Who’d have thought stitching rows and rows of tiny X’s would change my life? Have you ever cross-stitched? Did it give you a thrill to stitch itty bitty X’s, making them into a picture?
I fell in love with cross-stitch the first time I made a sample kit at a party. I figured this would be like many sales party where you gather with friends to hear about some products and spend money you don’t have through a sense of obligation to the hostess. And the best part comes when they break out the yummy treats at the end!
However, this one surprised me. Each guest received a mini craft kit, complete with all materials. The consultant told us the steps to complete the cross-stitched-butterfly napkin ring: separate the six-strand orange floss, thread the blunt cross-stitch needle with three ply of the floss, and begin making diagonal stitches on the Aida cloth (stiff fabric with an even weave creating little squares). Then we stitched back across the line on the opposite diagonal, crossing the first stiches to make X’s. it delighted me!
That’s all it took, that first little butterfly began a new genre of stitchery in what would come to be quite a large repertoire of accomplished techniques I would learn over the next 40 years. I gobbled up every pattern, bought scads of embroidery floss, completed kits and pictures for gift-giving. Then I infected my mother-in-law with the bug, and she cross-stitched larger projects than I liked tackling, such one with three angels she made for me because of our three daughters.
Eventually, I went on to create my own unique projects. My husband just reminded me of the fun I had with what cross-stitchers call waste canvas. This fun product allows us to cross-stitch from a pattern onto anything, using a piece of the waste canvas which can then be pulled out of the finished design thread by thread. I cross-stitched on tote bags, nylon wallets, clothing, a bowling towel, and more. I even created my own line of cross-stitched ties, mostly forest animals, which my husband loved showing off at work, including a deer which we had to turn into Rudolph for Christmastime.
Most years, I make our Christmas gifts for our extended family and friends. Sometimes, I write 30-day devotionals, such as the one I did for Christmas 2017 to go along with the current return to the fun of game-playing, board-game style. This year, I plan to use up some Aida cloth I bought maybe 15-20 years ago and create some Christmas-designed placemats.
Of course, my bad habit of waiting until fall to start … um, okay, Thanksgiving … means late-night stitching which, with advanced age and diminishing eye power, I have trouble doing. This meant giving in to my husband’s idea of starting early! So, for my final Christmas-in-July activity, I began working on these cross-stitch projects and anticipating getting done before December 25 … 2019, that is! LOL!
*** Have you ever tried cross-stitching? Or received a piece done by someone else? Please, share your story! Click on the words beside the date of this post. Scroll down to the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing!
*** Next week, I’ll share a post with a word dear to my heart. Check in to see what it is!
8 thoughts on “Tell Me a Story about … Cross-stitch!”
I actually have never tried cross stitch, but this makes me want to try!
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It’s not hard to learn, but I can teach you! I have tons of supplies and patterns. We could have a little cross-stitch party when you’re ready for company so I can see your new place! I’ll bring materials and you make some tea. How’s that? Thanks for sharing, Em!
I want to come!!!! But I’ll stick to Tatting!
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Absolutely, Faith! Plus, Holly and I plan to get together to do some crocheting, so you can come tat at that, too. However, as much as I love tatting, I may just have to bring one of those projects to work on, too! Thanks for sharing!
Cathy!! I love cross stitch!! I like to stitch on linen with sampler and cotton fibers. I am writing a new series for women about a woman who owns a small stitch set shop!! Love this! Sometimes I like to lay out all my threads and marvel at the colors.
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Wow! We could have talked about that all week! I’m delighted we share three things we like: writing, cross-stitch, and … Faith! LOL! I have five storage boxes with those little compartments filled to the brims with embroidery floss, all labeled with the DMC colors. And would you believe, for my first project, I didn’t have four of the colors I needed. I improvised for all but #310–black! I must have used it all the last time or put it in a tote bag with a project I never finished (lots of those hanging around this house). If you need extra fodder for your book or someone to brainstorm with, I’m your girl! Thank you for sharing, Joyce!
I used to cross-stitch — eons ago! My best friend Kathleen was doing it and wanted to show me how fun and “easy” it was. I had my doubts, but as I watched her do it, I wanted to try. I bought a kit at our fabric store of a very small canvas/aida cloth, of a shepherd with a sheep. How addicting! I finished it but not before pricking my finger with the needle which left a tiny blood stain on the white background, the unstitched part. At first I was dismayed. My first creation ruined. But then I thought no, I’ll always remember that was my first one, because of its special mark. I went on to do a few more and my boys even tried it. I don’t know when it was that I got away from doing it. I suppose I simply wanted to focus on my first love — crocheting — and so went back to that. I have recently thought about my cross-stitching days and knew that I could never do it now because I could never see anything that small. If you could have seen me tonight trying to pause the DVD I was watching, you’d understand! I had to find my glasses, then hold my cell phone screen, lit up, over the remote in order to be able to see the pause button! All with my grown son snickering as he witnessed such absurdity! This same son often has to tell me what the expiration dates are on food packages and coupons since even with glasses I can’t see those! So, no, I won’t be taking up cross-stitching again, but I do love that I once did it and enjoyed it. Thanks for the memories!
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Great story about your first kit adventure, Leafy! Whenever I get a stain on a piece now … you know, from a sliver of chocolate dribbling out of my mouth onto the pristine white cloth, LOL! … I cover the area with an added design element, such as a flower, a bird, a star, a heart. I have a tiny bit of the same trouble with my eyesight, but my biggest problem is my hands. I had carpal tunnel surgery a few years back, which corrected the basic issues, but they mentioned the big “A” word. I refuse to admit to that one, though, and just stitch away when I can. If you ever want to try it, Aida cloth comes in larger-sized squares, such as 7, meaning seven squares per inch. Plus they have these nifty, hands-free, magnifying gadgets you hang around your neck. It sits perpendicular to your chest, so you can look through it for stitching! I’ve considered getting one just to ease the eye strain. Some even come with lights! Cool, huh? Thank you for sharing your story!