Monday, November 24, 2014

Half Cross Stitch -- Which Way?

I have three, no, four, Christmas UFOs at the moment, and I won't finish them all, but I'm going to make a push on this one:

Dimensions Gold, "A Kiss for Snowman"
I thought it would look cute if I finished the figures before I started the background, and I think it does!

It feels like ages since I've done any cross stitch, but I think I last touched this piece in June. That was when I decided to unpick all the half cross stitches from the blue snowman body. It took two days! The trick was to pull them out without damaging the full crosses. It only took one day to stitch them in again.

Why did I put myself through that? Crazy perfectionism? Maybe. But here's the issue:

I am never really sure which way to stitch the half cross stitches. Should they slope up to the right, like the first or bottom layer of a full cross stitch, or up to the left, like the top part of a full cross? I have done it both ways on different projects. As you can see, the Dimensions instructions say to slope up to the right, like the lower layer of the cross stitch. And that's how I started with the snowman body.

But, I didn't like it. There was a clear shadow line where the stitch direction changes. So on the snowman face I stitched the half crosses parallel to the top stitch of the full crosses, which smoothed it all out and made the shading more natural. Then, once both figures were done, I realized I had enough thread left in the kit to restitch the body so it would all align.

From now on, I'll be stitching the half crosses in the way that gives the desired effect, rather than just unconsciously following the pattern!

The next step is to stitch the entire background in half crosses going the other way, so hopefully the figures will stand forward a little. And hopefully, it'll be done before Christmas!


  1. I always lay my half stitches in the same direction as the top of the cross. To my eye it seems tidier that way. HTH.
    Cute design by the way. :-)

  2. I always did the half cross stitches according to the directions and never thought twice about it. Your fiddly attention to detail is why your work turns out so beautifully. I always like snowmen.

  3. You have a very sharp eye and persistence galore! It makes sense that echoing the top bar of the cross would be more pleasing to the eye. It is much more likely to show up on a project like this one. It is looking terrific.

    1. Thanks, Jillian! Yes, I think it's especially important for the faces to be smooth. On I go!

  4. why does unpicking take so long!! I found following a chart so difficult seemed to get lost all the time so keep away from it you have certainly done a great job here and doing the half stitches the opposite way sounds a good plan for the background

  5. I've just gotten back to cross stitching after a long hiatus...enjoying it very much. :) blessings, marlene

  6. That is such a beautiful CS pattern. Love it!


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