Hint number one for “cross stitch made easy” is to replace the stranded thread listed in any pattern requirement list with Cotton Mako’ .
Cotton Mako’ is easier to use than stranded thread. There is no waste and the thread does not have to be separated & re-aligned before use.
You simply cut a length from the spool and start stitching. Cotton Mako’ 12 will be the equivalent of a pearl 12 thread or 3 strands of “stranded” floss & Cotton Mako’ 28 is the equivalent of 2 strands of floss.
I guess it does mean that you might have to buy 2 different thread weights if you want different thicknesses BUT the convenience, less wastage & ease with which the thread pulls through the fabric, and the fact that the same thread will go on the sewing machine, has meant that people are happily changing over to the Cotton Mako’ for their hand embroidery.
My second hint for “cross stitch made easy” is to grid baste the Aida cloth and mark out a matching grid on the pattern.
Over Aida 14 cloth I mark a grid that is 10 threads x 10 threads but this can vary depending upon the type of weave in the background cloth.
I also baste some tape around the edges of the fabric so that they do not get frayed due to all the handling.
Hint number three is to pre-colour the design on the Aida cloth so that I don’t have to “count” the weave threads.
I started doing this when I realised that my TV sight, reading sight & stitching sight lengths had changed so much that I would need two pairs of spectacles to be able to sew & watch TV at the same time.
When I thought about the problem I realised that I couldn’t see the grain of the cloth clearly enough to count for stitch placement.
So I solved my problem by treating my cross stitch in the same manner as a pre-printed tapestry.
I take the time to pre-mark the Aida in clear light during the day by dot marking the pattern grid with the appropriate colour using Fabrico fabric pens.
The dots are covered with thread when the stitching is finished, and the ink is permanent so it doesn’t bleed out from under the design if the embroidery gets wet.
If you want to test out my “cross stitch made easy” techniques you will find Fabrico pens, Aida cloth & patterns for the above designs, kitted with the Cotton Mako’ thread, for sale on the website.