Red Bird Stitch Along

Hello…I thought I would answer some questions about the Red Bird stitch along.

Jessica wrote:
As a true beginner I was hoping for real instructions, like how to start, where to start, how many threads, size of a needle, use a hoop or don’t, and not just a few pics of your progress so far. Is the “stitch along” really just working on our own and submitting an occasional question? Is your info going to be on your blog, or where is the stitch along?

Ooops.  I am learning that I made an incorrect assumption.  I assumed that everyone who was doing Red Bird stitch along had also done Blessings stitch along so I didn’t need to start at the beginning.  I’m so sorry about that.

First off…in general we found something that is VERY different between the quilting community and the cross-stitch community.  If you stitch along with quilting, each week/month participants are given instructions and assignments.  Participants do the assignments and wait for the next installment.

With cross stitch, it’s different.  There typically aren’t any instructions given.  If you see something like this…

…that is typically the only instructions or guide you will get.

Reasons that cross stitch has this format:
-more Instagram users vs blog users…making it hard to write instructions.
-there are many more variables for cross stitching such as linen or Aida.  Colors of linen or Aida.  Thread counts of linen or Aida.  All of them aren’t as universal as fabric.

It’s totally okay that I need to explain more and I will…because I do have a blog but, there are some restrictions that are the same.  I have to be careful with the amount of chart that gets shown to comply with copyright.  It’s also hard to film some things but I’ll give it a shot.

First up… needles:
If you are stitching on
14 count Aida or 28 and 30 count Linen suggested needles are 24’s.

18 count Aida or 32 and 36 count Linen suggested needles are 26’s.

40 count Linen suggested needles are 28’s.

NOTICE the word suggested.  You do you.  If you like a different-sized needle, go for it.  I often stitch on 40 count with 26s because I still have some leftover from when I stitched on lower count linen.  There is no rule…a guideline but no rule.  This doesn’t change no matter what project you work on.  This is universal cross stitch.  These are the needles recommended for the given Aida/Linen count.

There are a bi-jillion different brands of needles.  I prefer, by far, Sullivan’s Ball Tipped Needles.  You can find them HERE.  If you talk to other cross stitchers, they likely have different preferences.  It’s kind of like what brand or car you drive or which sewing machine brand you have.  They all work, but people do have preferences.

Next up floss…
You are free to choose whatever floss color you would like.  This doesn’t need to be red.  It can be any brand of floss.  We chose to recommend Belle Soie silk as we were hoping to give new stitchers a chance to try things out.  Many people had not tried silk and being we only needed one color on this project, we thought it would be a good opportunity to try silk as it is more expensive than DMC or fancy floss.

The original pattern called for Weeks Dye Works Lancaster Red or DMC 221 or Anchor 897.  All of these would work just fine.

If you are using Weeks Dye Works OR DMC, the floss comes in six strands.

14 or 18count Aida or 28 or 30 or 32 count Linen-split the floss and use two of the strands.

36 and 40 count Linen -split the floss and only use one strand of floss.

This is not a hard and fast rule.  Some people use one no matter what they stitch with.  Some use two on 36 count.  Again, this is a guideline but not a hard and fast rule.

TO NOTE:  If you are using Belle Soie silk. It comes with 12 strand in each length of floss.  To use it, again, you would split the floss and use the desired number of strands.

I used one strand on 40 count.  Mine looks like this…

I like the “coverage” of how the floss covers the fabric.  I don’t see fabric coming through my stitcing.  “Coverage” is a cross stitch term.

Methods of stitching and How to Stitch…
Hoops, In Hand, Qsnap, stand.  All of that I have talked about on the blog before.  I use a hoop.  I use a loose hoop and use the sewing method for stitching.

I am going to refer you back to THIS blog post as I cover this all there.
HERE is another blog post I did for beginning stitchers.
Where to start:

MANY people fold their fabric in half and then fold it in half again.  Then they follow the arrows the on the chart and find the middle of the chart.  They start stitching there.

I make a guess-timate and go about 2″ in from the top and 2″ in from the sides and start my stitching there.  There is no one right way.

Either way to start stitching achieves the same purpose…to start stitching.

Here is the start of our Facebook Stitchalong group member Maralou.  You can see she started in the upper left corner about 3″ in.  She worked her down, stitched the letters and then worked her way across the top.

Another thing we were hoping beginners would get a chance to learn with this project is how to personalize their project.

Note the upper left corner of the chart.  It says 2018.  That’s likely the year this was published.  We need the year to say 2022…so…
we need to change the “18” to “22”.  Do do that, use the number chart provided for you.  You will need to stitch the “2” and “0” as charted.  They move or one row, stitch the two, move over another space and stitch the next two.

If you look in the upper left corner you also will see that the designer put her initials on the chart, “CT”.  You will need to change that to be your initials.  To do that, go one space below the “2” and start with the right side of your last initial.

There is a full alphabet with the chart so find your initials and add them.  I  added “JK”.

As far as a guide on how much to stitch this month and how much for next month, I am splitting things up this way for myself, but in the theme of stitch alongs, “you do you”.  If you are into and want to stitch the whole thing this month, go for it!  If June is busy, do your June stuff and save the majority of your stitching for July.  No rules here.

I won’t be doing a tutorial for finishing until the end of July or beginning of August.

We do hope to start another stitch along in September so my hope is to have everyone done with either of the stitch alongs about then…but again, you do you and the tutorials to finish will always be here.

I hope that helps all of you who are apprehensive to jump in.  Please let me know if there are more questions.

11 thoughts on “Red Bird Stitch Along”

  1. So my dumb self didn’t notice that there were initials and I stitched the CT. Luckily I only have to change the T. Other than that I am loving the silk and enjoying the stitch. I saw a post somewhere that suggested starting your first stitch in a hole to the left of a where a warp thread passes over a weft thread. I had never heard that before this year. It allegedly creates less stitch distortion. Has anyone else ever read that? Have a nice weekend everyone!

      1. Could you explain this further in a post please? I’ve been stichting for years and have never heard of this!

  2. Thanks for the updates….I started yesterday and am excited to use the silk thread, I love it! Thanks for the recommendation! Looking forward to seeing finished projects!

  3. Thanks for the needle explanation. Did not realize there were different sizes for different counts. Explains why I have big and small needles. I do think this is too complicated for a really inexperienced stitcher. Maybe you could host a stitch along for beginners. I’m working on another project so will have to finish that before anything else gets started.

    1. Toni suggested trying Fat Quarter Shop’s Cross Stitch University on Floss Tube if anyone needs true beginner videos. I think it’s a great idea.

  4. For beginners who need more instruction, they may want to check out the Fat Quarter Shop’s Cross Stitch University on Floss Tube. I haven’t watched them so can’t endorse them, but it looks like they could be helpful.

  5. Candace Arnold

    I am a true beginner, and I’ve been loving it. I changed mine to a gorgeous blue to match my home, and it’s beautiful. I may not be as fast as some, but it’s coming along. Thanks for doing this stitch along. I’m learning a lot. I should probably go check my needle size though!

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