Thursday, June 16, 2016

Spring To do List is Finished

Well, we survived our end of spring chores. I have some pictures and details about our [mostly] outdoor projects at the following link: I'll talk to you as soon as I can after I have my surgery at the end of the month. I hope you're all doing well.

Have a nice day!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Busy Life in Spring and Summer

Hi! How have all of you been doing? I just wrote a blog post about spring life on my Sew Practical blog. It's not exciting but at least you'll have an idea about why my blog posts have slowed down for the spring/summer. Ü  I'd love to hear how you all are doing!

Have a nice day!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Everything is Possible with God cross stitch is finished

Below is the finished cross stitch project from our cross stitch class. I'm not sure yet if I will keep it in the hoop or remove it for framing. Thanks for dropping by to see!



Have a nice day!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Cross Stitch Lesson 4: Final Lesson - Changing Colors, Start and End Back Stitches and French Knots

Today will be our fourth and final cross stitch lesson.Here is the link to view all of the Cross Stitch Lessons: From time to time, I may have a refresher course with my own pattern or cross stitch chart that I have created or a free pattern that I come across. I will also upload photos when I finish this particular project.

Today's lesson will involve changing colors and adding the same color when you need to continue a series of stitches.  We will also go over how to start and end back stitches and French knots. I have lots of pictures that will, hopefully, serve as a helpful guide.

1. Above, my last two strands of medium blue ran out so I had to finish the medium blue cross stitch series with two new strands of medium blue floss. I simply ran the needle and floss under the stitches that were already in place. The stitches will hold the floss tail on the new strand instead of having to stitch over the floss tail like we did in Cross Stitch Lesson 3. It's very similar to ending a series of stitches. Remember, we do this so we don't have to knot the floss.

2. As you can see, a new color can be started the same way as adding the same color by running the thread under a row of stitches that are already on the canvas. The only exceptions would be if the stitches on the canvas are too light to conceal the new color on the front of the canvas OR if the new color on the design you will cross stitch is not near a row of stitches of the previous design you cross stitched. If you run into one of these two exceptions, refer to numbers 4 - 6 in Cross Stitch Lesson 3.  

3. Most back stitches will outline a design you cross stitched and will call for only one strand. The tail can be run behind a row of stitches for outlining just like we did in the two steps above. Remember, I provided links to my back stitch and French knot videos in Cross Stitch Lesson 2. Just ignore my instructions to knot the floss! I'm still not sure where my head was in those videos. Ü

4. Not all back stitching involves stitching from the beginning to the end of the same square. Often, it will involve skipping squares as you see above - and especially in outlining situations. Just follow your chart carefully.

5. Back stitching letters usually requires two strands of floss. Stitches should start and end with each letter. That will eliminate floss showing through on the front side by crossing a blank canvas to start the new letter. 

a. As you can see, for each letter, leave a tail. Back stitching over the tail is a little trickier that cross stitching over a tail. I try to come up on one side of the tail on the back and cross the tail as I pull the needle and floss from the back to the front. I hope to have a video of this soon. It's impossible to capture this process in photos. When that is ready, I will post it in the Cross Stitch Lessons label for you.

b. To hold the floss after the letter has been back stitched onto the canvas, loop the thread through the back stitches a couple of times so as to secure the floss and stitches. Cut the floss before starting the new letter.

6. French knots are the only knots allowed in cross stitch and are typically used as periods, to dot i's or j's, as berries or as a splash of color or detail within a set of cross stitches. Because of this, you can use stitches already in place to anchor a floss tail before making your French knot. End the French knot by pulling floss through the same strip of stitches you used to anchor the tail. Refer to my video in Cross Stitch Lesson 2 in the link provided in number 3 above to learn how to make a French knot.

Below are some additional images I thought I would include so you can see how well the project progressed.


Front and back of a new letter.

Roof is cross stitched on and two full words are back stitched on.

I finished the day's cross stitching by outlining the roof and sides of the church with back stitches. I also got a picture of  the back to show you how neat it looks as well.

I hope you have found these cross stitch lessons to be helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below. I will return in a couple of weeks or so with new free craft lessons on a new subject.

Have a nice day!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Delay in the final Cross Stitch Lesson

I'm very sorry, but I did not have time to work on today's lesson last week due to Upwork projects. I hope to have time to get that ready for you next Monday or Tuesday. In the meantime, are there any other craft lessons you would be interested in?

Have a nice day!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Cross Stitch Lesson 3: First Stitch

Good morning! I hope you are enjoying your cross stitch lessons. We will place our first stitch today.

IMPORTANT: Start your first stitch from the center of your fabric. Sometimes, the center may actually be empty space so you will just have to count to the nearest first stitch to begin stitching.

ALSO: Counted cross stitch is named so because you have to count stitches and empty spaces in order to cross stitch the intended pattern. The 10 x 10 grids between the dark lines on the chart will help you keep your place better. I like to mark off what stitch with a pencil as well.

TIPS to avoid knotting: Remember, we don't want knots in the back and especially not in the front. Here are a few tips to help avoid those unwanted knots.

  • Pull floss through slowly as you stitch to avoid knotting. 
  • Cutting your strands to 18", which is about the length from the tip of your middle finger to your elbow, will also help you avoid knotting of the floss. 
  • The floss will naturally wind as you stitch and can cause knotting. From time to time, let your floss hang freely with the needle still attached to let it unwind.

1. Cross Stitch Lesson 2 explains how to find the center of your fabric. The center of your chart is found by finding the arrows on the top, bottom and both sides of the chart. Simply follow the center lines they are located on to the center of the chart.

I circled the left and bottom arrows for this photo. Since this is a purchased pattern, I blacked out this large section of the chart.

The top and right arrows are not circled in this photo so you can better see what they look like.

Here, I placed a dot in the center of the cross stitch chart. The center is also marked by one of the dark lines. Sorry, it's a little blurry. But I think you will get the idea.

For reference, my needle is inserted into the middle of the fabric. We found the center last week by folding the fabric in half twice. 

2. My first stitch on this particular pattern is a cross stitch that uses two strands of floss. This is the typical stitch and the typical number of strands. Separate the floss one strand at a time to prevent tangling and knotting as you pull it from the six-strand grouping.

3. Thread your needle with your floss.

4. Pull the threaded needle from the back of the fabric to the front. Leave about a 1 inch tail in the back.
This is the back of the fabric.

5. Now, with the front of the fabric facing you, hold the tail of the floss in place. This can be tricky but patience helps. Half cross stitch your first row of stitches across.
Front view of half cross stitched row

Back view. As you can see, the stitches are now holding the tail in place.

6. Cross over those half stitches to finish the cross stitch.
Front view of cross stitch

Back view. The full cross stitch securely holds the tail in place. I leave the tail if there will be more stitches to go over it. The length adds to the security of the hold.

7. When you are finished cross stitching with this floss color, pull the needle and floss under the cross stitching to secure the stitches without knotting. Most of the time you will have many stitches you can make with one floss color before it is time to secure it. For demonstration purposes, I did only one row so you can get the general idea about how to begin and end your cross stitches.

Next week, we will finish our series of cross stitch lessons with a color change lesson and a lesson about how to begin and end the back stitch and French knot. 

Leave me a message below if you have any questions!

Have a nice day!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Cross Stitch Lesson 2: Preparing to Cross Stitch

Today, we will prepare our project for cross stitching and go over some important details you should know before placing your first stitch.

1. Separate your hoop or frame.

2. Fold your cross stitch fabric in half.

3. Fold the fabric in half again.

4. Unfold the fabric. The center of the fabric can be seen where the folds crossed. 

5. Place fabric over the bottom section of the hoop with the fabric center (that you found by folding) in the center of the hoop (close is good Ü - no need to bring out the digital measuring devices).

6. Place the top part of the hoop or frame over the fabric and tighten it by whichever method is available. In the case of the hoop, a screw tightens the hoop. The fabric should be about as tight as a drum.

7. Keep your color photo of the finished design nearby for reference from time to time.

8. On your chart/pattern, you'll see different symbols. Click on the image to enlarge it if you want to see the symbols on my example.

9. These symbols represent colors. Refer to your symbol chart provided to match the symbols to the colors, which are represented by a number. Most kits will provide floss and the holder, which shows the numbers of each color. TIP: I like to punch holes above the numbers to hold my floss after I have removed it from card. Doing this makes it easier to keep up with my floss.

10. On top of the color/symbol chart are rows that show you how to place your stitches. For this one, cross stitch, back stitch, and the French knot are used. 

Below are the YouTube videos I have made for these stitches that may be helpful for you when we begin to stitch next week. For some reason, I told you to knot your yarn or floss in these videos. I have NO idea why I was saying that except that I was knotting it in order to more easily show the process from the front. This is the first time I have watched these since I made them last year. Knotting floss is a huge no-no in cross stitching! Keep that in mind as you watch and perhaps practice. Next week, I will show you how to properly anchor your floss and begin stitching. 

Have a nice day!