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Scottish Counted Cross Stitch Kits designed and produced on the Isle of Skye   

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Hints and Tips

Preparing the Fabric and Starting to stitch

First find the centre of your fabric by folding in half and then in quarters, open the fabric and using a tacking stitch mark these creases.
Each Symbol on the chart represents a different colour found on the key.
If the chart consists of more than one page a shaded area represents an overlap of FIVE stitches
The centre of the design is indicated by the arrows on the design chart.
It is suggested that an embroidery hoop is used to keep your fabric taut whilst stitching and the edges of your fabric should be taped or hemmed to prevent fraying.
When not stitching, secure the needle at the edge of the fabric and remove the hoop.

Preparing the Threads

The threads in this kit are all sorted on individual cards. Identify the threads against the symbol chart.
The kit contains 14,16 or 18 count fabric depending on the design.
This will require the six stranded threads to be divided into manageable lengths of two strands.
If pearl cotton is included in the kit use a single strand and remember that this is NOT a divisible thread

Starting Your Design

The design must always be stitched from the centre outwards.
Select the first thread to be used and thread it through the needle (Do not knot the thread).
An easy way of stitching with two stands of thread is to take one strand and double it. Thread the open end through the needle so as you have a loop hanging at the botton. Use this loop to fasten the first half of the first stitch on the wrong side.
To begin using two seperate strands leave a short tail of thread hanging on the back of the fabric, and work your first few stitches over this tail, to secure it.
Work one Cross stitch to correspond to each symbol shown on the chart.
A single Cross stitch is formed in two steps (See Fig 1).
Never start or finish stitching with a knot, it is better to thread the needle through stitches already worked.
Do not carry threads from one area to another, finish off and start again.

To stitch on linen or Evenweave fabric follow fig 1a

Half Stitch

A Half Stitch is indicated on the symbol chart with two symbols in one square the same way, as the stitch should appear.
Referring to Fig 1, a Half Stitch is completed by either bringing the needle up at 1, down at 2 or up at 3, down at 4 depending on the direction required.

Three Quarter Stitch.
A Three - Quarter Stitch is completed by bringing the needle up at 1, down at 2 and up at 3 to go down midway between 1 and 2.

 Back Stitch

Back stitches are usually completed after Cross Stitches to show the heavy lines on the chart.
Back stitches can slope in any direction.
Fig 2 shows the progression of several stitches. Bring the thread up at the odd numbers and down at the even numbers.

Cleaning your Cross Stitch

It may be necessary to clean the design on completion. Wash the fabric carefully by hand in Non-Biological detergent.
If your stitching has marks on it that you feel will not come out with ordinary washing, lay the dry stitching on a clean kitchen work top and spray it all over with Stain Removel spray making sure all the marks are covered.
It doesn’t matter if this soaks the cloth use too much rather than too little.
Leave for about 15 – 20 mins for the shout to work.
Don’t let the shout dry.
Now wash the stitching in hand hot water using a non-bio detergent.
You can leave it to soak as long as the soap powder does not have the blue flecks in it. These turn any white stitching material a blue white.
Swish it round but do not scrub You can leave it to soak.
Rinse well making sure all the soap is out.
Do not wring.While the stitching is still dripping roll it in a dry towel to get all the excess water out and gently pull back into shape.
Dry it flat on another dry towel or drape it over a clotheshorse on the towel.
When the stitching is still damp lay a dry towel on the ironing board.
Place the stitching on the towel face down and gently iron until dry making sure the shape does not distort.
Stretch it, Frame it and hang it where everyone can see it.

Some Cross Stitch designs do not need to be framed.
If the design is suitable why not turn it into a Wall hanging, Cushion or Place mat. The choice is yours; let your imagination run free!

To make up a Cushion, a pin cushion or a wall hanging.
Take the completed stitching, place it on the cotton fabric with the right side facing inwards.
Use one piece for a pin cushion and two pieces overlapped for the envelope at the back of a cushion.
Pin & tack the edges leaving about 1 cm for the seam. Stitch three of the sides forming a pocket for the pin cushion and all four sides for a cushion.
For the pin cushion:
Turn the pocket right side out and stuff the pin cushion with scrap material, soft toy stuffing or old tights. Turn in the open edge and stitch together.
If you don't want to make a pin cushion try filling it with Pot-pourri or lavender.
For the cushion.
Turn the stitching right side out and insert a cushion pad.Start the same way as you would for the pin cushion.
If you are using a bar at each en for the hanging leave these open.
Once you have turned the stitching right side out fold each end towards the back.
Turning in the raw edge. Carefully stitch to the back creating a loop to insert the hanging bars.

Helpful tips for using Divisible metallic thread & Rayon

1. Always use shorter lengths than usual.
2. When threading your needle wrap the end of the thread in sticky tape. Trim to fit through the eye of the needle, once the needle is threaded snip off the tape.
3. You may find the Rayon thread ‘slippery’ when used. To prevent this dampen it, and the stitch with it.