It may surprise some to know I didn't discover a love of needlecraft until the early 2000's. I was looking for something to take my mind off troubles I was having and painting then, at the time, wasn't doing it. I wandered into the news agency looking at the hobby magazines and discovered an English cross stitch magazine called Needlecraft. It was a new issue so I thought I'd give it a go because at the time the magazine was very cheap and had a free cover kit. I brought it. The cover kit was a card with ducks. The kit had everything in it to get started so I stitched away after reading the instructions briefly and ended up with a row of ducks. But the kit had linen fabric not aida. Linen is sort of open weave where as aida fabric has blocks. I missed the part in the instructions where it said to cross stitch over two linen threads. I stitched over one. Yes, I ended up with a row of ducks ...but they were tiny! Still I was hooked on cross stitch and have been going back and forth with cross stitching stitching over the years. My favourite designs are samplers.
Cross stitching is really quite simple once you grasp the idea you are making crosses and the crosses of colour match the symbols on your chart. It doesn't get any more difficult than that. However, some books and magazines in the early times didn't show the centre of your design on their charts. When you cross stitch you have to start in the centre of your fabric and you find the centre by folding the fabric in half length ways and then width ways. This will make a crease in the fabric and the middle of the crease matches the centre on your chart. When you find you haven't got arrows marking the centre of your paper chart this is what you do:
Finding the centre for cross stitching.
Unfortunately math is used but it's easily done with or without a calculator.
Step one: Find where your chart begins and ends both across the top and down. Mark only where symbols appear.
Step two: When you've marked where the chart starts and ends - at the top, the width, count the number of squares across. Divide this number by 2 (half for mathematically challenged folks) and count the half number. Mark an arrow where that half number is. If the number falls between a square and not on a line, it's in the middle of that square.
Step two: Count the number of squares down to where your chart design finishes. Divide this number by two and count across until you reach the half number. This half number is the centre mark for length of the chart.
Step three: to find the centre find the top arrow and run your pencil down until it is in line with the length arrow; mark a cross where these two join. This is your centre of your chart. Begin stitching here.
Tips for cross stitching:
Read all instructions carefully.
Make sure all your crosses lean the same way. Unless the design instructions says other wise.
If the chart uses whole cross stitches only you can match each of the stitches to a bead to make beaded needlework. You can also use the same pattern to make a needlepoint work and cover in the background with stitches.
Linen is very useful to use when you want to cross stitch on fabric that isn't even weave. Tack the linen in place. Stitch the design. Then pull away the linen thread. ( I've done this for the heart below on my crazy quilt).
I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.