In the days of old ‘to cheat’ was to steal something of value from another person. Today, a subtle variation of cheating can be termed ‘acceptable shortcuts’. So, let’s consider a few hints, tricks, and shortcuts for how to cheat at cross stitch.
Now! In the kitchen, we’re all accustomed to using shortcuts — quick sauces, microwaveable mashed potatoes, finely chopped onions, and pre-made meals, which are all common sights on grocery store shelves.
But what about healthier alternatives? These things can sometimes be found on the shelves of our kitchen cabinets as well.
We all know we live in an, increasingly harried, stressed-out society with much too much to do and so little time in which to do it, so cutting corners in the best interests of serving these is now acceptable.
Even the best cooks are guilty of it. “How to Cheat at Cooking,” the title of UK’s Delia Smith’s best-selling cookbook, is a daring play on words.
Where does cross stitch come into this?
So, what does any of this have to do with cross stitching, I hear you ask? Well, first of all, I’m wondering if we can or should make shortcuts when it comes to our stitching work.
The big question we each need to ask is, is it because we want to complete the product we’re stitching as soon as practicable, or is it because we enjoy the act of stitching itself?
So, how DO we cheat at cross stitch?
I’ve been thinking about how we might be able to move things along more quickly if the situation calls for it. So, here are my eight main tips for saving a little time while cross stitching:
1. Planning Ahead
When cross stitching, it is important to have a plan in mind. This will help you save time by not having to keep track of multiple projects at once.
2. Researching Patterns
One of the best ways to save time while cross stitching is to research patterns beforehand. This will help you find the correct pattern and stitch size for your project, as well as ensure that you are using the correct threads and materials. While researching patterns, if time is tight, why not …
3. Give stamped cross stitch a try
The kits have a printed picture on the fabric, which, when I first saw these thought they were so cool. All that is required is that you put a few stitches over a portion of the image; you will not be required to count stitches since you will simply match the color of the thread to the backdrop.
4. Breaking Down Projects Into Parts:
Another acceptable cheat for cross stitch is to break down projects into manageable parts, especially on larger projects. This allows you to work on individual pieces at a time and keeps you from becoming overwhelmed by the entire project. Additionally, it can help you to track your progress and improve your skills over time.
5. Concentrate on little jobs that need little effort
Instead of filling up sceneries with stitched motifs, you can stitch the motifs onto a simple background. Once you have selected your background, next choose your motifs.
You can use any type of design or image that you like, as long as it’s small enough to fit within the confines of your chosen background fabric. Also, decide whether some elements of the design can be left out (for example, the occasional leaf on a plant), without having a negative effect on the project.
6. Stick to what you’re familiar with
It’s less difficult, and there’s less unpicking to do as a result. For example, some experts recommend that you abandon the effort of learning and remembering how to tie French Knots and instead use a bead. Confession time – I do this a lot.
7. Enlist the assistance of others to complete your projects
You may even hire them to do the entire project for you. It is entirely up to your conscience whether or not you claim that the end result is entirely your own labor.
8. Using Automated Tools (a little way out, I know)
If at all possible, consider using automated tools to help you save time as a cross stitching cheat.
There are many different types of cross stitch machines on the market, so it can be hard to decide which one is right for you. The best way to find out is to do some research and read reviews, and go on to cross stitching forums. There are a few things you should keep in mind when choosing a cross stitch machine: type of fabric, number of threads, and design space.
The first thing to consider is the type of fabric you will be working with. Most cross stitch machines come with a variety of fabrics pre-loaded, so you don’t have to worry about buying any yourself. However, if you plan on stitching on a thicker fabric or something that won’t fit into a pre-loaded machine, you will need to buy a separate cross stitch machine that can cater for heavier fabrics.
Are YOU going to cheat at cross stitch?
Does all this sound a tad miserable? It does to me. I think the majority of us really enjoy doing our hobby, not merely completing things as quickly as possible. Of course, when stitched well, the finished item is a joy to see – or to give away with pride.
But the wonderful ritual of sitting down, surrounded by our stitching stash and being creative is an unbeatable feeling.
It’s one of the few areas in our lives when we can relax, enjoy some ME time, and savor every small part of what we do, rather than rushing along to see how fast we can achieve the finished product.
To give you another take on cross stitch ‘cheats’, have a look at this short video (8 minutes) we found on YouTube:
I think Bella has a lovely friendly tone and her advice is well delivered. I really enjoyed her tutorial.
Do you agree with any of this? Did you learn anything new? Or do you feel that stitching should be streamlined along with the other tasks we perform?
I hope you enjoyed this article and found some of the ideas in it useful. I’d love to hear from you with any acceptable cross stitch cheats, shortcuts, or hacks YOU can recommend to your fellow stitchers, in the comments section below. I will always reply to you.
Scarlet, “In the UK”.