It’s linen that’s the hallmark of family heirlooms. But because cross stitchers often feel they could never stitch on linen, they don’t even attempt it. Because of aging eyes, older stitchers consider stitching on linen much more challenging than stitching on larger Aida fabric squares, such as regular 14-count fabric.
But before you give up your dream, consider some of the advantages of cross stitching on linen….
*No hoops, frames, or Q-snaps—You don’t need an embroidery hoop, stretcher frames, or Q-snaps—Stitching on linen is a hand embroidery art. This can be a plus when traveling as it’s more portable and takes up less room.
*More durable—Linen is much stronger than cotton Aida cloth. Whereas Aida is more prone to unravel with time, linen holds up longer, making it an excellent stitching fabric for family heirlooms —-Projects stitched on linen have endured for centuries.
*Easier to stitch fractional stitches—When you stitch “one over two squares”, you have a hole in the middle, making it easier to make those fractional half stitches and quarter stitches. This feature provides a greater flexibility of design, freeing you up to be more creative.
Okay, so stitching on linen has its advantages. But what about some helpful tips to make it easier?
*Practice on a scrap piece of linen—When you first start stitching on linen, don’t worry about working a design. Instead, practice on a scrap piece so you can get acquainted with the stitch. After awhile you’ll discover that it isn’t much different than stitching on Aida.
*Work over two squares—If stitching one over one square is too tiny for your eyes, then do as most stitchers do—-Stitch two over one. For example, for a design that is done on 28 count fabric, you’ll still be stitching the same size of one that’s 14 count Aida, making it much easier on your eyes.
*Count the threads of the line—not the spaces. If you have trouble understanding this, just think of a ladder. In other words, count rungs and not holes. For the first few stitches, this will be awkward, but soon your eye will begin to see in twos.
*Use magnifying aides—Many an older stitcher sings the praises of such magnifying devises as magnifying lamps and other hand magnifiers, such as the popular one that’s hung around a stitcher’s neck. One of my favorites magnifying devises is “MagEyes” (http://www.firehawktech.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=49). I may look like I’m an a little ‘ol grannie or a creature from outer space, but these handy magnifying glasses allow me to stitch on fabrics other than 14 count Aida.
Try these suggestions and at least determine if stitching on linen is a skill you want to master. On the other hand, if you still prefer stitching on Aida, that’s fine. Just don’t give up on stitching on linen before you’ve tried it. You just may get hooked on it.