Tools of the Trade

I’ve decided to a post on the bits and pieces I find useful when I am beginning, in the middle of and finishing a project.

Patterns

First I decide what it is that I’m going to make and I have a range of sources to choose from. I buy Crossstitcher monthly and then keep my eye out for any books and old magazines in charity shops, on Ebay and on Amazon. I also look on Etsy for PDF patterns if there is something specific I am looking for.

patterns

Needles

I have a supply of needles of different sizes just in case I lose one whilst I am sewing or if it becomes discoloured from the moisture on my hands. The Cath Kidston book of needles came free with Stitch! and the book with the little boy on came from my Nana’s house.

needles

Material

Having material on hand is helpful as you can start a project whenever it takes your fancy. Cross stitch material such as evenweave and aida can be expensive at craft shops so I tend to buy it in bulk as it is more cost effective. I also discovered that the Knitting and Stitching Fair sells large quantities of it fairly cheaply so I am definitely going to pick up loads when I am next there in November.

material

Thread

I have a big bag of thread some of which I got from my Grandma and some are leftovers from previous projects. Its really handy to have this bag as I don’t really have to buy thread when I’m starting a new project, I can pick my colours from this bag instead.

thread

Scissors

Its good to have scissors in a variety of sizes. The biggest pair are the ones I use to cut my material for my projects. I then use either of the smaller pairs for cutting thread whilst I am sewing.

scissors

Embroidery hoops

Embroidery hoops of various sizes are an essential for cross stitch projects as the material needs to be kept tight at all times so that the stitching doesn’t go wonky. For my welcome banner I am using a frame as the piece is too big for a hoop. Frames aren’t as good as hoops at keeping the material tight but for big pieces it means your material doesn’t get scrunched up from using a hoop.

hoops

Finishing touches

The are a variety of ways to finish off your final piece. I tend to do one of five things; frame the piece in an embroidery hoop, make it into a magnet using a self-adhesive magnet strip, make it into a greetings card, have it professionally framed or make into a wall hanging. Double-sided sticky tape comes in really handy for cards, framing using an embroidery hoop and making magnets.

framing

Other bits and pieces

I always keep a pencil or two handy for jotting down the size of patterns. The notebook is for writing down any ideas I have for projects or places to look for inspiration.

bookandpencil

I also have this box where I keep some of my threads.

box

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2 thoughts on “Tools of the Trade

  1. You have good resource materials, you could almost turn professional, unfortunately it is difficult to make any profit in craft work these days.
    love Jane

  2. I started off with hoops, but couldn’t get them tight enough. After trying the traditional frame, I settled on using these: needleneeds.co.uk. Although they are a bit more money to buy, the quality is amazing and you can get your material tight enough to bounce a small child off :-). Am enjoying reading your blog.

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