Linen, Evenweave or Aida.
Well personally I dislike Aida intensely. I didn't know anything when I started cross stitching. So I bought a kit and it had Aida in it with cut threads and I found out real fast that I didn't like the feel of the Aida and there wasn't enough of a couple of colors so I went out and bought what I thought was the same color. Not only wasn't it the same color it probably wasn't even the same make but I didn't know then that there were different makes of floss (I didn't even know it was called that). So I quit stitching it and threw it away and got ready to start again.
Next I went into a cross stitch shop that is no longer there and I told the lady in the store that also sold knitting that I wanted to stitch something special for my next sister down's 50th birthday and she showed me a Just Nan chart. At the same time she told me that there was a really great shop in a place called Woburn which is around half an hour away from me so off we went - that's my DH and me.
Well I got there and the shop, sorry it's not there either anymore and we can't remember it's name, showed me so many Just Nan charts it was untrue. So I chose one to stitch and then chose some Evenweave which was 28count Lugana by Zweigart and it was called Rue Green, but they don't even make that color anymore. So, I just went gung ho forward with not just cross stitches but really different stitches as well which were beautifully shown by incredible step-by-step instructions from Just Nan. So if any of you are New to Cross Stitch or haven't done any in a very long time do yourself a favor and start with 28count evenweave. Linen has thick and thin strands and makes it a bit harder than evenweave. Which evenweave? Well it's really down to choice. Me? I still prefer Zweigart Lugana if I am going to use Evenweave which now I mainly only use for over one - that is one stitch over one thread and is much easier to do on Evenweave than it is on Linen which can be a nightmare. But that is just my opinion.
Needles & Do I Use A Needle Threader?
Needles? Boy is this ever a can of worms. I think I have tried every needle and needle threader known to man. I think it's a really good idea to try some differnt needle - I did and that way I found out what I really liked. I tried loads of them every size, well between 24-28 because that is the size they make embroidery needles in. Just about every make. Every length. Big ones small ones middle ones. I decided in the end that I like John James Petite Needles in any size from 24-28. They are my favorite but really any Petite needle would be fine. Would you believe it? John James needles are made here in the U.K. but you can't buy them here because most Cross Stitch shops have closed and even when they were open you couldn't buy them here! But you try them out and find what you like the best. If you live in the States you have a huge choice of needles.
Hoop, QSnaps, Frame, or In Hand
I stitch in hand and don't use a hoop or frame unless what I'm stitching is very big and then I use a frame. I don't use hoops because I just don't like them. They leave marks in your work and I stitch very evenly so don't need one but if you don't stitch evenly then you definitely need one. The frame I use is made here in England and is made by Needle Needs but I shall show you this one and other types of hoops and frames you can use, if you want to and I shall describe them all when it's their turn.
Kits or Not?
For me - no a definite no except when it comes to buying Shepherd's Bush kits - then I will. I LOVE Shepherd's Bush. I love the fragility of how it looks when it's stitched becuase their kits are stitched over 2 with 1 thread. I found out from my first kit that I didn't like Aida and that I didn't like somebody else cutting my threads for me. So I don't do kits generally but again this is my choice.
There are loads of different threads. The two main cotton ones are DMC and Anchor. Stitchers are in one camp or the other generally. I love DMC and don't like Anchor because I find the feel of Anchor too stiff. They both offer the same things that if you buy No. 501 today or 15 years ago it will be exactly the same. There are loads of different thread makers out there now and I will give this subject a whole post of it's own. It's another HUGE topic.
How to Start and Finish
There are a few different ways of doing this. I only ever use one way and that is called The Pinhead Stitch. The main thing I can tell you here is that never ever ever double your floss and use a loop at the back of what you are stitching. I used to do this and my floss used to be impossible to use. It used to knot up like nothing on earth. Why? Well it's because believe it or not the floss has a knap to it. And if you double it up then you are stitching with the knap going the right way on one thread and the wrong way on the other. The other thing is to make sure that you always stitch with the knap going the right way because if you don't your floss will knot up just like it does when you have one thread going the right way and one thread going the wrong way.
How can you be sure your floss's knap is going the right way. Well if you take it from the skein of floss itself and measure it and make sure it is no longer than 18" it will be the right way and you will be able to easily remove one or two pieces of floss without anything happening to the other 4 or 5 strands that are left. If you have rewound your floss onto cards or cut some and put it on sorting cards then when you go to take the floss off of the card all you have to do is gently tap the top of the cut floss and if it looks sort of like a flower then it's the right way. If it doesn't all you have to do is upend it and try again and I'm sure it will look like a flower. Then take one strand out and then the second strand. And that's where how to start comes into it's own. So look out over the weekend when I think this topic is so important I will start with this and have pictures too.
Until Next Time
Lots of Love Patti xxx
American by birth and MOUTH
but British in every other way