A Little Gridding Goes A Long Way

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (like back in 2013), I guest blogged a few times over here about my adventures in stitching.  Then, in Summer of 2013, I started a Masters of Arts degree in teaching and most of my spare time for blogging and stitching in general went down the tubes.  I am happy to say that I completed my degree in five semesters and walked across the stage with my velvet hood back on December 13.  A week later, my teaching certificate showed up.  But, since it’s mid-year and teaching jobs are in short supply, I am back to being a stay-at-home-mom with some extra time for blogging and stitching.

So, what has changed in two years?  Well, in my original interview with Loretta, I talked about how I enjoyed stitching smaller pieces.  Well, due to my mid-life stitching crisis, if you look at my current list of WIPs, you will see that I’m currently working away on a myriad of rather large pieces.  How my tastes have changed.

Anyway, I want to return to one of my favorite posts that I wrote for this blog: How to create a UFO in 13 easy steps.  In this post, I chronicled how a piece that I had started years ago (before I was married, in fact, and I’m coming up on my 6th anniversary) had tragically turned into a UFO.

A short time later, I blogged about how I had discovered gridding.  At the time, I had gridded two different pieces: an HAED (that’s “Heaven and Earth Designs” piece) and Snow White Discovers the Cottage, a kit of the Kinkade piece by the same name.  Both of those pieces were extremely large, solidly stitched and had lots of color changes, so gridding the piece made total sense.  To be honest, gridding a piece is kind of tedious and it can take an hour to grid one page of a piece (ok, it takes ME an hour since I have a 4 and 5 year old running around while I’m trying to work).  I only grid when I have to.

Then, I look a good look at Do Not Meddle (that would be the UFO).  It is not solidly stitched in the slightest but it caused me headaches even after I isolated and fixed the mistake.

To be honest, I think it’s the multiple shades of green that make this piece difficult, coupled with the irregular shape. The words were so easy. The dragons – HARD!

After trying (unsuccessfully) to start the dragon on the left side, I broke down and gridded the first page.  And to my surprise, it made things so much easier.  Instead of having to guess where I was from the current stitching (which is difficult because the shades of green are incredibly close together), I just use the grid lines as a reference point and go from there.  I got some work in today and here’s what it looks like.

You can barely see the grid threads because they’re beige but they show up just fine in person.

The moral of the story?

Is gridding tedious?  – Yep!

Can gridding prevent you from tearing your hair out and banishing a worthy piece to the bottom of your stitching basket? – Well, in this case, YES!

About Joy

Rabid stitcher and mother of a preschooler and kindergardener - both with Autism. Stitching is like going to war....with string!

I started playing with string when I was 16 and my mom bought me a Learn-A-Craft kit of a frog (because I love frogs). I discovered that cross stitching is a wonderful hobby when you go to college in the middle of nowhere Minnesota. Now that I'm married with two children, I stitch when I get a chance. Just finished my masters in teaching and hoping to get my first teaching job.

Visit Joy's Blog: http://gadgetsjoyfulpage.blogspot.com/


  1. Ruth-Anne says:

    Since I have a fondness for dragons and love the stitched sentiment. this piece just grabbed me. Is it an original design? And thanks for the gridding idea; I’ve run into just such a problem and this sounds like it will definitely help!

  2. Mary Umholtz says:

    I have children who would love this, and others like it. can you tell me how to purchase it???? I’ve gridded, and you are right, it takes FOREVER! But I think it’s worth the time and trouble for the very reasons you stated. Happy stitching!!:o)))

  3. I think this chart has gone out of print. You might be able to pick up a gently used copy on eBay or Etsy…. unless a shop has some left over. Maybe ask over at celticstitchery.com if they can locate one for you.

    • Loretta is correct. This chart is out of print. I purchased it in either 2006 or 2008 so it has been a WIP for a long long time.

      The great part about the pattern (if you do find it) is that it uses regular 28 ct white evenweave (I opted for opalescent white but it’s not required) and uses only DMC so the materials cost isn’t bad at all.

      You might also check at local thrift stores (although I second checking eBay and Etsy). I have a thrift store dedicated to craft items called SCRAP which I believe has several chapters around the country. I picked up another Dragon Fire Designs piece at SCRAP called Dragons and Dinosaurs (“Dragons are dinosaurs with a great press agent”). Thrift stores and large rummage sales attached to churches seem to have a lot more stitchy stuff.

  4. It did my heart good to see the article on gridding. I have always gridded large or complicated designs. You would not believe how many people (stitchers included) who wondered why I did. One stitcher even went so far as to comment that the “lines” distracted from the design. When I pointed out that the lines would be taken out when I was finished she finally got the point. In my opinion anything that makes my stitching life easier the better! Cheers!

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