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!!