Cross Stitch Update

Before I get into today’s post, Judy from Patchwork Times and I were talking.  We want a place for you to show off and share your stitching.  We ended up deciding that if you are sharing on Instagram to please use a hashtag of #JJSAL which stands for Judy and Jo Stitch along.  We also made a Facebook group (actually my daughter Kayla did).  It’s Jo and Judy’s SALs.  We are inviting you to join us.  That way, all of you can share your stitching with us and each other.  As Judy and talked, we realized this wasn’t as fun for us we hoped as we aren’t interacting with you enough.  Even if you aren’t stitching along and only interested in checking out the beautiful work, you can join us too.  HERE is a link to the Facebook Group.

I know some of you will be frustrated as you don’t have Facebook…and some don’t have Instagram.  This is the best we can do.  I’m sorry I don’t know of another option.

Now to today’s post…

Stitching time was LOTS this week.  I didn’t stitch one night at all but then stitched for about an hour during the day on Sunday and I rarely stitch during the day.  I was on a big push the rest of the nights.  I’m so close to a finish on “A Changed World”.

Before I get to what stitching I got done, I thought I would answer questions that came in.

Glenda asked:
“Jo, how do you keep your place on the cross stitch pattern?”

Hmm.  That’s a little of a tough one to answer.  For the most part, most of the things that I stitch have a “pattern” to them meaning things repeat.

If you look at the picture below-specifically at the star under the bird, I find that I memorize the pattern because it repeats.  The more you stitch, the more you’ll be able to see the repeats and memorize them.  If I am going to stitch the vase below the star, I look at the chart and make up something for me to remember like:  “13 stitches and then in one on each side”.  I find I look at the chart a little less often.


When stitching a row like the star/flower border you see above I find that after stitching a bit, I often have the pattern memorized so just a quick look or reference to the chart is all that I need.

Something else I find is that when I quit for the night, I make sure I quit in an easy-to-pick-up place.  For example, I might not finish one of the flowers in that border BUT, I will finish the outline of the flower so it’s easy to see where to pick up the project again.

The longer you stitch, truly, it becomes easier and easier to orient yourself and not get lost in the chart.

If you are stitching one of the pumpkins for our Blessed Stitch Along, you might want to do the outline of the pumpkin at a sitting where you feel sharp and on top of it…not on an evening you feel tired.  You might go on and stitch the outline of the next pumpkin…then on a night when you are kind of tired, go back and fill the pumpkin in.  I do this all of the time.  I stitch motifs according to how sleepy I am at night.  HA!

Some people stitch by putting their charts in a program on their tablet.  They can mark off the places where they had stitched.  This can help in keeping track of where you are.  Judy at Patchwork Times uses this method sometimes.

A lot of people make a copy of their chart and use it as a “working copy”.  That means they can draw on it or they can even use a highlighter and mark off what they have stitched.

Here when I was working on The Floral Motif Sampler by The Scarlett House, I had a working copy and crossed off flowers as I stitched them.  This was very helpful.

I hope that helps.

Speaking of Floral Motif Sampler, Nancy a sweet blog reader, sent me a picture of her finish…


Isn’t that amazing?  I just love it.

Cody asked:
I am working on the All Creatures Great and Small project.

I have a question for you about needles and floss… With so many colors in a project like this, how do you use your needles and floss?

Do you thread a separate needle for each color, cut your floss into smaller pieces, so that you don’t have a lot leftover from each motif, etc..etc? 

There are some sections that only use a small amount, but I still cut a long piece to use and have to keep track of that when I’m finished. Right now I just wrap that piece around the remaining pieces.”

Cody is so right…just a small amount of thread is often used at a time.  Here is mine.  You can see only small amounts are used…

People all handle floss differently.  Many people have these little design boards.  You can put leftover floss that you will use again soon on the board and the board will “hold” it until you are ready for that color again.  Amazingly the thread really stays on the batting.

Here is how I learned to make them.  It’s a tutorial from Lori Holt.

I made these but didn’t end up using them much.  I keep my floss in Floss Away bags.  I just put my little dab of thread back in the bag.  Typically in an evening I only stitch a couple of motifs so this method works for me.


When it comes time to use this color again, I will pick a long new piece if I have a lot of stitching.  If I am only going to use a bit for the stem of a flower, I use a bigger piece.

Bonnie wrote:
Just wanted to show you the progress I have made on the SAL. I had not cross-stitched in about 20 years and had never stitched on linen. But I have loved the pieces you have done so decided to give it a try. With a magnifying lamp, it has been a dream. I’m shocked at how easy it was to work on and how addictive it is! Ha! Thanks for the inspiration!!

AH…my heart is so happy.  This is exactly why Judy and I wanted to do the stitch along.  We wanted other people to see what a joy stitching was.  I hope that others of you are enjoying the stitch along as well.

Joan asked:
Jo-Where did you find the frame that you will use for your sampler? I love it!

Joan is referring to this frame.  I order this from Custom Frame Solutions.

Once I got the border done, I measured my cross stitch piece and then started hunting for a frame.  I love nice frames and for all the work I put into my projects, I am going to get a nice frame.  My big pieces I’ve sent out and had someone else frame them…but I’m trying to save a little money so the smaller and medium ones, I’m hoping to do myself.  This one is on the edge of whether I wanted to do it myself or not but I decided I’d give it a try.

I was looking for a frame that was older looking as I have quite a few antiques in my house.  I looked through the section of the black frames but then on a whim looked through the gold frame category and found this one.  Here is a DIRECT LINK to the frame I ordered.

I called in and talked to someone to figure out how big to get the frame.  I like about 1/2″ of fabric to show past the border.  The guy on the phone said to add 1 3/8″ to each measurement if I wanted 1/2″ of fabric to show…and that’s what I did.

This is the other frame I have bought through this company.  This is All Joys for Thine by Blackbird Designs.  I love this but wish I wouldn’t have left as big of a fabric margin around the edge.  It was my first time and a learning experience.

Custom Frame Solutions regularly offers sales like right now it’s 45% off if you use the code SPRING.  I got both of the frames I order on similar sales.

I put conservation glass on my pieces so that’s more expensive so my total is typically around $75 for a frame depending on the frame I pick, the size, and the sale.  I’m pretty content with that because if I take something to the frame shop it’s often around $225 or more.

I do have a few frames that I’ve picked up at the thrift store that I hope to, at some point, cut to the size I need.  I watch Kim Goldman, The Contented Stitcher on Flosstube, explain how she does that.  I’m hoping to get brave enough to try this at some point.

I have a chop saw in the garage just waiting to be used.  Fingers crossed I actually do it.  That would really cut down my framing costs…We’ll see.  For now, I am simply happy that I can lace and frame myself with a custom frame.

I do want to point out that if are framing things yourself, it’s important to use spacers to keep your stitching away from the glass.  The stitching and glass should not touch if you are stitching a piece you want to be preserved.  I ordered THESE SPACERS from Amazon.  It’s a little expensive for the initial purchase but this amount will do MANY frames.

Please check out Judy’s blog at Patchwork Times.  She has been answering many similar questions.

Speaking of my A Changed World Project…Here is where I was at last week…

I had finished stitching everything except that dreaded fill-in work and words at the bottom.

I worked really hard.  I just wanted to push through it all and have a finish.  I know a lot of people say, “It isn’t a race” or “Enjoy the stitch”.  I agree and I did “enjoy the stitching” but this isn’t exciting stitching.  I love watching it fill in.  I love the excitement as every stitch brings me closer to a finish.  I’m still enjoying it…but, I want it done and I’m ready for a finish.

So this is how far I got…

AHH…So close.

AH…I’m so close but I knew I didn’t have enough thread to finish.  I ended up going to the Stitchery Nook on Tuesday.  I know I was just here last week but remember Gannon was with and I didn’t really get a chance to look??

I thought I would get the thread but then…they didn’t have it.  I was so disappointed.  UGH.  I was talking to Liz and she said she had ordered it a couple of times and it didn’t come in.  Oh no.  I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find it!  I didn’t want to be this close to a finish and then not be able to finish it.  Then Liz offered to send me a skein from her personal stash.  Oh my, I could have kissed her!!  I was so happy.  So, I didn’t get my piece finished this week, I will get it finished next week once the floss is here.

I’m so excited that this is so close to a finish.  Pushing this week to get it finished was TOTALLY worth it.

Being I didn’t stitch on anything else, I have nothing else to show you…I’m so glad there were lots of cross-stitch questions this week as I only stitched on this and that makes for a pretty boring blog post.

I also have some news from Liz.  I asked her what her most popular sellers from the Needlework Market were.  Her answer…

The Blackbird Designs book…A Heart Remembers.

and this stitch from Plum Street Samplers.  I love this.  I haven’t bought it but loved it.  The stuff in my house is a little more antique-like.  This is a little brighter and whimsy compared to my normal.  BUT, as I’m writing this I just realized it would look great in my upstairs bathroom.  Hmm.  I don’t need another pattern but, this one, I might have to get.  It was sold out at the Stitchery Nook.  Liz said it was reordered and hopefully it will be available soon.


So that was my week of stitching.  Check back next week.  I am sure to have a finish!!

23 thoughts on “Cross Stitch Update

  1. Marilyn in Baton Rouge

    I use a small piece (quarter inch) of a white peel-off label, even an address label sticker, to mark my place on a pattern. Thank you for your blog, I look forward to your posts every day.

    Reply
  2. Stearns Carol

    I enjoyed reading Jo! I am doing a stitch project that isn’t fun. Its words in the middle but the frame around it is all filled in with sections of different colors. I should just do a row or two every night and eventually might finish it. Going on a 2 week trip in May so I’ll take it with me to work on. I took a lengthy project with me on a Viking Cruise and enjoyed it so much and finished!

    Reply
    1. Helen (Tx)

      Hi Carol…in reading Jo’s blog and do enjoy so much. I notice you mentioned “Viking Cruise” …after several other ocean cruises we are considering the river cruise. Do you give Viking a …I realize this morning was about cross-stitch but thought I would ask you. Maybe the cruise that begins in Paris…thanks h

      Reply
      1. Suzanne Piotrowski

        I have taken several Viking river cruises. They are excellent. I took the ones from Paris to Normandy (bus trip) and back and the ones from south of Paris to the ocean. I took one from Berlin to the Czech republic and one from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

        Reply
  3. Carla

    I actually like that idea for a thread design board. I’m always spending way too much time messing with the threads. It seems like a good way to keep them during a stitch session, then they could be put away after. I had no time to stitch this week. And I still haven’t got the stronger magnifiers so that’s probably a good thing! Seeing your Changed World piece reminds me of a tip I learned. When stitching, if possible, stitch with the lighter color (like the white letters) before the darker color (the black fill in) to avoid drawing up the darker color into the lighter and muddying it. Does that make sense? Blessings!

    Reply
      1. Pam allen

        Jo, I like the piece we are stitching for the SAL. I like seeing the other pieces you work on.
        Could you please approve my request to join the facebook group? I’d like to see how others are doing and share my progress.

        Reply
  4. Norma

    I’ve been seeing that Plum Street Sampler piece on many market release blogs. I thought it was sweet but I don’t like much pink. It would be great with a conversion on the Brick house and some flowers. But! I am not going to let myself start too many cross stitch pieces the way I have quilts! I thought I would get caught up more when I “retired” but as I am still long arming for others that hadn’t happened yet! Thanks for all of your lovely show and tell!

    Reply
  5. Jackie in NY

    Hi Jo – thank you for the info on ordering a frame. I had to order that Plum Street chart as I always say that when the weather is nice out! I really want that Bkackbird booklet too but that might have to wait a few months.

    Reply
  6. Judith Fairchild

    Really like your cross stitch piece. The pattern you’re thinking of getting is a winner. I may get it to tryout.

    Reply
  7. Signe Burgen Vaughan

    I love the Plum Street Samplers pattern, This is the Day! I ordered it from The Stitchery Nook and am excited to get started. It is whimsical and fun and will look nice in the master bedroom. I will have to make some small project boards to hold my floss. I made larger ones to hold my quilt blocks while I sew them together and love them. Thank you for the inspiration to start cross stitching again after 20 years of taking a break. I enjoy your blog and read it every day.

    Reply
  8. Rita in Iowa

    You can use Friction pens to mark on the paper and then iron them to remove the ink.
    Marks may come back in coldness so make a practice of it to see if you like it.

    Reply
  9. Elle

    I have 2 long strips of lightweight magnet that I use to keep track of my stitching. I line them up so I can see the row I’m currently stitching when stitching is solid. If I’m working a motif such as your flower, I line it at the base of the flower.

    I’m a person who starts in the center and works to the side and upward and then downward. I do the framing last.

    Reply
  10. Martha Ezell

    Hi Jo, I love your blog and have gotten back into cross-stitching after seeing all the wonderful patterns. I am working on All Creatures Great and Small and have ordered the Humming of the Bees. To add to your collection, have you seen the sampler pattern “Pet all the Dogs” by Teresa Kogut? You could have all your beagles!

    Reply
  11. Liz

    I’m restarting cross stitch with the SAL.

    So, once the piece is finished, do you press it to get the wrinkles out of the linen? OR, does the lacing the piece for framing get the wrinkles out? thanks….

    Reply
    1. Jo Post author

      Hi Liz. I iron mine. I put a little spray starch on it and iron it. Many only the back side only. Many use a pressing cloth between the stitched piece and iron. I just iron it making sure to move my iron around a lot.

      Reply
  12. Toni W.

    I love the fabric you’re using for A Changed World. Although I’m sure you’ve mentioned in a previous post, do you mind telling me, again?
    If anyone is interested, the way I keep track of my stitching is to cut or fold my working copy into sections, and securing it directly to my fabric with my needleminder. I either stitch with a Q-Snap or a hoop, so this method works for me. This way I don’t have to look back and forth at my chart and I find it easier to keep my place. Also a little quicker. Even though I feel like a super slow stitcher!

    Reply
    1. Jo Post author

      Hi Toni. The fabric I am using for A Changed World is 40 count vintage meadow rue from Lakeside Linens.

      Reply
  13. Glenda Fletcher

    Thank you very much, Jo. That is very helpful. Yes, it should get easier as I cross stitch more. Really liking it
    again after all these years. Thank you fellow cross stitchers for your ideas on how you keep track of where you are. Like all the questions that you answered as will be helpful. Will be watching the videos that you have in this email. I am going to do a few more small pieces before I step into a bigger project. I really like
    The Changed World. You do awesome work. Thank you every one again for your help.

    Reply
  14. Sandi

    I use a magnetic board and strip magnets to keep my pattern in place. You can buy these just about anywhere that sells cross stitch supplies. You can buy a stand also and it sits on my end table next to me. I also keep an emery strawberry to run my needles thru every so often. I’ve been cross stitching since 1979. I just love it. There are so many wonderful designers out there. Thank you for all the information about how you get your frames. Hugs,

    Reply

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