I have a dilemma. A Real Stitching Dilemma. And I’m hoping you can help me solve it!
If you’ve been reading Needle ‘n Thread a while, you’ve probably figured out that my Thing is surface embroidery of the free-style type. It’s what I love doing and what I do most, when it comes to needle-and-thread-related things.
But occasionally, I also enjoy a little foray into counted work.
Last year, I was challenged to undertake a very large counted project, one that will probably last years and years. I succumbed to the challenge, ordered the chart, accumulated and organized the 200 thread colors required, and prepared the fabric, so that I could at least get the gargantuan thing under way.
The project that I’m doing is this chart of Vidal’s Madonna and Child. I found the chart through Golden Kite, a company out of Russia that translates works of art into “extreme” cross stitch designs. I first heard of Golden Kite through Larissa, who stitched these charts from Golden Kite and then framed this one with a glorious pearl and goldwork mat.
As far as cross stitch goes, these are definitely extreme charts. This is not something I would normally do. But I took up the challenge, and I really do intend to do it (over lots of time)!
But I have a problem.
My problem is this: I’ve got the piece set up on a Millenium frame, on a stand, in my workroom. And that would be well and fine, if I could devote workroom time to this piece.
But in fact, I can’t devote workroom time to this piece. My workroom time has to be used for the real work of Needle ‘n Thread. This particular cross stitch endeavor is a side occupation, something that I can pick up for an hour or so during the evenings, when I’m finished with everything else.
In order for that to happen, I need to be able to work on it inside my house.
And inside my house, I don’t have room for a stand and a frame.
I know that doesn’t look like a lot of progress! Each of those basted squares is 20×20 threads, which means they’re made up of 400 stitches. I’m working with half cross stitches over one thread, on 25 count linen, using two strands of floss. Some of the colors are blended (the two strands are different shades) and some are solid.
There are many advantages to using a frame with this type of work. For one thing, the project is permanently set up and accessible. For another, it makes parking threads on this type of project much easier. A frame goes a long way to ensure even tensioning. A frame gives you room for your chart, so that it’s right in front of your eyes. A frame allows two-handed stitching, which means you make progress a little faster.
But there are disadvantages to a frame, too. They take up room. They require a specific posture, to reach the stitching area. (You can’t always cozy down on the couch with a project on a large frame!) And it’s more difficult to pack the whole project up and away, tidily, in a small space.
Hoop or Frame?
My question to you – especially if you’ve ever done this type of extreme cross stitch project – is whether or not you think a hoop is a viable option for something like this.
Can I work this project in a hoop, and achieve good results in the end? Can I work this project in a hoop, and still park threads in a normal way and keep track of which thread is which? Even when the hoop is removed at the end of a stitching session?
Have you ever used a hoop on this type of thing? If you used a hoop, what precautions would you take?
So, help me out, oh Ye Experts on Extreme Cross Stitch Projects! If you’ve been cross stitching for years, even if you aren’t into this type of extreme stuff, I’m sure you’ll have good insights that will help me out. I’d love to hear your suggestions, thoughts, precautions, advice… Feel free to join the conversation below!
Tomorrow, we talk stumpwork!