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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

teh styches sikness...i haz it

first eskimimi started it with her trilobites sampler.

then mooncalf fueled the fire with her white on white canvas.  (check out her etsy shop too - her tea wallets and pin cushions are exquisite!)

but it was theandipants' adorable stitched fox that pushed me over the edge and into michael's on saturday morning with a mission.

i wanted to do counted cross stitch.

i used to do cross stitch years ago, when i was in college.  i made a cute musical sampler (small) in a heart shaped frame, and a tiny sachet stitched with "love".  i also got a 101 dalmatians of puppies playing a piano from the disney catalog.  i think i maybe stitched a couple inches before abandoning it.  it's up in the attic somewhere, collecting dust (if the squirrel or bats haven't destroyed it first).  this moon patch is the only tangible proof of my stitchery:

i don't think i did a bad job with it.  the back's a bit goofy:

i think at the time i didn't know how to do rows.  i googled it this time around, so i knew what to do.

so, i walked into michaels and looked for a simple stitch kit.  i found tons of floss, canvas, needles and other paraphernalia, but no kits.  i found a couple tiny pamphlets with small patterns but nothing that spun my beanie.  then i found kits with patterns and floss, but no canvas.  after weighing my options i picked this kit:

i liked the fruit patterns, but shells might be fun to stitch too.  i picked up canvas (i picked 14, and it wasn't until i got home that it was what the kit recommended), an embroidery hoop and a pack of needles (i wanted blunter ones but couldn't find any), paid for my goodies and drove home, excited with the possibilities.

i "cast on" my canvas after returning home from visiting the ILs at their campsite.  i picked the cherries pattern becos i thought it was cute and an easy way to ease into stitching.

now, i suppose i committed some stitch faux pas here - please feel free to advise me!

i put the canvas in the hoop, but it was so stiff i could barely close the hoop over it.  i decided to cut the canvas to the size i wanted and taped the edges with painters tape (to prevent fraying - fray check was recommended but i didn't have any - it's now on my shopping list!)  i think this was a mistake.  for me, it was hard to stitch a canvas that isn't taut, and my hands started to get sore and crampy from holding it.  along with the fray check, i'm getting a smaller hoop and a larger hoop (the one i had was an 8").

as per the "find the center and work out from there", my "center" was the stems, so i worked that color first, then the leaves:

then i did the cherries:

last night i "cast off":

and here's the back:

i wish i'd cut the canvas bigger, and apparently my "center" is a bit "off".  the stitching is going to look pretty crowded in a frame - if i can find a frame small enough!

i didn't wash and "block" the canvas - i need to do that, and then i'll be finished!

i had a lot of fun doing cross stitch.  i love knitting, but stitching was a nice switch up.  it'll also be good practice for the these mittens i want to knit!  (yes, i realize it's crewel work, but stitching nevertheless!)


  1. Hi, I came to see your cross stitch! Looks good!

    You can buy cross stitch fabric made from several different materials. Most is 100% cotton and you should be able to get it into a hoop without any problems. Some of it might be treated with a starch-like stiffener to help it keep its structure while you sew so that you don't need to use a hoop. If you have this you could try washing it to see if it softens up.

    For a little motif like that (and the stitches I like to do) you probably don't need a hoop or fray-check because you're not going to be working on the pieces long enough for them to get too battered. I only used a hoop on my LOVE stitch because I was using a very fine embroidery fabric with no structure.

    You might find that you don't need to use a hoop if you have a bigger piece of fabric to work on. Aida fabric isn't that expensive so I try to cut generously. You only need to work on a big project and then realise you've not cut your fabric big enough once...

    Anyway I'm rambling about hoops now. Good luck with your stitching! I really hope you enjoy it :)

  2. @mooncalf - thanks for your suggestions and stopping by! the reason i wondered about using a hoop is becos my hand (the one holding the canvas) and my thumb (holding the needle) cramped up and got really sore from stitching (tension) and wondered if a hoop might eliminate that.

    yep, canvas is pretty inexpensive, next time i'll be more generous in having enough material to work with!

    i appreciate your suggestions - thanks again!


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