Ask Jo: Cross Stitch Questions

Every so often questions and comments come from readers that I think others would like to hear my response to.  That’s when I feature them on the blog.  This is one of those days. Today’s questions are all about cross stitch.

The first question comes from Julie…
Hi Jo – I’m curious about the hoops – what is it that you love about them? Your projects all look great, makes me want to sit and stitch!

I am a hoop stitcher and prefer a hoop. Some people stitch without a hoop and still others like Judy at Patchwork Times stitch with a frame.

I knew early on that I didn’t want to stitch with a frame. It’s too cumbersome and not very portable. I stitch with dogs on my lap on the couch while watching television and for me, frames just didn’t seem to fit with that.

I have tried stitching with nothing, what is termed as “stitching in hand”. That wasn’t a good fit for me either. My hand cramps up and I have more trouble controlling the tension of my stitches… so by default, I’ve become a hoop girl.

I am a throwback to my teenage years when I did embroidery. A hoop just seemed like the right thing and I went with it. I love using a hoop. For me, it’s like a clean surface open for me to create on.

For years I have used Morgan hoops. I love them. They have a ridge in the hoop that helps lock the fabric in place so I never have to tighten and retighten my fabric. They are great and I will always keep them in my line up of cross-stitch hoops.

I recently heard about Nurge Hoops. Initially, I wasn’t interested but then saw their shape. They are rectangular.

One of my pet peeves about circular hoops is that when I stitch the borders on my cross-stitch pieces, The rectangular shape helps me get into the corner to do that. I like to leave a 2″ space around the whole piece to allow for framing. I don’t like to use more than that or I feel it wastes linen. I don’t put any matting on my framed pieces so 2″ is totally fine.

The rectangle shape allows me to leave a 2″ margin and stitch the entire corner of the border without fighting my hoop by putting the very corner stitches in butted up right next to the hoop. It’s more of a comfort thing.

What else I like about the hoop is that when I was stitching a long skinny piece like my Snip, Snip piece that you see above, part of the linen wouldn’t have fit in my hoop. The extra small hoop allows me to use linen scraps for small pieces better. If I can use up small linen scraps, that’s a win-win for my checkbook.

I ended up buying the small-sized hoop as well. I liked the extra small one so well that I figured why not give it a try. I ended up loving it as well.

The hoops are very lightweight so they can easily be held in a stitcher’s hand with no weight discomfort.

The hoops are very reasonably priced.

Best of all…See the piece I’m stitching above? I put the piece of linen in the hoop and I haven’t moved the hoop yet. Granted it’s a small piece I’m stitching but, normally just to stitch that bottom row, I would have had to move the hoop because my scrap of linen is small and the hoop would have been angled in a way that wouldn’t have let me stitch the whole row. Because of that, I started in the middle. I stitched the black triangle then the red ones on each side, then the black ones, and so on. I was able to stitch the triangles that were the same color and didn’t have to unthread my needle and switch colors. So often as a stitcher, you either have to switch thread colors or move a hoop. With the Nurge Hoops, I don’t have to do that as often.

HERE is an Amazon link to the hoops. So far I’ve tried the extra small and love them. I’ve tried the small ones and love them. I wouldn’t be tempted to trade out all the hoops I currently have for Nurge Hoops but I’m too frugal. I have two of each now and will likely stick with that. If I’m working borders, I’ll use the small…and use that for smalls in general. I’ll keep the two extra small for really small projects. I’m sold on them.

Again they:
-are lightweight
-allow me a better more usable stitching space
-allow to work in the corner areas more easily
-allow me to use small leftover pieces of linen

Now for the next question…

This is from Donna,
Love watching your progress on your stitching. Any progress is good, right?
If you have a moment, I have a question about Pet all the dogs. I see there’s also a pattern called Hug All
the Cats. Is it included in this pattern or separate – it’s listed as both at 123 Stitch. Haven’t been able to get an answer from anyone yet.
Love and prayers

This is the piece that Donna is referring to. This is the chart Pet All the Dogs by Teresa Kogut. If you are a cat lover and would like the version Hug all the Cats, that alternate verse is included in this chart. You can stitch either Pet all the dogs or Hug all the Cats.

In the cat version, there are cats under the trees. The wording says, “Hug all the cats”. There are cats on the border below the words.

I think this would be so cute if you are a cat lover.

So Donna, go for it. Buy this chart and you’ll have the cat version too. If you love both cats and dogs I think it would be easy to modify the chart to include both.

Kathy asked,
Do you have any instructions on how to do these? I’ve done crewl, and counted cross stitch I’d like to see how to do these.”

Hmm…this question had me stumped a bit. The comment was left on my cross-stitch update. So I’m going to try to chime in. If anyone else wants to leave a comment and chime it too, that would be great.

So here goes…Kathy, this is counted cross stitch. If you stitched back in the day and bought a kit and did counted cross stitch, you’ll be able to do this. I’m guessing if this is the case, you might have used Aida cloth vs linen. I stitch on linen.

I buy linen, floss, and the chart all separately.

If you want to stick with Aida cloth, it comes in wonderful and amazing colors nowadays. It is not stiff to stitch on.

If you previously did cross stitch, there is a whole new world out there now. You are going to love it and be completely and totally amazed.

I strongly suggest going online and googling “Cross stitch shop near me”. If there is one within 3 hours…GO!! If not, my local needlework shop, The Stitchery Nook has an online shop too. You can find it HERE. They are great gals. They have worked with new stitchers and returning stitchers a lot. I think you’ll love Sherry and Liz.

I think that wraps it up.
If you have more questions…as always, just leave a comment in the comment section.

12 thoughts on “Ask Jo: Cross Stitch Questions”

  1. I ordered two Nurge hoops through your link and they just arrived. For projects that size I was very happy to think of not moving the hoop, can’t wait to try them. This leads me to a question…I did the Floral Motif Sampler (love it) but can’t seem to get some of the hoop creases out. I used my wool mat and that helped. Do you have ironing tips? Will some of it stretch flat with framing?

    1. I just flip it over and iron it from the back. I put spray starch on it too but both of those methods aren’t popular.

  2. Judith Fairchild

    Comment for the last inquiry I press all my stitching on the back, but I use a towel to press on so the stitches aren’t flattened.

  3. Jo, how do you end your thread? I’ve been trying to go under three or four stitches on the back but that won’t always work, especially with single stitches or just a couple of stitches. Sometimes I use a little knot but the back of my work gets to looking bad. I also don’t want knots or threads to show through on the front.
    I bought some Nurge hoops after you reviewed them and I love them!

    1. To end my stitching I just run my needle and thread under previous stitches on the back. It’s not the easiest when it’s only one stitch. I just muddle through that.

  4. Thank you for the answer, Jo. I may do both on the same piece of Aida…can’t see linen anymore.
    I like the nurge hoops…always wondered why there weren’t square ones.
    Love and prayers

  5. My mother taught me to embroider when I was young (in the 50’s) and we always used a hoop. I’ve stuck with that all these years but have tried other forms of stitching, too. I tried stitching in-hand but, like you, Jo, I can’t get the tension right and the arthritis in my thumbs don’t like it…haha. I bought a lap stand (K’s Creations) years ago and a Lowery floor stand and was thinking I wanted to try stitching with frames. Nope…that didn’t work for me, either. I went back to hoops and it just feels “natural” to me. I bought a couple Nurge hoops from 123stitch (they were cheaper than Amazon, believe it or not) and I’ve been using the medium size one on my larger projects. I have a couple Morgan hoops but they’re a little heavy for my hands. I’m enjoying the Nurge so far.

  6. Hello Jo, this isn’t exactly a Cross Stitch question, but it’s related.

    A while back you shared the holder you use to make videos, please could you share the link again. I have gone back through the Blog but couldn’t find it.

    Thanks a bunch. I am facing surgery on my neck and will have to wear a neck brace, I thought if I had that holder I might could read while sitting and doing nothing! lolo


  7. {Love your stories. Ever since your ‘update’ about 20% of your posts look like this. Wondering is it me? Why are they not readable? Keep it up Jo, living your best life.
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