How to Use a Chart When Working with Aida Cloth

comments (1) August 23rd, 2008     

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JenniferStern Jennifer Stern, contributor
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This awesome book by Christina Marsh offers some terrific guidance on how to read an embroidery chart.
Here is a chart for a practice sampler from the book.
This awesome book by Christina Marsh offers some terrific guidance on how to read an embroidery chart.

This awesome book by Christina Marsh offers some terrific guidance on how to read an embroidery chart.

Photo: Courtesy of Jennifer Stern

One of the great things about working with an even-weave cloth such as Aida is that you don’t need to transfer the pattern to the fabric you are working on—you can work from a chart. My friend recommended that I check out some cool books on hand embroidery to help me get going. In one of these books, The Beginner’s Guide to Freestyle Embroidery by Christina Marsh, is a really good explanation of how to read a chart.

Here are the basics. The most obvious thing about a chart is the diagram of the pattern itself. The stitches are printed on a grid that represents the weave of the cloth you will be working on. The diagram of the design can be in black and white or color. The key has all the specific information you need to stitch the design, such as the actual threads and colors used along with the different type of stitches used to create the design. Thread colors are indicated by number and stitches are indicated by letters. You work directly from the chart onto your fabric. There is no need to transfer the design onto your fabric.

If you’re like me, you probably tend to jump over the beginner projects to the more complicated ones. (My first cross-stitch project was worked on 28-count linen and I didn’t even know what I was doing.) It’s fine to do that if you feel adventurous, but if you want to get your feet wet at a slightly slower pace, working on a practice sampler is a good idea. The fact that the design is set up in rows makes it easier to work on. If you would like to work on the sampler pictured above, you might be able to find The Beginner’s Guide at your local hand-stitching shop. If not, I found it online (and it’s on sale). This book shows you how to do all the stitches, too.

If you want more involved projects, visit The Stitching Post website. I really like the site and have been visiting it since it started. They specialize in Lavender and Lace cross-stitch designs (my favorite). You can choose the kind of embroidery you want to do and then you have the choice of charts or kits. Kits can be very convenient. Some people like them because everything is typically included. I prefer to purchase everything separately because I usually manage to tangle up the different colors of thread pretty good before I could get them organized. This way I can pick out the color of the Aida cloth, and I can increase my inventory.

posted in: embroidery

Comments (1)

ignoremeitseasier writes: Thanks for the references - I'm going to check them all out.
Posted: 7:13 am on August 23rd
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