Jamie has asked me to chat to you about stitching! Ho Hum! I suppose could do that. We have just worked out that in 2013 I will have been in the cross stitch business for 30 years! Surely, I cannot be that old…
I will never forget the day I discovered counted cross stitch more than 30 years ago! I found looking at the blank fabric with no printing really scary! I had simply no idea that this absorbing craft existed and to say it changed my life is no exaggeration!
So my background is self-taught counted thread addict; I do anything that is counted. For the uninitiated, this means that the design ends up on the fabric by counting from a chart. The designs are made up of squares or parts of squares and generally you need to be able to count to four!
When stitching cross stitch designs from books, magazines and kits you may find different types of charts but don’t panic — they all give you the same information in a slightly different way. Many stitchers prefer the black and white variety, as it is easier to differentiate between some of the shades.
The charts shown on this page are pure cross stitch charts — that is no fractional stitches, backstitch outline or French knots.
When looking at a chart, try to plan the direction in which you are going to stitch. If you count across the shortest distances of empty fabric each time you will avoid making counting mistakes. This sometimes means counting diagonally, vertically or horizontally across a pattern. Mistakes most often occur when counting across long sections of blank fabric.
You can turn your work and the chart upside down if you prefer to work towards you, but never turn halfway – your stitches will end up facing the wrong way!
Next time on Out for the Count, we will be stitching from a chart, looking at stitching on linen and aida fabric and a few tricks of the trade – see you then!
Jane Greenoff is a world-renowned cross stitch designer, author and founder of the Cross stitch Guild.
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