Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Stitch of the Week : Long Armed Cross

The Stitch-of-the-Week long-armed cross was met with a decidedly lukewarm reception this week. I had chosen to introduce the group to the "giant" version of the stitch (8 threads forward, four threads back) which leaves some of the canvas exposed. I thought that this looked fine -- very lattice-y and rope-like; a look that would make a fine border. Some of the class was turned off by the exposed canvas and very much relieved when we progressed to the smaller version of the stitch (ahead four, back two). I was surprised at how different this version of the stitch looked from the larger version. No more open canvas, this smaller version was dense and braided looking. The rows alternated directions alternated directions which gave a ridged effect that I found appealing but which did not appeal to some of the class.

We also experimented with different fibers. Neon Rays gave a braided ribbon effect that I found quite appealing. Sparkle Rays was a bit less refined and showier. Kreinik Braid looked like a mess on my piece but that was mostly because I had the wrong size fr my outsized canvas (I am always stitching with either super small or super large canvas because I tend to save the "good stuff" (i.e., 13 or 14 mesh) for students. I should re-stitch my Kreinik braid sample with #32 and see how it looks.

As for potential uses for this stitch Howren & Robertson are quite specific: "braided Santa's bag handles, reindeer reins, horse reins, dog leashes, fence posts, and twisted looking fences." I don't know how many times one might need the perfect epaulet stitch but the group concluded that this would make for a fine one. I think that the stitch would make a handsome border between stitched areas or in the larger version a border around an entire piece. I also think that it would make a fine rug or a filling-in stitch. Perhaps too it might make a fine stitch for the pages of a book which interestingly enough brings me to my next subject ...


  1. Hi Stephen,

    Oh, I like that you are keeping those of us who are not able to attend your classes up to date! What a nice idea for the blog! Are your students going to put their stitches in a "stitching notebook" to refer back to? Linda & I are both taking Stitching Notebook cyber classes with Howren & Robertson through the Shining Needle Society, and have already completed 3 notebooks: Menagerie (hair & fur), Quilting Bee (square & rectangular stitches) & Sky (stitches for sky & water). It's pretty neat to have a stitching notebook to refer back to & I have already done so, even though we've only done these for the past few months.

    I love that you have some suggestions for the use of the Long Armed Cross, and it is nice to see photos of it in various threads. Excellent post!


  2. Thanks Denise. The Stitching Notebook class sounds like a good idea. I would love to hear more about it.

    We are keeping the stitched samples and class notes in binders at the store so we will have them for customers (and myself) to refer to.

    Sorry I have not responded to anyone else yet. I am just getting the hang of this blogging thing. It's fun.

    We will have the Stitch of the Week as a regular feature on the blog.

    Hope you are staying dry and warm on this blicky day. Stephen

  3. I have been doing long-armed cross stitch for 35 years as an edge stitch - great for making the canvas roll over easily as in belts, etc. I do it over two stitches high x 4 stitches across, and it is totally solid. Very easy to do and very effective. I also use it to edge "rollies" and coasters and napking rings and bracelets. Actually, anything that needs a neat edge. Some of the belt finishers require it.

  4. P.S. In Austin, it is getting hot again and no rain and the sun is out - I almost envy the snow. Trees are leafed out already.

  5. This was a Godsend - it looks fabulous on the piece I'm working on which is a brightly colored "welcome" sign. I sewed it in silk and ivory over 3 and it worked out so perfectly - it turns great at the corners which is a real plus. Thank you!!!!!