December 23, 2018

Cross Stitch Tools

Welcome back! In this post I'll be featuring my Heaven and Earth Design cross stitch project and my current set up. I'll cover lots of details for anyone who does this kind of stitching and has considered upgrading their equipment. If you have questions, please ask! I'm a big fan of learning. Hopefully, even if you don't cross stitch, you'll find this interesting as well. Links to supplies are listed at the end of this blog.

The current project is a Heaven and Earth Designs (HAED) by Susan Rios called "Chair Decor". This pattern is currently retired. My understanding is that the copyrights for some patterns are granted on a limited basis to HAED and as a result not all patterns are available at all times. I have heard that some patterns do come out of retirement, but at the date of this posting this particular pattern is not available.   

My current set up:

The Design:

Below are pictures showing the work as it progresses:

A few cross stitch basics:

The fabric here is a 16 count white Aida. Aida is a stiff, even fabric that's designed for embroidery and woven with specific thread counts. If you look closely you can see the tiny squares in the weave. Aida comes in several count sizes. In this case it is made to have 16 of those woven squares in 1 inch. Aida and other even weave fabrics can have more or less threads per inch.  One cross stitch is made into each square. I personally use little pencil marks for every 10 squares. Some stitchers use a grid of colored thread or no markings at all. You can see from the photographs that I work a ten by twenty section at a time. It seems painstaking and I suppose that it is, but it's incredibly relaxing as well.

The fabric for this project is rolled onto a solid wood frame which has a kind of a bolt mechanism to keep the fabric taught within the frame. The fabric is inserted into a slot on the top and bottom, rolled around the rod and then stretched apart on the sides. All of my frames come from the Omanik Factory in Estonia.

The frame is then attached to the stand. This stand is a Monstrik Standart floor stand, also from the Omanik Factory in Estonia. It's constructed of steel, is easily assembled, lightweight and has wheels to make it portable. It's adjustable for frame sizes, height and angle. The footers of the base measure about 30".  I've used it with both a desk chair and at my fainting couch/lounger. The frame flips over inside the frame easily so that you can check the back of your work, finish off your thread, or fight off any tangles. I don't tend to flip mine often, so I keep a couple of small tins of needles to my right and a pink gingham cloth to cover my work and keep off the dust.

As for the accessories, my favorites are an iPad to keep my pattern and an app called ezPDF.  This app allows you to highlight with the touch of a finger. Here's a sample of the pattern in the screen:

The iPad holder on the frame (The spider is not real! It's a beaded gift that keeps me company while I stitch.):

The iPad holder from the back:

I also use a magnifying light. Both accessories are clamped directly to the frame. Since I don't use the magnifying glass inside the light, and my studio can get very sunny, I have put a pretty piece of paper over the glass to keep the sun from reflecting onto my work and burning the place down.

For little tools I use tons of magnets to attach things like needle minders which are pretty little gadgets that hold needles to your work. I also use magnets to hold thread, scissors, a copy of the pattern, and a little pouch I use for thread bits.

Next to my stand I have put together a floss organizer stand. The organizer is made of plastic and foam rubber and has little slots for each color of floss for this project. The slots are designed so that you can, carefully, extract one strand at a time without tangling. I hate knotted thread. It's one of the reasons I gave up embroidery years ago. Kudos to the person who invented these great holders. The stand consists of a lamp base I found on eBay and an old microphone stand from my husband. I took a hacksaw to the stand to shorten it and glued it into the base.

On top of the stand I added a bolt which fit a metal thread stand, also from the Omanik Factory, that is designed to hold this type of floss organizer. To get the three plastic floss organizers to stay on the metal stand I tried several methods. First I glued coin magnets to them but the glue didn't stick to the plastic, so I stuck the magnets to the metal stand and screwed small metal screws into the organizers. Now they are attached magnetically which makes them easy to remove or reload. Clearly I don't take them off often enough for untangling, that's no fun! 

The coin magnets on the stand:

Screws in the back of the thread holder:

As a bonus here's a few pictures of how I hide my supplies in my studio:

This looks like a nice ottoman:

Beneath the cover:

Inside I keep bundles of thread and spare stand parts:

The picnic basket at my feet:

Inside there's thread on bobbins in cases. I also hide my drink holder when not in use:

And, a small basket of notions, spare needles, lip gloss, and flexible bobbins:

On the thread stand I sometimes use the microphone stand cup holder for my tea:

I hope you've enjoyed my tour. Please feel free to ask questions! Below are links to many of the items I've talked about here:

Thank you for visiting! Please come again.