We’re delighted to have a guest post from Michaela Learner of the Cross Stitching Guild, who offers her advice on getting the most from your cross stitching…
For as far back as I can remember I’ve been designing, stitching, embroidering, crocheting, knitting, etc. Anything to do with thread and I’m your woman. Along the way I’ve picked up lots of tips for getting the most out of what I’m doing – some realistic and some less so – which I’d like to share with you. Superficially, cross stitch seems such a straightforward thing to do, but scratch the surface and you can enter a minefield if you listen to all the “experts”.
Here are Michaela’s 5 top tips for getting the most from your cross stitching:
Make sure you enjoy what you are doing. This is by far the most important tip, it’s your hobby and you should love doing it. For example I hate stitching with metallic thread; it makes my fingers itchy and sore so I avoid it whenever possible.
To get a smart, even finish ensure all your stitches cross in the same direction. You’ll be amazed that a little attention here can make a huge difference to the finished piece.
Railroad your stitches. This is simply the knack of passing the needle between the two strands of thread when you complete the top leg of your stitch. You can also do this with the bottom leg of the stitch but I’m firmly in the “life’s to short” camp when it comes to this! You will be rewarded with a lovely flat uniform result.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Lots of people get hung up on details like “the back must be neat” – oh really! The most important thing is the front, no one will see the back so don’t get hung up on it. You can also back pieces like bookmarks with felt or fabric to hide the reverse.
French Knots – if you hate doing them, don’t. They can easily be replaced with another cross stitch, seed beads, small individual back stitches or even sequins if you fancy something a little different. Look at the design and think laterally to come up with a solution that suits your work and your personality. I’ve even used red stitch-on rhinestones as a substitute for French knot holly berries – you really can’t beat a bit of bling!