Cross Stitch Tips For Large Projects
One of the questions I get asked the most is where to start cross stitch pattern or where to start stitching. My patterns come in book format and range from small to very large. Usually large cross stitch patterns come in sheet or book form, and it can be a bewildering experience when you are trying to find the center of the pattern to begin stitching. There are two ways to approach this without pulling out your hair: (1) center marks or (2) page by page.
This is a method I only recommend for small to medium size commercial patterns wherein the pattern is one large folded piece and the center marks are clearly visible. All you have to do is locate the top center mark with your left index finger, and locate the side center mark with your right index finger, and bring both fingers towards the center, and where those two marks intersect is where you begin stitching. If you try to find the center marks on a pattern in a book form, it can be tricky and is harder to find, but it can be done. You could remove the pages of the pattern from the binder, spread them out on the floor and repeat the previous instructions when you locate the center marks, but this takes up space and valuable time you could have used for stitching. There is a better way which is the page by page approach.
Page by Page (Use Enough Aida Cloth) (4 inch margin)
With this method, you simply determine what count you want to stitch in, find the dimensions of that stitched area (which is located in the pattern), and then add 8 inches onto the width and height dimensions. (For instance, if you are doing a piece in 14 Count and the stitched dimensions are 12w X 14h, your new dimensions for cloth size would be 20w X 22h). Once you have added the 8 inches, write the new dimensions down and cut your material to that size. At this point, with your ruler and a pencil, lay the material down on a clean flat surface. On the top left side of the material, measure 4 inches down from the top, and then measure 4 inches from the left side; where those two measurements meet is where you would begin stitching. Simply take your pencil and mark this point lightly with a dot on your Aida fabric. That will be the exact point to begin stitching. (Please note it is crucial to leave at least a 4-inch margin around your work so that the framers will have enough material to work with. If you do not leave enough material for a margin all the way around, those who are framing your project are not going to be very happy with you. I am sure they will have a few choice words for you (grumbling under their breath) if you do not leave an adequate amount of material for framing. So, if you want to get on their good side, leave enough material. Perhaps they may even give you a framing discount!
Begin Stitching the First 10 x 10 Square
Now that you’ve found the exact spot to begin stitching, open your pattern booklet to Page 1 and begin stitching the first 10 x 10 square and go across to the end of that row of squares. When you finish that row, proceed to the next row and the next until you have finished all of the squares on that page. Then, turn to Page 2 and start the next row of squares starting at the top picking up where the first row ended and work page by page. This method is easy to follow, and you will be less likely to skip or miss any stitches. I know there are those of you who like to play hopscotch with your stitching jumping from place to place all over the cloth, and that’s fine. However, if you want a more methodical approach, the page by page method is a keeper!