Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Text Generators

Coolest thing ever (well, one of them anyway): Online text generators for cross stitch projects, with a variety of font options. Rock on. I will totally be using this! Such a brilliant idea, why didn't I discover this sooner?!?!?!

Options include:

Option 1 [From Stitchpoint]
Option 2 [From crosstitch.com]
Option 3 [A Celtic style text generator]

Oh, and if you want other freebie alphabet options, there are many choices, among them those listed here.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Mentoring someone else in the art of cross stitch is a great way to share your passion and pass the tradition on, all at the same time. If this is something you're interested in, there are several resources out there that can help.

TNNA is one of the sponsors for the Needle Arts Mentoring Program.

DMC also has a mentoring program.

Tips, ideas, strategies, and techniques are available for helping you plan to teach someone else to cross stitch.

As you can see, the sky's the limit - have fun sharing your love of cross stitch with someone else!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Take A Stitching Vacation

Itching to get away from it all and focus on your stitching? Create your own stitching vacation! Design your own perfect escape, with plenty of time built in for stitching. A few suggestions to get you started:

-- Choose your travel companions carefully. A few close friends who share your passion for stitching, for example, might be the ideal companions. If you do include non-stitchers in your travel plans, be sure they have alternative activities planned - activities that will be fun for them, but that you won't mind missing in exchange for some quiet stitching time. Remember, the point of this low-stress get-away is to relax and stitch - so whomever you choose as your travel partners, make sure they will enhance the experience and make it a fun, memorable event.

-- Pick your vacation destination carefully as well. A beautiful, tranquil location is always a stress-buster, but make sure you pick a place where you will be content to sit and stitch. For example, if you pick a resort destination with a million possible activities, you might feel guilty if you didn't participate and thus you might not be inclined to stitch. Consider instead a more relaxed, laid-back environment - perhaps even something somewhat secluded. Try a quiet cabin in the mountains, a beautiful cottage on the ocean, a charming inn or an intimate B&B.

-- Of course, planning which pieces to work on during your vacation is key. You might want to have a few different projects available for rotation purposes. Mix it up - maybe something small, quick and easy along with that BAP you've been working on forever. Think about working on projects with different materials and finishing techniques as well - Aida and linen, a towel and a scissor fob, etc. Whatever sounds like fun and will keep things interesting and fresh! Naturally, be sure to pack carefully - make sure all your projects are kitted up and ready to go, include that extra pair of scissors just in case, and don't forget that fave stitching light you always use.

-- Consider how you like to stitch and include that in your plans. For example - do you like to stitch while watching a great movie, or listening to a fabulous audio book? Bring your faves along, as well as a few new ones that you're looking forward to, and you'll be on your way to stiching nirvana!

-- Remember, try not to overplan or overdo. It's always helpful to have a general schedule in mind, and/or a few ideas for potentially fun activities, but the point of the vacation is to slow down, take a break, and focus on stitching. Cramming a bunch of extra activities into the trip will defeat the purpose! Pick a couple of things to do that might be fun for the occasional stitching break, and leave it at that. Relax, have fun, and enjoy stitching!

-- Treasure the memories. Take lots of pictures, keep a journal, make a scrapbook - whatever works for you! With luck, your stitching vacation will turn into a regular tradition.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cross Stitch in the News

Check out this absolutely incredible story (here too) about a woman who recreated the Sistine Chapel, in cross-stitch.

All I have to say is, Wow.

Unbelievable and totally amazing. The pics are mind boggling!

Oh, and apparently she used this software.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Old and Out of Print Charts

If you're looking for old or out-of-print (OOP) charts, you have a few options.

One, of course, is eBay or other auction web sites, to see if someone has put the chart up for auction.

Another is The Old Stitch, a small company specializing in gently used cross stitch charts/books.

Adams Used Books is a similar service.

I haven't used any of these services personally, so I have no opinion about them one way or the other. But if you're desperate for a chart - and it's happened to all of us - then these might be worth checking out. Of course, you can also ask around - your LNS, your fellow stitchers, online forums, garage/yard sales, etc. can all be potential sources of a lead on a difficult-to-find chart.

Good luck and happy hunting!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NeedleArts Inspired Travel

So I discovered that New Mexico has created a Fiber Arts Trail that you can explore, which includes artists working in a variety of fiber arts (weaving, etc.). Not strictly cross stitch, but what a great way to see hand crafts created with a variety of fibers, threads, yarns, cloths, fabrics, etc. Very cool idea - I think this might be very interesting for a lot of stitchers. I for one would love to go! Wouldn't it be neat if other states/regions did something similar? If there are others out there, I'd love to know!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cross Stitch Organizations

There are a variety of organizations out there focused on cross stitch and other types of needlework. If you'd like to become a part of one of these groups and become part of their community, here are a few options - of course, there are others as well. A sampling:

The Cross Stitch Guild is a UK group started by well known designer Jane Greenoff. This is a worldwide organization open to anyone with an interest in cross stitch/counted embroidery.

The Embroiderers' Guild of America is a national organization with many local chapters.

If you're into samplers, there are several local and regional sampler guilds as well.

Of course, you can always start your own cross stitch club!

Also of note is The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) . TNNA is a professional trade association for industry professionals, but they have some great community activities as well. Their yearly Nashville Market trade show "has long been known as a primary venue for cross-stitch designers, as well as other needle art industry suppliers." Check out this article about students studying for a career in the fiber arts - Pathways into Professional Needlearts is a TNNA supported program.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Happy Dance!

OK, so I can't resist sharing my Happy Dance for my latest finish, Maybelle Cat by The Good Huswife. It took longer than I anticipated, as usual. If it isn't a WISP, it isn't one of my projects. I really need to work on that. Which entails doing more stitching. Which is a good thing. So I guess it all works out in the end. :)

I'm now working on those scissor fobs I've been wanting to do. I'm also trying to get a bunch of my fibers more organized so that I can be better prepared when I want to kit up my next project.

Stitch On!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Stitcher Interview

Check out this cool interview with the Twisted Stitcher, Vonna Pfeiffer. She has a great stitching blog, as well as an awesome-looking finishing service.

Speaking of finishing... there are lots of finishing ideas available - try here and here as a starting point.

For other fun stitching blogs like Vonna's, check out http://bigblogofstitchingblogs.blogspot.com/ .

Stitch On!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Preserving Cross Stitch Memories

I think it's important to take the time to preserve important cross stitch memories, since hobbies are such an integral part of our lives. To that end, you may want to consider keeping a detailed cross stitch journal and writing a journal entry (or several!) about each project. You could also create a scrapbook page, a blog entry, or whatever works for you! This can be a wonderful way to commemorate the project and remember the circumstances of your life that surrounded the stitching of a piece. Here are some writing promps to consider:
  • Why did you choose this particular project, and why at this particular time?
  • What is your favorite thing about the piece?
  • What was going on in your life while you were stitching this piece?
  • How does this piece make you feel? What emotions does it generate?
  • What does this piece make you think about? Are there particular memories associated with this project?
  • Are there any special stories associated with this project? For example, if it is a piece for a loved one - what is your favorite thing about that person? What about them is most special to you? What events/stories do you remember most about that person and their presence in your life?
  • What have you learned while stitching this piece? What has changed for you - how are you different now than you were before beginning the project? This can be technical (I learned a new technique or used a new material) or more related to your life as a whole (I'm a more patient person now).
If you have a special way you commemorate a project, I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cross Stitch Record Keeping

Keeping records of your cross stitch projects can be fun and a great reminder of how much love, time, and energy you invest in your projects. You may even want to have a special journal or notebook that you use to record your cross stitching activities. Here are a few things to consider keeping track of:

-- Naturally, the name of the project and the designer. Also the details of the materials used - which fabric, threads, embellishments, etc.
-- The date you started a project, and date of completion. I've been known to write these on the chart itself so they are easy to find.
-- Some stitchers even track how many hours they spend on each project!
-- Was the project for a special person or event?
-- Take progress pictures of your work as you stitch, and of course the all-important 'finish' photo!
-- Make note of any special details or stories related to this project.

Of course, the best part is sharing your 'finish' news with those who can appreciate that big 'Happy Dance' of excitement and accomplishment!

If there are other ideas out there related to tracking your projects, I'd love to hear them!

Monday, June 15, 2009

News Item of the Day...

... Is this nifty article about a woman from Escondido, CA who creates her own cross stitch samplers based on various elements of American history and regional culture. I wish the pictures showed the samplers in more detail - they look gorgeous! I appreciate the characterization of cross-stitch as 'purposeful' - I think that's exactly right.

Also, I found it interesting that yet again a close connection is demonstrated between arts/crafts and culture/society: "Home crafts represent an industry that has buoyed otherwise struggling retail sales across the country, as more people turn to homemade creations in this recession."

Arts and crafts are such an important, elemental, impactful part of our lives - in times of difficulty, we return to them again and again as a source of strength, healing, and connection.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Using Cross Stitch to Manage Adversity

Today, two inspirational examples of people using cross stitch to manage adversity in their lives.

First, a Michigan woman used cross stitch to manage stress in the face of job loss. Quote of the day:

"There is something about a beautiful work of cross stitch that always moved me. It looked so tedious, but at the same time, challenging. So, I went to the cross stitch store, bought a pattern, thread and canvas, and began my work of art. Talk about time consuming! It became my treat to myself, my reward, after sending out my resume, going on interviews, or making connections that day. It was tedious, hard on the eyes and tiresome, but I loved every minute of it. It also distracted me, which kept me from obsessing on the fact that I didn't have a job."

Second, a review of a Canadian exhibit by a diagnosed schizophrenic who uses cross stitch (and quilting) to help cope with his disease. He "took up cross-stitch to focus his nervous energy" and began creating some amazing art.

Wow. What a wonderful testament to the healing power of art -- specifically cross stitch -- in our lives!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cross Stitch and the Art of Memory Preservation

Fascinating bit today on the NYT web site about a study looking at ways to prevent memory loss. In a nut shell, learning a new skill -- for example, taking up a new hobby such as cross stitch -- can help keep your mind agile, alive, and engaged.

Quote of the day:
"When it comes to mental agility, we’re more likely to think of crosswords than cross-stitch. But neuroscientists suspect that learning a challenging new skill — a new language, a new musical instrument — may be even more effective than mental games at keeping the brain sharp."

I'm totally behind that! An intellectually complex and mentally challenging activity such as cross stitch -- which has lots of different aspects to it that can be focused on, developed, and enjoyed over time -- can provide learning experiences for years.

Cross stitch: fun, rewarding, and good for the mind!

Pardon me, I think I need to go develop some neural connections and fire a few synapses... quick, where's my needle and the instructions for that new technique I've been meaning to try?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cross Stitch Magazines

I love cross stitch magazines - they are treasures to be eagerly anticipated each and every month. I have quite the collection, so much so that I am currently making an effort to be very selective about my magazine acquisitions. If I don't absolutely love a chart - if I absolutely just can't live without it - if it isn't an automatic "yes, I must stitch this" - then I don't add the magazine to my stash. But with that in mind, here are a few of my fave cross stitch magazines, just waiting to present me with my next "must stitch" chart.

Just Cross Stitch
Cross-Stitch and Needlework
Stoney Creek Cross Stitch Collection
The Cross Stitcher
Origin Publishing (UK) magazines
The Gift of Stitching -- an online magazine, neat idea!

Great minds: Connie at About.com just posted about this very topic earlier this week! Fun, and they have a list of other magazines as well.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Stitching for Charity

There are many opportunities available to share our love of cross stitch with others and support those in need at the same time. For example, the Flying Stitch in Battle Creek, MI (a big shout-out to a wonderful state where I lived for many years - GO BLUE!) recently held a Stitch-A-Thon to raise money and awareness about breast cancer. What a wonderful idea!

Stitching for charity can be a great way to give back. Here are a few resources and links to organizations that work with stitchers. I'm sure there are others, and I'd love to hear about them!

Stitches of Love and Kindness
Cole's Quilts
Stitch for Pleasure, Stitch for Charity
Quilts 4 Kids
Operation Elderly Charity Stitchers
Love Quilts

List of Charities from About.com
List of Charities from CyberStitchers

Stitching for others warms the heart!

Monday, June 8, 2009


I just purchased some stash for my next few projects, which included some beautiful threads. I just love all those colors! Beyond the all-important DMC (and Anchor), there lies a fabulous and drool-inducing world of threads to enhance your every project. If you're new to cross stitch, or haven't yet looked beyond DMC/Anchor, you'll be thrilled with what's out there (just remember that overdyed threads are generally not guaranteed to be color fast). Some of the many threads worth exploring:

Weeks Dye Works - located in my neck of the woods, awesome!
The Gentle Art - Sampler Threads

Crescent Colours
The CARON Collection
Rainbow Gallery

Stitch On!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Cross Stitch Sites

When you look up cross stitch on the web, what sites come up? A couple of important ones - and if you don't know about them, you should.

First, Hoffman Distributing Company (http://www.hoffmandis.com/). Love it, love it, love it! They are the leading cross stitch book distributor, and chances are good your LNS knows all about them. They have new book listings that they update every Friday, and believe me when I say I look at that listing every week without fail! They also have some nice interviews they've done with some fabulous designers.

Next, DMC (http://www.dmc-usa.com/). Producer of all things thread (among other things). They have some fun freebies, and you can also sign up to become a cross stitch Mentor, which I think is really neat.

Of course, there are a zillion fabulous sites out there - these are just two of them. More faves to come. What are yours?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Scissor Fobs

I'm now totally obsessed with scissor fobs, in large part due to the adorable fobs Renee recently finished. I've decided to make one based on the cat from the Lizzie*Kate design Meow Blocks - a decision that was reinforced when I discovered stitchhappy had the same idea and it turned out wonderfully (turns out she has some cute freebies available as well, including a ton of fob designs).

I'll probably use these instructions or these for finishing (they're quite similar).

Can't wait to start work on this!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Fun Link

As a proud adoptive mother, I couldn't resist posting this link to some adorable adoption-themed cross stitch charts:


Thanks to Kerri for pointing this out.

Stitch On!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Cross Stitch How-to: The Basics

Just getting started with cross stitch? Here are a few how-to resources that can help get you on your way - they include tips, techniques, and everything you need to know to get started.

My fave tips:

-- Keep your crosses going in the same direction so they all look the same.
-- Don't knot your thread, secure the ends under completed stitches on the back side of fabric.
-- Don't carry thread too far when moving from one part of the fabric to another. I usually don't carry more than about an inch. Longer and I'll clip the thread and start again fresh at the new location.


Counted Cross Stitch, Needlework, and Stitchery Page

Cameoroze's Stitchers Studio

Know How from Cross-stitching.com

Tutorials and Info links from About.com

If you know of other great how-to resources, let me know!