Securing Your Pattern While Stitching

What do you do with your cross-stitch or needlework pattern while stitching? How to you secure it or keep it close so you can refer to it when needed? Someone asked this on a cross-stitch forum recently, and I had never really thought about it from a beginner’s perspective. Is there some secret to keeping the pattern close by while stitching? Well, no.

The many methods stitchers use to secure their patterns are as unique as the stitchers themselves. Here are just a few possibilities:


The humble clipboard is a great way to secure a pattern while stitching. The hard back makes it easier to prop the pattern up against the edge of a table or sofa or balanced on the arm of an upholstered chair. A clipboard is also inexpensive and can be purchased just about anywhere office supplies are sold.

Magnetic board

A magentic board is a little fancier than a clipboard. You place your pattern on the flat, metal board and secure it in place with several magnets that can be adjusted as needed. I use a magnetic board like this LoRan model. I think mine came with a stand, but you can also purchase the stand separately. I love the stand because it allows me to prop up the pattern on a table very easily, but it also collapses so it doesn’t take up a lot of space when I don’t need it.

I also discovered this “prop-it” magnetic needlework pattern holder which looks pretty interesting.

Light stand with clip

If you want to get really fancy, you could try a craft lamp that comes with a built-in clip for holding charts. Here is just one version of a lamp with a clip like this. I know stitchers who use lamps like this and love them, but I don’t have one. I would be afraid the chart would knock the lamp off balance or that the clip wouldn’t be strong enough to hold a pattern securely, but I could be completely wrong.

Frame with clip

If you use a frame to hold your needlework fabric while stitching, there are clips that can be attached to frames. This little “graph gripper” pattern holder might work for very small patterns, but I don’t think it would support a full-size sheet of paper.

I also found this StitchSmart Stand which includes an LED-lighted magnifier and a chart holder. Your frame attaches to the stand. If I used a frame to stitch, this stand would be tempting.

Knee/lap/table/arm of chair

Finally, the simplest method — which is also completely free — is to simply prop up your chart against whatever is handy. Balance it on your knee or lap. Balance it on the arm of a sofa or chair. Lay it on a table. Although I love my magnetic board and stand when I’m stitching at my desk in my home office, when I stitch anywhere away from my desk, I just prop up the chart as best as I can, wherever I can. It’s all good.

Do you have a favorite method or favorite stand or clip not mentioned here? Please share in the comments!

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Friday Finds — 02/24/17

I have not been home all week, so very little stitching has been happening. I am looking forward to some downtime this weekend because I need a break!

Friday Finds is my weekly round-up of needlework, textile, books and art links from my wanderings around the web.


Here are this week’s links:

Video of the Week

“Swedish filmmakers Maximilien Van Aertryck and Axel Danielson paid 67 people $30 to climb to the top of a ten meter (33 foot) high dive for the very first time all while being filmed. Would they decide to jump?” Watch and see how we face our fears. (via Colossal)

If the embedded player doesn’t appear, you can watch the full video here.

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St. Patrick’s Day Cross-Stitch Patterns

We are getting close to the end of February already, so you might be looking ahead to March and thinking about stitching something for St. Patrick’s Day.

I feel a little envious when I see the beautiful seasonal displays other stitchers put together for every holiday. I admit I wish I was the kind of person who had dozens of finishes for every occasion, but I have a long way to go before I have enough finishes for year-round displays of my stitching. Until that day, however, I love to browse seasonal patterns and get inspired.

Here are some great cross-stitch patterns perfect for St. Patrick’s Day that have caught my eye recently:

collage of cross-stitch patterns for St Patrick's Day

Top Row, left to right:

  1. Lucky Tree” by The Trilogy
  2. Sparkling Shamrocks” by The Sweetheart Tree — I love all of the specialty stitches on this one!
  3. Uber Shamrock” by Bent Creek

Middle Row, left to right:

  1. Luck Be With You” by Homespun Elegance
  2. Flip It – Luck Celebrate” by Lizzie Kate

Bottom Row, l-r:

  1. Shamrock Bunnies” by Death by Thread
  2. Monthly Mania March” by Heart in Hand
  3. Olde Irish Blessing” by Erica Michaels


Do you have a favorite St. Patrick’s Day or Irish-theme cross-stitch pattern not listed here?

If you’re looking for a quick freebie pattern, my little Celtic knot pattern would work for St. Patrick’s Day, too! You can download it here.

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Friday Finds — 02/17/17

Friday Finds is my weekly round-up of needlework, textile, books and art links from my wanderings around the web.


This Week’s Links:


Loving This Week

A woman in my embroidery guild is relocating and downsizing, so she brought a huge collection of charts and magazines for others to take home. I ended up going home with a major haul! I’m going to have so much fun browsing these this weekend!

Destash of cross-stitch charts and magazines


Video of the Week

This video features a very rare American sampler from 1685 (!!) that recently appeared on Antiques Roadshow. Enjoy!



Posted in Creative News and Links | Tagged , | 3 Comments

WIP Wednesday Update

Where does the time go?

I did get some stitching time in over this past weekend, so I have some progress to show on the “All Shall Be Well” cross-stitch project. I am still working on the initial letter “A” done in the illuminated medieval manuscript style, but I am closer to finishing it. If I can carve out a few hours for stitching over this next week, I might even have a mini finish for next Wednesday.

In the last project update, the letter was recognizable as an “A,” but I had not gotten very far. Here is how things have progressed since then…

First, I filled in the blue highlights in the letter and began filling in the gold background:

stitched letter A progress 1

With the blue lettering complete, I concentrated on stitching all of the gold in the background:

stitched letter A progress 2

Somewhere around this point, I started to feel like the gold color was like a fungus spreading over the letter A. :(

stitched letter A progress 3

Once I got the top half done, however, I started to see the overall design again and started feeling better about my progress.

stitched letter A progress 4

Now I am almost done with the yellow except for the bottom right corner and the area just below the letter A to complete the square. Then I can go back and start on the leaves and flowers in the decoration. So, I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel for this section of the pattern. Yippee!

Finally, on a personal note, I have been trying to get out of the library more while I am at work so I am not trapped inside sitting all day, which is not healthy for my body or my mind. I work late on Tuesdays this semester, and I have discovered that I love going for a quick walk around campus during my dinner break. Last night I had to stop and capture this beautiful sunset:

sunset at Lewis University

This view was looking west towards the airport on campus and a lovely view of the weather tower. :/

But, I love how even a short walk can do wonders for my mood and spirits. I love being outdoors.

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Friday Finds — 02/10/17

I was walking around all day yesterday thinking it was Friday, but today is the real deal!

Friday Finds is my weekly round-up of needlework, textile, books and art links from my wanderings around the web.


Here are this week’s links:


Video of the Week

Never imagined I would be linking to a Robbie Williams video on this blog, but this song is so addictive! No apologies! :)

Posted in Creative News and Links | Tagged | 2 Comments

Free Valentine’s Day Love Cross-Stitch Pattern

I am excited to offer another little free cross-stitch pattern this month — and just in time to stitch for Valentine’s Day!

This simple pattern features the word “Love” inscribed over a heart, and it uses the DMC embroidery thread colors from the color palette I posted on Monday.

Its small size makes it ideal for a card. Or, finish it as a small ornament or sachet filled with lavender or dried rose petals. You could even stitch it as a small bag and fill it with chocolates!

Free Valentine's Day Heart Cross-Stitch Pattern


Download the pattern as a PDF file now: My Valentine Heart Cross-Stitch Pattern

I hope you enjoy this freebie! If you have missed any of my other free patterns, you can find them all in the archives here.



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Vintage Valentine Stitchy Color Palette

It is February, and Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Are you stitching a Valentine for anyone special this year?

This month’s embroidery thread color palette is inspired by a vintage Valentine theme.

Vintage Valentine Stitching Color Palette

Instead of bright reds or pinks, I chose more muted tones to create a thread palette that feels like a well-loved antique.

Vintage Love Valentine Color Palette for Stitchers

This embroidery thread palette uses DMC threads in the following shades (from left to right above):

DMC 3033  (mocha brown – vy lt)
DMC 778   (antique mauve – vy lt)
DMC 3727 (antique mauve – lt)
DMC 3722  (shell pink – md)
DMC 169  (pewter  – lt)
DMC 762  (pearl gray – vy lt)

Maybe this color palette will inspire you to create your own stitchy Valentine, but if you need some more inspiration, stay tuned! On Wednesday I will be sharing a free cross-stitch pattern using these colors that will be quick enough to stitch for someone in time for the holiday.

About the Color Palette Series

This year I am creating a color palette with embroidery floss every month and designing a free small cross-stitch pattern using the palette just for fun. If you missed January’s post, you can find the January color palette here and the free snowflake cross-stitch pattern here.

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Friday Finds–2/3/17

Friday Finds is my weekly round-up of needlework, textile, books and art links from my wanderings around the web.


Here are this week’s links:


Video of the Week

This week I am enjoying this video of dancers from the NYC Ballet who take over a subway station.

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WIP Weds: Progress on All Shall Be Well

Over the past week, I spent some time stitching the “All Shall Be Well” Julian of Norwich cross-stitch pattern.

WIP Wednesday logo

When I stitch, I prefer to start at the top left of a pattern and work my way across and down. So, with “All Shall Be Well,” I am starting with the large initial letter “A” in the top left.

Last week I had barely started the top of the A, but now the project is starting to look like something!

In the first photo below started stitching the background yellow color, but then I switched to stitching the dark blue of the letter itself. I decided it would be easier to stitch the letter and then go back and fill in the other details.

initial letter A progress


In the second photo, I finished the dark blue of the left “leg” of the illuminated manuscript-style letter A and I am starting to make my way down the right leg of the letter.

medieval illuminated manuscript letter A cross-stitch pattern


And, here is where I am at as of Tuesday night as I write this:

letter A progress All Shall Be Well Julian of Norwich cross-stitch pattern


I completed all of the darker blue and now I am filling in the lighter blue highlights in the letter.

In my other projects, I have not made any new progress on the “12 Days of Christmas” pattern by Satsuma Street.

New Color Palette and Free Pattern Coming Soon

Next week I plan to feature a new stitchy color palette along with a free pattern to stitch just in time for St. Valentine’s Day!

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