Stitchqueries: Do you use a stitching stand?

This should make for some great discussion and I hope everyone will chime in with their recommendations in the comments section below!

I just hold my projects in my hands, use an embroidery hoop for my cross-stitch projects, but sometimes that gets to feeling a little awkward. What would you recommend to use as a holder? A floor model or lap model for instance? And if so, which one(s)? There are just too many choices for me to decide without trying them first which of course I cannot afford to do. So if you would recommend the ones you like the best to me that would be so very helpful!

I love this question, thank you Valerie for asking it!

I have a lap stand that I sometimes use – I’m not sure if they still make it, its called a Sit’N’Stitch – it works great for me. It’s small and portable and I’m limited on space. I also don’t use it all the time, so it’s great to stash it away when I’m not using it. I poked around the web and cannot find the stand that I have anymore, they were hand made, so perhaps they have retired. (If anyone knows, please let us know the correct URL.)

The EZ Stitch Lap Stands are very similar to what I have,

You clamp your frame or hoop into the stand and you put the base under your leg(s) and stitch away on your project. You can stitch using both hands or just one, whatever you’re more comfortable with. I do like to stitch with both hands and I find that stitching that way doesn’t aggravate my carpal tunnel nearly as much and I can stitch for a longer period of time.

I know some of our readers use floor stands also, so hopefully we’ll hear some good opinions and buying advice on those types here in the comment section!

Happy Stitching!
Loretta

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Stitchqueries: What kind of lighting?

Bad lighting can make your stitching seem difficult and really strain your eyes, so this week’s question is an important one.

I’ve been doing needlepoint and cross-stitch for over 30 years but now that I have older eyes I don’t see as well at night to work on my projects so would like some recommendations on the best lighting or lighting attachments to use so I can work into the night. What do you use, recommend?

This is a great question and I would love to hear from some other stitchers on the topic as well. When it comes to lighting Ott-Lite seems to be the standard of best, but they’re quite expensive, so I honestly just put full spectrum light bulbs in the whole house.

You can just go to Lowes or Home Depot and pick up a package of regular looking light bulbs that capture a fuller spectrum of light than the “standard bulb” and it helps a lot. I’ve never used an Ott light, so I can’t really compare, but so far the spectrum style bulbs are working for me.

(They might not be true full spectrum, but I guess they are “more” or “most of” spectrum) On a side note, the fuller spectrum light bulbs make a great improvement on everyone’s mood as well!

If you decide to go with an Ott-Lite there are several styles available from floor lampsLamps & Light Fixtures) to portable lamps that you can put in your bag, so you can choose whatever works best for your stitching situation.

I hope that helps shed some light on things ;)

Happy Stitching!
Loretta

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Stitchqueries: Finding Stitch and Stuff Bear Pattern

This week’s stitchqueries is a little bit different. This is a plea for help in finding a pattern …. Janet emailed me a few weeks ago looking for a pattern of a bear with his arms up where you stitch his face sweater and toes then cut out the bear sew him together and stuff him.

I had never seen a pattern like this before, and I was coming up empty on searches. I’m usually pretty keen at hunting things down online, so I asked if she had any other information on the pattern. While we don’t have the designer or pattern name, she came back with this photo to help in the hunt…

If you recognize this cute little guy please let us know! Janet is seeking him and wants to stitch one up.

Thank you for your help and happy stitching!
Loretta

Stitchqueries: Too Good to Be True?

This week’s question is in regard to purchasing large photo conversion charts from eBay.

I saw a pattern from ebay- rainbow sunset cross stitch (452) and I found it too good to be true. I think it’s a chart generated from a photograph. Can we really crosstitch the pattern to look like the picture that we see? I hope you can help me. Thanks in advance.

I’m always weary of buying charts like this from eBay unless it’s from a cross stitch designer or company I recognize, because you can never be sure if the image to cross stitch conversion was done correctly. While it can be done with excellent results (for example, Heaven and Earth Designs and Mystic Stitch pattern products) it can also be done very poorly and often the results you receive from eBay are of the poorer quality. That’s not saying this isn’t a good pattern… it might be, but it’s a toss up 50/50 chance of what kind of chart you’re really going to get.

Why do I say this? Being familiar with converting image files to charts using software I know that it can be a painstaking process of going through each line stitch by stitch to make sure the floss color is of equal match up to the picture you’re trying to recreate. In a lot of cases the sellers on eBay are just hitting the “convert” button and not making the necessary adjustments to the pattern, therefore you’ll frequently find green where there should be beige, orange where there should be purple, and so on and so forth.

I hopped over to eBay to check this particular pattern out….

….and I do see that the seller has a large number of good feedback and 98% good feedback overall, so it might be worth the gamble if it’s something you really want to stitch. Good results are possible, but so are bad ones.

I wish there was more advice to offer here. If you do purchase the pattern and stitch it I look forward to seeing the finished work! (fingers crossed for good results!)

Happy Stitching!
Loretta

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Stitchqueries: Do you use counting pins while stitching?

This weeks question is actually for you from me – after all one person can’t possibly know everything there is to know about stitching!

Do you use counting pins while you’re stitching?

I’m one the fence about ordering a set of counting pins for myself and I’m wondering if you use them in your own stitching and how you like them.

Pros? Cons? Must have stitching accessory or just a shiny stash object?

I know we’ve talked a lot about gridding recently and I love gridding for large projects, but I don’t take the time to grid out my fabric for smaller projects (although sometimes I think I probably should) and I’m hoping that some counting pins will help me keep me moving along on my projects quickly and without tons of recounting or errors.

Leave a comment below and tell me what you think…. (and of course I’ll let you know what I order when the time comes ;))

Thank you!
Happy Stitching,
Loretta

Stitchqueries: Favorite Cross Stitch Fabric

I’m really enjoying receiving your cross stitch questions and answering them each week, so please do keep asking. No question is too big or too small, I love them all (and hey, I even rhymed!) This week’s question is a fun sort of question….

I noticed you use evenweaves and linens more than aida, but what is your favorite fabric to cross stitch on?

Ah, the joy of choosing a fabric for your next project! I love it <3

I do prefer evenweave fabrics and if you’d look in my stash cabinet you would see that 99% of my currently owned pieces are hand-dyed from Silkweaver Fabrics, which was recently purchased out by Zweigart Fabrics. So, the short easy answer is my favorite fabric comes from Zweigart Fabrics!

To be specific, from Zweigart I really like their Jubilee evenweave fabric and their Belfast Linen fabric. I have quite a few of both of those in my stash cabinet and I enjoy stitching on them both.

If you’re making the switch from aida to evenweaves, Jubilee is a nice smooth evenweave that is easy to make the transition on and I highly recommend it as a “newbie” evenweave.

==> Click here for my guide to getting started stitching on evenweaves!

Happy Stitching!
Kind Regards,
Loretta


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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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Stitchqueries: Do you buy and stitch all the chart of the week features?

Welcome to our Stitchqueries post (aka the mailbag). I love it when I get email, so please by all means do contact me if you have a question about the website here or about stitching in general. I will always answer – it might take me a few days, but I will answer!

The email I received was about the Cross Stitch Chart of the Week feature here on the site …..

I love seeing the different things that get picked for Cross Stitch Chart of the Week. But, do you buy them and stitch them all? Just curious. Thanks for always stitching.

That’s a good question and certainly a fair one. The simple answer is no, I do not buy and stitch every single chart of the week feature design. The complicated answer is, I do buy quite a few of them! (much to my husband’s dismay LOL)

For examples from recent Chart of the Week features, I currently own Dracolair’s Red Dragon Bookmark, Ink Circles Turkish Delight, and several of the designs that were featured during Stitchmas 2010, I even finished stitching one of the ornaments already.) I also fully intend to purchase this week’s Chart of the Week, Freedom for All, that beautiful horse is just screaming at me to stitch him!

So, there you have it… the long and short of things when it comes to the Chart of the Week here at Stitching the Night Away! Thank you for following along with my stitching adventures, even with all the frogs and window shopping. I truly appreciate it.

Happy Stitching!
Kind Regards,
Loretta

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