Fudge Away!!

I’ve heard from many of you feeling a little reluctant to try cross stitch…or to come back from it.  It’s totally up to you and I don’t want to pressure anyone but, I want to be upfront with you.

My stitching is not perfect.  When I show this piece, “Gratitude turns what we have into enough”, no one notices how “off” my stitching way.


Here…look closely at the “g”, just below the flower.  I totally messed up that “G”.  I was not good at stitching.  I was not good at counting.  Somewhere in it all, I am off threads.  When I look at it now, I am in love with it. 
None of those mistakes makes a bit of difference to me.  All of those stitches were lessons learned.  It was the first piece I stitched on linen.  It’s the first piece I stitched after coming back to cross-stitch.

Now…look at the photo again…do you see the mistakes??


Not me.  I know they are there but they are kind of like stretch marks…no I don’t love the stretch marks I have but without them, I likely wouldn’t have five kids.  Kalissa is so cute, her family doesn’t call them stretch marks.  They call them baby stripes.

But back to my cross stitch…

I just finished my floral motif sampler.  Someone said they would have trouble stitching this as they would “get off” on their stitches.  Oh my…trust me.  Most of the motifs are not in the EXACT places they are supposed to be.  Many are one stitch this way or one stitch that way from where they are supposed to be.


At one point while I was stitching this, was going to stitch one direction but ended up stopping and stitched along the bottom border instead to try to get things re-aligned again.

For the most part, I cross all of the x’s the right way…but to be on perfect stitch with everything in the exact box, I can’t do it.

Please don’t ever compare the stitching on this to the stitching in the chart.  Everything that was charted is on the piece.  There are flowers there, birds, a basket.  Yep, it’s all there.  I know for sure those white flowers on the left…they are a stitch or two one way or the other.  Some petals are taller or shorter than intended.  It’s not exactly like the pattern…


and frankly, who cares.  The essence of the piece is there.  The colors are there.  The elements are there.  Every flower in nature is not the same…maybe my flowers are a little more wind-blown.

Absolutely no one, probably not even the designer, would know the difference in my flowers when looking at the piece.

Like most any craft, the crafter is only as good as their “fudging” skills.  I’ve told you all time and time again that I am FAR from a perfectionist when it comes to quilting, yet, my quilts make it into magazines.  The reason is…I’m not afraid to “fudge” my work and I’m not afraid to submit the finished quilts.

Please don’t let the expectation of perfection turn you away from trying anything from cross-stitch to weight lifting to being a pet owner to quilting to anything you want to do.  So many things in life can be “fudged” and often, the only person who will know you “fudged” it, is you!!  Whatever it is you’re thinking about trying…GO FOR IT!!  Fudge away and work to hone your craft.  Give yourself grace and know that your first venture out, like my first cross stitch on linen, will likely have a few places where you had to fudge.  That’s TOTALLY okay!  Fudge away!!

42 thoughts on “Fudge Away!!

    1. Sandi

      Thank you for this post,I am now on my second red Valentine that you shared with us previously, there is something wrong in both of them, if I was tech savvy I would show you. My point is my husband can’t find my mistake, and my quilting buddy hasn’t yet. I am enjoying learning something new.

      Reply
  1. Sandra

    I love it! YES, fudge away!!! Just enjoy what you’re doing and have fun with it. No one is perfect. I like to do things the “right” way but I have learned that finished with a few flaws is better that unfinished or being stressed about it.

    Reply
  2. Sherry Bobak

    I love your attitude! At almost 65 years old I’m starting to feel the same way. I’m cross stitching a little piece on navy fabric and I hate it, but I will finish. Mistakes and all. Can’t wait for the stitch along. It will be my first try at linen.

    Reply
  3. Jan A.

    You are such an encourager, Jo!! Thanks for this post!! You once again give me the encouragement I need to try again at quilting, cross-stitch, anything in life where fear of imperfection limits my life, and it’s so silly when I think of it. You are so right–who cares if we fudge!!

    Reply
  4. Toni W.

    I always try to fudge before ripping out! I don’t think there’s anything of mine that’s exactly perfect either. Anyone looking at something hanging in my house would never know unless they compared the chart to my stitching, stitch by stitch. And even then it’s really hard to tell. Sometimes, someone will post a picture of their stitching online and ask if anyone sees their mistake. Even looking for it, most often you can’t find it. I’ve even had something framed and only later see where I missed a couple of stitches. Now, that’s how I am with stitching. I still haven’t really jumped into quilting because I doubt myself. I admire your attitude!

    Reply
  5. Maureen Toole

    Love it And honestly that’s what we do everyday from birth to death…we just fudge it just as God did in the beginning.

    Reply
  6. Janet

    Really excellent advice. ..and I agree….so much better to enjoy a craft, a new experience , a challenge and not worry about being perfect but just embrace it and do your best .I think you’ve got that down

    Reply
  7. Pamela

    You mentioned that you fudge your cross stitching before. Thank you for saying that. I have an old cross stitch that is almost 30 years old. I forget why I didn’t finish it. I think because I realized I had made a mistake on it. Because of your comment, I am finishing it now. I am going to fudge it and see what happens. That was so freeing to have you say that. Bonnie Hunter said something similar about not all of her seams match. I was such a perfectionist that sometimes I just didn’t enjoy the process of quilting. That comment of hers also freed me to enjoy quilting more. If both of you, with your beautiful work, don’t have to be perfectionists then neither do I and I thank you both for freeing me from myself!

    Reply
  8. Edna Gerrans

    I think you may have helped me define why I create. I will follow the pattern for the first block, see if I like it. Then i think ” what if…” and I’m off trying a variation, five variations later and no one could find the mistakes! They may not even recognize the original pattern.
    As I read your post I was grinning. Thanks for the grin at the end of the day.

    Reply
  9. Kate

    Right on with what you said, nobody could find any mistakes made in your cross stitchings. I was told once that it is okay to leave some mistakes in a piece because that makes it your own. It is the overall finished product that I want to look right. The cross stitch I’m doing now won’t be perfect but to most eyes, it will look great. Something else I was once told, if you like to do something whether you are good at it or not, keep doing it. My take is to do the best I can.

    Reply
  10. Rita in Iowa

    What a great cheerleader you are! Your work is fantastic. Along with your positive attitude.
    Thanks so much.

    Reply
  11. Cyndi

    We need to celebrate our accomplishments! Remember the sample, the pattern and others’ completed projects will probably not be displayed with our completed project. Just as you have done, we need to appreciate what we have attempted and accomplished. Remember that we can’t succeed if we don’t try!

    Reply
  12. amy

    I’ve done crewel embroidery as well as cross stitch and counted cross stitch. However I can’t do the fine work you do. I used Aida 10 or 14 cloth because that’s all my old eyes could handle. I think the counted
    cross stitch suits the perfectionist since it’s not that hard to get it right. Especially when working with Aida cloth.

    Reply
  13. Judith Fairchild

    Thanks Jo for being honest. It gives the courage to try again to cross stitch. I would never get a quilt finished if I was not fudging somewhere. Correcting the mistake if possible yes. Otherwise go with what you have done.

    Reply
  14. Kris in WI

    Permission to learn from our mistakes has been received. Now all we need is cloth, floss, needle, and a fudge recipe! Thanks, Jo. I’ll be stitching along on a UFO and getting reacquainted with XS.

    Reply
  15. LInda S.

    Someone famous (in the quilting world) says, “Finished is better than perfect!” So true.
    Also, I was distracted when I glanced at your post, and thought it said, “Gertrude turns what we have into enough”!! Gertrude must be really something…LOL
    Enjoying your blog. Hope you’re feeling better by the day.

    Reply
  16. Marie L.

    The Amish add a mistake to their creations because only God can create perfection. Navajo rug weavers do something similiar. Perfectionism is a battle that I fight often. Why try if it won’t be perfect? Now I try to think that God grants me plentiful errors so that I don’t have to worry about perfection. So, I pick up needle and thread to try again.

    Reply
  17. MRH

    If something is worth doing, it is worth doing poorly.

    Not that you have to do things poorly, but if you haven’t done them at all, then isn’t poorly at least better than that?

    Reply
  18. Donna

    My daughter, who also cross stitches, and I talk about fudging all the time. It happens.
    And like my mom used to say, “you can’t see it from downtown Pittsburgh”.
    Love and prayers,

    Reply
  19. Jeneen Zabinsky

    Those aren’t mistakes in your cross stitching. I stitch all the time and tell my husband those “variations” are what make this piece uniquely mine. No one else will ever have one quite like it! Enjoy, and stay healthy.

    Reply
  20. Shauna Trueblood

    Years ago I did a large cross for my brother and then another for my sister. When I gave them to them at Christmas I told them if they ever felt like they found an error to keep it to themselves or I would repossess them. They both laughed and said they had no desire to exam them close enough to find an error, they would be to busy enjoying them. They both still hang in their homes. We’re there errors yes, and if I looked closely today I could still probably find them, but why waste time on something like that. I would rather just enjoy the finished project. Finished is so mulch better than perfect.

    Reply
  21. Anne Fisher

    My eyes certainly cannot tell there are mistakes!!! Very encouraging message –to go ahead and “fudge”!!!
    Thanks for sharing all your wisdom!

    Reply
  22. Linda in Red Wing

    Thanks for this Jo! I just, minutes ago, finished “fudging” one of my current cross stitch pieces – and it looks just fine. Moral of the story: don’t sweat the small stuff guys! Thanks Jo for always keeping it real – we all appreciate it!

    Reply
  23. Kathy Barry

    Thanks for this post, I found it very encouraging. I’m want to try my hand at free motion quilting, be better at mending, and just generally work on becoming a better sew-er and quilter, and your post is another step to helping me on my way. Thank you and God bless you with all your health issues.
    Kathy, Drouin, Victoria,Australia.

    Reply
  24. Stearns Carol

    I”ve got a Lori Holt piece where I have totally redesigned the fence because I made a mistake and didn’t want to go back to fix it. I”m not sure I’ll ever finish it but someday, maybe. Are you familiar with the Japanese art of Wabi Sabi? Wikepedia describes it as: In today’s Japan, the meaning of wabi-sabi is often condensed to “wisdom in natural simplicity”. In art books, it is typically defined as “flawed beauty”.
    I”ve got a Holly Hobby piece where she is stitching a quilt all finished except the outlining. Her quilt was a redesign by me in many places.

    Flawed beauty is a great description of all our mistakes! Stitch on.

    Reply
  25. Ruth Finch

    So well said! THANKS for being a REAL person, Jo–I’ve read your blog and prayed for you for so many years.
    Ruth in VA

    Reply
  26. Linnea

    Thank you for this, Jo. I am currently working on a sweet Family love cross stitch and I was off by a stitch in an area. Did I pull it out? Nope I fudged and no one is the wiser now not will they be when I finish and hand off the gift!

    Reply
  27. Donna M

    Years ago I cross stitched a Lizzie Kate Santa design for a friend and made it into a pillow. I told my friend that I had accidentally skipped a line of stitches. Her response was, “So, mine is unique.” She still brings out that pillow every Christmas. I have given her a couple of quilts, too, because she never notices “mistakes”.

    Reply
  28. Denyse L.

    My mom was an amazing needlewoman. Both of us shared a love of counted cross stitch. The shop owner I worked for asked my mom if she would be willing to do the shop model of a mystery sampler by Lizzie Kate–Mom was 94 at the time & fighting macular degeneration. She said she’d love to try & tackled it w/the gusto she tackled everything else in her life. Bless her heart, she finished it & there were quite a few mistakes that she couldn’t see. The shop owner & I “fixed” the more obvious ones, then she had it framed & it hung in the shop til the day she closed. It was one of the more popular models & the shop sold lots of the patterns. If the customers saw any mistakes, they kept their comments to themselves, & bought the pattern. It was the last piece my mom stitched; the MD got worse & she couldn’t see to stitch anymore. Mom’s no longer w/us–she died 2 yrs ago–but I have that last piece she did. I look at it everyday & think how proud she was of stitching that, not worrying about the mistakes. It’s beautiful & I love it. I pray if the Lord allows me to live that long, I’ll be able to stitch as well as she did, mistakes & all.

    Reply
  29. Denyse L.

    My mom was an amazing needlewoman & both of us shared a love of counted cross-stitch. The shop owner I worked for asked mom if she would be willing to stitch the newest mystery sampler from Lizzie Kate. Mom was 94 & was fighting macular degeneration but said she’d like to try. She finished it & when I picked it up I noticed there were quite a few mistakes in it that Mom just couldn’t see. The shop owner & I said nothing, just fixed or “fudged” the obvious ones, then had the framer frame it & hung it up. It ended up being one of the most popular shop models we had & it stayed on the wall til the day the shop closed. If the customers saw any mistakes, they kept their comments to themselves & bought the pattern anyway. It was the last piece Mom did–her MD was getting worse & she just couldn’t see to stitch anymore. Mom is no longer w/us–she died 2 yrs ago–but I have the piece & it’s one of my prized possessions!! It’s beautiful & I love it. I look at it everyday & think how lucky I was to have such a talented mother for so long. If the Good Lord allows me to live that long, I hope I’m able to keep doing the handwork I love, mistakes & all!

    Reply
    1. Suzie Parrott

      Jo that is such good advice. I just came back to counted cross stitch after quilting took over my life for 20 plus years. I’ve been making so many mistakes and some I fix and some I leave. Anything you attempt to do will include mistakes. So what? We are all human. This really applies to any DIY you try. Don’t worry so much that you don’t take a chance. I love doing handwork and it relaxes me and at times frustrates me but I enjoy it. Have fun and try something that interest you. You will realize sooner than later if it’s right for you.

      Reply
  30. Deb

    Another reason I LOVE your blog, among many! As a quilter (of nearly 5 decades), I’ve made many mistakes and unless it was at a critical point & had to be corrected, the mistakes stayed in the quilt. I do the very best I can, and just know that I HAVE done the best I can (often during stressful, extreme days of my life), and finished the quilt, prayed over it that it go to the right person (He leads them to me!) and that is that! I am the most flawed person I know, and while I do always try to do the right thing, or make the recipe ‘just right’ or whatever, sometimes it just isn’t what I had hoped for. It’s all ok! From reading your blogs about cross stitching I want to go back to it – I think I’ll start with some small items to add to a dough bowl (another thing I absolutely HAVE to get) and ‘enjoy the journey’ while I’m making it. Thank you for all of your hard work each and every day, sharing your family, what you love & the crafts you are SO good at! We all appreciate it, and its sure making my retirement SO much more lovely (even during the pandemic).

    Reply
  31. Pingback: Cross Stitch Update | Jo's Country Junction

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.