Cross Stitch Geeking

I’m a cross stitch geek.

I stitched this for my daughter when she was born.

I like stitching—I have tons of patterns and materials and boxes full of cool projects I’ve started. My fingers start to twitch if I haven’t stitched for awhile. Whenever I’m sitting still (watching TV, around the gaming table, talking with friends, etc.) I want to be working on something. Most people in my life have more stitched stuff than they know what to do with—since cross stitching best lends itself to being framed, there’s a distinct limit to how many things you can make for people!

Fancy sampler stitched on linen - the dress, with several shades of white and light grey, caused eye strain. The letters were really fun, though!

Stitching itself is just a tiny part of my geekdom, though. When it comes down to it, I have trouble finishing big projects and I get intimidated by fancy stitches. I prefer my projects simple, fairly quick, and straightforward—probably because I’m watching TV or rolling dice while I stitch! (If you like quick cross stitch projects, you have to check out weelittlestitches—they’re quick, easy, and adorable! My kids are learning how to cross stitch by making Christmas ornaments of the Harry Potter characters on plastic canvas.)

Where I really get geeky, though, is in design. I love to get out the graph paper and a good mechanical pencil and one of those white erasers that work so well. (Maybe someday a tablet computer and stylus will recreate this experience, but so far using a mouse to make designs on the computer just doesn’t do it for me.)

My typical wedding present is a line from a reading from the ceremony - the designs are my own. This is the one I did for my husband for our wedding.

I like to adapt existing designs to suit my purposes, whether that’s changing colors or the size or combining different patterns into something new. I think my favorite thing, though, is adapting an existing picture or symbol into a pattern. I know, there’s software that supposedly does that for you. But in my experience those things make odd combinations of lots of colors that look more like a Monet painting—which is great if that’s what you’re going for, but generally I’m looking for something more traditional. I like the challenge that comes with creating a pattern that also isn’t too annoying to stitch, which a computer program typically doesn’t handle to my taste. (The other day my 9 year old son made his first pattern—a Voltorb from Pokemon! I’m so proud.)

My mom knits these awesome Christmas stockings (bear with me—this ties in) which are big and stretchy and durable (mine is her first, and more than 40 Christmases later, it’s still in great shape!). They’re also personalized—you ask for anything, and she’ll knit it for you. She’s done Peanuts characters, dragons, the John Deere logo, sports teams, you name it. How can she do that? Well, I do her designs. It’s a fun challenge—it needs to be 30 stitches wide by 80 stitches high (although wrapping the design around the back allows for some play in the width). You can’t do half or ¾ stitches in knitting, so making curves has to be handled carefully, too. I can’t use too many colors and those colors need to be worth bringing in, because apparently that’s a pain. Back stitching is also a pain (mostly because she won’t do it, which means I have to do any back stitching I’ve put in the design!) so I try to make sure the stitches alone convey the picture well enough. I don’t know how many stockings I’ve designed over the years, but it’s in the high double digits. Most of the kids (and many of the adults) in my life have a stocking I designed and my mom knit.

Here's a stocking pattern I did - the design wraps around so Snoopy is on the back.

These are my kids' stockings, designed by me and knit by my mom. Yeah, we love Peanuts in our house!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I often think that this actually ties in to why I like to edit. I’m not particularly good at creating things from scratch. But if you give me something to start with, I can see ways that it can be adapted and changed to better suit your purpose. I’m also pretty good at looking at the smallest minutia, while seeing how it fits into the big picture. I look at something and I see the possibilities of what could be in addition to what’s already there. It’s an exciting (if occasionally overwhelming) way to look at the world.

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8 Responses to Cross Stitch Geeking

  1. May says:

    Hi. I was just browsing through the website and came across this cross stitch geeking page! I really like the snoopy cross stitch you stitched for your daughter. I would love to have a copy of the pattern so I could do the same for my nephew. Many thanks! Cheers.

    • ayvalentine says:

      I’m sending you an email regarding the pattern!

      • Jocelyn says:

        Hi,

        Would you care to email me the same pattern? The very first one that you stitched for your daughter! I love cross stitching and Peanuts!

        Many thanks in advance :)

      • Tonya says:

        Could I possibly get the pattern as well? I’m helping a friend do a Snoopy nursery for her first grandchild and this would be perfect!

  2. Tammy Burdin says:

    I too get restless if I’m not stitching. I try not to all the time and read in between projects which just doesn’t cut it. I can cross stitch for hours at a time but get bored reading. I am in search of snoopy cross stitch designs. I cross stitch for people I work with for babys. My partner at work is going to be a new grandmother TWICE and I would love to do something nice for her. ANYTHING you have would help. Thank you and stitch away.

  3. Angela says:

    Hey, I love the Snoopy cross stitch. My father’s birthday is coming up and I would love to have a copy of that to make for his office!

  4. ayvalentine says:

    I’m sorry I haven’t gotten back to anyone about patterns – I know how hard they are to find (the Snoopy one at the top is from this book which is out of print: http://www.amazon.com/Peanuts-in-Cross-Stitch/dp/B004R8HKBS ). I’m not sure where my book is right now – somewhere in a box for safe keeping. It’s been over 10 years since I stitched that Snoopy. I’ll let you know when I find it, though!

  5. Jennifer LEe says:

    HI,Im kinda looking for snoopy cross stitch too..I love the first one you made.Could you email to me? In Malaysia here hard to find these character. So sad..

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