When you’ve been cross stitching for most of your life like me, you develop your own way of doing things.
There are so many “dos and don’ts” of the cross stitch world, and every crafter seems to have a differing opinion about what you should and shouldn’t do.
It’s impossible to cross stitch the “right” way to please everyone, so I think you should just do it whichever way brings you the most joy.
I thought I’d share some of my controversial opinions about cross stitching - remember, these are just my opinions, and I’m not putting anyone down who does it differently.
1. Back stitch isn’t that bad
In cross stitch, a row of straight stitches is called back stitch, and it’s often used as an outline to a design. It’s called back stitch, because you go back on yourself as you make the stitches.
Check out the description of back stitch on Tiny Modernist, as Cheryl explains it perfectly, along with lots of other types of stitches.
For some cross stitch designs, back stitch really makes it what it is. It provides extra detail on smaller patterns especially, where only full cross stitches just wouldn’t do it justice.
2. Bobbins and bobbinating are a waste of time
Bobbinating is the act of winding your embroidery threads around a flat plastic or cardboard bobbin, in order to store them neatly. It can end up taking quite a while if you have a big collection of embroidery threads.
Winding tools are available, but most stitchers don’t rate them, and there are lots of other techniques out there for speeding up the bobbinating process.
Some cross stitchers are of the firm belief that you should always put your embroidery thread on bobbins, that it’s the proper way to store your threads, and that it’s super important.
I’ve tried bobbinating, and I have to say, I hated every second of it. I would much rather spend my time cross stitching than organising my embroidery threads.
In addition to finding it very dull, I’ve found that the thread gets dents in it after being on a bobbin for some time, which can result in it being awkward to cross stitch with.
Personally, I much prefer using embroidery thread straight from a skein, or pre-cut on a thread board if it’s from a kit.
Photo by Andrew Dawes on Unsplash
3. A neat back is important
It can be tricky to keep a neat back to your cross stitch if you’re a beginner or just not a neat kinda person, but - this isn’t to sound superior - a neat back is important.
On your finished cross stitch, the neat back will be flat and smooth, making it easier to iron. Framing it or sewing it into a cushion will then be super straightforward.
If your completed cross stitch has a messy back, it will be raised and bumpy, and won’t look flat once framed or made into your finished creation.
Kat Waskett’s blog post 16 tips for neat cross stitching might help if you’re still struggling to keep your cross stitch tidy.
However, after all that, if you’re cross stitching just for yourself and simply for your own enjoyment, then you can feel free to go nuts with a back as messy as you like!
4. Just improvise when you make a mistake instead of frogging
Frogging is a term used in cross stitching which means to unpick, pull, rip or cut out some stitches when you’ve made a mistake. The name comes from rip it rip it which sounds like the noise frogs make, ribbit ribbit.
We’ve allllll been there: making mistakes during a project can be so frustrating. The perfect cross stitcher does not exist, and we all slip up, especially when we’re new to the craft.
Sometimes there is no avoiding a visit from the frog, but most of the time you can get around it.
Have you ever just improvised the pattern instead of unpicking your work? It’s much easier, and I guarantee that no one except you will even notice when your cross stitch is finished.
5. Don’t gift a finished cross stitch unless you know the recipient will like it
Hard to believe, I know, but not everyone loves cross stitch as much as you and I.
Spending hours and hours on a piece you’ve poured your heart and soul into, only to visit a charity shop a few years down the line and find your beautiful cross stitched piece on sale for £5 must be a real blow, and it has happened to people.
Not everyone can appreciate a handmade gift, and everyone has different tastes, so I wouldn’t risk spending all your time making a finished cross stitch to gift anyone unless they have specifically asked for it.
Save your wonderful cross stitching skills for someone you know is going to absolutely adore it, who will really appreciate the time and effort you’ve put into crafting such a special gift.
So, have I ruffled any feathers with those outrageous opinions? I’d love to know if you have any differing thoughts, just remember to be kind with those comments ;)
Leave me a comment below, or head over to Meloca Designs on Instagram if you fancy a chat.