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Cross-stitch for yule season

Any even-weave fabric can be used for counted cross-stitch, but the most frequently used are those made especially for that purpose. They come in various thread count sizes, or to put it another way, in various gauges. This tells you how many stitches are made per inch. A 14-count fabric results in 14 stitches per inch.

One of the favorites for the average stitcher is Aida cloth, which is a basket weave fabric with clearly defined holes, making it easy to see where the needle goes through the cloth and correctly position the stitches. The two most common sizes of Aida are 11-count and 14-count.

Hardanger cloth is evenly woven with two warp threads and two weft threads, forming squares that are used for placement of the cross stitches. It is available in several different gauges and quite a variety of colors. There are also wool and wool-blend fabrics specifically designed for cross-stitching. I would recommend that the beginner use one of the above specialty fabrics, which are labeled with a certain stitch count. After you become a more experienced cross-stitcher, however, you will find that you are not limited to these. Many cottons, linens or wools are suitable as long as they have an even weave, which means that there are the same number of warp and weft threads.

Fine linen is an excellent choice, although many cross-stitchers shy away from it because its squares appear so tiny. It is usually 20-count or finer. But in many lovely patterns designed for linen, the stitches are to be worked over 2 threads in each direction, meaning that you will be working 10 stitches per inch, which effectively turns it into a 10-count fabric. One distinct advantage is that you can work over the single threads for small areas on which you want more detail.

Six-strand cotton embroidery floss is used for most projects, but again you have other choices available. Metallic threads are used as accents on certain types of projects, adding an exquisite touch, and other types of thread can be used to create desirable texture. Pearl cotton is tightly twisted and has a beautiful sheen when stitched.

In choosing thread, you will want to be sure that it is compatible with your fabric. Three-strand Persian wool yarn would be a good choice, for example, with a woolen fabric. Retors A Broder, an imported heavy cotton with the look of wool, has the washing qualities of cotton.

Cross-stitch picture

A merry bank of angels proclaims joy to the world in a count-ed cross-stitch picture. Aida cloth and cotton and metallic embroidery floss are used with a graph chart to work this charming Christmas design in time for the holidays. Finished size is 6{ by 13{ inches.

To obtain directions for making the Joy to the World Cross-Stitch Picture, send your request for Leaflet No. Z-091392 with $2 and a long, stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Pat Trexler Crafts, Dept. 123200, P.O. Box 419148, Kansas City, MO 64141. Or you may order Kit No. N-091392 by sending a check or money order for $18.95 to Pat Trexler Crafts at the same address. Kit price includes shipping charges, full instructions and materials necessary to complete the project. Frame is not included. Shades of red, green and purple floss and gold metallic thread are used on an ecru Aida cloth background.

Or call toll-free (800) 255-6734 to place your kit order.

Finished size is 6{ by 13{ inches.