10. Great information. I am also starting the Home Sweet Home by Brenda Gervias from you. Thank you! I am also working on the Women on the Mayflower. Both have some of the same colors. I really like your idea to kit them together. Time and money saver for sure.
    I appreciate that you took the time to put this post together. I am absorbing your advice!

    Thanks again.

  11. Good advice all around, Jo! I’m amazed when watching so many Floss Tubes at the money so many of these people have tied up in kitted-up projects that they don’t know if they’ll ever get around to! I guess that’s a hobby in itself, but I love to see progress on my projects, whether quilting or cross-stitch or my woodworking or gardening, etc. I love it all, but don’t want any of it to become a burden to me! Thanks for your good and timely advice.

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