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10 Tips for Cross Stitchers

As you can tell from the photo, my floss desperately needs organization, so I started looking through old articles filled with advice that cross stitch fans had shared with Leisure Arts over the years. As I searched for organization inspiration, I, instead, got pleasantly sidetracked by all sorts of great tips for cross stitchers:

Tip 1: Stitching On Dark Fabric
Recently I was preparing to stitch a design on black Aida cloth for my daughter. As it is very difficult to see the holes on this dark cloth, I was trying to think of a way to make it easier. I noticed that when the cloth was laid on a white table, I could see every hole. So I laid a piece of white cloth on my lap when I started to stitch, and it worked great. I can see every hole and it makes working on the dark cloth much more pleasurable.
Pam from Texas

Tip 2: Snip-It Christmas Ornament Idea
I have a small basket where I put all the snippets of thread from my stitching. When Christmas comes, I stuff all the threads I’ve collected during the year into a clear glass ornament, paint the year on the ornament, and then hang it on the tree. It’s almost like a record of the year’s stitching. I have a new, one-of-a-kind ornament for the tree and a beautiful reminder of my stitching.
Judy from Illinois

Tip 3: Tea & Coffee-Stained Fabric
I stitched a project on white Aida. When it was completed, I decided white was just not the right color. Rather than starting over, I decided to tea-stain it. It turned out perfectly! Since then, I’ve experimented with staining various cloths in tea and coffee. Slightly different shades can be produced, depending on the strength of the tea or coffee, the mixture used, and the soaking time.
Kimberly from Texas

Tip 4: Binding Fabric Edges
To prevent Aida cloth from losing too many threads, I either use masking tape to bind the raw edges, or I sew the edges tight so the threads are secure.
Anna from New Mexico

Tip 5: Gallon-Size Bags
In order to keep my projects clean and ready to stitch, I use a two-gallon size resealable plastic bag to store my material, pattern book, and smaller resealable plastic bags of the floss needed for that project.
Dawn from Iowa

Tip 6: Floss Scraps For The Birds
I keep a small tin can with a lid nearby for collecting scrap pieces of thread when I’m doing any form of needlework. Around the beginning of spring, I sprinkle the remnants of thread by the front porch and wait for the birds to carry them away to use in their new nests. It’s great to see the variety of colored thread, especially the filaments, in the nests.
Brenda from Texas

Tip 7: French Knot Replacements
I have trouble making French knots, so I use tiny glass beads for eyes or anywhere it calls for a French knot. The beads add a little extra touch to your finished item.
Carole from Pennsylvania

Tip 8: Threading Multiple Needles
When I am stitching a project that uses ten to twelve different colors, I thread up ten to twelve needles and keep them loaded. It takes me two minutes to thread, unthread, re-file that color, and thread a new color if I am using only one needle. I may change colors twenty to twenty-five times in one evening and that adds up to forty to fifty extra minutes that I can spend stitching.
Sally from Florida

Tip 9: Self-Stick Note Papers
For an easy and inexpensive way to mark my place on any of my needlework patterns, I use removable self-stick note papers. They can easily be moved from line to line without leaving a mark on the pattern.
Robyn from Connecticut

Tip 10: Sewing With Mommy
I try to find time to stitch each day. However, this can also mean satisfying the demands of a busy 2-1/2-year-old daughter who wants to sew like Mommy. To her delight and my relief, she can sew with her own “sewing bag” to hold her supplies. The bag contains lengths of yarn knotted at one end, large-eye plastic needles (they are blunt), plastic canvas cut into shapes, very large buttons, a tape measure, and child-safe plastic scissors. Sewing with Mommy is becoming a special time for the two of us, and I am able to foster an early love of needlework in my daughter.
Cynthia from Virginia

Do you have any cool cross stitch tips you’d like to share? Looking for more info? Check out Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Needlework. It’s the authoritative guide to all things needlepoint, embroidery, and counted thread work (like cross stitch)!

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