How to Use Counting Pins in Your Cross Stitch

So we had a discussion on Facebook and here about using counting pins, especially on larger projects. I mentioned that I was looking at ordering some and wanted to hear everyone’s experiences. In an effort to better understand the whole concept of using counting pins in counted cross stitch I turned to Tommye J Bunce (aka TJB Designs) and asked for a brief explanation of how these beautiful tools worked to make our stitching easier……

(by the way, hop over to http://facebook.com/tjbdesigns and give her fan page a “like” if you haven’t already)

—–TJB counting pins explanation for cross stitchers—–

Counting pins are a must for anyone who does counted thread embroidery. They will scare away that ugly frog!! The tips are blunt like tapestry needles, so they won’t split the threads of your fabric. Rubber earring nuts are used to hold the pins in place.

The most common way to use them is when moving from one stitched area to another spot where you want to start stitching. For instance, if your next stitching point is 12 stitches left and 15 stitches down from completed stitch “A”, using the counting pin to count 12 stitches to the left of stitched point A. Insert the counting pin into that hole, bring it back up 2 or 3 stitches away and put the nut on the pin to anchor it. Take a second counting pin and count down 15 stitches from where the first pin was inserted. Insert the second pin at that point and anchor it. Then you can thread your needle and start stitching.

TIP: if you are truly paranoid, pick a completed stitch “B” in a different area, and figure out how far your new stitching point is from point B.

Repeat the counting and marking process, as before, from point B. If you come up in the same place as you did when counting from point A, you’re ready to go. If you don’t, recount. If you still don’t, you probably made a mistake in your previous stitched area somewhere between A and B. (you probably weren’t using counting pins then. LOL)

Another popular use is when stitching long bands or rows. Insert a counting pin every 25 or 50 stitches, or whatever number you are comfortable with. That way you don’t have to count the whole row over and over again trying to figure out when you are done.

This photo isn’t a good demonstration of the counting and marking process, but it does show how to anchor them.

And, of course, all are welcome to visit my Etsy shop for more counting pins, many of which are color coordinated with (super pretty) scissor fobs. http://etsy.com/shop/tjbdesigns

And to keep up with new products, be a fan of TJBdesigns Facebook page. http://facebook.com/tjbdesigns


A special thank you to TJB Designs for this great explanation and for getting me off the fence about ordering a set of counting pins. Actually, two sets. I ordered these and these from TJB Designs Etsy shop on Sunday afternoon. I figured if I didn’t get to stitch I could at least shop for stitching goodies!

I grabbed both the large and small size because even though I usually stitch on evenweaves and would be using the small size pins, I do have a project coming up in my stash that I think those large pins will come in handy for – besides that they were pretty and they matched! You know how that goes 😉

As always, happy stitching everyone!
Loretta


Welcome HAED Stitching Friends!

There was a mention in the HAED newsletter about gridding your cross stitch fabric for large projects and it referenced the article here that Sherrin wrote ages ago about how she did gridding – some quick background on that…. I met Sherrin at the TWBB when Stitching the Night Away was still young and she offered gridding and finishing services … I had her do the finishing work on my Fantasy Wedding Blessing to create the bell pull and also had her grid out my fabric for my TW Guardian, which is still in the WIP pile. I asked her about her process and she wrote up the article as a guide for me to publish here.

I want to send a special thanks to the folks at Heaven and Earth Designs for the kind mention in the newsletter and a big stitchy welcome to everyone that came by to visit and joined the newsletter here as well. Thank you all so much for joining us and I look forward to stitching with you.

Happy Stitching!
Loretta

Stitchqueries: Cross Stitch Stocking, What Fabric to Use

This week’s Stitchqueries question about cross stitch Christmas stockings actually popped up on the Stitching the Night Away Facebook community.

Rhonda mentioned:

I will be starting a cross stitched stocking for my daughter soon. I’ve got evenweave or Aida to work with. Which one would be sturdier?

You can see the entire discussion on Facebook by clicking here.

Now, the best part about having an entire community of stitchers is that when you ask a question, you get more than one answer! (and usually pretty quick too!) If there is one thing I’ve learned about stitchers over the past few years it’s that everyone is always willing to help when they can. I love that about our group 🙂

Becka let us know that her stockings are stitched on aida fabric and holding up great. Joni also voted for the aida fabric. Of course, I had to be the odd ball and go for the evenweave, but I have my reasons, so hear me out if you’re also going to be stitching a Christmas stocking.

I would still use evenweave. It’s soft, but it’s still strong, and you’re going to want to use interfacing when assembling your stocking anyway, so that will give it some added strength. Unless the design is solidly stitched I prefer evenweave for presentation purposes. When you finish a stocking you definitely want to use interfacing plus an inside lining fabric, especially if it’s intended to be used and not just for display on the mantle to look pretty.

So, those are our thoughts on fabric selection for stitching a christmas stocking. I would love to hear your experiences also, please leave a comment below if you have a stocking tip or idea to share with us!

Happy Stitching!
Kind Regards,
Loretta

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Bookmarks for Literacy 2011 Project

I love this stitching for literacy program and I’m so glad to see it going again! The mail in and drop off dates for stitched bookmarks are March 17 – April 28, so still plenty of time to stitch a bookmark or two and send it in to participate, or drop some off at a participating needlework shop if there is one near you.

How to Participate in the Program:
It’s easy just stitch a bookmark and send it in. After the bookmarks are collected they will be donated to a library or school during Children’s Book Week to reward reading accomplishments.

Need some bookmark patterns to stitch up? These designers donate to literacy projects at least 10% of profits from specially-designed bookmark patterns bearing a Needle and Thread: Stitching for Literacy logo. When you purchase these patterns, you, too, are supporting literacy… (just click on the images to pick up the chart)


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Top 3 Mistakes That Most Cross Stitch Enthusiasts Make

There are a handful of mistakes I see a lot of cross stitch enthusiasts making from newbies or novices. I’m not a super picky stitcher by any means, but these few things can make a huge difference in your finished project and if you’re mindful of them while stitching your next project I think you’ll be happy with the results.

Mistake #1: Leaving the project in the hoop or q-snap overnight.

Please, I beg you to stop torturing your cross stitch project in such a way. When you’re done stitching for the day take the project out of the hoop (or scroll frame, or q-snap, or whatever you’re using to hold your fabric taught) and let the project rest. Your stitching needs it beauty sleep too.

Stitcher’s Note: If you’re using a scroll frame or other frame where the fabric is sewn onto or more fixedly attached to the device it is recommended that you loosen the tension slightly to leave the project rest overnight and when you’re not stitching.

Mistake #2: Not crossing stitches in the same direction.

This one isn’t really a big deal, but it is something makes the finished piece look better. It doesn’t matter which direction your top leg of cross stitch is going, just be sure they are all going the same direction. Consistency is really the key here.

Stitcher’s Note: Right handed stitchers usually have the top leg going bottom left to top right. Left handed stitchers usually have the top leg going from bottom right to top left.

Mistake #3: Not stopping to untangle the tangled floss.

It happens to all of us at some point during almost every project, the floss gets tangled and BAM there’s a knot in it. I know untangling it is a huge pain in the you know what, however if you’re going to frame the finished piece you don’t want those bumps getting in the way later.

Stitcher’s Note: If you know for a fact that you are NOT framing the piece when finished then by all means feel free to leave those tangles in there and stitch onward!


Loretta Oliver, EzineArticles.com Basic PLUS Author
Those are just a few simple common mistakes that we all make, even me and I’ve been cross stitching since I was eight years old. If you take the necessary steps to avoid these mistakes I promise you that you’ll be very happy with the results when you’ve finished stitching your next project.

Kind Regards and Happy Stitches,
Loretta

How to Cross Stitch on Evenweaves and Linen Fabrics – Updated with new instructional graphics!

Stitching Over Two on Evenweave or Linen How to Guide by Loretta Oliver at StitchingtheNightAway.com

how to cross stitch on evenweave and linen cross stitch fabricsOur most popular download is the free report on how to cross stitch on evenweave and linen fabrics – however a few folks were still having trouble getting the hang of things.

So, in an effort to make things a little clearer this report has been updated to include larger more detailed graphs.

==> Click here to download the updated version!

I tried to make a cross stitch tutorial video to go along with the report, but even with my son’s wicked camera skills we couldn’t get my camera to stay focused on the fabric threads so you could properly see what was going on. We’ll try again soon, and hopefully we’ll have some new stitching videos for you too.

If you have any more questions about cross stitch on evenweave and linen fabrics – or any other topics you’d like me to cover – leave a comment and let me know!

Happy Stitching!
Kind Regards,
Loretta

5 Ways to Enhance Your Cross Stitch Project With Different Floss and Fibers

The basic design element of any cross stitch project is the embroidery floss used to create the pattern itself. The DMC and Anchor cotton floss lines provide a beautiful palette of colors to work with, and most designers are, of course, going to use these. But, sometimes you want a little something special in your project, maybe an added touch or two to make your piece different from everyone else’s.

That’s the great thing about cross stitch as a hobby, it’s very adaptable and creative by nature. Yes, you have a pattern in front of you, and instructions, and we all begin with a pile of fabric and thread. However, there are so many ways that you can add a touch of your own pizazz to any project, even if it’s from a prepackaged cross stitch kit.

Let’s go over a few quick ideas for fiber enhancements.

o Use Kreinik pearl blending filament to go over an area of stitches that you want to stand out with a little extra shine. This is a great technique for accenting things like butterfly wings, it gives flower petals for a dewdrop look, and it can bring new depth to any cotton floss color.

o Swap out a standard floss color for an over dyed floss instead. This gives you a range of depth and detail that helps your project stand out from the crowd. It’s also a great technique for jazzing up single color projects like samplers and blackwork projects.

o Swap out a solid color for a Kreinik Metallic, their #4 Very Fine Braid is the right size for this. Stitch with 1 strand of metallic braid instead of 2 strands of cotton floss. This is a fun way to add sparkle to your project and there are a lot of colors available.

o Change the color scheme completely. This one requires a bit more work and creative thinking, but the results can be so worth it. Change a red dragon into a blue dragon, or transform purple flowers into orange ones, use your imagination. Just make sure you use the same tones in a different color and you’ll be fine.

o Make it glow in the dark! This is a fairly new option that’s available by using the Glow in the Dark thread line from Kreinik threads. There are a few different colors, and of course they all glow in the dark. You can add these blending filaments to just about any project, but they are particularly fun for Halloween cross stitch projects. I’ve also had some luck adding them to Christmas ornament projects, they stand out on the tree at night even when it’s not lit up.

I hope you have some ideas flowing for your next cross stitch project now. Your only limit on what you can do is your imagination. Enjoy your hobby and have fun with it. Just a simple color swap can take a project from nice to amazing.

Keeping a variety of extra cross stitch supplies on hand (also known in the stitching world as your “stash”) is a great idea for any stitcher. With these extras on hand you’ll always be ready for that creative spark when the mood strikes to start something new or to make changes to enhance an existing work in progress.


Loretta Oliver, EzineArticles.com Basic PLUS Author
One of the key things for any stitcher to keep in their stash pile is a selection of embroidery floss and cross stitch fibers. Without these elements your fabric will remain a blank canvas, a masterpiece in waiting.

Kind Regards and Happy Stitches,
Loretta

Some Less Expensive Alternatives to Framing Your Finished Cross Stitch Piece

Fantasy Wedding BlessingThe most exciting part about doing a cross stitch project other than starting it is actually finishing it. When your stitches are actually crossed and your final back stitch is placed it’s time to decide what you want to do to display the needlework you’re so proud of.

A lot of people jump right to the thought of framing the piece. What size frame should they get? One matte or two mattes? Glass or plexi for protection? Standing frame or hanging frame?

But, the truth is there are so many options for your final finish other than a typical frame (or even a fancy frame.) Of course, a few of the options are going to depend on the size of your finished cross stitch, but don’t be afraid to get creative to get the effect you want in the end.

One of the most popular framing alternatives is sewing the piece into a pillow or a sham. Of course, this lends well to small to medium sized cross stitch pieces and because it will be out on display you may want to use simple designs in this option because they might or might not washing at some point.

A similar option that I really enjoy for small pieces is to create a quilt block to be part of a larger wall hanging or even an actual quilt. It gives a nice personalized touch to the overall project and sets it apart from a typical quilting project.

The example in the photo above is a banner sewn from a finished wedding sampler and mounted on a dowel painted to match the fabric with a twisted cord made from DMC thread. (The cross stitch design is the Wedding Blessing from Dragon Dreams, and stitched this one for myself ;)) [Read more…]

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