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Having just received my spool of Easy Count Guideline which I mentioned in a previous post, I am ready to start gridding the fabric for my Summer Ball project. First, I sewed around the edges of my fabric to stop it from fraying. Then I folded the fabric in half both ways to find the center. I used a scrap of floss to mark the center square in black, as shown here. (You’ll get a larger view if you click on the photos)


I then used the guideline to stitch over 6 squares, under 4, over 6, under 4, etc. I cut a piece of guideline longer than the length of the fabric, and started in the middle. I used the chart to help me place the first stitch. Because of the way this chart is, the black center square is not exactly in the center. The center lines intersect where there isn’t actually a stitch. This happens when you have a chart that is, say, 100 stitches long. 50 stitches would lie on one side of the center line, and 50 on the other. The exact center would be the line, not a stitch. If your chart was 101 stitches, then you would have 50 stitches on either side plus the one extra stitch would be the middle stitch. So I just chose one stitch out of the 4 that surround the center intersecting lines, and used that for my center. I found this square on my chart and colored it in with a yellow colored pencil.


I counted how many stitches I need to go up from the center, and stitched the guideline in until I reached that spot. Then I stopped. I left the excess just hanging there. I then went back to the center and did the same thing from the center toward the bottom. I had begun stitching in the center with the middle of the thread, for this purpose. The photo above shows the finished center line, going vertically.

A close-up of the stitching process, over 6 and under 4:


The reason you go over 6 and under 4 is because you want your grid blocks to be 10×10, to match your chart. 6+4=10. When you start gridding the fabric in the other direction, the lines will intersect exactly in the middle of the long top lines. You will have a perfect cross shape – your top line of 6 stitches will now be split in half, making 3 stitches on all 4 sides.

After stitching the center vertical line, do the center horizontal line. In the photo below, you can see that I have now stitched both the vertical and horizontal center lines. I have also stitched 3 additional vertical lines. Cut your thread so that you get enough for about 3 runs of the fabric, and that way you don’t have to start a new thread for each line. (If your project is small, do even more than 3 runs.) Simply let the thread loop at the top and bottom and count over 10 stitches to begin the next row. If you have counted correctly, you will get a perfect cross when you reach the center, as you can see here. You no longer need to count over 6 and under 4 after you have done a few rows. Your eyes can see where to enter the needle into the fabric. When you do all of the vertical rows on one side of the center, start over again from the center and work in the other direction. When this is complete, do your horizontal rows. The horizontal rows will require even less counting, because you are simply weaving your thread in to complete the crosses.


After you have done all of the rows, it should look something like this:


Don’t worry about all of those “tails” at the ends. We will knot them later so they don’t come undone. Or, just leave them – they will be safe when the fabric is rolled up onto the scroll frame.

Here is what the fabric looks like after all of the rows have been stitched going in one direction, and two rows have been done in the other. (My fabric was actually turned sideways when I took this, as I did all of the vertical rows first, then started on the horizontal. Oops!)


This is a time consuming process. I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes me several hours to grid this project. But I think it will save much more time than that in the end. Now, for a break!

9/5/14 UPDATE: I have finally finished this, after putting if off for several days. Here is what the back looks like:


Here is the picture of the completed piece, with a close-up of some of the 10×10 areas.




A Nice Find

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frames2Today our church was having a yard sale and I found what I have been looking for for months: square picture frames. There was a set of 4 wooden frames, painted brown, all with some pretty old needlework pieces inside. The yarn in hues of oranges, yellows, and greens make me think they were circa 1960. The needlepoint was actually coming undone from the frames, because they had been attached with masking tape, which had long since lost its stick.

The ugly stitched pieces
The ugly stitched pieces

I will be throwing away the stitched pieces (sorry, whomever stitched these!) and repainting the frames. I got out my box of finished pieces and found 6 items that all needed a square frame of this exact same size. So I picked out 4 of them and can’t wait to get painting and framing! 3 of the pieces are Halloween themed, and the other is a pink heart. I think I might paint the Halloween frames all the same, even though the patterns are all from different designers and the fabrics are different colors. I better get going on that, since September is just around the corner!


Annie’s DVD Collection

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I have been anticipating this moment for months. I have finally received copies of the DVDs put out by Annie’s, featuring back issues of Just Cross Stitch and Sampler & Antique Needlework magazines. There are 4 DVD collections in all: Just Cross Stitch Collection 1991-2000; Just Cross Stitch Collection 2001-2010; Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments Collection 1997-2013; and Sampler & Antique Needlework Quartlery Collection 2001-2010. The price of the SAN collection is $59.95, while the two JCS collections are each $49.95. The ornaments collection is only $29.95. I now have all of these DVDs available in my store at


dvd4The DVDs all feature every page from every issue of the magazines. So you will get the cover, letter from the editor, all charts including their color photography, and yes, the advertisements. Of course, many of the ads will no longer be valid. Discount codes for websites will long be expired, and many of the companies listed will be out of business by now. Most likely, you won’t be able to purchase any of the materials packs from the back of the issues. But it’s fun to watch the ads evolve. In the early 90s issues no listings had website addresses. In the late 90s they started appearing more frequently but they were not your typical .com addresses of today. Remember things like And of course the latest ads nearly all feature the .com addresses we are used to.

In order to view the files on the DVDs you need to have Adobe Reader on your computer. This is available for free download if you don’t have it, but most computers will already have it installed. The files are all .pdf format. The charts are mostly in black and white, which is great for those who only have a black and white printer. In the later years, a few charts here and there do have backstitch lines in colors such as blue and red. But I noticed that not all charts have this. And I did not notice any charts on the 1991-2000 disc having color lines. Printing charts is easy. Just click the print button and choose which page(s) you want to print. Careful, if you don’t specify a page to print it will start printing the entire magazine, which is around 70 pages.


If you have an older, slower computer you might find that the DVDs take a while to start running and then to turn each page. But any of the newer systems will not have any problem at all reading the issues. With Adobe Reader you can view each page as large as you need to, making it possible to read the articles right on your computer without printing them out. Remember, you have to have the DVD in the drive in order to read the issues. Take it out and you can longer access the content. Unless you copy the issues to your computer, that is. And doing so may speed up the process of reading compared to trying to read off of the DVD. Because I live in a household where electronics often get ruined (the kids have so far managed to kill two laptops and a backup drive) I will make a backup of the DVDs “just in case” on my cloud storage. I know that no matter how hard I try to protect these discs, they WILL eventually get stepped on, scratched up, or just plain lost. So no matter what my little terrors do to my computer, the data on these discs will be safe.



I have included a few snapshots from the magazines. Of course, for copyright reasons, I cannot include actual charts or articles. But you can see that the covers as well as the individual project photos are in full color. The table of contents for most issues give you an idea of what’s inside that issue. And the charts are in black and white with symbols, which are easy to print. The earlier magazines are all scanned in. You can tell because often times you can see writing “through” the pages. In other words, when looking at a photograph you might be able to faintly see some type coming through from the other side of the page. It appears that the later issues are digital copies. The pages are probably the same as what the layout editors created on the computer initially. Sometimes when loading a page, you first see the background, then the “layers” all start to fall into place. This is different from just taking a back issue of the magazine and scanning it in, which would make each image “flat”. So the later the issues get, the better the quality should be. But even the issues from 1991 are plenty good enough to read and print.

Even if you have the print issues already, these DVD collections make a great addition to your stitching library. They make printing out charts a snap, if you’re the type of stitcher who likes to photocopy the charts prior to stitching so that the magazine stays in pristine condition. I am that type of stitcher! The other day while flipping through some back issues of Just Cross Stitch, I found a chart I wanted to stitch. Instead of scanning in the chart and then printing it, I simply put in my DVD and found that issue. I printed out the chart and key and I was ready to go.

I am delighted with these DVDs and can’t wait for more to come out. It would be wonderful to get older issues of both Just Cross Stitch and Sampler & Antique Needlework. Of course, these DVDs were probably a time consuming project and I would assume the publishers want to see how well these sell before going back even further.

You can purchase all 4 DVDs here:


***Please note that this review was my own opinion. Annie’s did not ask me to review these DVDs or send me free copies. I purchased the DVDs directly from Annie’s with my wholesale account in order to sell them in my cross stitch store. My review is based upon my own personal purchase of these products***