Stitchcraft Articles


  1. Rock Cat by Lanarte
  2. Winter Ruby Christmas Tree Decoration by M P Studios
  3. Nasturtium Fan by Needleart World
  4. Chickadee by Heritage Crafts from artwork of Valerie Pfeiffer
  5. Wonder Invisible Thread by YLI
  6. Bird with Sweets by Permin
  7. Tulips - Silken Long Stitch by Rose Swalwell of Derwentwater Designs
  8. Lanterns by Riolis
  9. Magic by the Oven Company
  10. When plastic canvas is useful
Earlier Stitchcraft Articles

Rock Cat by Lanarte

This is a delicate little design worked in half cross stitch, one over one on 30 count linen.

The chart at 10 stitches to three centimetres is obviously far larger than the actual embroidery and is easy to follow. I was a little concerned about stitching something so fine but it was really easy to see the fabric clearly as working on a single strand meant that the cover wasn't thick. The only tricky bit was the stitching the white areas since it was harder to see which stitches were already done. I had to complete that in good natural light. It comes with a good size piece of fabric with plenty of space should you wish to add a cat's name or dedication. There's plenty of left over floss.

Overall a quick project and once I mount it in a small flexihoop, a nice little present. There are other quirky cats in the same series.
by Anne Peden on Sat, 11 Jan 2020, 11:13
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Winter Ruby Christmas Tree Decoration by M P Studios

This kit's instructions are in Russian with English translations.

The kit came with two pieces of plastic canvas and a chart with the two similar designs. It wasn't clear whether it should make one or two finished pieces. I suspect you were meant to make two but I decided to join them in the same way as some of the Riolis Christmas tree ornaments in plastic canvas are joined.

There are a lot of beads in this design and the only instruction is to stitch them with white floss. There's nothing to say whether that's with half or whole cross stitch and with one or two strands. As it turned out from the amount of white floss in the kit, it should probably be half cross stitch and one strand.

I also had to use extra floss to join the two finished baubles using overcast stitch. Since I couldn't match the colour exactly, I chose a similar shade to the darkest red in the kit.

However I am very pleased with the finished ornament. The clever shading gives it a three dimensional look and the beads add sparkle.

We'll include a extra skein of dark red with every kit to give other stitchers the option of making the finished bauble two sided.

both sides
by Anne Peden on Mon, 23 Sep 2019, 17:34
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Nasturtium Fan by Needleart World

This was my second Needleart World kit but much smaller than the last and on 14 count Aida.

The design is accurately printed on Aida with grid and key at the side of the fabric. The fabric is overlocked all around so no delay in starting to stitch. There is also a full colour chart to refer to. You shouldn't have to use that to work the whole cross stitch but it is necessary for the added backstitch.

The cross stitch was easy to work quicker for the blocks of colour than the picture. Some backstitch is worked over or partially over the cross stitch and that's where the chart became essential as the lines showing it had been covered by floss.

The exciting bit is when you wash out the colour. This worked well in the stitched area but there are still remnants of the print on the outer areas which was surprising since everything on my first Needleart World kit Koi Carp washed out. It doesn't matter once the embroidery is mounted.

There was lots of leftover floss and the design was quick to work. Fan
by Anne Peden on Fri, 02 Aug 2019, 16:11
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Chickadee by Heritage Crafts from artwork of Valerie Pfeiffer

The kit by Heritage Crafts has large scale black and white charts on facing A5 pages. The first chart shows only the whole and partial cross stitch while the second has the added backstitch superimposed on a faded version of the first chart. This makes the stitching and especially the placement of the backstitch very clear.

As with most Heritage Crafts kits there are diagonal three quarter stitches but also horizontal and vertical half cross stitches. These are sometimes combined with 'straddled' cross stitches. The chart has diagrams for these but they are still a little tricky. I stitched the evenweave version which I expect is easier than making these stitches on Aida but I seldom stitch on Aida.

The instructions are for backstitch or long stitches without specifying which should be used where so it's up to the stitcher to decide. Where the stitches radiated out from cross stitches in this design it was easier to decide which to use and a little harder to be accurate in the densely stitched areas.

There was lots of extra floss. The design was quick to stitch and the result is very pretty.

by Anne Peden on Thu, 01 Aug 2019, 07:13
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Wonder Invisible Thread by YLI

This thread is suggested by Nora Corbett for adding beads to her designs using a size 10 beading needle. This is an alternative to using two strands of matching stranded cottons.

I found it impossible to thread the beading needle with two strands of floss and even the invisible thread is very difficult to get through the needle eye. I found the best way was to use a black or dark background. Once threaded I found it was easier to knot the end and use double, otherwise it kept slipping off the needle.

I tried using long lengths to cut down on the number of times I had to thread my needle but that caused the problem of snagging on beads already in place.

The advantage of the thread is that it's strong, invisible and may be used for all the beads in the embroidery. Being invisible is also the main disadvantage.

Overall it was probably the better option for me and I will use it on all future projects with beads.
by Anne Peden on Sat, 08 Jun 2019, 09:22
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Bird with Sweets by Permin

A sweet little design instantly recognisable as liquorice allsorts.

The pattern is worked in whole cross stitch in two strands and some backstitch in one strand on 14 count white Aida. There is ample floss enough also to use for sewing up and to add a hanging thread. Black backing fabric is included without any instructions in completing. However that's quite simple to work out yourself. All I needed to add was some wadding to fill.

It took me seven hours to stitch the little bird a quick and easy project. Bird
by Anne Peden on Sat, 08 Jun 2019, 08:49
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Tulips - Silken Long Stitch by Rose Swalwell of Derwentwater Designs

This is a pretty long stitch design of flowers from the Silken Long Stitch series.

The canvas has to be firmly mounted on a rectangular frame and I used a Grip n' Stitch. There is a note on the pattern that the outside edges may not be exact and to be careful to follow the line of the canvas keeping the stitches vertical.

The designs is worked in four strands of cotton and my only criticism of the kit is that the needle eye is a bit small so I used a different one. I seem to say this about every kit so perhaps the problem is more with to do with my eyesight.

The pattern shows a loop method to start a thread which works well. You start with smaller areas first and finish with the background. There is ample floss, so much that you can take a new length for each area without having to use leftover bits.

It took me 10 hours to stitch the design and it was very easy to stitch. The perimeter lines are outside the stitching on two sides as the instructions warned but the corners are almost perfect right angles.


It was wonderful to produce something so pretty in such a short time.
by Anne Peden on Thu, 16 May 2019, 08:23
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Lanterns by Riolis

This a very pretty oriental design with red, pink and green lanterns of different shapes hanging from Spring flowering branches.

All the cross stitch is worked in three strands which makes it stand out well on 14 count Aida. The backstitch detail is worked in 1, 2 or 3 strands. The pattern uses colours on the chart to differentiate between different number of strands used in backstitch.

I found the pattern easy to follow although I wasn't able to follow the stitching of the tassels exactly and sometimes resorted to long stitch.

The main problem is that the fabric is a bit small with only 1.5 inches top and bottom where I usually allow 3 inches. The width of the fabric was fine as I worked the complete design on the single piece. There is an option to divide it into three smaller pictures and then the fabric may be a little tight in that direction as well. I didn't use the needle provided as it is a petite and difficult to thread with three strands.


It took me 23 hours to stitch the design and the finished embroidery is very effective.
by Anne Peden on Tue, 23 Apr 2019, 17:46
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Magic by the Oven Company

Magic is a counted cross stitch worked on 14 count black Aida using three shades of stranded cottons.

The pattern is worked in whole cross stitch, half cross stitch and backstitch cleverly using varying numbers of strands. The white of the lanterns is in whole cross stitch using three strands of white. The yellow light is worked in half cross using three, two and then one strand as it works outwards. Grey floss is used to add depth to the lanterns. Some backstitched snowflakes are worked in two strands and some in one.

The chart uses different colours to denote the number of strands used and so it is very easy to follow.

I was hampered a little by the black fabric which slowed progress but there were no problems with the design and there was ample floss.

Time to stitch - 28 hours.

by Anne Peden 19th March 2019 on Tue, 19 Mar 2019, 14:59
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When plastic canvas is useful

I came across a crochet pattern for a nursery rug in the shape of a cartoon snail. Our granddaughter has a few pet common or garden snails wintering in their house. I decided to make a smaller version for her and having started it planned to make it into a soft toy.

When I came to put it all together a pipe cleaner just wasn't going to succeed for its 'horns'. So after a bit of thought I decided to use plastic canvas for the horns and the eyes which are at the ends of stalks. I cut suitable size small pieces and sewed them securely on the inside of the toy. Then I picked up stitched around the outside of the bases and crocheted around finishing the horns with polystyrene balls and the eyes with black buttons.

Our granddaughter was delighted with the finished snail. Worryingly, she kept picking it up by the horns but they stayed the course. She pressed the two button eyes together and said 'eye to eye'.

by Anne Peden on Wed, 20 Feb 2019, 11:45
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Earlier Stitchcraft Articles ...

Turtle Family by Anchor ...
DMC Etoile ... DMC's latest threads Etoile arrived this month.
Blackwork Birds ... Many years ago, possibly forty, I embroidered a picture of goldcrests.
Embroidering Birds ... Many years ago, possibly forty, I embroidered a picture of goldcrests.
Damask Square by Ink Circles ... I love these symmetrical designs and the subtle shading in DMC Color Variations 4150 Desert Sand.
Mirror Case by Eva Rosenstand ... I decided to stitch this handbag mirror for a small present.
Snowberries by Haandarbejdets Fremme ... This is an Assisi style design with the background stitched and the leaves and berries unstitched.
Review of Koi Carp by Needleart World ... These kits are from the Grafitec company who produce traditional screen printed needlepoint canvases.
Review of Grafitec Needlepoint Canvas ... Grafitec canvases are screen printed in full colour.
Swedish Weaving ... Swedish weaving is also known as huck embroidery or huck weaving and became popular in the US during the 1930s and 40s.
Outline stitches in Blackwork ... Until recently I used backstitch to outline areas in blackwork.
Golden Crown Mark 2 ... Having learned from my first attempt at making a dressing-up crown, I decided to make a smaller lighter version.
DMC Coloris ... We thought we'd try a design in the exciting new Coloris by DMC.
A Golden Crown ... Our three year old granddaughter said ' Gran, I need a crown' .
Uses & Care for Kreinik Metallic Ribbons ... Applications: crazy quilting (hand and machine), crewel, cross stitch/counted thread, doll making (hand and machine), fly fishing, kids' crafts, machine embroidery/bobbin work, machine embroidery/couching, needlepoint/canvas work, plastic canvas, ribbon embroidery, stumpwork, weaving.
Uses & Care for Kreinik Braids ... Applications depend on the thickness of the braid but include: appliqué (hand and machine), blackwork, costumes, crazy quilting (hand and machine), crewel, crochet, cross stitch/counted thread, doll making (hand and machine), fly fishing, hardanger, kids crafts, knitting (by hand), lace making, machine embroidery/bobbin work, machine embroidery/couching, machine embroidery/in the needle, min
Kreinik Cable ... Applications:
Blending Filament ... Applications :
Transferring designs to fabric for surface embroidery ... We were recently asked how to transfer your own design onto fabric to embroider.
Seasonal Blooms by Brittercup Designs ... I've liked these designs ever since I first saw them so took this opportunity to try Winter.
Witching Hour Ornament by the Prairie Schooler ... This cute design took only a couple of evening to stitch.
Milkweed Butterfly and Flower ... I have stitched some Thea Gouverneur designs before from her two lovely books
Embroidered Table Covers ... Hand stitched printed table covers always look lovely on your dining table.
Rico Design Hooded Baby Towels ... These baby towels make lovely gifts and can be used from birth and for many years.
Easter Rabbit by Eva Rosenstand ... Eva Rosenstand kits are now produced by Permin of Copenhagen and the key and instructions are in the same format as their designs.
Iphone 5 Phone Covers by Anchor. ... This is a quick and easy project worked completely in whole cross stitch on silicone covers.
Flexihoops ... I decided to use one of these frames to mount the reversible Little Owl from the Classic Embroidery pattern.
Review of Little Owl, blackwork kit by Classic Embroidery ... This pretty little design is sold as a 'weekender' and certainly can be completed in a weekend or a few evenings.
Review of Believe by Designs Works ... A pretty little design of the word with fairies and beads.
Review of Woodland Winter by Rose Swalwell ... A pretty little design from a seasonal set.
Review of Gardener Chick by Heritage Crafts ... Heritage Crafts have lots of birds and flower kits converted from the artwork of Valerie Pfeiffer which are very pretty and timeless.
Review of Cow - Sheep- Pig - Bull ... We decided that it would be a good idea to stitch a few different suppliers' kits to review them for our customers.
Quaker Style ... Crewel work was very popular in Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth century.
An Introduction to Bargello ... There are lots of names for this style of canvas work including
Half Cross Stitch ... Some cross stitch designs have areas of
Band Samplers ... Band Samplers are a very old form of embroidery dating back to the Late Middle Ages.
Swedish Weaving ... This traditional craft had a revival in the 1930s and 40s and is becoming increasingly popular today.
Something a little bit different ...
Ribbon Embroidery ...
Counted Beadwork ... Beadwork was very popular in Victorian times when it was used to decorate evening dresses and bags and in furnishings such as cushions and footstools.
Assisi Embroidery ... Assisi embroidery comes from the Italian town of that name and was once used to decorate ecclesiastical linens.
Blackwork Easter Egg - a simple example. ... There's nothing very complicated about blackwork.
Would you like to try hardanger ? ... Some of you have recently expressed interest in hardanger, so we decided to research the subject a little and look for a few products.
New Baby? ... News of an expected new baby is always very exciting, and not just to the parents-to-be!
Miss Potter - Renaissance Woman ... Hollywood has seen a ready market for adaptations of British childrens' classics - Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan, and so on, but now director Chris Noonan has made a new movie based on the life of the storyteller rather than the stories.
Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat ... ... Or perhaps, «gravitationally challenged», but it just doesn't scan.
Searching for Golden Threads ... I had a long search to find the
Mounting Your Embroidery On Card ... This is a short piece with advice on mounting your embroidery on card for framing - what type of thread to use and how to do it.
What Colour Is Blackwork? ... Blackwork is over four hundred years old
Not Another Embroidery! ... There are many, many cross stitch and embroidery designs and kits out there.
Goldwork ... Goldwork embroidery
Stitching Techniques And Tips ... An introduction to working cross stitch, blackwork and needlepoint designs with some useful tips and advice for beginners.
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