It might well be the middle of summer when you read this, but you know there is just so much to do in the lead up to the festive season that it’s never too early in the year to start stitching our Christmas cross stitch projects.
OK! So it’s month’s away but in no time you’ll be thinking, “Christmas is almost hereChristmas is almost here!”. For many stitchers, there will be the thrill of giving cross stitched cards and gifts to those who are special in our lives.
For others, there will be the feeling of disappointment and resignation – not having completed that project in time for Christmas, with several christmas cross stitch projects left unfinished…
Admittedly, starting now can be tricky. Concentrating on icicles, snow scenes and Santa Claus when the sun is shining outside can seem unappealing.
However, it is a good time to review your Christmas cross stitch projects plans and deciding what to do with any unfinished projects from previous years.
Don’t Procrastinate, Start Early
So what options do we have? Do we complete complete unfinished projects from last year, or throw them out? Or do we start new christmas cross stitch projects, or a mix of the above?
I always resolve to make my family and friends cross stitched cards, but as Christmas looms nearer and nearer, my plans become less ambitious. I think this is because I always overestimate the amount of free time I shall have. Is it the same for you?
Furthermore, I am reading in magazines and on websites that this or that card ‘can easily be stitched in an evening’. This makes life seem uncomplicated. Let’s be realistic here. How many uninterrupted evenings do you have?
With meals to cook, telephones ringing, TV programs to lure you away from your stitching, one evening’s stitching can drift into three evenings. So that’s why I’m starting early.
As for my plans, this year, I resolve to choose a few simple motives, stitch them on some colored Aida and place them into home-made specially shaped aperture cards that can be turned into bookmarks. Some will be appreciated, some won’t; the trick is to gift appropriately.
I also plan to use motives that include: robins, hearts, angels, Hellebore (a flower) and stars. I intend to exclude the obvious Christmas themes because I want these cards (bookmarks) to last longer than the Christmas season.
Santa Claus looks rather tired by the first week of January, so although I want to extend my Christmas wishes to my family and friends, I like to choose a more enduring set of themes for my Christmas stitching so that my tokens of friendship are taken into the next year.
Sort, Sift and Discard
Maybe there’s the thought that the potential recipient may appreciate the gift for their birthday next year instead! It is always difficult to leave enough time to stitch. Chores and other necessities tend to get in the way of our favorite hobby.
I have found that the best thing to do with those unfinished Christmas cross stitch projects is to place them safely and neatly in a labelled box or storage caddy, so that the projects can be returned to with fresh resolve.
No – you are not likely to present someone with a beautifully stitched Rudolph Reindeer in July, but some projects can be appropriate at any time of year. (I personally favor these designs, as they can be positively enjoyed all through the year.)
Before you put away this unfinished stitchery, do make sure of the following things:
1. Remove any needles from the fabric, so that they will not leave a mark. You may park your needle at the edge of the design. If you use gold-plated needles they will not rust, but they may leave a hole in the fabric, so be careful to park those carefully too
2. Remove hoops and frames. The hoop may distort the fabric over time. I hope you never place a hoop over stitches – as this can stretch them and leave an untidy finish
3. Roll up your project. Do not fold. Again, folding may stretch the stitches or leave a crease in the fabric that can take a lot of time to remove.
4. Make sure you keep with your project the correct threads, organised in a thread organizer, so that when you return to your work, you will have all the right shades of thread ready to hand
5. Store your projects somewhere dark and dry, so that they will not fade, nor get damp or even mildewed. I keep mine under the bed. Now relax and enjoy your Christmas!
I’m reminded of an amusing cartoon from times gone by. It shows a traditional household with husband and child sitting on the sofa on Christmas Day, presumably waiting impatiently for their dinner.
The mother rushes into the room, proudly showing a cross-stitched picture of a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, announcing happily that at last it’s ready! (Shame, I cannot find the picture, I so wanted to display it here – it might yet be found). Ah! Time for nostalgic thoughts of the traditions from Christmas past.
When It’s time to be frugal
There are often times when money is tight and what little there is needs to be spent elsewhere in the festive season.
We all know that it is the thought that counts when we give presents or cards, so cross stitch is a wonderful way to demonstrate loving thoughts without spending a fortune.
During these frugal times you can economize with your stitching in the following ways:
- Go through your stitching paraphernalia and see what fabrics, threads and other accessories you have stored away that you may have forgotten about. It’s surprising what may lurk in the bottom of that box! You may have lots of stitchery that you can make into cards, bookmarks or Christmas ornaments with a bit of ingenuity.
- Swap any excess stitching possessions with those of stitching friends. Everyone can end up with something new – with no money spent.
- Be realistic about how much you can achieve in pre-Christmas stitching. Buy accordingly, and look out for bargains along the way.
- Christmas themes are, by definition, perennial. Check out motifs used last year, or in books/magazines stored away rather than splurging on new ones.
- Buying fabric in large quantities is one way of getting more for your money. So get together with some stitching buddies and buy in bulk.
If you have completed all your Christmas cross stitch projects, and you have the time, you might like to watch this YouTube video and get some ideas for creating some cross stitch decorations:
Hopefully, you picked up a couple of useful ideas for tree ornaments from Lori in the video. And you got something from this article about prioritizing your Christmas cross stitch projects allowing you to complete them in plenty of time this year.
I hope you’ll consider sharing your experiences with us, in the comments section below. Whether they’re good or bad, I answer all comments left. So, if you’ve any cross stitch questions and/or or stories, please respond below or email me ([email protected]).
Love your stitching – love life!