If you love to cross stitch, better start now on those Christmas gifts you plan to give to friends and family in less than four months. You especially need to get started if you have a large project to either start or finish.
However, before you either purchase a ready-made pattern or design your own pattern, be sure that you’re able to finish it before Christmas without placing yourself under pressure. After all, don’t we cross-stitch to de-stress, rather than worry about not finishing a project. If we’re worrying about anything as we stitch, then our hobby has defeated its purpose.
To make sure you’ll be able to complete your project, don’t choose a chart that’s as big as, about 150 x 180 stitches (with around 100 different floss colors), especially if you’re just now getting started. Maybe if you got a head start months earlier, you’d wouldn’t be under the strain to finish it before December 24th. Several years ago, I had a small internet cross-stitch business where I converted photographs into cross-stitch patterns. Occasionally, I’d receive orders from stitchers as late as October or early November for an involved four-paged chart with at least 75 different floss colors. Wondering where they found the time to stitch, I asked them. Usually, they said they planned a couple of all-nighters. I warned them that they might be biting off more than they could chew, but they went ahead and selected a large project anyway. I’d be more than surprised if most of them completed their projects in time for Christmas Day gift exchanging.
On the other hand, is bigger always better? Can’t you stitch something much smaller, but just as thoughtful as if you’d spent months stitching it? If you’re retired, or a stay at home mom, maybe you do have the time (Although stay at home moms do have the hardest job in the world and are on call 24/7.) Otherwise, consider some gifts you can stitch which I’m sure your friends and family will treasure even if you didn’t spend days, weeks, and even months making it.
If you have cross-stitch software such as Pattern Maker or any other photo-to-chart program, you can design your own charts, using any high-quality picture to convert it into a design.
For those high school and college kids on your list—-
*School emblems—You don’t need to do an elaborate pattern of a high school or college building. Just find a picture (by doing an internet search) of the letters of the college or school. For example, take my old alma mater, the University of Texas. True, there are pictures of the school seal, which would probably take me at least half a year to a year to finish. However, there are also pictures of a simple “UT” in the school colors of orange and white. Doing an easy “UT” pattern takes only about an evening or two of your time and still looks good enough as a gift. You can do the same thing with a college fraternity or sorority, looking for letters (rather than elaborate seals.)
For those young grandchildren, nieces and nephews…
*Search for simple nursery patterns such as “Winnie the Pooh” pictures to convert into charts. With a little doctoring done with your Pattern Maker software you can reduce the colors as well as simplify the design. There are also many simple patterns for children for sale, which can be completed in a few days. For example, check out the “Weekend” cross series you can usually find in needlework stores or Wal-Mart. (See http://www.fwbookstore.com/product/980/soft-craft). For baby’s first Christmas, make a tree ornament with the child’s name on it or something else that doesn’t require a lot of stitching.
And, if you still choose to do a big project and don’t finish, you can always save it for another holiday, birthday, or special occasion the following new year. If truth be know, I’m sure that’s what many of my cross-stitch customers did when they found there just wasn’t enough time to finish their Christmas projects.