Ask Jo: Cross Stitch Questions and a Retreat???

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…

After I finished my cross stitch freebie into a pillow, Susan from Michigan asked:

Love this–very pretty! What is the purpose of interfacing? Does it just give a more finished look to the stitched portion? I also have a few crosstitch pieces that need to be finished.”

You can read the full post and find the link to the free chart for stitching this, HERE.

I learned to use interfacing in finishes like this a long time ago.  I really don’t remember who from.  I’m guessing the gals at Country Threads.

If I put the interfacing in so that if I put sand or walnut shelling for stuffing, none of that seeps out. I think it’s especially important when stitching on a piece of linen…especially this that was a lower count.  There are holes in the linen and sand could easily seep out of those holes.

Another reason is that when I sew the opening shut I have to grab a little of the linen with my needle.  Linen is a more fragile fabric.  When the needle and thread pull through the linen only, the weave of the linen can distort.  If I catch the linen AND the interfacing together, then the linen gains strength and doesn’t distort as I pull the thread through BOTH the linen and interfacing to make the seam come together.

I hope I explained that in a way that makes sense.

Diane wrote:
Love your Valentine pillow. So pretty. Now I’m thinking this would be nice to make for Valentine’s Day. You have really inspired me to get back to my cross-stitching.”

I love that I have passed the cross-stitch bug to many of you.  I’ve heard from others who have picked up cross-stitching again.  YAHOO!!  The more the merrier for sure.

I talked with the gals at The Stitchery Nook in Osage Iowa.  They are my local shop.  They are an hour away so I don’t get there as much as I would like but I do get there and adore the girls.  Sherry is awesome…Liz is awesome.  Well, the gals also have a retreat center that is above the cross stitch shop.  I’ve seen the retreat center and thought would be awesome to hold a retreat there.

I didn’t know if there would be an interest from any of you to come to a cross stitch retreat next fall in Osage Iowa.  It would be a sit and stitch…no guest designer but maybe a class from Liz (If I can talk her into it) on finishing small projects.

I am totally at the beginning thinking on this so don’t hold me to it but it would be around $225 with a few catered meals.  Maybe less…I don’t know.  It would be from Thursday morning when the shop opens to leaving at Sunday at 11 am.

It’s a big jump for me to take and put time into but I think it could be fun.  I’d love to meet some other cross stitchers.  I, like many of you, wouldn’t know a single person who comes…so it’s a leap.

I thought I would write something here to just do a quick gauge of interest.  To hold the retreat center I’d have to have to know if there were actually people interested in coming.

All the details I know is it would likely be an August or into the fall retreat.  It might cost around $225 which would include lodging and a couple of catered meals.  You’d likely want extra money for other meals and, of course, shopping.

The town has a quilt shop and a couple of antique stores too.

If there is a huge interest, we’d need to book rooms at the hotel too…what do you all think??  Is there anyone out there who might be interested in coming?

Here are a couple of pictures I took of the retreat center when I visited.




I thought it was a lovely gathering place.

You would need to be able to navigate the stairs as it is above the store.

So…Let me know.  What do you think?  Might you be interested in coming to a cross stitch retreat?  If you are, send me an email at  I’ll collect the emails and see if there is enough interest to book the center.

Please know, everyone, no matter where you are in your cross stitch journey, is welcome.  If you are a newbie and want to learn…I’m sure there will be enough of us to help you along.  If you’re a pro and have been stitching for ages, you’re welcome…if you’re a sampler stitcher…if you stitch on Aida…stitch on linen.  It makes no difference.  The retreat is intended to be a celebration of stitches.

24 thoughts on “Ask Jo: Cross Stitch Questions and a Retreat???”

  1. Oh Jo what a wonderful idea, just wished I lived in the States, sadly its a wee bit far to visit, but who knows , nearer the time I may get over, Good luck in this endeavor I have a feeling you may need to have several retreats to get everyone interested a place.!

  2. Terrific idea. I’ve never tried cross stitch but would like to learn. What is a good beginner pattern and how to get started guide?

  3. Sounds like a wonderful idea. Not too bad of a drive from SC. I would love to learn to stitch on linen. I haven’t stitched in probably 10 years due to cataracts, but they are soon to be taken care of, so hoping that makes a difference.
    So, Chalk me up as a maybe.

  4. Oh my, count me in!!! It will be so fun!!!! During the year I attend friends retreats and instead of just quilting sometimes I just stitch or do both. I live in MN and the drive is only 160 miles. I also organize quilt retreats several times a year for my quilting friends, but it is always so fun to go to someone else’s. You mentioned possibly in the fall and if your retreat falls on the week after Labor Day I would not be able to come.

  5. Jo – FYI, I haven’t stayed at this retreat center but I have visited while on retreat at Debbie’s quilt shop. and I am certain that they have an elevator or lift to get to the second floor. It is a lovely space!

  6. Have a new question for you: when you have a ‘fill in’ area worth lots of stitches, does your linen tend to distort or stretch a little? If so, how can I prevent this? Or does it relax again later when finished? Thanks!

    1. Connie, be sure not to pull on the thread as you stitch. Also, only do an individual complete stitch if you’re using variegated thread. Otherwise, work half stitches one direction and return the opposite direction as you complete the cross stitch.

  7. Susan from Michigan

    The explanation about interfacing makes perfect sense. Thank you.

    A retreat sounds like a wonderful idea. I haven’t done crosstitch in decades. I would have to try a small project and see if I am still interested first before committing.

  8. Connie in north Georgia would love to come!! I would be a “pencil” me in at this time. Please include me in more details as available!

  9. Count me in for a retreat. That would be sooo much fun. I’m one who would probably stay in a hotel because of my snoring unless you can pair me with a roommate who doesn’t hear well.

  10. I would be interested in a retreat. I live in Florida so I might fly and then drive part way as an option but would love to sit and stitch and meet other cross stitchers

  11. I am definitely interested. I live 45 minutes away. I can afford the approximate cost. My calendar is pretty wide open. I would love to meet other stitchers. A class on finishing ideas sounds awesome, if she could do that. Sounds fun!!

  12. I live on the Illinois side of the Quad Cities so would be interested in coming. I’ve been stitching close to 40 years now but none of my stitching friends kept stitching. I know there is a stitch group in the Quad Cities but haven’t been able to make it to any of the monthly meetings since I found out about it. Please keep me posted on details.

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