Photograph your work

It is a nice idea to take photos of your completed stitched pieces and keep the photos together in an album.  Write the date you completed the piece, and other notes such as who it was stitched for, on the back of the photo as a lasting diary of your stitching life.  Take the photo in good light, trying to avoid use of the flash if the piece is framed behind glass.  Even take photos of any stitched cards you make as again they are a lovely reminder of the work you produced.

Storing Charts

To save space at home and help organise your stitching charts, file the charts you want to keep in punched pockets and store in ring binders.  Add a sheet of paper at the front of the binder on which to list the titles of each chart.  You could create your own library of ring binders to store all your Christmas charts together in one binder, alphabet charts in another, animals in another and flowers in another! You can then instantly find the chart you need for that certain occasion.

Scissor keeper

Stitch a small design (about 2"-3" square) and make into a small 'pincushion', sandwiching a loop of cord in one corner before making up.  Then loop the cord through the handle of your scissors and you won't lose them down the side of the armchair!

Seamless seams!

When closing a seam on items such as cushions, use ladder stitch rather than oversewing and then you will avoid having a noticable thick ridge along the seam.

No more french knots!

If you struggle with French knots, replace them with seed beads. They are easy to attach and add texture to your stitching. Yellow stars could be replaced with shiny gold seed beads, and eyes could be stitched using blue, brown or black seed beads. Remember, if the beads are metallic or opaque it is best to attach them with cotton matching the colour of the fabric.

Repeating motifs

Love a particular motif so much you want to stitch it again? Why not make it into a larger design interspersed with patches of co-ordinating colour blocks. This makes for very satisfying stitching hours. And try replacing some of the colours – if you’re stitching a red flower for example, alternate with blue and yellow flowers.

A gift to remember

If you’re giving a piece of stitching to someone as gift, stitch a small section of the design again onto a piece of Aida, then fray the edges and stick it onto a piece of card folded in half to make a matching gift tag. Don’t forget to write the date on the gift tag then the recipient can keep it with the stitched gift as a reminder for years to come.

Using up left-over threads

Got left-over threads from your kits but lost the thread numbers? Use them to stitch small motifs for cards and gift tags. Stitch from charts that feature small flowers for example so that you can replace the suggested red thread with the blue left-overs you have. Be brave and replace the suggested colours on the chart of a larger design with the left-over threads you have – can make for some psychedelic, but unique, designs and you’ll always be surprised by the finished effect.

Matching items

Had a design you just loved stitching? Take a small section or motif from the design (you’ve got the chart and the colour numbers required already!) and stitch it again but on a different count of fabric. Stitch on a larger count and use it like a ‘patch’ to stitch onto the centre of a ready-made cushion. Or stitch on a finer count and make it into a bookmark.