Category Archives: Cross Stitch

Ask Jo: Cross-Stitch

Well, well…lookie what happened!  Many of you got interested in cross-stitch!!  I got a lot of questions about cross-stitch after I’ve been blogging about it lately.  I honestly think cross-stitch is super hot and popular right now because of covid.  It’s an easy hobby to do with minimal entry cost which is awesome.

Judy wrote:
Jo, after looking at all the various blogs of quilters who also do cross-stitch, I’ve decided to pick cross-stitch up again. I’m struggling with working on linen, even though I have 2 large pieces that I did in my younger years that are on linen.
Your pieces are beautiful, I’m starting small with ornaments, so hopefully, I can get back in the swing of things. Thanks so much for the inspiration.”

This is a common problem.  I had the problem myself.  I started cross-stitching in the 80s using Aida.  I loved it.  I did a big Paula Vaughan piece.  All of her cross stitch had quilts in it.  They were beautiful.  I stitched this one….

Pink ribbon paula Vaughan's counted cross stitch kit | Etsy

When the kids were little I stitched a lot.  As they aged, I quit cross-stitching and moved to quilting.  When I started cross-stitching again, I was terrible at it.

I didn’t want to stitch on Aida so I bought linen.  I could not do it.  I bought a pattern and everything I needed.  I sat down to try, no luck.  I felt like a clumsy ox.  I just couldn’t wrap my head around seeing two threads and stitching over them.  I quit.

Kelli bought a project at the same time and with her, it clicked.  She was showing me what she was doing and I was so sad I couldn’t make mine work.  Fast forward to me seeing this piece.

B51 Gratitude Turns What We Have into Enough Inspiration BoxerI loved the words on the bigger piece.  I was bound and determined that I was going to figure cross-stitch out.  I really wanted that stitched and in my house.

I looked up a shop that had it and found one an hour from my house.  YAHOO!!  Kelli and I went.  I got the stuff.  I told the shop owner my problem and she said get a good light with magnification.

I bought one immediately.  I have this…Here is an Amazon link for it.


This didn’t make it a breeze, but it did make it easier.

I still struggled and was so slow, but I found I could do it with magnification.  My first piece was far from perfect…but it was okay and I was proud of myself.  I wanted to quit a couple times but spending the money on the lamp kept me in the game.  I didn’t want to spend that money for nothing.

Here are some things I learned.
-The more you cross-stitch, the easier it is to see the threads.  As with anything practice helps you improve.
-Once you get a few stitches into the piece, other stitches are based off the first stitches so, the more you stitch on a piece the easier it gets.
-You do get muscle memory when stitching.  Your hand learns about how far the next stitch is going to be away.

So..stick with it.

Next question…
Judy wrote:
“Do you have a specific magnifier you could recommend? Maybe that’s my problem.”

I think this is the same Judy who wrote the first question.  I do have the magnifier I showed in the photo above.  When I first bought the lamp, I used magnification ALL OF THE TIME.  If I did one stitch, I used it.

Time has passed.  I’ve practiced more.  I not longer use the magnification portion of the lamp unless I’m stitching one floss thread over one linen thread on 40 count.  Most everyone needs a magnifier for that.


My eyes are so trained now that I can stitch in the doctor waiting room without the best light.  Of course, I try to sit by natural light, but, I can easily do it and I’m stitching on 40 count which is a “more advanced” linen.

You eyes truly do learn.

I stitched for awhile on 28 count…I moved to 32 and this year I finally took the dive and moved to 40 count.  The reason why??  I wanted to stitch this… Continue reading

Cross Stitching in 2020

2020 was the year I took on cross-stitch again.  I had started back up in 2019 but then most of my stitching was done at the hospital while my husband, Kramer, was sick.  Then he passed away and honestly, I didn’t do much crafting or stitching for a bit.

At the time I was working my way through stitching the sheep virtues from Little House Needleworks.  These…

FULL BUNDLE 2013 Sheep Virtues cross stitch and 50 similar items

Here is another look at them.

Image result for sheep little virtues
I stitched one of these each a month over 2019 and the last one I finished in January of 2020.  I wrote a blog post that said I felt like I stitched my life into words as I stitched these.  Find that post HERE.

I started this one when Kramer had his lung surgery.


I finished this one a year later.


I haven’t fully finished the set yet but that’s a goal for this year.  I haven’t found the perfect thing for them.

I finished this project.  It’s from Lizzie Kate.  You can read about it HERE.  I stitched it in 2019.  I finished it in 2020.

This was a decorative cutting board from the thrift store.

I finished this…This is another Lizzie Kate design.  I used a thrift store frame.  This too was stitched in 2019.


The same day I finished this piece too.  This was also stitched when Kramer was sick.  I find stitching VERY therapeutic.


This one was Kelli’s but we finished this together…another Lizzie Kate.


I stitched this freebie.  It’s still not fully finished.

I fully finished this…I bought this pattern at the thrift store and can’t remember who it’s by…maybe Bent Creek?


I stitched and finished this Lizzie Kate…


I’m not loving this finish.  At some point, I think I’m taking this apart and redoing it.  I don’t like so much border on the piece.

..and these two Lizzie Kate charts got stitched.

I’m hoping to finish them as the appropriate season comes.

After watching so many floss tube videos, I decided that I was interested in stitching some things that were more than “just cute”.  I love all the things I’ve shown you so far, but I really wanted to dig and make something that was more of a legacy piece.  I wanted to make something larger.  I wanted to make something that had more meaning to it.  I wanted to stitch a sampler.  I was so scared to try.  Samplers are stitched on 40 count fabric.  It’s hard to see.  The work is a little more precise.

I ended up trying something small.  Kelli and I went together to buy a piece of 40 count linen as she was going to try it too.  I tried it with this pattern… Continue reading

So You Want to Try Cross-Stitch

I’ve gotten a couple of comments and emails from blog readers lately that have asked for thought or suggestions for trying cross-stitch.  They’ve asked how to get started.  I thought I’d do a post here as there are likely others of you wondering where to start if you also are interested.

So the first thing you need is a chart. If you’re new to cross-stitch and you don’t know if you are going to like cross-stitch, I suggest finding a free chart.  Here is one that is really cute.

It is a freebie from Lila’s Studios.  You can find it HERE.  She has many nice designs.

This is a cute free chart to make this drum from Whilst Iris Naps.  You can find the free chart on THIS PAGE.

All is Calm - Christmas 2020 Free Chart
While you’re there check out some of her other wonderful samplers.

Priscilla and Chelsea have a few free charts also.  This is their Chicken Joy.  You can find…
Continue reading

New Year, New Start

In the cross-stitch world, so many people have a “new year-new start”.  It’s so funny for me originally being a quilter, the difference between cross-stitch and quilting.  With quilting, UFOs are more of a bad word.  People feel guilty about having so many unfinished projects…cross-stitch doesn’t seem to be that way.  Many cross-stitchers start new projects all the time!!

I hear people say:
birthday starts
Christmas starts
Thanksgiving starts
New Year starts…

… and to top it off, there is May-nia.  That’s the month of may when many start a new project every single day for the month of May.  Some tone it down a bit and will start a new project every other day…  still, it’s not at all what quilters do.

There is also Jolly July…that is when the month of July is dedicated to starting many new ornaments with the hope to get them done by Christmas.  Some people start a new ornament every single day.  Oh my.

You all know I am fighting hard to get my quilting UFOs under control…I’ve been blogging about my Dirty Dozen challenge ever since June and I had 32 projects that needed attention.  Oh my.  I’ve made a big advance on getting them done…but still not done…and likely won’t be for a bit.

Because of all of that, I’ve been pretty careful not to fall for the cross-stitch “new starts”.  I had planned on a birthday start…but ended up busy the night of my birthday and never started it and didn’t start in on a later date…so no start happened for my birthday.  It was supposed to be this…A Pleasant Sampler, by Hello from Liz Matthews.  One of the reasons I picked it was because I love the verse…


I’m hoping you can read the verse here.


I didn’t start it though.  It might have to carry over and be my birthday start next year.

I never did pick anything for a Christmas start.

I did pick a New Year’s start though…I picked this…the Anniversaries of the Heart series.  This… Continue reading