The Blessed SAL with Jo will start on March 1 – that’s less than a week from now so I wanted to make a “Getting Ready to Start” post and tell you how I start.
The is still time to get in on this SAL. This is being done by Jo Kramer (I’m the assistant), through The Stitchery Nook and kits can be ordered here. The chart we are using is Blessings Abound by Waxing Moon Designs. If you feel that you don’t have time to order the chart and receive it in time to start stitching on March 1, an electronic copy can be purchased through Waxing Moon’s Etsy shop.
There’s a text box in my righthand sidebar and I will add links to all the posts I make there so, if there’s something you want to find, it should be easy to find in the right sidebar.
The first thing you should know is that I only started cross stitching again at the beginning of 2021, after having not stitched in a very long time . . like decades! I am not an expert but, if you have questions, together we can find answers.
Second, there are so many ways to do most anything . . especially cross stitching. If you don’t make your “x”s the way I do, that’s ok . . so long as you’re happy with yours. If you don’t start and end your floss (knots, pin stitches, running threads, etc.), the way I do . . that’s fine so long as you’re happy with your method.
Now to the “Let’s get ready to start” part of this post!
The way I start any project is by going to a stitch calculator. I almost always use this one by Yarn Tree. The “Blessed” piece we are going to do is 124 wide x 40 high stitches. Most every pattern/chart will give you the dimensions somewhere that’s hopefully easy to spot right off the bat.
I plug those numbers into the stitch calculator and then I am able to enter the count of fabric I will be using, whether I will cross one or two threads (Aida is usually 1 and linen is usually 2), how much “extra fabric on each side for the border” – I call this the margin and how much room to leave for finishing.
Let’s talk about the margin and the finishing space. I almost always enter 1 (which means 1″) for this number. When framing a piece, I rarely leave a full inch margin and when sewing a pillow, I may leave the full 1″ because I find that when stuffing the pillow, because of the poofing from the filling, if there isn’t enough margin, the design starts to curl around and I’d rather have all the “curling around” happen on blank space. I hope that makes sense.
For the finishing space, most of us feel that 2″ on all sides is way too much for making a seam allowance. Just be aware that sometimes fabrics have to be “squared up” so please don’t cut your fabric so close that you don’t leave yourself enough space to square up the fabric and make the seam allowance.
If you’re new to cross stitching, I would recommend leaving at least 1-1/2″ for finishing on your first few pieces. Once you feel like you’re more comfortable with cutting it closer, feel free to do whatever works for you.
Also, if you have someone else finishing your pieces, please check with them and find out if they have specific requirements for finishing space.
Here’s the calculator with the numbers plugged in. You will see that I’m using 36 count linen. When I first started stitching, the relation of the count fabric to the size of the finished piece was confusing but after just a few projects, it made sense.
I will add for new stitchers that 36 count linen will finish at the same size as 18 count aida since two threads are crossed for linen and 1 is crossed for aida.
Don’t do as I do but . . since I’m making this into a pillow and since I want a 1″ margin and since I’m pretty happy with 1″ for finishing, I wouldn’t stress so long as my fabric is at least 11″ x 6″.
As a new stitcher, one of my most stressful decisions was “Where do I start?” For those of us who learned to stitch years and years ago, most of us learned to start in the middle. You start wherever you’re comfortable starting!
I will start on a corner – doesn’t usually matter to me if I start at the top left, top right, bottom left or bottom right. The reason I’m comfortable doing this is because, from the calculator, I know exactly what size the stitched area is going to cover. I’m not having to guess at anything.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section here or on Jo’s blog. We’re here to help! Remember . . no questions are dumb or not worthy of asking. When I first got back into stitching, I’m sure my friends cringed when they saw an email from me. I asked so many questions . . probably multiple times. That’s how we all learn!