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Introduction to Cross-Stitch

Lesson 2 of 9

Designing Your Project

Lisa Shaffer

Introduction to Cross-Stitch

Lisa Shaffer

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Lesson Info

2. Designing Your Project

Lesson Info

Designing Your Project

Now we're going to talk about how to start a hoop sampler there's a couple of things you want to consider if you're doing this with the end game of being not only for you to learn the stitches but to be something pretty to look at which sure why not keep that in mind, right? So one of the things you want to consider when you're doing any sort of needlework is how it's going to be looked at and where it's going to be viewed from for this class it's not going to be a cz important as the more advanced classes but it's still something to think about so for our purposes my my love of the four inches that this isn't difficult to store so you can you'll have two from today, but I have samplers from all the stitches and they're really easy for me to store to take out to travel with for classes so I like using this size for learning and it's also you get just enough of a stitch but not too much. But any time you're working on a project you really want to consider how far away it's going to be s...

een from where it's going to be seen from and those air gonna lead your choices in terms of fabric, color and thread and hoops eyes, so if you're doing something for up on a wall or it's a gift for a new baby or something like that? You're going to want it to be a lot bigger for inches. You're gonna want to probably start to think about eight or nine inches. I've heard from friends of mine that have worked at home decor companies like pottery barn and west ham and things like that that the average size that people tend to gravitate towards when they're looking for hanging pieces of art is about eight by ten so that's a good place where you're making something that's just big enough to be seen from far away, but not too big that people aren't going to know where to hang it or it's going to be difficult for you to add it to a gallery wall leader with other pieces, so eight inches nine inches, ten inches were really good places to start if you're making something for farther away, and then you want to consider a contrast, of course, between the fabric and thread, you wouldn't want to use yellow on light yellow on white fabric if it's going to be something that scene from far away if you're just working on stitches for yourself and that's totally fine, but these are important things to consider, especially if you're giving something as a gift, which I know a lot of us. D'oh as crafters will make something forget so just think about that when you're starting your next project so finishing the hoop I touched on a little bit before that's totally up to you whether you want to do it how you want to frame it or not this is an example of how I usually finish hm I like tio so them by hand first the fabric around and then tack it down you can put fabric over it or under it this is just an iron on muslim cloth the fabric the aid of fabric super sturdy it's cotton so like I said anything you do to it to cotton you can do to that fabric even once the threat is on there yeah can you pass that around? Yeah, absolutely. I'll pass a few of them around so you can see and here's another one with just in the groups you can kind of get up and you do that before you do the cross stitch no, this would be a finishing element if you wanted to finish the back once you're finished with it yeah otherwise you wouldn't be able to get through the fabric. Yeah, yes. Do you have any questions about this? Okay, so I'm gonna walk you through how to get your fabric on the hoop we're about you you're about to get started we've gotten through all the supplies and all that so the elements you're going to need to start your sampler are surprising. Hoop and robert, I know you're super shocked, so the first thing you want to do is there's little things is a little screw on top of her, who most of them come like this. Some of them have clamps and different things, but chances are if you go to a craft store, you order hoops online, they'll have this little screw, so you just want to loosen it, and this fabric is deceptively thick when you're trying to put it through the hoops. So even if you think you're really listening it a lot, you wantto listen it enough to where it's almost you can almost open it completely without the screw, you know, coming coming out if it does it's not a big deal, it's just to screw you can put it back in, but you gonna give it to get him on a space. So once you've done that, I like I recommend using a table. This is not the kind of thing you want to do, like, oh, I'm going to sit on the bed and because anything soft is going to be hard to get it on there, but you want to take your fabric and while it looks super cool toe have it like a diamond shape that's going to completely mess up your stuff your stitches because the hole they're going to be going in a different direction so keep it square and you want to sort of center it if if you really want to get super centered, you can do the old trace that you know put it down do the old tracing on their my eyes pretty good at this at this point so I just kind of go for it but you always want to put the fabric over the solid who and then you can be pretty tough um you're not gonna ruin your life or anyone else if you're a little hard on the fabric and just pop the hoop over it and then you might need to play with it a little bit sometimes it gets kind of stubborn. I like to keep it as straight as possible with the top of the hoop and the fabric you'll see there's a little bit of a grid that you're I will start to follow just pop it over and then start to tighten it and as you tighten it you'll see you can just bring it slightly more over the fabric and then tighten a little bit more sometimes you'll get a little gathering of the fabric right here this one came out pretty good but if that happens just pull on the fabric a little bit you can loosen the hoop and pull on it, joe want me to come over and check when I do that? Yeah, when I talk about centering it I mean, you just wanna make sure that according to your eye the grid is and there's a center line so the grid doesn't look crooked to you because if you I've done this where I thought I was being super cool and put it in diamond shape sounds like it looks so pretty when it's like a and it he's completely messed everything up so I can do that again? I think so, yeah, you're good. I might what? I might move yours up a little bit just so that there's a little bit more there because if it loosens or anything or you want to pull on it because this is how it's gonna this is how it's gonna be. Yeah. So when you do your when you make your sampler, if you remove the hoop and you want to frame it, you might have stitches down here and then if you wanted to do a finishing under something you wouldn't be able to sew tryto haven't even amount of fabric on the top on the bottom or if your design, you know, calls for more space on the top bottom than figured out that way, I think that's okay, okay, yeah, yeah, do you think that's enough I think so I may move it up a little bit more okay just a little bit and if you have a little what you might see if you move the fabric off you might have a little dent where the hopeless but that you should be able to straighten that out from the tightness that happens or it's sort of like a drum so that should be okay so once you have everything stretched and ready to go if you remember I was talking about the thread count and howto separate the thread so for this class like I said we're gonna be using three strands so pick whatever thread you want to start with it's your color choice your fun thing to have but tryto keep in mind contrast especially when you're learning and with the first dish is we're going to be doing or on the smaller side so with your tan fabric black would be great navy would be great anything bright as long as you're staying away from a color that's close to the fabric you'll be able to see what you're doing at a later date so I have blue and you'll see is we start the stitches all the colors of chosen stand out pretty well against that whatever fabric whatever excuse me thread you decided to start with the way that I choose a length is I and this is really not scientific it although something that's worked for me is I choose I count pulling it out three times from this cane or the bundle of thread, so that would be like, one, two, three and you'll see is you pull the thread, it will have this little poll when you get one is that making sense? You guys, you're pulling out okay? And I find that this length is just long enough and not too short. If you go too long, what's going to happen is the threads going to tangle a lot if you're going to get knots and it's going to be a little bit frustrating, as were stitching, I'll show you some little hack to prevent that from happening, but I find that something that's about, you know, between your two arms, not like who, but just long enough is a good place to start so that's a good length, and then there comes separating it, which can be a little bit difficult, but the best way to do that and you may if it's easier if you sometimes it's easy to look over a light piece of fabric or a piece of paper, something like that if you can clearly see the thread, but because we're going to be using three, they'll be away, you'll see they'll be sort of a natural separation at some point of the threads. And three is pretty easy because it's half so they should separate pretty easily but what I like to do is I like take both end and then I just slowly run my thumb through and you'll see you'll get to a point where it will just stop and don't force it because it will not just kind of stopped and let it untwist the other end on twist and then just pull your thumb through again is that making sense to everyone their own anyone running into trouble so then you get to thread the needle which I wish I could tell you I had some super awesome way to bypass yeah one of our lovely audience members has a needle threat er which I don't have but yeah they're really easy to find a craft stores it looks like a little coin with the metal hook on the end do you want you want to show show show it so we have it on camera there's another kind too but this is stronger yeah this one's really good so here's what it looks like like a little metal thing with the hole in it and you put the thread through here and you put it through the needle and it magically threads the needle you put the needle first and then you put the spread through and put the needle first you need a bigger hole for the needed you put the needle you pass the needles on to that and then you pass the thread through the hole and then you pull the needle out I think this one will work if you buy one of these yeah you need to make sure that the needle fits through and sometimes they come with needles right did this one come with needles I I did I bought that separately but there's another one that has just a very fine metal click a home just a tiny metal stitch to it and it's attached to a holder but and that will fit through finer needles but it's it oftentimes comes separate separates when you pull the medal comes off yeah yeah no this one's good so if you have one of these here's how you do it like that right then you have a threaded needle the biggest trick I have to share about threading a needle is just cut the thread cut it over and over again you don't have to cut it down to see what that is have you seen him? Yeah okay, but that's the best recommendation I could get before you start losing your mind and you're like is it me no e I mean maybe but that's another class just cut the keep cutting the threat and if you want tio you know moisten it you can with a little bit of water or just I mean spit whatever we're all adults it's okay um that's fine too off the sizes we have, is there a particular weight of needles that we should use for this? Use whatever feels comfortable for you. Some people like a longer needle, some people like shorter that I think there's some with larger eyes and smaller eyes in that pack, those air pretty thin, though I didn't, I didn't want us to have to struggle with getting the needle in the thread through the cross stitch fabric. Sometimes if you use a really thick needle it's a little at this point right here, that's coming through it can be a little bit more difficulty will be like a little popping sound. Not that that's bad this, like I said, the fabric super sturdy nothing's going to happen to it, you're not gonna ruin it or break it unless I mean, that would be amazing. I'd love to hear about that video. That means you're doing something pretty incredible that it that I haven't been able to to. Does everyone have a needle and thread? Okay, so this is like the big, the big, silly, like needlework controversy is to not or not two, not the thread this's so cilia, whatever you want to do is totally fine, I kind of bridge this whole topic because with having product I not it because I don't want someone to be wearing one of my necklaces and then it's not it does it doesn't have a knot on it and it somehow magically from behind all of this pendent setting in this or not becomes undone and that like I don't know no it's not good for me or my business so I not anything jewelry of mine there's a knot on the back of it there are purists who have been in my classes on guy wonderful I welcome you who do not make it not they will not ever make or not and if that's you awesome I'm going to give you one tip which is when the threat is coming through the fabric ideally you want to leave about this much length which is a couple inches and that's going to seem really long but it's good to have just in case it's not going to hurt anybody it's not like a huge waste of thread it's good to have that and that we will enable you that if you don't get it talked right while you're stitching in the stitches air coming through you can always not at you kentucky it under another stitch it just gives you plenty of room worse comes to worse if you're like a super purist and you don't want to go along then you can just turn that way have scissors and that's an awesome thing in terms of a night, obviously it has to be big enough so it's not coming through the whole of the fabric again. My method for nodding is just the twisting around the finger thing. If you guys have done that, sometimes you need toe be kind of gross on what you're saying so normally when I've done, like, just like hand stitching, I just double the thread through the eye of the needle. And then sir, you nodding both ends, are you just not in a single? Because that would make it six? Okay, yeah, which you actually can dio ok, if you want to be super fancy and have your own method for it and I'll do this sometimes with some of the jewelry and stuff just because it's easier like metallic thread, it looks awesome, but it's horrible to work with. So when I worked with metallic thread, I'll actually do that if it called if it calls for two strands on one of my designs, what sharon is basically saying is she's talking about doing this two strands and then nodding them at the end, which would be this would now be six strands. So if you wanted to do this method when we're using six strands totally really good idea and then you can just not it at the end, but for our purposes and using three it's best to just kind of do the old fashioned method with the thread kind of hanging there and if you're going to not a not at the bottom or if you have another way of making a not that's totally fine but it's kind of good to test it if you're going to not it you can just take a little piece of the fabric on the outside of your hoop and make sure it's not going to go through just pull it out are you all set with that how are you nodding it? You're not doubling strand I'm doing this kind of gross old school come over and I'll show you so I just like do that with my finger kind of voice in my finger on I wrap it I wrap the threat around a couple times and then you just roll it off her finger and it makes him not and then you just leave a little short tail here yeah I tried to leave you don't leave too long of a tail but again a couple a couple inches that's good yeah so you're just nodding the three strands together ok yeah so I have a question about a thread size I thought I pulled it out to the size that you were talking about but her threat is really much longer than mine isn't really important that I have that size threat it'll be easier the shorter it is ok what will happen if it's too long? I kind of for me, that sort of three poll method works with just the length of my arm is pretty comfortable for me if it feels too long for you definitely cut it the only thing going against you if your threat is too short is you're just gonna have toe stop possibly mid stitch which isn't that big of a deal especially if you're just making a sampler for your own use and you're not getting caught up on like there's periods through the back has to be perfect and if you know if you keep doing this you really want to get into it that will be youtube but if that's not you right now, then it's not gonna matter and you can just re thread the needle making new not and start over but the longer your threat is if if it's like uncomfortably long what will happen is it will tangle and start to not and I'll start to show you like a couple little hacks you can do once we start stitching to stop the thread from tangling fortunately or unfortunately with the way the threat is wound is it's you know thin or fibers kind of wound together to make one six strand fiber so there's twisting that has to happen so any time anything is twisted and it's manipulated its gonna want to twist that's. Sort of like a physics. Kind of, you know, nerd crossed its bread thing. So there. There are ways to prevent that from happening. But every time you pull it through the fabric, you're manipulating it and it's going to want to go back to its original way, which has a certain twist to it.

Class Description

There are so many exciting projects you can make with basic cross stitching skills! Get your start with this timeless technique in Introduction to Cross-Stitch with Lisa Shaffer

Lisa teaches needlework to artists across the country and in this class, she’ll show you how to: 

  • Start a hoop sampler and finish the back 
  • Sew a fun variety of stitches 
  • Choose the best materials for beginners 
  • Customize your projects 
You'll learn the basic cross-stitch, zig zag, herringbone, tacked herringbone, oblong, and rice stitches. Lisa will also demonstrate some of the more complicated intricacies of cross-stitching so you feel confident you are doing it right. 

By the end of the this class, you’ll know how to complete a sampler displaying a whole variety of stitches and you’ll be ready to spice things up with variations in color and size.


Mary Stambaugh

A nice class...cross stitching is very calming, and Lisa has a soothing voice. I wish the camera operator had done a better job of filming her hands while making the stitches, as it was difficult to see. I went on YouTube and found videos that did a better job for that purpose. I would recommend this class, with that one caveat.

Lene C Sundby

Inspiring instructor and inspiring samples design! Useful tips and tricks! Unfortunately it was difficult to se how the stitches were done because of no filming up close. I would suggest an editing job being done with lay over with illustration on how the stitches are done. At least there should be a downloadable pdf with detailed explanations.