Cross Stitchers – Advice Please

I started an HAED design last year and didn’t get very far.  I’ve only been cross stitching for two years and haven’t completed lots of designs. But there are so many beautiful designs out there and I want to continue buying and stitching them. Here’s the design:

Father Christmas

And here’s where I am today – about 4.5″ X 1.5″ of background on the top, left of the design.


I’m using two plies of floss on 25 ct. Lugana. I’m finding it frustrating to fill in all the little holes when I get to the last 4-5 colors. There are about 12 shades of rust and orange to do the background. So I have questions and I’m seeking your advice.

1. Should I be using just one ply of floss?  It would make the project easier to handle, but would it cover well?

2. If I want to change to one ply, what do I do with this piece that is started – start over with a new piece of fabric or rip it out? Would the fabric be okay if I rip out that much?

3. If I continue with two plies, what advice do you have for me to keep going and not get so frustrated. You can see that the last four squares are not completed yet. I just couldn’t force myself to continue today.

I love the design! I want to get it done so I can hang it up each December. Help…..

Thank you in advance for any advice you can give me. I truly appreciate it.


9 responses to “Cross Stitchers – Advice Please

  1. Bless your eyes, 25 count is tiny. You’ve got quite a lot of background to go. If it’s bothering you now it may mean you don’t feel motivated to finish it. How about starting again but with a variegated thread so that it has natural variation but isn’t matt. That way you could sew it up quickly and get to the interesting part. It’s a beautiful design. Jean

  2. I feel for you, Jan…I know how dull stitching a large background can be….very much an unwelcome chore.

    I’ll email you my suggestions.

  3. Have you heard about Needlepoint Nation that is a member of Facebook that is monitored by Carole Lake, Jane Wood and Tara Roberts? There are over 6000 members of which many do cross stitch as well as needlepoint. People are always posting questions about their project and they get a lot of good advice from various people. Roberta

  4. HEAD Designs are rather finicky mainly because they are adapted from artwork rather than being designed for cross-stitch. The final result is worth the pain though (I think). I’m currently doing a HEAD using 1 strand on 32 cnt fabric – I did do a test with 1 strand on 25 cnt and didn’t particularly like the effect, but you should try a little bit yourself to see what you think of it. (After testing a number of combinations I’ve decided I like 1 strand on 32 cnt evenweave best.)

    By the looks of things it seems you are getting near to the head. My advice would be to try and move on to the main pattern and do the background in small chunks.

    If you do decide to change to 1 strand over 25cnt, it might be best to start with a new piece of fabric (you can save what you have not used for another project). That way you could also change your mind and go back to using 2 strands if you later decided that was better. Consider starting in the middle of the design instead of with the background … that way you could see if this feels more interesting to you. If not, perhaps another designer/pattern.

    In terms of unpicking, I recently unpicked quiet a large block of half stitch done over 1 on 32 cnt. I had to make a few fabric repairs where I accidentally cut through the fabric; as I was going to cover all of it with stitching again this was OK.

    With cross-stitch, especially very large projects like the one you are doing, I have a number on the go at a time. I get bored with one and put it away for a while (sometimes a very long time) and come back to it later. Having some small projects going can also help as you can finish these up quite quickly thereby giving a sense of accomplishment which can help buoy your mood for the BAP (Bigg Ass Project).

    All the best with your stitching!

  5. I wouldn’t recommend 1 strand over 25 ct as it will be quite patchy. I don’t undetstand why 2 strands is more frustrating than 1 though? What’s the difference?

  6. So, in what I did on my HAED (since put down because I detest evenweave, not because I didn’t like what I was doing)
    1) I was using 2 strands over 1 on 25 count as well- lots of people do use 1- maybe try a bit of 1 strand on a bit of spare fabric, and see what you like. You only need to do something like a 10 by 10 block in one colour to try it, so it shouldn’t take too long 🙂 Pulling the thread tighter after each stitch should help too, if you decide to stick with 2 strands.
    2) I’d be very tempted to just rip out that much- you’ve already gridded the fabric, and it might be ok… but then I haven’t frogged anything that size so I don’t know…
    3) If you try parking (one row at a time), rather than cross country (one colour at a time) it should be better- by going one row at a time you always have the bottom of the stitch free so you aren’t trying to squeeze it in as much
    Most importantly- stitching is supposed to be fun! Don’t just stick with 2 plies because you have already done so much on it!

  7. It’s much easier – and usually more interesting! – to begin in the middle.
    Do test the single strand and see whether you like it, but these designs do rely on thorough coverage of the background with the colours, and there is a risk that single strand will look too thin and anaemic…

  8. Jan, I have been doing cross stitch for almost 40 years.
    I know you didn’t ask this but I would highly recommend that you get some Qsnaps. It is like using a hoop but they won’t mark your fabric. I usually use the 6-8 inch.
    First Question: Have you thought about using a variegated thread so that you aren’t changing threads. Definitely use two strands.
    I know that you are far down the piece so my suggestion to use the variegated thread is too late.
    You will just have to plow ahead but go an do another part of the design and then go back to the background. That is the only way that I can make myself get through some of these rather large pieces.
    So my recommendation is to start Santa in order to keep yourself motivated.
    Love the advice from the other stitchers.
    I would never rip all that out, but I would start over.
    Good Luck!!

  9. What a gorgeous pattern. I can see why you want to do this piece. I like the suggestion of variegated threads for the background. To prevent stripes, you could blend 2 different but similar colored over dyed threads. This might make the background easier to stitch with 2 threads over one … not so many color changes. I’ve done this with grass and leaves. It’s lovely and so much easier than all that confetti.

    If you want to switch to one over one, I would pick fabric that has a warmer tone to it instead of the starkness of white. If it was me, I would go with either a 28 ct even weave (for 1 over 1) or 22 ct hardanger fabric (for 2 over 1) and tea stain it.

    From my experience, tearing out that large an area is a royal pain and not worth it. I would start over again. Stitching is supposed to be fun, not a pain.

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