x x x x x x x

After my success with the Blackbird Designs pattern I thought it'd be fun to try to come up with my own little something. That's why you didn't hear from me for a week! Here she is, after many false starts, my little egg collecting girl. I looked to these gals for inspiration. I've got ideas for butter, apples and wool next but first I'm sitting with this gal and trying to decide if she's right.

Here's what I've learned about cross stitch so far. To get me started on my first cross stitch project I googled and found this wonderful post on Yarn tree's blog…Learn how to Cross Stitch in 5 minutes. I love succinct info like this. So much more helpful than the stack of library books I checked out. A few more things I learned while trying to design this… the linen you get at the needlework shop is amazing. It took me a very long morning of driving around to a bunch of needlework shops until I discovered the perfect shop right under my nose, Tomorrow's Heirlooms. That's where I got the linen and Crescent Colours thread I used for the pins and needles design. For egg girl I tried some linen I had on hand and it didn't work out so well. I had a problem with my design being elongated. Also my stitches were confused and I couldn't keep them nice and neat. I think the weave wasn't even enough. And I tried 3 strands of floss instead of 2 and it was a mess. Obviously wrong amount of thread for the size. I'm still trying to figure out the sizes. So then I bought DMC 28 ct linen at Joanns and it worked out well. It's very even and stiff, easy to work with, but I was wishing there were more colors at the store. I love cross stitch on darker backgrounds but I'm working on a little bird design for my mom on black and it is hard going at night, working on that dark background.

So that's what I know about xstitch so far. I have a lot to learn. If you have any bits of wisdom or great needlework shops or sites I'd love to hear!

25 thoughts on “x x x x x x x

  1. Heather says:

    Adorable! I’ve only attempted cross stitch once, a teeny-tiny little star. It was sweet, all those itsy-bitsy little stitches. I think it would be pretty tough to create my own though. Nice work.

  2. Jen says:

    So fun! Cross stitch is really fun. I’ve done a fair bit of it, mostly on linen of various thread counts. I’m glad you found the 28 ct linen that works! I’m not sure what the thread count of linen tends to be, but I’ll bet at the shop they can guide you about what would work best, especially while you’re learning!
    I’ve only ever used 2 strands, with the exception of outlining, when I’ve used one strand.
    Here’s a trick that my local embroidery shop guru taught me:
    When you are cutting the thread/floss, hold one end in your hand, and pull it out until it is the length from your hand to your heart. Cut. Pull one strand out. Put the two ends together and thread the needle with both ends! You have a loop now, with the two ends in the eye of the needle. When you take your first stitch, secure the thread by going through the loop on the backside. This way, your thread is secured, and you have a MUCH neater worked area.
    Also, he told me that it was handy to have a piece of fabric around to hold up to the back of the linen for contrast (in my case, black fabric for light linen). Maybe using a piece of white fabric would help you to see the linen better?
    Happy cross stitching!

  3. carol says:

    hillary! so cute!!!
    I grew up watching my mom cross stitch. She has made numerous amazing things (one being an advent calendar she made me)…it’s cool to see a design I would be interested in stitching. I love how you translated your “coolness” into cross-stitching! :)

  4. jess says:

    This is adorable!
    I used to cross stitch in high school, but the patterns didn’t really appeal to me after that.
    I would totally decorating my daughter’s room with the whole series of these if you made patterns.

  5. Sarah says:

    I just finished a giant cross stitch that took me two very long months to complete. Fun and addictive for sure.
    I think you might be able to dye the fabric so you could get other colors to do it on.
    (And for me the photo is really pixelated and I cant see it. And it isn’t linked to Flickr? Boo.)

  6. Sarah says:

    Cute!
    I’ve found that working with dark fabric is easier if you put a white sheet or something light-colored behind it in your lap. This makes the “holes” much easier to see.

  7. julie k says:

    She is darling! Thanks for the tip about the linen. I tried this once and it turned out terrible. I couldn’t keep my x’s straight. Maybe different fabric might help.

  8. Lara says:

    I love cross stitch… great to do in front of the tv. So relaxing :) Your little girl is so sweet. Or should that be sew sweet?! You are too clever!

  9. Melanie says:

    It is so long since I have been an avid cross-stitcher, but it was my first crafty-love! Your wee girl is adorable :)
    There are *loads* of options in evenweave fabrics for stitching. Being in Australia, I bought most of my fabrics online – two websites I have experience with are Pawprints for standard fabrics, and Silkweaver for hand-dyed fabrics. It’s also pretty easy to dye your own if you’re so inclined – I’ve done a bit of that too :)
    I learned a *huge* amount from participating in cross-stitch forums, but I’ve been out of the loop for awhile, so can’t really recommend any to you – I’m sure Google will find you some if that’s what you’re after!

  10. Wendy says:

    That shop has great stuff. Also, you can find any color and count of linen you want(the good even weave kind for needlework) at Stitches N Stuffing too. They also have a master needleworker there – Trudi Smith, who teaches as well as works all the samples in the shop.

  11. april m says:

    i ♥ cross-stitch. 28 count is tiny, I’m impressed. I usually go with 18. Not too small to work with, but not big enough to be boxy.
    Love the design!

  12. Billie says:

    She’s cute! I haven’t cross-stitched in a long time and just getting back into it. 28 count is not easy, I love 18 count. I’m working on 22 count right now, but some of it is going over two threads, still not easy. I just bought an Ott light and so much better! Have fun, look forward to seeing more.

  13. Melanie says:

    April, 28-count is not really tiny – with evenweaves you usually work over two threads, as opposed to Aida where you work over one square. So a 28-count evenweave (/linen) gives you the same size x’s as 14-count Aida. 18-count Aida (what you’re using?) would be the equivalent of 36-count evenweave. That’s pretty small :)

  14. Laural says:

    Cute design!! I love that Blackbird design as well.
    If you were using the MJ(G?) Textiles linen it is not even and you end up with long squashed pictures. Zweigart and Wichelt are the manufacturers for most of the linen and evenweaves. Charles Craft produces some nice products. I really so like their Monaco fabric.
    There are tons of fabric choices. The most used for linen are Cashel and Belfast and for evenweaves there is Lugana, Jobelan and Jazlyn. However, there are quite a bit more than that. All with various counts and fabric content.
    THEN there are the companies that take those fabric and hand dye them. There’s Silkweaver, Picture this Plus, Cross Wing Collection… etc.
    and
    the companies that hand dye floss. WDW, Crescent colors, Valdani… etc.
    Lots of variety and lots of fun!

  15. Kristy says:

    I love this! And the ideas for the other food cross stitches – lovely! I’m looking forward to seeing them (& maybe getting a chance to make them!)

  16. Alicia says:

    Hello, dear lady — so sorry I haven’t been checking in regularly enough, how perfect that when I do you are cross-stitching. As you’ve probably already discovered, there is a big diff between the linen you buy on the bolt for clothing, etc., and “evenweave” linen made especially for needlework. (Acorns and Threads here in Portland, by the way, has lots of colors/counts and ships anywhere.) But — waste canvas is a great invention, and comes in several “counts” — I have 8.5, 10, and 14 spi pieces in my tool kit. Just baste it to any regular linen (or anything you want, for that matter) and use the grid to stitch on (it’s very easy to see — like using Aida). Then you dampen it, trim it close to the stitching, and pull out all of the waste threads, one by one (really does not take as long as it sounds like it will). It’s super cool and allows you to cross-stitch anywhere, on anything, and who wouldn’t want to do that!!! xo (I’ll email you a pic of something I just made that incorporates a thing done using waste canvas, and some other embroidery, which is another cool thing about using it — you can use a high thread-count fabric, and do other embroidery on it afterward.)

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