Cross Stitch

The Magic of Outlining

The Magic of Outlining

I am always fascinated by what I regard as the magic of outlining when it comes to cross stitch. I have recently finished a special project for a very special friend. We have been friends since just before starting high school. This year a group of us are turning sixty, so we have obviously been friends for a long time. For this reason I wanted to give her a personalised, handmade gift to celebrate her birthday.

When you finish the main stitching on a project, you usually end up with an attractive piece of work. I used my cross stitch software (see “Creating Cross Stitch Designs”) to design a simple birthday message. The alphabet I chose used colours that my friend likes and I complemented them by choosing some pale green Aida fabric to work on. I was really pleased with the effect.

This particular pattern really highlights the effect that back stitching can have when it is used to complete a cross stitch project. While the main body of each letter is worked in cross stitch, they all have connecting components done with back stitch. I took a series of photographs throughout this project to illustrate “the magic of outlining”.

The Magic of Outlining The Magic of Outlining

The photo on the left shows the components of the project once I had finished the cross stitching. It includes all my pencilled in modifications to the pattern I printed out. The one on the right was taken after the back stitching of the letters in the first row had been completed. As well as completing the form of the letters, the outlining really lifts the letters out of the background.

This lifting effect is also shown in the photo where the flowers start emerging from the purple “blobs”. The final one in the series shows the finished piece after it has been washed, dried and ironed.

I really enjoyed giving this present to my friend and she was excited to receive it. It meant a lot more to put the thought and time into designing and stitching this present than it would have to go to a shop and buy something off the shelf. It will have lasting significance for both of us.

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