Cross Stitch Update

I’ll start today’s cross-stitch update with a question from a reader.

Blog reader Jo asked:
“how do you stitch on 40ct linen? I think we are fairly close in age. – I stopped cross stitching when I started quilting about 20 years ago. That was on 28-36 ct linen. I can’t work on that any longer…would love to know your tips.”

I truly believe that most anyone can stitch on 40-count linen.  It’s a matter of working and training yourself…also good lighting and magnification if needed.

The training part is what most people don’t have the patience for.  The first day I started on 40 count, it didn’t feel natural.  I wanted to quit.  I made a lot of mistakes.  I thought I would never get it.  There was no way was my thought process.  It was too hard.   I had to go slow…I had to struggle with finding the right hole.  I was very frustrated.  Then…I looked at the piece that had caught my heart and for me, I realized that the struggle I was having would be worth having the piece on my wall.

I started with something small with my eye on a bigger project.


The color is more like the photo above.  This is called Pins and Orts by Beth Twist of Heartstring Samplery.  I stitched this but didn’t fully finish it yet.  I am supposed to stitch the words “pins and orts” but I think I’d rather stitch something else.  I’ve been leaning towards stitching a “K” in that space.

As I was saying earlier.  This was the very first piece I stitched on 40 count linen.  It’s not perfect.  I ripped stitches out.  I cried.  I cussed.  I almost gave up…BUT, I didn’t.


I did have to use a magnifier.  I have this lamp.  HERE is a link to the lamp. and I used that circle light magnifier.  Did I love it?  NO.  But, I stuck with it and kept going back and trying and trying and trying again.


I’ve gone on and ordered a pair of glasses from Zenni.  I have my regular distance prescription in the top and 3.5 magnifiers in the lined bifocal.  I paid about $30 for them.  Nowadays, I use them more than I use the lamp magnifier.  If I’m stitching one over one on 40 count, I typically use the magnifier and my glasses.

I want to assure anyone who is trying to work up to a higher count linen that the real thing it takes is practice and perseverance.

Fast forward to today.  I can stitch on 40 count in the car if the roads aren’t bumpy.  I can stitch in a hospital waiting room with medium light.  I can stitch without any glasses.  There is a HUGE part of stitching that is muscle memory…and the more you look at the linen, the easier it is to see where your needle goes.

I also want to really encourage people who want to stitch on any linen that the more stitches you get into your piece, the easier it is to stitch your piece.  If you quit after five evenings of stitching, I really don’t think you gave it a fair trial.

Brenda from Brenda and the Serial Starter always says, “Stitch what you love.”  It’s so true.  If you’re happy stitching on Aida…stitch on aida.  It doesn’t matter what linens or threads you stitch with at all.  As long as you’re happy that is all that matters.

Me…I love 40 count.  I love the look of it.  I love stitching with only one thread of floss.  I think my stitches look finer and lay nicer.  I feel like I don’t have as many knots.  The projects I am drawn to are primarily stitched on 40 count and that is what made me so determined to do it.

That’s my best advice.  Good lighting, some type of magnification, and the main thing is perseverance.

Now to my cross-stitching.  Kayla was…
home last weekend.   It was Saturday night and she got Jasper to sleep.  I pulled out my stitching but then Kayla said, she forgot to bring her stitching.  Ah… we can’t stitch together.  Darn.

Then I remembered that we have stitching that is supposed to be done for the retreat coming at the end of the month.  Liz had sent Kayla’s kit to my house.  I still hadn’t given it her so I gave it to Kayla.  She borrowed a hoop and needle and was ready to stitch.

She had her new iPad with decided to see about putting the chart into Goodnotes and stitching it from there.  She was able to cross off the places she had stitched in an effort to keep herself on track.

She decided to start in the middle of her piece.  She made orange highlighter lines to show the middle.


Then she marker off in green where she had stitched.


She loved it as she could really enlarge the chart.  She is sold on using Goodnotes with her iPad.


If you have an iPad and want to learn to use Goodnotes with it, leave a comment here.  If we get enough comments, I could probably take her into writing a how-to blog post.

While she was playing with that, I started figuring out what I was going to do with my own ornament.

The linen that was sent with this was 30 count linen and it had sparkles in it.  It was very cute…but, me, I’m more of prim girl.  I like things more primitive than sparkly.  Give me something old looking.  Some flosstubers say they like things rust and crusty.  That’s me.  Sparkles aren’t rusty or crusty so I tried out some different linens.  This is the original linen.  The camera doesn’t pick up the sparkles…trust me, they are there.


I debated on whether I wanted 40 count, my favorite, as that will make the ornament pretty small.  I decided I didn’t care if it was small.  So I tried this scrap.  Nope.


Then I tried this blue/gray called Elephant Run from Fox and Rabbit.


I’ve never stitched on a darker linen so, no time like the present.   I went “out of my box” and gave it a try.

This is how it looks…
The lighting here was bad.  It actually looks much better.

That’s where I left that piece.  I have a good start on it.  There is a lot of backstitching with it that isn’t my favorite at all but I can do it.

Most of my other stitching time this week was spent on Forever and Ever piece by With Thy Needle and Thread.  I am stitching this on 40-count Eureka by Fox and Rabbit.

Here is where I was last week…

You might remember I was having trouble with the colors of the bird.  Shown are the called-for colors but they look nothing like the bird on the pattern.

I stitched everything else on the piece before I made the final selection of colors for the bird.  I put off decisions when I can.  HA!

I stitched the heart with Algerian Eyelet stitches.

I didn’t like the color of this heart.

I ripped it out and restitched it with a darker pink.


I ripped out the K and put in a J for my maiden name.  I stitched the three little birds.  One was already stitched but I didn’t like the color.  I ripped it out and restitched it.


I stitched some other do-dads until all that was left was the bird.

…and I finished it!  My entire piece is finished.  YAHOO!!


I am so happy I stitched this.

I am so happy-Ooops.  I just said that.  But truly, I am so happy. I got it done before my deadline for our anniversary, July 26th.  Next up, I’m setting another goal to it completely finished by the 26th.  I think I can do it.  I’m going to try really hard.  It means getting brave enough to use the chop saw and cut down a thrifted frame…I think I can…I think I can.


For anyone wondering these are the colors, I settled on for the bird.


Weeks Dye Works Dolphin was the light color and Weeks Dye Works Blue Suede was the darker color.

Look at all of the colors I pulled in an effort to find a good color.


Whew!  I am so glad to have another piece all stitched.

Being that was finished I picked up my Come to the Garden by Teresa Kogut.  I am stitching this on 40-count Vellum by Picture this Plus.  I decided to work on the border and do that before I stitch anything else.  I get such comfort when I have the border matching up.

Here is where I was last time…

I only stitched on this for a bit so not a lot of progress.  I don’t know why when I take pictures sometimes the linen looks funky like in the picture below.  Oh well.

I took Carver and Gannon to swimming lessons on Thursday and ended up stitching in the park after a picnic in the park.


Then I let them two go play.  Before long Gannon was back.  He was hungry and wanted to eat the Oreos that he had previously left.  He saw my honey mustard sauce and dipped his Oreos in it.  Yucky.  He loved it.


He was off playing again.  Then I decided to pack my stuff and move closer to where the boys were.  I was just about to find them to tell them I had moved and Gannon started screaming.  He fell and smashed his face.  He had a HUGE bloody nose.  It took about 15 minutes before I could get it to stop.  I started considering calling Kalissa but finally, it stopped.  That’s the short story…there was actually a lot more drama with it all.

All is good.  Gannon is totally okay and I didn’t get any blood on my cross stitch!!  What a mess though…we went home after that.

Then after they left, I wrote this blog post…so, that’s all I have to share in the stitching department today.  I’m hoping to do lots of stitching on my Come to the Garden this upcoming week.  Maybe I can get the border done and see if it will meet up.  Fingers crossed!!

31 thoughts on “Cross Stitch Update

  1. Judy Hawkins

    Me too. I’ve never heard of Goodnotes. Do you have to have the latest IPad? I Googled Goodnotes but need some help.

    Reply
  2. Carla

    Oh no, poor Gannon! Nosebleeds are a pain. Congrats on the finish, it’s so very pretty. You gave great advice on the stitching. I agree wholeheartedly that muscle memory will kick in. As for me, the single most important thing when I stitch is light. I love natural light. Blessings!

    Reply
  3. Meredith in Cincinnati

    Would love a tutorial for Goodnotes!
    I agree with your thoughts on linen. Stitching in the morning, in good daylight, is a great way to start the day. Love, love your Friday posts!

    Reply
  4. Sally

    I am trying to focus on perseverance. I so want to use my 40 count linen. I have never done cross stitch before, just quilting. My husband loves cross stitch and he collects old samplers. I have special magnifying lenses to wear over my glasses, plus a magnifying lamp, the special needle that you like, the hoop you use, the Weeks Dyed Works wool. Still working on the first leaf of my Blessed project. Yes, I would like to know how to use the Goodnotes on my iPad.

    Reply
  5. Becky

    Good notes help would be greatly appreciated! I’ve got to say I just knew I couldn’t stitch on linen, didn’t know how to start, wasnt a lot of help close by to help me, then Whitley from my new LNS came to the rescue! I think the first key is to look at lots of different linens, then look closer to see if you can see the holes before buying it, then get it home and go for it. Also I don’t count from the middle. Up to the upper left like I normally do on Aida, rather measure in however many inches and start it.

    Reply
  6. Norma

    Your stitching is beautiful. I have gone back to a little cross stitch but not nearly as much as you!
    Just wondering if I misread this. Do yo always stitch one over one on 40 count? I know many stitchers do one over two. No criticism, just wondering. I haven’t looked up all the patterns you’re doing so I was thinking you were stitching over two on 40 count. I do know some do over one on ornaments etc to keep them small.

    Reply
  7. Tina in NJ

    I just downloaded Goodnotes 5 onto MY new iPad. Please ask Kayla to do a tutorial. The app description says it is for note taking and PDF markup. How does one get the chart into the app? I have used my iPhone Notes app to take a picture of a document and turn it into a PDF file, so I’m assuming it can be done.

    Reply
  8. Marie

    As a new stitcher I’ve noticed that you use a large piece of linen instead of pre-cutting it to just 2″ larger than finished size—–why?? Doesn’t all that extra fabric get in your way?
    I started with 14 ct aida but now have got to 18 ct. My next project will be on 20 ct. Will see how that goes. I so look forward to Fridays for you cross stitch update. Thanks for all that you teach us.

    Reply
  9. Joy in NW Iowa

    Poor Gannon. Yes, there’s usually drama when they are little, then when they get olde and have friends over they act tough so they don’t look like a baby. Funny boys. Honey mustard on Oreo cookies….interesting!
    You and your cross stitch amaze me. They are so beautiful! I like to do Amish pictures in cross stitch. Take care and have a stitching weekend! Also, happy you had good reports at Mayo.

    Reply
  10. Susanne Scheurwater

    I totally agree on the muscle memory. I have just finished a portion of a large piece that was 1 over 1. When I went back to 2/2, I found myself stitching 1/1 and having to rip back!!
    L.O.V.E. your cross stitch updates. !! Yes border first to get them matching!!

    Reply
  11. Julie Lawson

    I absolutely love importing my cross stitch charts into GoodNotes!! I started using it to keep my calendar, but now have lists out there that I need (mom’s scripts, clothing patterns I own, cross stitch colors I own, etc). Super helpful when I’m at the store and need to know what to buy. Simplifies things because I can access my data from both my phone and my iPad. I actually have it sync to my Google drive, and can access info from any computer anywhere…. You can scan virtually anything, save it as a pdf, import into GoodNotes, and you’re good to go. No more filling out the same info at the dr’s office anymore – I email them what they need from w/I GoodNotes. Has been a game changer for me while caring for my mom.

    Reply
  12. Judith M Fairchild

    Jo, well done on your finished piece. When starting a quilt I often pull all the shades of colors that might work in the piecing of the quilt. Decide which is right and then if I can’t find one I go to the fabric store and search till I find something that works of threlief if I don’t have to.make that trip to the store. So sorry about Gannon’s fall. Even if you had been sitting with in 5 feet of him the possibility of stopping his fall and avoiding the nose bleed is small unless you can move very very fast. So happy you’re able to go on a retreat.

    Reply
  13. Roxanne

    Is Goodnotes the same program Kayla used for replacing the saying for your cross stitch piece? I would love to learn more about whatever program THAT was as well as Goodnotes. I know she has a great skill set along this line—if she did a class on tech enhancements for crafting I’d sign up!

    My first 40 ct project is large and there has been a definite learning curve. I have a good lamp, use Jo’s old trick of adding readers WITH my regular “bifocal” glasses to get more magnification (that’s right 2 pair of glasses at once !). It’s been 2 months and I keep learning or figuring out new things. It’s a process, just like quilting. Loving my project keeps me going!

    Reply
  14. Diana Rose

    I too would love info on using ipad and goodnotes, have an old ipad I can use, currently using knit companion to enlarge charts but you can’t mark things off

    Reply
  15. Pam

    I am interested in learning about goodnotes. I am for learning anything that will help me with my cross stitching!

    Reply
  16. Glenda Fletcher

    Hi Jo, Thank you for the update on cross stitching. Really like the forever and ever pieces. Glad you are done with the stitching. Yes I would also like information on GoodNotes as I have an older iPad.
    Is there a fee for it? Is this the app that Kayla used in changing your wording on your one piece? That would be helpful. Poor Gannon, seems like kids end up with scrapes every so often. The park is a good place to take them.

    Reply

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