Over the years, I’ve completed a lot of cross stitch projects. Heck, I’ve been stitching for almost twenty years now; I better have completed a lot of projects. But if I were telling the truth, I would have to admit that I’ve probably left almost as many started and unfinished as I’ve completed. In fact, in my craft room is a shameful box filled with the remnants of my incomplete cross stitch projects. I think all cross stitch people have one of these boxes. My experience has taught me that there’s as much art to choosing a project as there is in working it. Maybe if I had known all of this ahead of time, I wouldn’t have so many abandoned projects.
First, you have to be honest about what your own cross stitch skill level is at that time. When I first started, I was great at cross stitching little samplers, but loved to look at the more ornate cross stitch designs. You know the ones I’m talking about. I could spend hours just gazing at Nora Corbett’s cross stitch design “Adia, the Garden Fairy.” Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite in a place where I was ready to work on that project. I made a valiant effort twice, but still eventually had to put it down for another day.
Next, you should consider who the cross stitch project is for. If it’s for you, then cross stitch something you’ll enjoy. But if the project for someone else, you’re going to have to take their tastes into account. For instance, one of my best friends loves all things John Deere. When I’m making her a gift, a safe bet is to choose a cross stitch design that includes a tractor. But my brother-in-law, on the other hand, is attracted to much more alternative art. I am hard pressed to find a cross stitch pattern that will appeal to his edgier personality.
The amount of time you have to devote to your cross stitch project is another important factor in choosing an appropriate project. If you’re like a lot of cross stitchers, you start working on Christmas cross stitch projects for next year as soon as this Christmas has passed. But if you have a more procrastinating nature and don’t start until November, you may have to take that into account. You won’t have time to make complex, 8” x 10” cross stitch works of art for you ten closest friends. You might, however, be able to complete cross stitch Christmas ornaments for all ten friends. Don’t pick something that you’ll never be able to complete in the time allotted. That’s just asking for disappointment.
Finally, you have to think about your own stitching style. Some cross stitch folks love to change colors often while cross stitching. They feel that it’s like watching a masterpiece come together under their fingers. But others prefer to cross stitch large sections of one color. Whichever you favor, make sure that your new cross stitch project conforms to those needs.
Now that you know what you’re looking for, you’re ready to go shop for your next cross stitch project. With this little bit of extra thought, I bet you’ll have no trouble keeping this cross stitch project out of that shameful box.