Before I get into my stitching progress I thought I would answer a question or two.
“Hey Jo, I haven’t cross-stitched for years but started a project on linen, Boy it’s a challenge. Do you have any pointers to help a new stitcher? Enjoy your day.”
I have a few things to suggest…The first is to keep trying.
I stitched back in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Back then I stitched on Aida. I honestly didn’t know people stitched on linen. If they did, I had no idea where they would have purchased it at. Remember back then there was no internet-no floss tube.
Then in 2015 or so, we made plans to meet up with blog reader Ila. She lives near Chicago. We decided to meet halfway or so in between her house and my house. My oldest two girls Kelli and Kayla wanted to ride along. The girls and I decided to hit up a few quilt shops on the way. Country Sampler in Spring Green Wisconsin was a place we stopped. We had no idea they had cross stitch there.
Well, Kelli was all about it and super excited to start cross-stitching. She ended up buying stuff to stitch. I was scared to even try but in the spirit of comradery, Kayla and I both bought stuff for a project too.
It was the first time I tried linen. Oh my. What a mess. I kicked myself for spending the money. This was not going to work for me at all. I was disappointed. The stitching bug caught Kelli. She was stitching right and left and I was happy for her but sad for me. I just couldn’t see the holes. Counting over the two holes seemed like such a task. I gave up.
Fast forward a bit. I saw this…
I was in love. I wanted to make it. I was ready to give cross-stitch another shot. The problem for me. Where to find it.
I search and was excited to learn that there was a shop an hour away from me and they had the chart. Kelli and I made plans to go to The Stitchery Nook in Osage Iowa.
The gals there were super helpful. I told them how scared I was to spend the money on yet another project that I might not be able to do. There happened to be a retreat happening. The gals took up upstairs and we crashed the retreat. They showed us all the different magnifiers and equipment the gals had. It was very helpful.
I ended up going immediately to JoAnn’s and bought this lamp. You can find it HERE on Amazon.
I was super determined. I really wanted to stitch the chart that I bought. I was so determined. I am so glad I kept trying.
Here are the things I learned:
Determination matters. Be willing to try and try again.
When I started I stitched I was so slow. I used the magnifier all of the time. As I went I started being able to see the holes. My hand started having some “muscle memory”. I got so my hand got into a rhythm and it knew how far my needle needed to go. So in reality my hand and eyes got to working together.
I learned that the first few stitches in any piece are typically the hardest stitches for me. The linen is blank. There are no landmarks to reference meaning there is not another motif to count from. Also, once the first row is stitched, I could use that row to reference the row that I stitched above it. As my piece builds, there are more and more rows I can reference from. There are more and more landmarks to use as a reference. Each piece gets easier and easier the more stitches that are in a piece.
Good lighting is important. I prefer lighting that is over my head.
I can suggest this or that for magnification but truly you have to try for yourself. For me, I have glasses from Zenni that were made especially for stitching. I have 3.5 magnifiers in the bottom bifocal and regular glasses on top. It is what has worked best for me. If I am stitching 1 floss thread over 1 linen thread I occasionally use the magnifier on my lamp. Anymore, I really don’t use the magnifier on the lamp. I sure needed it in the beginning though.
As with starting any new hobby…give yourself grace. Your first piece won’t be perfect. Knowing that, stitch small projects at first. Get a few under your belt. I was stitching for about 18 months when I finally jumped into a bigger project. It was my Newcastle Bouquet.
Teresa Kogut is the designer of this. I just knew I loved it enough to make it work. I had never stitched with one thread. I had never stitched on 40 count. I was filled with determination and I didn’t care how long it took me to stitch. So my other suggestion is to completely and totally fall in love with what you’re stitching. Fall in love so hard that you are determined to stitch even if you’re slow. Even if you might want to quit.
Now, onto what I got stitched…
I started my next block of Anniversaries of the Heart. This is technically the November block. This one is being stitched for my husband’s Mom’s side of the family. They came from the Germany/Poland area I believe during the WWI time period. They settled in the Fenimore Wisconsin area, in fact, my husband’s mom was born there. The family later moved to the Grand Meadow/Stewartville area in Minnesota.
Here is how far I got before I got stuck. Check out the picture. I started stitching the house. You can see a few stitches on the left side of the house near the roof. The called for Toasted Barley floss is not showing up. My Toasted Barley is tan, not gray as the picture shows. This is VERY common in stitching these charts. That’s why I encouraged anyone who is starting this to NOT BUY all the called for floss. So often it doesn’t work.
Well…I ended up pulling the stitching out and finished stitching the roof and then the tree.
The next day I pulled some floss to try on the house. I ended up pulling Dolphin for the house and Blackboard for the windows. I didn’t get a chance to try it before I wrote this blog post. Hopefully, it will work.
This is as far as I got. For the most part, all that is left is the house and the big box at the bottom with the names.
My hope is to have this done next week when I show you my progress. Then I can move on to the last regular block.
I didn’t get much stitching done this week. I had two days that I didn’t put in a single stitch. I had family things going on and that’s much more important.
I am excited about my progress. I am so glad I am putting the hours into Anniversaries of the Heart. I really want to push for a finish.
I worked on A Changed World only one evening. It’s hard to accomplish much especially if that means only one hour or so…this week I squeezed in an extra night working on it so I actually got more done than usual.
Here is where I was last week.
Here is where I am this week.
I was dreading stitching the basket with the blue flowers. I had so much trouble stitching the basket that was on the opposite side that I was sure I was going to have trouble stitching this basket too. I didn’t at all. I finally figured out the pattern of it.
Then I moved and started the tree in the middle. There are supposed to be x’s in between the green x’s you see but I am kind of confused.
Look at the pattern cover. Doesn’t it look like it’s white in alternate x spot?
The called for color according to the chart is 934 and that is a dark green. Hmm. I don’t know what to do about that. I left it for now and will come back and look at it when I’m finished and decide what to do.
I did all of the stitching to the left of that tree this week too. Next week I hope to finish those trees and stitch the birds that go on top of the yellow flower.
Once I am finished with the section that I am on, I think I will be getting close to halfway on the chart…but the bottom half of the chart is more stitch heavy so that doesn’t mean I will be done anytime soon.
I’m hoping the saying slow and steady wins the race as I am really slow with this.
I got a sweet email that included a gift card from a friend to 123Stitch. I was doing a little happy dance. I haven’t placed my order yet but I’m getting close to knowing what I’m going to order. Having a gift card really makes shopping fun!
I’ll tell you what I picked once it comes in the mail.
That’s all there is here in my stitching world. I’m writing this on Thursday night. I’m off to make some supper, take a shower, and then it’s stitching for me tonight. YAHOO!!