When it comes to the festive season, one of my favorite things to do is attempt at least one large Christmas cross stitch design. I’m sure I’m not alone in this practice.
Although recently I have been busy creating small cards and bookmarks in preparation for Christmas. The weeks fly past at this time of year, and it’s easy to get behind with Christmas stitching plans. I love these small projects – one evening of stitching, and another stitched card is completed. It gives of sense of achievement.
However, I wonder if you will agree with me on this: Much as I enjoy the satisfaction of making these small projects, I miss working on my larger works-in-progress at the moment. I think this is because I associate stitching large projects with relaxation. Unlike stitching small motifs, there is no pressure to complete them in time for Christmas – or other festive occasion.
I enjoy seeing these large designs grow very slowly. I have therefore decided to continue stitching the big projects alongside the quick-and-easy ones. Just for pleasure. This is stitching bliss.
My tips for working on the big designs
I have discovered these the hard way, I can assure you.
Do not rush into stitching straight away
Spend time sourcing and organizing your materials, especially your threads, before starting. Hands up everyone who has muddled two or three shades of the same colour… yes, I’d guess this is a mistake we have all made.
You need to sort your threads in a very good light – either natural light, or a daylight bulb. Place the threads in a labelled thread organizer. It is a fiddly job, but will save you a lot of time during the project.
Study the pattern chart carefully before you begin
Do you need to enlarge it before you begin? Never try to strain your eyes to see a pattern that is too small for comfort. Your local copy shop should be able to enlarge your pattern for you.
Consider buying a frame
If you do not already have one, a tapestry frame will add to your stitching pleasure. Also, a frame will prevent the fabric from creasing, and will help you to keep your stitching tension even. A basic frame consists of vertical bars and horizontal rollers to which you staple, sew, clip or tape your fabric. It is easy to rotate the horizontal rollers, revealing the section of stitching you’re working on.
The jumbo embroidery frame (max. embroidery area 260 x 400 mm) is ideally suited for oversize embroidery projects.
4. Experts suggest that it takes an hour to stitch a one-inch square on 14 count aida. So you can get a rough idea of how long a project will take by multiplying your design height in inches by its width.
Don’t forget to add time for unusual stitches, fractional stitches, backstitch additions and beading. Of course, you can subtract time for any unstitched space. This timing assumes that you will be stitching constantly. In reality, we are often distracted when we stitch.
Conversation, tea-breaks and Life Itself often gets in the way of our stitching, so we are unlikely to spend an evening of non-stop stitching.
If you are planning a large project, then you need look no further than Patterns Patch Club. There are hundreds of patterns to download, all free of charge for members. Here is a favourite of mine (‘Mountain Retreat’ by Thomas Kinkade):
Where to get large christmas cross stitch designs
A number of leading patterns maker feature large christmas themed designs. One refulalrly buy from is Artecy cross stitch.
I found this jolly christmas stitcher on youTube and although the video is nearly 20 mins, kimberly shares some interesting tales and great tips:
Happy Stitching! Janis