In this episode, I am sharing some solutions to your biggest cross stitch struggles right now. These struggles come from a recent Instagram post I did so if you ever want your question or struggle answered make sure you’re following me over there. @hannahhandmakes
Or you can just send it to email@example.com with the subject line as “podcast question”.
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Cross stitch struggles
“Finding time to actually do it and not feeling guilty, or getting a headache when I do stitch 🙃” @samiray85
I actually believe one of the reasons we can struggle to find time to cross stitch is because we do feel guilty. I talk a lot about this in my programme Moon Cycle Self Care which you can join again in the Summer.
But for now, I want you to try the 10 minute challenge I ran last week. If you didn’t take part when it was live you can do it yourself this week and just watch the videos I have on Instagram.
If you did do it, try it again because I want you to take it a level deeper and after your 10 minutes is up I want you to name how you feel now. Relaxed? Happy? Excited?
And then think about how feeling this way instead of stressed and frustrated makes you show up as a totally different person in your life. You have more energy for friends and family. You don’t feel resentful about taking care of others because you have already taken care of yourself. You spread that joy and happiness to those around you.
Now every time you feel guilty I want you to remind yourself of all of that.
And even if all of that isn’t true but you want to stitch just because please remember that you deserve time for yourself just because you do. You don’t have to earn the time, you don’t have to act a certain way before you take the time. You get to take it just because you want to.
The more you remind yourself of this and the more you take the time the less and less guilty you start to feel. Trust me, I am 7/8 years into this and I hardly ever feel guilty now. And if I do I still take the time anyway.
And with the headaches, I feel you! I suffer from hormonal migraines and just your usual tension headaches.
I am also someone who doesn’t like taking painkillers that much because if I took them every time I had a headache well I’d be taking them a lot. But just remember that they are there if you need them.
You might already do these things but just in case – make sure there is plenty of light when you are stitching. Maybe print your pattern and make it large rather than reading your pattern from a screen.
Think about what time of day you stitch too. Is it of an evening? Maybe trying to switch to daytime stitching would help reduce these. I know mine get worse of an evening. Ditto if it’s moring that you stitch; maybe you need to wake up properly first.
Make sure you have good support when you’re sitting down. Try not to bend over your project but lift it up so you can stay sat up straight.
Just track them and experiment with trying different things to help reduce them.
I’m not going to tell you to drink more water as this frustrates me the most when people try and always blame my headaches on dehydration haha!
“My biggest struggle is process not product. I get so impatient when I feel I’m taking longer to stitch things than others, especially with stitch slings xx” @crossstitchbooknerd
I’m pretty sure you meant to type “stitch alongs” there but I can guarantee you aren’t alone in this.
I’m actually not a very fast stitcher; I just make sure I take a lot of time to stitch. I wish I could stitch as fast as I type. But really the only way to stitch faster is to not use a hoop when you’re stitching and to hold your fabric in your hands. I’m actually trying this for a project I’m stitching right now and it’s not too difficult but I think I would still rather use a hoop and be a little slower than holding the aida/evenweave with no hoop or frame to secure it.
And you know, I always say that stitch alongs can be a great motivator to help keep you on track and get you stitching more.
But if it is the opposite for you and it makes you feel down then maybe take a little time off social media and focus just on your own projects.
There is that quote “comparison is the thief of joy” and I can’t remember who said it but it is so so true. Comparing how much you have stitched to everyone else is going to take the joy out of stitching for you, and that is the exact opposite of what cross stitch is for.
If you don’t want to come off social media maybe see if there are other people who take a little longer to finish a SAL and connect with them.
But either way, just know that it isn’t a race, there isn’t really a finish line because even when you finish a project there’s always another one waiting for you so just try and enjoy the speed you’re at.
I actually shared a little poem on my Instagram – “Give yourself a ton of grace, this thing called life is not a race. Just like the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady will get you there”.
“I struggle when there is no time for me to stitch and I’m a very slow stitcher. And then I lose the momentum sometimes” @mariacecelia4718
The last 2 questions should have helped you Maria but with momentum, a few of the tips from last month might help you too because I think that we lose momentum when we’re bored with a project.
So maybe find something new to stitch instead, something that is really lighting you up and making you want to actually sit down and start it.
This can have a knock-on effect and you might end up going back to those older projects once you build that momentum.
“For me it is trying to find the time and energy ……” @krankykk
Energy is one of my favourite topics to talk about. First of all, knowing if you are an introvert or extrovert will help you massively.
An introvert gets their energy from being alone. An extrovert gets their energy from being around other people.
If you are an introvert then going to a quiet space alone with your cross stitch will be good for you to recharge.
But just know that you might be so drained before you start that you feel like you don’t have the energy to do it. But once you get to that alone space and start stitching you will get more and more energy.
If you are an extrovert and want to use cross stitch to recharge then you might be best doing it at a craft club or sitting with others on your lunch break, stitching whilst on the phone or if you’re part of the Cross Stitch Club coming to one of the online meet-ups to stitch.
Knowing yourself this way will help you figure out how you best recharge so well. I wish they taught this stuff in schools.
Also know that we are cyclical beings and sometimes our introverted/extroverted-ness has no effect on our energy. It could be our hormones (the massively affect my energy) or even what phase the moon is in.
We do not have the exact same energy levels every single day and that’s ok. If we did, we would be robots.
So start to track and see if there is a pattern to your energy levels, figure out if you’re an introvert or extrovert and hopefully that will start to help you. Again, this is something I go deep into in Moon Cycle Self Care.
“My biggest struggle is how to make the back of my projects look neat, mine always look messy ☹️” @ginnytendo
I am 8 years into my cross stitch journey and my backs are still messy.
I have a whole podcast episode on this topic (should you worry about the back of your project?) and my basic answer is that it really doesn’t matter if your back looks messy.
If it really does bother you though then I recommend trying to stitch in rows where you can and try and do the method of stitching where you do a row of half stitches and come back on yourself.
Using the loop method to start will help you as well; I have a tutorial here if you need one.
Make sure you snip your threads as soon as you tie off.
And just know that it takes a lot of practice to get the back neat. If you’re new to cross stitch I do recommend making sure you’re completely comfortable with the front first before starting to worry about the back.
And for now, while you are practising, you can also use iron-on interfacing on the back of your projects to cover up the back.
“My biggest struggle is focus …. which is why I love SALs because they are done in bitesized bits. I just need to keep track of them all 🤣” @nicky.dexter
Keeping track of projects is actually something I want to start getting better at as right now I couldn’t even tell you how many I have on the go.
Some things I am trying is to make sure each project has its own bag and the ones I’m taking a break from right now live in my office. The ones I’m actively stitching live all over my house.
I also want to make a master list of all the projects I am currently stitching and if they have an end date that I need them finished for. This list needs to be in view at all times so stick it on a wall or fridge etc.
You could also try the cross stitch theme days method which you can find here. That might help you assign each project to a certain day of the week so they all get some love and attention.
“My biggest struggle is finally getting momentum with stitching and then the thread ends.. so I have to anchor it and load up another needle.. such a bummer 🙈” @ryaquinlan
I am exactly the same! But I also dislike super long threads when I’m stitching so I can’t win really.
I do have a suggestion though and you can see me doing this on the 10 minute challenge videos on my Instagram and that is to thread a few needles at a time. So when you sit down to stitch thread 3-5 needles with thread ready to go. That way when you tie off you just have to pick up your next needle and go.
This works even better if you use the loop method for starting off. It might take a bit of guesswork over what colours to actually thread onto the needles at the start but after a few tries, you will start to get more of an idea.
- The Cross Stitch Club
- Find Your Hobby Quiz
- Should You Worry About the Back of Your Project?
- How to Do the Loop Method
- Free Planning Sheets
- Cross Stitch Theme Days
Extra episodes and posts
- My cross stitch and reading routine
- 5 tips to find more time to cross stitch
- Find More Time for Your Hobby free guide