“ Discussion Category: Hobbies & Collectables „
**This is a review of Cross Stitching in General**
I recall learning how to do various types of stitching when I was 8 or 9 at school and having a framed square with my name sewn in the middle on my wall with all different types of stitches around it. Now whenever I need to repair anything (ie holes in socks), I tend to just make it up as I go along to patch up the hole and would never in a million years class myself as anything of a decent seamstress. I saw a lovely little 3x3 inch cross stitch kit in the Works before Christmas for £1 and thought that would be lovely to make whilst sat watching the tv over Christmas.
When I opened the pack, it came complete with a needle, coloured 6-strand threads and a pattern. I found cross stitching really easy to get back into- the only trouble was I found the 6-strand cotton a nightmare to thread through the needle and too thick for the material I was sewing. I recall something about splitting the threads in half so you only use three of the six strands but wasn't sure if I 'd just made that up or not. In this instance, my cross stitch bear went wrong as I was following the pattern to the letter and counting all the little 'x's on the pattern as one full X stitch- then half way through the bear's forehead, I was running out of cotton and wondered what was going wrong and I checked the photo on the front and saw there were about 1/3 of the number of stitches in the bear on the photo on the front of the pack than there were on the pattern!
I put this down to the pack only being £1 and my own errors in just assuming I was making it correctly! So, although I would buy and make another cross stitch kit, I will research 1: if you need to split the 6 strand cotton down before you use it and 2: how I am supposed to read the pattern layout of x's. In the pack I attempted, it had no written instructions- just a diagram of x's that I assumed was easy to follow. So, I cannot blame the cross stitch for my failed attempt here! I had to down tools and abandon the cross stitch bear kit as I didn't have enough thread to complete it.
So, cross stitching is a nice repetative past-time where I think as long as you make little Xs the picture will come out ok. But you need a magnifying glass or good eyesight and a lot of patience - I found you do soon get into a rhythm with stitching and the effects can then be frames, made into greetings cards- maybe even sold if you really like cross stitching. It is time consuming though so do expect the designs to take you longer than you may expect.
When I was still at primary school I used to go and spend Friday night at my Grandma's and then pop into town with her on a Saturday. I used to love sitting in her perfect front room with all her Royal Dalton figurines and Crystal pieces. But what I loved more than anything was watching her stitch. With nothing more than coloured threads and a canvas she could create some beautiful masterpieces. Most of her designs are flowers and they are so bright and beautiful that you can't help but be in awe of them.
My first Cross stitch kit:
I remember that for my birthday my Grandma brought me my first cross stitch set. It was only about 20cm big and was the face of a west highland white terrier. Instead of silk threads, they had thick wool ones and a plastic needle. I did not need a chart to work from as the picture had been printed in colour on the cloth and I just stitched over it. I did not have enough threads to finish the picture and board of it easily as it was a bit simple. But it is still sitting in the bottom of my sewing basket as a reminder of my humble beginnings.
Cross stitching now:
Well a few years later my skills have vastly improved. My current project is 18 x 21 inch design called Picking Bluebells. My granddads ashes are scattered in a place called Blue Bell Woods, which is where he took my mum as she was growing up. I hope to have the picture finished and framed for her by her birthday in October, but the picture is vast and so far (after nearly a month) I have only completed about half of one of the four design charts. A long way left to go yet. I brought the design off a little searching on the internet for that "perfect" picture. So far so good I have completed the top half of a tree. Not bad.
My favourite pictures to stitch are the Tatty Teddy collections. I have many currently in my sewing box and I love turning the completed designs into Birthday cards for people. I also enjoy doing the small kits that are usually of flowers. After a recent visit to Dunelm I found a beautiful sunflower design. We have recently decorated out downstairs toilet area in a pale green. After stitching the design it was framed and now site perfectly on the wall. The bright yellows really do bring the room to life, and it's something nice to look at whilst your on the toilet.
I also like to make my own book marks with the scraps of material I have left from designs. When you make a big design, you usually have to trim it down for it to fit in a frame. These off cuts are brilliant for making mini designs for cards and labels for signs etc. I plan to make my own strawberry jam this year and I hope to make some cross stitch labels for the jars.
Cross stitch ideas:
I do tend to get a lot of my ideas from magazines. I do not have a favourite, as I just tend to pick up a mag if I feel a bit uninspired. But I store them all up and have a flick threw a couple of them now and again and I always find something to keep me busy.
The internet is also a great place to get inspiration. I tend to just type in cross stitch in Google and browse over the pictures. If I spot a design I like then I tend to visit the website from there. It saves spending ages looking over websites that only offer more basic cross stitch patterns.
Where to buy Cross stitch items?
Well if you want a particular design you are best looking on the internet. Ebay sell cross stitch items that have already been completed if you are looking for something for the house. But most websites put there designs in category order so it is pretty simple to find a design you prefer if you want to stitch your own.
I recently brought a pack of 150 threads from Argos for £15. This is a bargain as some threads can be pretty expensive, if you are looking in craft stores. They are of a good quality and a large range of colours. Perfect if you run out of threads for a design kit. You can see them in the craft section of the catalogue, with the sewing boxes.
After speaking to ladies in my local craft store it seems that cross stitching is becoming popular again. I must say that I am thrilled. It may be due to the economic climate and people staying at home more. Or (as I like to hope) it's because people have discovered what a brilliant skill it is and how enjoyable it can be.
You need patients and time to keep this as a hobby. But I believe anyone can do it. It really is a very rewarding feeling to sit back, look at your work and know that with a little bit of dedication you have made something brilliant.
I find doing cross stitch patterns very relaxing and fascinating the way that lots of small coloured squared can actually when finished become a picture. You need a lot of patience to do a cross stitch design which I found out when I realised I had counted some squares wrong and have to remove some stitches and do them all again!
I started doing cross stitch when I was around 10 but this was only with the big yellow plastic needle and very large areas where I was to be placing colour, so that was quite easy. As I grew up I did these more and now I am 18 and I still do them.
My 2 favourites I got 1 Christmas were 2 Me To You bear designs, which were very fiddly! As the majority of colour was grey, you have to determine which colour is which by the number of thread you get etc. At the end I also had to go round them to give them that 'tatty' look that they have with little threads sticking out everywhere. I have these framed on my side board.
I find doing these as presents for people is a really good idea. They appreciate the time and effort gone in to it. I made another teddy one which was a browny cream coloured thread, which again was difficult but I managed it! (called ickle ted). I have also made a little hedgehog holding a cake for my cousins birthday and a winnie the pooh design for my mum.
They really are a great hobby and you can take as long as your like on them, no need to hurry as the end result will always be worth it. I'm working on a care bear design at the moment which I've found to be the best as far as help goes. It comes with the thread already colour coded and ready to use instead of you having to figure it out yourself. I would recommend a first timer to check if this is in a package your buying as it would really benefit from getting one of these to start with.
Heritage Stitchcraft are doing a brilliant job. They've made their kits available at many gift stores nationwide. They are appropriately themed with the content in those stores, targetting places of cultural interest. They have a good medieval/historical selection which means that their designs can include original tapestry detail. The designs are very good. An important point that many designers somehow forget is that stitchers want a nice product at the end of the day. Their collection features many small kits. This has made cross-stitch accessible to a wide audience. With kits starting at around the pound mark (for small card kits), this means that people and children are willing to give cross stitch a go. The patterns at this level are considerably easier and are a fantastic way to introduce new people to the craft. Personally, I have a couple of these kits to pop in my handbag for those boring waits at doctor's surgeries etc. The instructions are really clear. The packaging is attractive and has a recognisable 'brand'. Well done Heritage Stitchcraft! Keep up the good work.
I am an avid cross stitcher I started on kits a couple of years ago and now design some of my own using books and a computer programme. But when I started the first kit I bought was a Designer Stitches Whinnie the Pooh bib set to stitch for my nephews. I still buy the odd Pooh Bear kit as I find them a joy to stitch, the colours are bright and the instructions well set out. So I was really excited when Designer Stitches bought out two new books with Pooh and Friends designs that you can copy or use to make your own design. Along with the books are packs of thread containing all the colours for the characters. The first book contains alphabets made up of all the main characters, Pooh,Tigger,piglet and Eyeore. There are designs to make these into cushions, pictures towel bands etc. The nice thing is that once confident with copying these designs you can use the components to make your own designs. The second is a book of christmas designs again based on the Pooh bear characters and contains ideas for decorations,a cake band stockings and so on. One important thing is that you can now buy the threads in the correct colours as a pack or individually. If you have stitched a Pooh Bear design before you will know that the gold colour for Pooh is exclusive to Designer Stitches so until now it was not possible to stitch your own ideas in the authentic colour. I purchased my books as packs including the thread from QVC and Debbie Minton has actually signed them. They arrived this morning and I feel really inspired and can't wait to get to the craft shop to get some fabric and make a start.
I had never tried cross stitch until I stopped smoking and needed to find something to do with my hands. The Winnie The Pooh designs appealed to me because I have always loved the characters in A.A. Milne's book. There are a number of designs available in this series (designed by Debbie Minton.) If you get tired of Pooh you can go on to Mickey Mouse, All Our Yesteryears, and even Warner Brothers characters. These are all by the same designer and range from around £15 upwards. You get everything you need in the kit so you can start straightaway. The instructions are very easy to follow. I am a complete beginner but I found it quite easy to get the hang of making the stitches correctly, stitching in the ends of threads, etc. I must admit that it was a very slow process at first because I had to concentrate carefully on each stitch and I got into a series of knots. However, once I had finished my first picture I seemed to get the idea and things are plain sailing now. If you are a beginner I would recommend that you start off with a small picture kit and get used to it before attempting a larger piece. (You will need a frame to keep the whole thing in shape if you work on a larger picture.) If I can do ( I am hopeless at needlework), you can. Give it a try and you might suprise yourself.
I love cross stitch. I first got into it when I was bought a kit whilst recovering from appendicitis (ouch!). My first thought was that I had had tissue removed not my youth! But 6 weeks is a long time to be resting and so I looked at the kit and before long I was hooked. Cross stitch is similar to tapestry you build a picture using cross stitches. I have used various kits by various designers over the years but Designer Stitches is by far the best. Their Chief Designer is a lovely lady called Debbie Minton, who designs kits mainly from disney characters. The Designer Stitches range includes: Winnie the Pooh Mickey Mouse Warner Brothers - bugs daffy etc All our yesteryears The kits can be quite expensive (some limited editions can be as much as £30 but are generally around the £15 mark) The kits are very well laid out and are very good for beginners. Each kit contains the fabric (usually AIDA) the thread, a needle, the stitch chart and instructions. The instructions are very user friendly and they tell you step by step how to begin the cross stitch and use pictures to show you how to do the various stitches. The threads come in a bundle with a thread separater. The stitch chart tells you how many strands of each colour there is which helps when sorting out the various colours (Tip: always sort out the different colours in daylight as similar colours can look the same under artificial light). The Stitch charts are big and are easy to read. Designers Stitches also do other crafts including latch hook rugs - they have some brilliant Winnie the Pooh ones which are easy and quick to do - they are expensive starting from around £30 but well worth the satisfaction when you've finished one. Another good kit is the felt applique christmas stocking available in various disney and warner brother characters and at £15 per kit are brilliant to make. Felt Applique is where you build up a picture using felt to get
a 3D effect. I did two for my children at Christmas and everyone was asking where they could get one! All in all Designer Stitches are brilliant - very good value for money and they bring me hours are pleasure and satisfaction when the cross stitch is finished. Designer Stitches kits are available from all good 'stitching' shops and QVC.