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Designing Cross Stitch Patterns

Designing Cross Stitch Patterns
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Cross Stitch Your Photos

Cross Stitch Your Photos
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Cross Stitching for Crafty Rebels

Cross Stitching for Crafty Rebels

Julie Jackson, author, cross stitcher and creator of the Subversive Cross Stitch website and book is an inspiration to many crafty introverted types. She began her business as a form of anger management therapy, works at home and admittedly avoids unnecessary phone calls and social commitments. Cross stitching is very therapeutic, and her patterns are simple, quick and funny. Stitching out your anger is cathartic and less dangerous than other methods. Her designs are refreshingly vulgar yet still, include cutesy bunnies and hearts. It’s a brilliant combination, and an admirable way to rebel against the “everything is sunshine and butterflies” trend. Martha Stuart fans might not approve, but Julie would probably have a good comeback for them. “Move the [expletive] over, Martha Stewart—here comes charmingly disgruntled Julie Jackson and her hardcore handicrafts” (Washington Post, 01/11/04)

If you’ve never cross stitched before, Julie may inspire you and she offers detailed animated instructions for newbies and many other helpful links including resources for creating your cross stitch designs.

Some Charities Julie supports:

50% of her F*[email protected]# cancer kits go to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation which is a generous gesture and a worthy cause. Nancy G.Brinker started the foundation after promising her dying sister she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer.

Julie also supports Crafting for Critters, with proceeds going to numerous animal rescue groups. Some of these groups include PAWS (The Performing Animal Welfare Society, a place where abused, abandoned or retired performing animals and victims can live in peace and contentment), Best Friends Animal Society and Animal Protection and Rescue League.

Creating your own cross stitch designs:

April Hamilton at Bitter Stitching was inspired by Julie and started a similar business, announcing “I sublimate my rage through needlework.” Her designs are more on a misandrist slant, but some of them are still funny, and her prices are reasonable.

Julie invites everyone to get in on the fun and strongly encourages people to strike out on their own. She began a Flickr group where individuals can display pictures of their finished products, share craft ideas and inspire each other. If you’re interested in designing your own cross stitch patterns, PCStitch is a fun and easy program to use. It has all kinds of funky fonts to choose from, and you can decide on colors and sizes ahead of time. There is an import feature which allows you to create patterns with photographs, clip art and more. The program can be found on eBay from anywhere from five to twenty dollars.

Another subversive embroidery site worthy of mention is Nicole’s Lochers from Paris, selling beautiful, saucy embroidered blouses with dirty sayings stitched onto them.

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Getting Out Stains in Needlework

Getting Out Stains in Needlework

Tips for Cleaning and Removing Stains from Embroidery Fabric

Although it’s frustrating to discover a stain on your hard-labored needlework, you can remove even stubborn stains if you know what works.

Nothing is more frustrating to an embroiderer or cross stitcher than discovering that the piece they’ve labored on for months has been blemished with an ugly stain. However, with a few stain removal tricks, you can remove even stubborn stains from your needlework.

As soon as you spot a stain, you need to get it out it immediately—the older the stain, the more challenging it is to remove. By washing away fresh stains with cool water, you can usually get rid of it before it does permanent damage.

Removing Common Stains

  • Blood stains—Again, if you act quickly enough, you can remove blood from you fabric by rinsing it with cool water. However, your saliva is an even better stain remover. Saturate the stain with as much saliva as you can produce until all the blood is removed. Then thoroughly wash your fabric in cold water. You can also use hydrogen peroxide. First, test it on a scrap piece of fabric. Then dab it on the bloodstain and rinse. What’s more, a mixture of table salt (about 85%) and water also works.
  • Ink stains—Dry cleaning solvents have proven effective with ink stains. Hairspray is effective, too. However, for stubborn stains, you may want to use a dry cleaning service.
  • Coffee and tea stains—Apply a dab of diluted shampoo (without perfumes or conditioners) to the stain, as well as liquid dish washing detergent (mixed with some white vinegar.) Then rinse well, blot and dry.
  • Mildew—First, hand wash your fabric with detergent and bleach. Then gently rub a mixture of lemon juice and salt into the stain. Rinse with white vinegar. Be careful not to store your pieces in warm places, in the first place, as mildew thrives in humidity.

How to Salvage Stained Needlework

If all else fails, then you don’t have much choice but to toss your fabric. However, before throwing the entire needlework away, consider how you could hide the stain. For example, if your stain is part of what could have been a blue-skied background, you could stitch over it with blue floss, using the half stitch. Or, you could also cut away the stained area. Some stitchers have made original greeting cards by using a portion of their stitched pieces.

Preventative Care for Your Needlework

Most importantly, learn how you can keep your fabric clean, as well as prevent staining. When stitching, always see to it that your hands are clean. If traveling in a car, it’s a good idea to have baby wipes available to clean your hands regularly. And, of course, keep food and drinks away from your stitching.

When you’re finished with your project, wash it in a mild detergent and then lie it out, flat, near a sunny window, to dry, on a clean white towel. (Never use a clothes dryer.) After it’s dry, you may iron it, but use care. Secure a white towel under your piece (face side up), and then cover your needlework with a second soft cloth and lightly steam iron.

If you’re not ready to finish it off, make sure you store it safely in an air-tight container, so there’s less chance of mildew. Do not use Ziploc bags as plastic won’t keep out air.

The more you take precautions with your work, the less you’ll have to worry about stain removal. But if you do manage to pick up a stain, take heart. You can usually remove it you know what to use and have lots of patience.

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Design Your Own Cross Stitch

Design Your Own Cross Stitch

Create a Customized Needlework Pattern

Here is a way to take your favorite verse and create a cross-stitch pattern of your very own.


Designing Your Own Cross-Stitch Pattern

Materials Needed:

Find the verse you would like to cross-stitch. You can look online if you don’t have a favorite. We will use the verse below for our sample.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

If you want a long verse like the example, the cross-stitch fabric needs to have a very small weave. If you use a short verse, you can use a larger weave.

Type the verse on your computer. Alter the font style and size according to your needs. Be careful about making the font too intricate for your first time. When you have the verse centered and formatted just right, go ahead and print it. You may need to print several times, altering the size as you go.

On the package of your cross-stitch fabric, it tells you how many stitches per inch. This is very important to remember.

Next, you are going to print graph paper onto the tracing paper. There is a free site on the web for making graph paper. Simply click here for that site. It will let you set up the graph paper for large or small-weave fabric. This is when you use the number from the package of cross stitch fabric. The stitches per inch correlate with the squares per inch. Once you have your graph paper set up, print. This may also take several tries to get it just right.

Lay the tracing paper graph over the printed verse. Trace the entire verse onto the graph paper. Fill in any of the blocks with an X that is completely within the font. Any block that is half of the font should be filled with a / in the direction the font goes. You now have a pattern for your verse. You can do the same thing with borders and flowers to enhance your verse. Use color to shade in the different areas. Experiment and have fun with seeing how far you can take it. Check out free clip art for ideas.

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Simple Cross Stitch Gifts to Stitch

Simple Cross Stitch Gifts to Stitch

Simple and Low-Cost Stitching Projects for Giving

You don’t have to spend months stitching a gift for someone. Here are some suggestions for cross stitching a gift when you get an unexpected announcement.

Spring is the time of year when it’s common to find an unexpected graduation announcement, First Communion invitation or other special event notice in your mailbox. If you’re strapped for money or don’t have time to shop or make an elaborate gift, this can easily send you into a panic mode. However, if you’re a cross-stitcher, you can usually create a special homemade gift in time for the special spring occasion.

Stitching Bookmarks

Bookmarks are probably the easiest and quickest gifts you can make.

You can either make your own fabric by cutting it the size of a bookmark or buy an Aida (or linen) fabric bookmark ready to stitch. If you don’t live near a needlework shop, there are scores of free designs online you can find just by searching.

Keep your design simple because you have limited usable space and don’t want to cram too much into a small area. Again, your design can be as simple as the initials of a school or the person to whom you’re giving it. If it’s a religious gift (such as a First Communion), a simple cross is an excellent choice.

Stitch from the center of the design to make sure you don’t run out of a room, making sure your stitches are neat. Also, keep the back tidy and trimmed, as a bookmark is visible on both sides.

Photo-to-Chart Designs

If you don’t already have cross-stitch photo-to-chart software, it’s well worth the investment. Besides designing your own cross stitch patterns, you can convert any picture into a chart. The software pays for itself after you’ve used it countless times to make your own patterns.

Stitching Ideas for Graduation Gifts

  • School initials – It’s great to stitch an elaborate design of your favorite niece’s college logo, but that takes time. Instead, find something much simpler. For example, what are the initials of her school? If she went to the University of Texas, search online for an image of an orange “UT.” Then convert the picture into a pattern with your photo-to-chart software.
  • School mascot – Almost as simple as designing and stitching the letters “UT” is designing and stitching an orange Longhorn. Searching on Google will lead you to the familiar orange UT Longhorn. You can finish in less than a weekend.
  • Keep it Simple – Don’t design a chart any larger than about 3” x 5”. Also, limit your floss colors to a bare minimum. This eliminates the need for shopping. With all the shades of orange, you probably have a color in your stash that will work without having to go shopping. And, since the fabric isn’t large, chances are you have some Aida or Linen already at home.

Finishing Your Cross Stitch Piece

When framing your finished cross stitch, keep it simple. Rather than using a regular frame, explore other alternatives that are cheaper, as well as quick.

  • Embroidery hoop – Use the hoop you used to stitch as a frame. To add a decorative touch, just paste some trim around the hook. Or you could paint the hoop a color to coordinate with the design.
  • Crochet finishing – Single crochet around the edges. If you’ve cut your own bookmark from fabric, this is an excellent way to finish it off.

Besides saving money, you’ll bless your receiver, as most people love to receive homemade gifts. Not only are you offering a gift, but you’re also giving an heirloom that will be treasured for years to come.

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