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.

Jane asked:
Hi Jo—so glad you had such a happy retreat! Can I ask for some help? After I saw Though He Seemeth Sleeping on your blog, I ordered it right away. I really loved the verse, but your colors are calmer. Can you tell me what you used for the lines of the rhyme? (Especially like your red!). I just can’t get this to work and put it away two days ago. And here you are, leading the way. Again. Thanks for your help!

I’ll answer the best I can. I am having a little difficulty though as I gave my chart to one of the gals that attended the retreat. I was about done with the stitching and still had my working copy so I was comfortable gifting it away.

I HATE when designers put the antique on the page and don’t actually stitch the piece. I am sure it saves them a lot of time but for me, it’s miserable stitching as I can’t really see the colors the best.

I have said before that the chart was hard to start with. The designer, Lucy Beam gave four different color ways you could stitch it. You could use all DMC, all Weeks Dye Works, all Classic Colorworks, or all Gentle Arts floss.

I didn’t have all of any of the brands so I picked and chose making a menagerie of all the brands together.

I started out with this list and modified as I went.
-I did not use the up arrow DMC 3348. It was too limey for the other flosses. Whenever it was called for I subbed in a different green.
-I did not use Classic Colorworks Cupid. It was too bright. I used DMC 221 instead.
-For the letter 5 I did not use white or bamboo. I subbed in Woodrose. Its a very soft mauve color.
-There is the last symbol in the column a bold diagonal line. I did not use Merlin for that. It was too dark. I stitched every that called for Merlin with the color Brethren Blue which is also the color I used for the letter n.

-In the baskets at the bottom, the middle berries were stitch with DMC 502.
-The green leaves in the basket were stitched with the color Tiny Leaves.
-The in the middle that the leaves are attached to was stitched with Weeks Dye Works Olive. It was much softer.

The words and letters were all stitched with the changes I noted above.

The row of leaves…I started out stitching them the called for colors and ended up frustrated. I just started pulling out and old floss that was in the bundle and stitched the leaves one of the colors of the bunch. By the time I stitched them I was so frustrated with the all of the color changes and lack of actual good color selection that I gave up and did my own thing.

I was leery of the dark purple as I had nixed all the other dark colors but I kept it. It is in the center of the crown and the center of the flowers at the bottom. I turned out not to be overpowering in those places.

I do want to note that the colors will look different on different linens. My linen is most like the first picture in color…It’s a very warm color and that’s why I don’t think those dark colors looked the best. All the other colors looked earthy and fallish…the dark colors, the white, and the limey green all had to go because they didn’t blend.

I hope that helps Jane. Sorry I can’t tell you specifically every color in every spot. My best advice, trust your own eye and substitute as you can.

Karen asked:
Your retreat sounds wonderful! Glad you had a good time! Could you please share a link or a bit about the light you use?

I didn’t take a light with me to the retreat. Wait…well I took one and never used it. I don’t really recommend the little light I took. It doesn’t do anything.

Most of the people there had this light…HERE is the link to it.

At home I have two different lights…this one holds my chart, magnifies, and gives great light.

This is the main light I use. HERE is the link. I used it as a floor lamp.

I also have this lamp…find the link HERE. The light is awesome for brightness but there is no chart holder and no magnifier. My daughters use it if they come to stitch with me. It folds super flat and isn’t intrusive. It is currently $39 with a 30% off coupon. Now that I’m going to retreats, I’m tempted to get one just for traveling so I have a lamp to take.

I don’t stitch with a magnifier light. I do stitch with glasses from Zenni. I had them special made for stitching. I have my regular distance vision in the top of the lens and 3.5 magnifiers in the bottom. I LOVE them. That way I don’t need more magnification unless I am stitching over one on 40 count.

Katie asked:
So was your retreat limited to only those who worked on linen? Just curious as to how retreats work. Glad you had fun–I’d love to try one at some point, but work on Aida.

Oh my, NO. Everyone is welcome. Honestly, no one would care if you brought wool applique, if you brought embroidery, or even if you brought crochet. We all admired everyone’s projects…everyone’s.

The gal next to me used to stitch on linen but has been having eye issues so went to Aida. Her work was beautiful. I sure wish I had the progress she has. It’s beautiful.

Many of the things other people are stitching, I might not stitch myself…BUT, I admire them all and appreciate them. I think everyone feels that way. There is no pressure or push on anyone to buy anything, to do something different than what they are doing, or to buy something.

In the same turn, if you were interested in not stitching on Aida and moving to linen, those who stitch on linen would be happy to give you some advice if you first expressed interest.

Every single retreat I have ever been to has been very casual…very relaxed and came with a very “you do you” feel to it. That’s why I love it.

There are two different styles of retreats. One has a designer who comes in and kits up the same project for everyone and puts on a class. Everyone gets a kit. This style of retreat costs more money. You are paying the wages of the designer, for the kit, and the labor to put the kit together. These often involve a hotel stay as well. I have not been to one of these because it’s expensive and there is no guarantee I will like the chart, the colors, or the linen.

Another kind of retreat is an open stitch retreat. You bring your project. You bring anything you want to work on. There are no extra costs. This is the retreat I have been going to. The only costs are $50 per night and my food. There is a kitchen so you can bring in your food or go out to eat. Often times people bring something and share. Most of the time we ate one meal a day in a restaurant. The rest we just ate fruit, snacks, a sandwich and the like. This is my favorite kind of treat. There is more time to talk and hang out…much more casual.

The Stitchery Nook does have Fall openings. It’s the 19th-22nd. Some people come a day or early or stay a day late. It’s entirely up to your schedule and your needs. You just need to call and let them know. It’s also okay if you leave a day early like I did. You do have to book for two nights though. This is not an exclusive retreat…everyone is welcome. I plan on going. I’d love to see you!! It’s totally okay to come alone. We will take you in.

I think that answers all of the cross stitch questions. Many thanks for asking them. As always leave a comment anytime you have a question.

6 thoughts on “Ask Jo: Cross Stitch Questions”

  1. Jo, I second what you said about appreciating and admiring all genres of cross stitching. I’ve been cross stitching for 40+ years, but I have no interest in stitching the Mirabilia ladies or a HAED, for example, but boy, are they impressive! It boggles my mind the amount of stitching that goes into those. I love to admire them on the brag tables.

  2. I use the small fold up light that you had on the table. I can understand why it would not work well for x-stitch, but I do like it for using my sewing machine while camping since it s LED and can use batteries. Most of my camping is without electric and so I use a large battery pack for my Singer featherweight, and with this light I can get along pretty well.
    But I have and enjoy the big long LED light on my sewing table at home.

  3. Again, thank you for answering these questions. I think if I were to do a retreat, I’d certainly like the ones like you attend.

  4. Hi Jo,
    Glad you had a wonderful stitching retreat. I’m trying to get caught up on all my e-mails, but I was out of commission with a kidney infection due to a stone. I’m fine now. I got really behind in my e-mails.
    Just wanted to let you know that your blog about your family weekend came in all messed up. Don’t know where the problem originated cause evidently they are working on our Wi-Fi and it is in and out like a yo-yo.
    Always thinking and praying for you.
    Love to you and yours,
    Jane

  5. what size aida cloth do you use for the best results. some of the sqs are so small to see to stitch i end in a mess also i can t figure out where is the center to start cross stitch. I guess im a beginner
    Thank you
    Dawn

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