If you are an experienced cross stitcher who has completed numerous pictures, tablecloths, cushions, key rings and coasters, etc., you've probably inundated friends and family with cross stitched birthday gifts and Christmas cards. Maybe you would like to try a new challenge in the sewing field. How about progressing to other types of embroidery such as petit point, hardanger, crewel embroidery or maybe even beadwork?
There are a variety of designs and beads available from a very basic simple print completed in seed beads to rather more intricate jewellery work using a variety of beads and silks. What could be nicer than a hand made pair of earrings and necklace to compliment your favourite outfit or as a gift to celebrate a special occasion. These items would be unique and a natural progression from cross stitch.
Petit Point Embroidery
Petit point embroidery is similar to cross stitch but it is even finer due to the small scale involved and in this respect is ideal for obtaining, for example, the fine details of a face in a stitching piece. Because of this small scale, the squareness and regular outlines are less obvious when looked at from an ordinary distance when the completed piece has been framed and hung on a wall. The stitch used is worked in either diagonal or horizontal rows and is quite often referred to as tent stitch. An extremely keen eye and lots of patience are required for petit point because the detail is so exact but the results are stunning. When attempting a new hobby, don't be too ambitious initially and, of course, allow plenty of time for the piece you are working on to be completed.
Some people say that crewelwork originated in America in the original American colonies. Growing flax was very important and as everyone joined in the annual task of preparing the flax for weaving, there were professional weavers who advertised their services working with slackly twisted, two-ply worsted yarn. How difficult it must have been for the ladies of the 17th/18th century as nearly everything had to be imported from England - not like us, clicking on the internet or popping to the craft shop. Fine needlework was probably the hobby of the rich in those days in view of the expense involved in obtaining supplies.
Crewelwork is a stem stitch but worked in wool to the end of the row following the natural grain of the fabric. At the end of the row, turn and place the next stitch close the existing one, thus creating a filling of the pattern. The overall appearance is most becoming.
Hardanger is another counted thread stitching technique which originated in the Hardanger region of Norway. Traditionally, it is stitched using white thread on white fabric but if you wish to try your hand at this type of stitching, it is recommended coloured thread is used until you have a little more experience. Again, the stitches are worked both horizontally and vertically. This too is a time consuming hobby with much patience required to master the skills needed for these interesting stitches.
Chinese embroidery is another form of stitching that might appeal to you. It involves the use of silk thread on silk material and looks superb when completed.
A complete change of direction would be to attempt rug making which involves pulling strands of wool through quite a thick fabric. There are ready made rug making kits available to buy including looped ones and even rag rug making.
There is always something different in the world of stitching or embroidery to tackle. You could even attempt to create your own designs, maybe from a photograph of a favourite place, pet or child - this would be a real challenge to your artistic talent organising the detailed design as well as working out which colour threads to use to complete it. What a sense of achievement to really be able to say it is literally all my own work!
Whichever craft you attempt, the sheer pleasure and relaxation of stitching and creating masterpieces is a most enjoyable hobby - happy stitching.