Cross Stitch Update

I didn’t get a lot of cross-stitch time this week.  Early in the week, I didn’t feel good…and I’ve had some company.  One night I didn’t stitch at all and another night I squeezed on about 45 minutes.  In light of all of that, I was surprised that I got as much done as I did.

I had some readers send me some things cross-stitch related and I thought I would share them with you.   Ila sent an article to me.  You can read it HERE.  It talks about some of the benefits of being a cross stitcher.  I found the article really interesting.  You might too.  I think some of what is said can be applied to any type of crafter or quilter.

Then I had some questions from blog readers that are cross-stitch related.

Pamela wrote:
You do beautiful work! This is absolutely gorgeous! Between you and Judy L (Judy at Patchwork Times), I am attempting cross stitch again. I am having trouble seeing and got some lighted magnifying glasses and hope that helps. Judy also mentioned you telling her about the sewing style of cross stitch and I am attempting that too. Do you have any videos of you using that technique? I am going to have to see what videos you have. I am not interested in watching hours-long videos. Maybe if I get more involved in cross-stitching I may change my mind. I got some black even weave to try and that was a mistake. Maybe I can use it when I get better, but now it is almost impossible for me to see where to stitch.”

There are several “methods” of cross stitching with several different modes of… doing it.

Some people “stitch in hand”.  This means you hold the fabric in one hand and operate the needle in the other.  I’ve tried this method and I’m not a fan.  For me the hand holding the fabric cramps up.  I also come to cross stitch from my early days as an embroiderer.  Back then, I used a hoop to hold my fabric…and that method has kind of stuck with me.  I have graduated up from the simple embroidery hoops to a good quality hoop that is better at holding the linen at the tightness I prefer.  I use Morgan Hoops.  You can find them HERE.

Some people use Q-snaps.

They look like this. You can find them HERE. They are a pipe that goes together.  There are clips and they can hold the fabric in place like a hoop.  These are wider and thicker than a hoop.  I tried them and for me, they are more cumbersome than a hoop.  Many people love them but they weren’t for me.  I sold mine.

Many people use a scroll frame some with a lap or floor stand. Find them HERE. I’ve not tried these.  For me with kids around here, I didn’t want something out for them to get into and this seems hard.  Plus, I like my stitching portable.  That is one of the big attractions to cross stitch for me.
Needlepoint Embroidery Tapestry Scroll Frame Made of Organic Beech, Wooden Cross Stitch Frame, Needlepoint Holder, Stitchi...
How you stitch, depends on what type of frame you have.

People who stitch with frame and stand often stitch with two hands.  One hand is at the top of the work from the top.  The other hand is underneath the work and does all of the work at the bottom.  It is a two-handed stitching method.

Some people use the poke method meaning exactly what it sounds like.  You poke the needle down, you poke the needle up typically using the same hand.

Some people use a method that is “semi” sewing method.  You go across making one leg of the cross and then come back to make the final leg.  This is how I learned as a kid.

How to make a cat cross stitch

Here is a video from Cross Hatch quilts.  I use this method, called the sewing method, only I use a hoop.  I just keep the fabric in my hoop really loose.  I love this method and it has completely changed the way I cross stitch.  It is also the best method to use if you are using a variegated thread.  I think it’s easier to control your tension with this method as well.

I highly recommend watching this video if you want to try this method.  At first, it will seem awkward but with practice, you’ll be off to the races.  I think my stitches lay flatter and nicer with this method too.

Christi that does the video has a great Youtube channel and I highly recommend her.

Here is another video that shows stitching in hand.

Many people say that you can’t use a hoop and do the sewing stitch, but you can.  Simply put your cloth into the hoop and keep it very loose.

Pamela, I hope that doesn’t make you have to watch a lot of videos but for me, videos are the best way to learn.  I’m a visual learner and these videos have been helpful to me.  Both of these videos show stitching with linen and I purposely picked those videos as I hear from many of you that you would like to try linen.

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

Linda, your question put the powers that be into motion.  I contacted a cross stitch shop and asked them about putting together a kit for a beginner-friendly chart and possibly hosting a stitch along here on the blog.  We’d make the kit available for purchase through the shop that can be ordered online or by calling the shop.  I’d host a stitch along that would last about 10 weeks.  I, and hopefully the ladies at the shop, will field your question the best we can and help you along the way.  It would be a project that we’d start in April or so.  It would be a fall-themed piece and we’d have the summer to finish it.  We are looking at projects and supplies taking supply chain issues into consideration.  So, right now, we’re in the planning stages with the hope that we can do this starting in April or so.  No firm plans yet.  Is anyone interested??  Leave a comment and let us know.

So many of you have said you’d like to learn to cross stitch…or that you’d like to get back to it…or that you’d like to try linen…The kit would come with your choice of linen or Aida so anyone can start where ever you are and jump on the learning curve and jump in.

So now on to what I stitched this week…No much.

Early in the week I was sick and didn’t do much of anything except write blog posts and getting my medicine.  Later in the week, I had kids home checking on me and we opened presents that didn’t get opened on Christmas.  It was an okay week but I had a little fantasy that I was going to forge ahead on this project but it didn’t happen.

This is the floral motif sampler I am working on.  My plan was to stitch a flower each day of my treatment starting on December 8th and hopefully nearing completion by the end of January or beginning February.

Here is where I was last week.

Here is where I am now…

I brought the side border on the left down and turned the corner.  I stitched the big flower in the corner and the small one next to it.  Then I started two more flowers.

I also stitched the five flowers to the right of the basket in the center.

Here you can see where the whole thing is at.  I’m not exactly sure what’s going on this week.  I know I have my appointments every day in Rochester so there will be driving involved and possibly some hotel time.  I haven’t quite decided.  I’m watching the weather.  So that could mean more or less stitching time.

I am going to start a new project on New Year’s day but don’t have plans to jump into it deeply…just enough to say I started it even if it’s only an hour’s worth of stitching time.

I really want to finish my floral motif sampler and I really want to finish my project A Changed world.  I have that about 1/3 of the way finished.  That’s not a big project so hopefully, it won’t take a really long time.

I am a little bummed.  This is my stitching lamp.  See the push button switch on the left?  It won’t push in and out anymore.  I tried to take it apart and fix it.  No luck.  I ordered a new one.  I seriously can’t live without the lamp.  It’s my cross-stitch MUST HAVE.  They handle this one Joann’s but the price was the same as Amazon even with the coupons (at least when I looked).  I ordered HERE from Amazon.

I love this lamp…It’s perfect for cross stitch.  The top light is great.  The clip holds my chart and the small light is a magnifier.  It comes as 3-1, floor lamp, table lamp, or clamp.  I use the floor version.

I’ll have Craig look at it when he’s here before I throw it out but I think it’s toast.

Missing my lamp might keep me from stitching…WAIT.  I’ll run up and get one of the lights from my sewing room and use that until the new lamp comes.  WHEW…Great thinking on my part!!

Okay everyone…I’m off.  I’ve got stitching to do.  I’m hoping I can stitch for an hour or so before it’s bedtime.

47 thoughts on “Cross Stitch Update”

  1. I haven’t crossed stitched since the late 80’s and I have missed it occasionally. I prefer counted cross stitch and using high count Aida cloth, looked for pictures that made use of whole, 1/2, 1/4 stitches and back stitched outlines to achieve a ‘less Aida cloth’ look. I would like to try my hand at linen. So, count me in for your stitch along!

  2. Judith Fairchild

    I really enjoy seeing your cross stitching.. it is something I have tried and get very unhappy with. Sitting down with a blank piece of material and looki.g at a chart. , Yipes! But I enjoy embroidery as I have the pi ture on the cloth. I think I’ll check your stitch along and see if my brain and hands can handle it. I have a grand daughter who loves hand stitching. Thanks for cooking up the idea of beginner friendly stitching and to the store(s) you’re working with.

  3. Your cross stitching is beautiful! I have the same Ott light, everyone I know who has that light has the same problem, the switch has worn out which is disappointing. It’s basically a design flaw. Save driving to Rochester, hope you feel well enough to do some stitching in your down time.

  4. I too like the idea of a stitch along but am outside the US so mailing the kit would be v expensive. Off topic completely, and maybe someone else has already recommended, but we’ve just finished tv series one (8 eps) ‘Clarkson’s Farm’. Something the family might get a kick out of.
    Thinking about you through your treatment. Attitude is important, and yours is the best!

  5. I had two ott lights and loved them. I say had two because my dog jumped off the chair and knocked the nice living room floor ott light over and broke it. The base came away from it and now it won’t stand up nicely. Thinking of moving it to my sewing room where I can prop it in a corner and move the not so fancy one to next to my chair. I do need that one as it is on the left side over my shoulder.
    I am so sorry you aren’t feeling well. I can’t imagine all you have gone through and what’s ahead. You are a strong person with strong support from your family. Praying this all comes together!

  6. You are so strong and have such a great attitude! It all shows in the beauty of your stitching. I did cross stitch years ago but eyesight and arthritis make it not so fun now. Quilting is easier now and concentrate my time there. I love seeing the beautiful work you do .

  7. I’m curious and maybe you mentioned it in a previous post, but wondering what the linen is that you are using in the floral motif sampler. I love it. I would be interested in the stitch along. Sounds like fun! I hope you are feeling better. I so admire your positive attitude.

  8. I am joining you with the Floral Motif Sampler. I’m playing catch up right now but I’m loving this piece! The colors are wonderful! I belong to a cross-stitch sampler group and we zoom each week. Cross-stitching has helped keep my sanity through the pandemic. I admire your strength through your medical journey…keep up the good work. Sending my prayers for a great outcome.

  9. Thank you for your beautiful work. I started to cross stitch when I was a little girl. I was taught by my mom and oldest sister who have both passed away several years ago. I would enjoy a stitch along since I never had good luck with stitching on linen.

  10. Happy New Year’s Eve, Jo! I really appreciate this blog post and I am extremely interested in the SAL potentially beginning in April 2022. I’ll be purchasing the linen/evenweave fabric kit so I can get on with my yen of wanting to learn and see if using linen is a good fit for me. I think a SAL is a perfect way to do that. I learned to cross stitch when I was 15 or 16 and I made a lot of pictures my first 5 years in the craft. I set it aside for a number of years them picked it back up again when I was pregnant with my youngest son but I have never tackled the linen fabric for cross stitching. Anyways, I’m excited for this and I do hope it works out and actually comes to fruition! Love the video links and I’m watching them today. I am a hoop stitched unless I am working on a tiny project not fitting in a hoop. I like both methods of free hand and hoop stitching. I have a q-snap and I’m not favorably impressed using them. I still have one and it will be included in a Giveaway on my channel and my Blog in January. I am a stabber or a sewing method stitcher, it all depends on what section I’m stitching at the time. I do use a hoop for the sewing method. Okay done now, I’ve taken up enough of your time for now! I do hope 2022 brings bright blessings to you and your family throughout the entire year.

  11. I’m curious as to what count you started at?
    So far I have only stitched on 14,16, and 18 count Aida,
    I love seeing everyone’s work on the higher counts, some day I will definitely try.

  12. Hello, I enjoy your CROSSTITCH on linen and like to see your progress.
    I’d like to join a beginning group and stitch along with you!
    San Diego

  13. I used to worry about my sewing machince switch. But my son convinced me to plug everything into a power strip and turn off the power strip. That way if the switch goes bad on the power cord it can be replaced cheaply. And the switch on the machine is saved. I find it a slightly more nuscience but worth it for me. Keep up your beautiful work Jo. Love it.

  14. Happy New Year, Jo! I am keeping you in my prayers as you continue your treatments. I enjoy seeing the progress you are making on your projects. I am interested in joining the stitch along.

  15. One more cross stitch question. I know that cross stitch fabric frays and that you have finished yours, possibly with a Serger. I don’t own a Serger so should I zig zag the edges or glue them, which I think I did in years past when I cross stitched.?

    1. I use painter’s tape around the raw edges as when you remove it it leaves the fabric completely unharmed. I’ve yet to have it fail me.

  16. One more cross stitch question. I know that cross stitch fabric frays and that you have finished yours, possibly with a Serger. I don’t own a Serger so should I zig zag the edges or glue them, which I think I did in years past when I cross stitched.?

    1. Lots of fabric comes serged. If it doesn’t and it’s a small piece of leftover fabric I don’t worry about it. With the amount of time it takes me to finish a small project, I have it done before is frays. Large long-term projects I zig-zag if the pieces isn’t already serged.

  17. Thank you Jo. The videos were great. I downloaded a little free sampler that I am working on and I am going to try this sewing technique next. I have been sewing across one direction for one half of the x and then finishing the other half of the x going the other direction. That is faster than the poking method I used way back when, but making the entire x at one time just seems to make more sense.
    I am looking forward to seeing what the SAL will be. I bought an out of print Blackbird Design that is done on linen that I would like to make. The SAL would probably give me more time to work on my technique before I tackle this special sampler I want to make.
    I am not using a hoop at this time. I have one of those Q-snap frames but it seems too cumbersome. With a larger piece I should probably get a hoop.
    I just bought a magnifying light. Without that I wouldn’t even be able to see well enough to attempt any of this.
    I lost my quilting MOJO. You are amazing still doing everything while undergoing chemo. Continued prayers for you.

  18. Definitely in on your cross stitch sew along. I haven’t stitched on linen but I cross stitched when I was a kid! You got me interested init again Jo. I read your blog daily and have you in my prayers.

  19. I am gobsmacked at your speed. I have never cross stitched until this past week and assumed that the stitch was supposed to be in every cross hatch of the cloth weave. Don’t know how to phrase it properly. I love Christmas cross stitch designs and have started by making a small dala horse. I’m so happy I found your blog. Can’t wait to try your method though it seems confusing to me. Thanks again and again.

  20. Thanks so much Jo for all the inspiration you impart and the knowledge, expertise, videos and resources you provide. Much appreciated and enjoyed! I would be interested in the linen kit/sal. Been quite a few years since I’ve cross stitched but recently cleaned out and reorganized my craftroom- and found a bin of cross stitch projects – unfinished of course!- some patterns and supplies, and decided to get back to it. Need a refresher so this idea of yours would be a perfect re-intro! I guess I’m a stabber and hooper lol but will try out the sewing method which seems a little more soothing ! I use a tabletop Ott lite with magnifier- works well for embroidery, wool applique and other needlework. Sending positive thoughts, prayers and vibes to you for wellness success.

  21. YES! I’ve caught the bug to learn how to cross stitch from watching you (and Judy L) finish some gorgeous projects. I don’t want to do big projects (at this point, anyway), but rather smaller ones that I can fit into a dough bowl & change out for the seasons, holidays, etc. I’m looking forward to what you & the folks at the cross stitch shop put together. Thank you!

  22. Your stitching has gotten me to drag out a half done alphabet cross stitch from 20 years ago. I am now excited to finish it and move on to new projects. Count me in for the stitch along. Sounds like fun. Continued prayers as you go through treatment.

  23. well the project along sounds great but there is so much sewing promised and these eyes of mine are pretty limited. maybe another sew along later.
    I am writing to make a serious request that your driving back and forth for appointments PLEASE be as limited as possible with sleepovers; Your weather is a crapshoot in the winter at best and there is a lot of tiresome things to be endured so driving can be less than wonderful. Please think safety.
    thank you from a bossy concerned reader.

  24. I’d be interested in the SAL on linen.
    Is it easier to do the sewing method on Aida or linen when first trying it out? I’d very much like to try it on both. I might try it on a small Christmas ornament in redwork.

  25. I’d love to try a SAL.
    I’d like to try Linen.
    When doing the sewing method is it easier to do on Aida than Linen when first trying it?

  26. I find it difficult to cross stitch without using a hoop. Can I still use a hoop? Why is it recommended to no longer use a hoop?


    1. Hi Diane. I find it hard to stitch without a hoop as well. I used a hoop. I don’t know that it’s recommended not to stitch in a hoop. I just believe that some people think it’s faster.

  27. I haven’t cross stitched in a long time but the work you do is beautiful and has inspired me. A SAL sounds like a great way to start again!

  28. Kathy Henderson

    I’m catching up on older blog posts, and just got to this one. I would definitely be interested in getting a kit and participating in the SAL. I did a lot of cross stitch on Aida in the past and would love to try linen.

  29. Elaine Wolfenbarger

    When you use linen do you treat it first to give it body? I do both with or without a hoop,just depends where I’m at and my mood. Enjoy your videos and love ❤️ hearing the background music, look forward to hearing from you. Thank you in advance.

    1. I buy a “stiffer” linen brand for the most part. I do not “treat” it. I stitch with a hoop but I encourage you to use whatever you like. I think my old embroidery background shines through and a hoop feels more natural to me.

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