Cross-stitching is the perfect portable project. It is lightweight and packs easily. Recently we have seen more traveling stitchers who pass long hours in transit by working on their cross-stitch projects. Whether you are a beginning cross-stitcher or have years of experience, here are some hints that make your finished pieces look more professional.
Work cross-stitches on any even-weave fabric that is easily countable, such as Aida cloth. A variety of thread types may be used, but the most popular is stranded cotton floss. The number of strands used depends on the fabric count being used.
The basis of all cross-stitch pieces is an “X” stitch that is actually made of two stitches. One stitch slants to the right, and the other slants to the left. You can make these two parts as individual X’s, or you can work a group of stitches in one direction and then come back and work the stitches in the other direction. When you work using the half-X method, you actually save floss and produce a neater wrong-side fabric. To keep the work even, it is important to have all the top stitches slanting in the same direction. It also helps to work as much of one section of a color as you can at a time.
On a chart for cross-stitch, one square of the chart is equal to one stitch. It is helpful to tape small snips of your floss to the side of the chart or onto a separate sheet of paper that you keep with your chart. Mark the color numbers and symbols opposite the floss.
Back stitches are used on cross-stitch for making straight lines. They are a series of short lines that are usually the same length as one cross-stitch. When making back stitches, the stitches are placed next to each other. Back stitching is done with one strand of floss unless otherwise indicated.
A new technique has evolved in recent years to give pieces a smoother, more rounded look rather than the usual stair-step look of normal two-step cross-stitches. Portions of a full cross-stitch are used: 1/4 stitch (made from one corner to the center of the thread square) and 3/4 stitch (consisting of a 1/4 stitch plus a half cross-stitch). These stitches are usually edged with back stitches.
It is best to work from the center of your piece outward. Work the cross-stitches first, and then work back stitching to finish.
When you start or finish a strand of floss, don’t make a knot in the thread. Simply run it under other completed stitches. Avoid carrying a thread over a large unstitched area, as it will show through on a finished piece.
Stitch up a wonderful counted cross-stitch picture that shows a very appealing little boy and little girl praying their first prayer: “God is here. God is there. I know that God is everywhere.” Worked on Aida cloth with many colors of cotton floss, its finished size is 8 by 11 inches.
MEMO: To obtain directions for making the My First Little Prayer Cross-stitch, send your request for Leaflet No. 033196 with $2 and a long, stamped, self-addressed envelope to: The NeedleWorks, The Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 419148, Kansas City, MO 64141. Or you may order Kit No. 033196 by sending a check or money order for $17.95 to The NeedleWorks at the same address. Kit price includes shipping charges, full instructions, Aida cloth, needle and cotton floss in shades of lavender, brown, gold, coral and aqua. Frame not included. For kit orders only, you may call 7 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays to (800) 873-9537.