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.
“Jo: I have never stitched on linen. How hard is it to stitch on?“
That’s a hard one to answer. Now that I’ve been stitching on it for 4 years or so, I don’t think a thing about stitching on 40-count linen. Never once do I sit down and think it’s hard.
If you would have asked me 5 years ago…I was on the struggle bus. I was stitching on 28-count linen and had to really focus.
What’s changed? The right equipment and experience. A lot of experimenting had to happen for me to figure out what was right for me. I remember cross-stitching in the hospital when my husband was sick. I wasn’t doing the best stitching. At the time, I was stitching on some 32-count linen that was what is termed as “Old Weeks”. Meaning linen from Weeks Dye Works but it was dyed with a different base linen than they use nowadays. Now they use a Zweigert base linen when they hand-dye.
The old linen was very floppy and drapey. The holes were large and my needle regularly ended up in the wrong hole. I was miserable with that linen. In fact, that linen almost made me give up cross-stitching altogether.
I ended up starting to use Vintage Country Mocha linen along with Picture This Plus linen and things have gone really well for me. I like a tighter weave and smaller holes. I have gone on and have used Fiber on a Whim, Fox and Rabbit, Needle and Flax, and R&R linen and have liked them all as well.
Needles. I started out with just needles. I don’t even know what brand they were. A year or so down the road, I landed on Sullivan Ball Tipped Needles. These are my preferred needle. I’m sure there are other great needles out there. This is just my preference. I get them on Amazon. HERE.
People stitch in many different ways. Some people like to…
stitch in hand meaning with nothing holding their fabric. Some people have a big frame and scroll rods…some people use Q-Snaps and others used hoops.
I think a person needs to try things out and see what works for them. I’m a hoop girl. I learned that way back when I was a teenager with embroidery and have just stuck to that. THIS is my preferred hoop in my preferred size.
I haven’t tried frames…many people swear by them. For me, hoops worked and they weren’t expensive. Plus the dogs sit on my lap when I stitch and I think that would be harder with a stand.
Lighting is another topic. You need good lighting. I have this Ott lamp. It can be a floor lamp, desk, or clip-on lamp. The lamp has a magnifier and a chart holder. I love it.
I hit the jackpot in that it was the first lamp I tried and the first one I loved. There are others out there but this is my favorite. I really haven’t tried others so I can’t talk about them. But, I can say good lighting is crucial.
Magnification is the next topic when considering stitching on linen. This is probably the part that took me the longest to figure out. I have tried SO MANY things and finally am where I feel comfortable.
There are MANY options for magnification. Some people buy 4.0 readers like THESE. I have some and use them if I am stitching over one linen thread on a 40-count.
For my everyday stitching, I went online to Zenni and ordered glasses. I bought a pair of lined bifocals. The top of the glasses is my regular distance vision prescription. The bifocal has 3.5 readers in them.
I LOVE and ADORE these. I have tried so many things…so many. This is my preference.
I watch television when I stitch so I can look up and see the television and then look down and see my stitching. Before I was wearing glasses over my glasses…or getting my nose pinched by a heavy set of lighted glasses. By far, this has been the best option for me.
I really believe that with the right equipment and some determination, you can stitch on linen. My Mom always said, “If there is a will, there is a way.”
For me, when I first stitched on linen, I used the magnifier in my lamp for every single stitch. I was counting one-two over, one-two up, and put my needle in. It was so slow at first…SO SLOW!! I wasn’t the best at it at all. I was determined though…
So the final answer to the question…No, stitching on linen isn’t hard…but it was…The right equipment, the right mindset, and a lot of patience are what you need to do it!!
Another question that came was from Susan in MI:
“How is linen evenweave different from other linen? I’m curious because I haven’t tried anything but Aida so far.”
Evenweave can be nice because it’s a transition fabric for those wanting a linen look but it being more uniform for users. I looked online and found this site to be great at explaining the difference between Aida, Evenweave, and Linen. I recommend reading it over. You can find it HERE.
I think that covers the most recent cross-stitch question. Please feel free to ask. I would love for you cross stitchers to chime in and share how you stitch. What needles do you use, lighting, magnification, linen…anything you can say that would help someone wanting to start cross stitching or moving from Aida to linen or evenweave. You have lots of knowledge of what works for you. Please share.
If you missed it, I announced the new stitch along. There are two options. You can read about that HERE. I’m excited to start!!