Entering a Cross Stitch Competition

Keep Calm and Cross Your StitchesI’m sure you’ve seen the gorgeous pieces on display at the county fair every year. Have you ever thought about entering your finished cross stitch into one of these competitions? Here a few things to look at before you submit your entry.

  • First you need to know the name of your design, who designed it, and it’s helpful to list the materials you used, such as fabric type including name of the fabric and fabric count, any specialty threads you used such as Kreinik blending filament, any changes you may have made to the design, how you stitched (1 over 1, 2 over 2, 1 over 2 etc)…
  • Make sure any floss fuzz or pet hair has been removed from the piece
  • Wash the piece and block out any wrinkles that may occur, you don’t want to have hoop or scroll marks on your finished piece
  • Be sure there are no knots in your floss and all tails are neatly tucked in and trimmed with sharp embroidery scissors to avoid fraying.
  • All cross stitches are crossed in the same direction (this is one of the first things that will be noticed.) It does not need to be any particular direction, as left-handed stitchers tend to stitch in the opposite direction of right-handed stitchers their top leg of the X will go in the opposite direction. As long as all cross stitching is crossed in the same direction throughout the piece.
  • Consistent stitch style, meaning if you stitch one X at a time, do this for the entire piece, and if you stitch across //// and then come back to cross those \\\\ then do that throughout the entire piece.
  • The back of the piece does not need to be 100% perfect, especially if it is a difficult design. However, you want to make sure you don’t have any tails poking out through the front, and carryovers should be short and not show through the front of the design.
  • Framing isn’t usually judged, but the style of frame and matting should compliment the design that you’ve stitched. Professional framing is recommended if the piece is going to be entered into a competition.
  • Be sure you have even fabric coverage and tension of stitches, it helps to use a laying tool or to “railroad” your cross stitching. This helps direct the threads to lie next to each other smoothly and prevents a bulky or twisted looking stitch from happening.
  • If your stitching has not been framed and you are entering a pillow, afghan, box, etc. consider the same things and also consider any sewing or finishing that has been done. If your piece is sewn into a pillow, bell pull, sachet, ornaments, or whatever you’ve chosen make sure that the seams are smooth and the fabric hasn’t bunched up around the edges. Adding cording helps to hide any bunching that may occur, and it also adds a nice visual effect. If batting is used make sure it’s distributed evenly throughout the piece. If you’re piece is something like an afghan that shows the stitches on the back it might be a good idea to add another fabric as backing just for visually appealing purposes.

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About Loretta Oliver

I’ve been a cross stitcher since I was 8 years old. It was something I learned as a Girl Scout when we did a project for a badge related to crafts and the group choose to cross stitch a holiday design on a red sweatshirt using waste canvas. (Talk about hard first project, that was such a pain!) I was one of the first ones finished and I’ve had a needle in my hand almost every day since then.

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