It’s easy to get into a stitching rut. I know how easy it is to keep to the same sorts of designs, safe in the knowledge that it’s the easiest route to getting good results. I’ve started stretching myself a little more, over the past few months, and I am surprised to discover just how much better a stitcher I am for my efforts AND how much more cross stitch fun I’m having.
If I can do it, so can you. I am not a patient person, and I am certainly no natural expert. Here are five strategies for improvement I have learned. I wish someone had told me about them when I first started cross stitch.
1. Admit to mistakes…
… and do not try to cover them up! Have you miscounted your stitches, and find that you need to unpick some stitches? How tempting it is to carry on – to stitch your way out of disaster. Well, believe me: it does not work!
If you cheat with your stitches, you will find that the shading will be incorrect – like the elephant on the right – and the design will look misshapen.
The more you try to add incorrect stitches, the more loudly the mistakes will shout out at you from the fabric.
The solution is to grit your teeth and unpick (frog) those stitches. You won’t regret it.
I’m sure as a child you’ll recall being told to own up to your mistakes and learn from them; well nothing’s changed!
2. Organize that stash!
I think there is probably an article on the importance of organizing stitching paraphernalia in almost every stitching magazine. The conclusion of the article is almost inevitably buying new boxes, trolleys, workstations and cases – at a price.
If you have money to burn, then go ahead and have a shopping fest! I have used more humble arrangements for storing my stash with great success… we all accumulate random containers that can be used to stash our valuable stitchery.
The solution on the left would work for many stitchers: patterns in folders and the rest in see-through boxes, clearly marked, above. Ah, but in this scenario what will we do with our WIPs (Works In Progress)? Leave your answers in the comments section below. All relevant comments will win a free pattern.
Personally, I would rather invest in beautiful threads and fabric than set up costly storage solutions.
The best thing about good organisation is that everything is at hand, and this can be so inspirational for creativity. An untidy heap of knotted threads or creased fabric is less likely to be cherished.
3. Learn a new technique.
There’s a lot you can do here. For instance you could choose to conquer the cross stitcher’s nightmare – the French knot – once and for all.
Or perhaps learn a specialty stitch such as the Lazy Daisy stitch. Or maybe learn how to add some charms or embellishments, such as bugle beads, buttons and/or pearls.
If you regularly use Aida fabric, try something new such as evenweave, linen or even canvas. Never be afraid to experiment with different specialty threads, such as perle (pearl) cotton, flower thread or silk/rayon.
Using a new technique or different cross stitch supplies can transform an attractive cross stitch piece into a masterpiece. Just do it for cross stitch fun. You will be glad you did.
4. Go out on a limb for cross stitch fun
If you’re feeling brave, and up for a challenge, why not step out of your comfort zone and try something a little risque. If you’d like some ideas, checkout this funny cross stitches site.
We scoured the web and found this interesting video that will be a bit of an eye-opener for some. Check it out it’s only 8 minutes long (Be warned though, it’s not suitable for the easily offended):
Did that give you any ideas? Stitching any one of those will be cross stitch fun for many people, especially if you make them unique by changing some of the design.
5. Try a large design
Without any pressure or deadlines. Just do it because you enjoy it. You can put it aside when the birthday cards loom or when you are particularly busy or tired, and return to it just for the sheer pleasure of stitching.
Why not become a Patterns Patch Insider? Insiders have hundreds of patterns (charts) to choose from, many of them are large – for no cost at all.
I hope you enjoyed this article and found some of the ideas in it useful. I bet you could add some extra tips for cross stitch fun to this list. Do please share them with us in the comments section below. I will always reply to you.
Scarlet, “In the UK”.