Gridding, Hoops and Frames, Oh MY!

     Counted Cross Stitch!  Who knew there were so many ways to begin!  What fabric, what hoop, how big, do I grid?  So many decisions.  

    I love to grid!  No, that's not right.  I love to cross stitch on gridded fabric.  So how do I grid?  My way is a bit controversial.  I use a pen called a Frixion ball Clicker by Pilot.  They come in many colors and roll on easily.  I'll try to link it. (forgive my fumbling, new at this)

I've used it for years, since I first heard of it about 10 years ago and it has worked great!  The controversy? This pen is erasable on fabric by ironing it.  It just disappears.  The problem?  When the fabric gets cold, the ink reappears.  

    Let me say, I have never had it reappear.  The only time I had a problem was when I made an apron pattern and drew out all the extra lines and directions with my purple Frixion pen.  When I went to reuse the pattern, the paper was wrinkled so I ironed it out to lay on my fabric.  Ooops.  The writing and marking all disappeared.  At the time I didn't think to put it in the freezer to help it reappear, so I just wrote everything out again - with a traditional pen. I have used it in garment making, quilt making and even though I have worn that blouse or skirt in the winter, I've never had a mark show up.  Perhaps on the inside but I haven't noticed. 

     When I grid, I lay out my aida and locate the center of the fabric and the center of the design.  The design I was laying out in the picture did start the grid from the center. They don't always. I drew my first two lines with the Frixion pen from the center Vertical and Horizontal, counting 10 squares each way and making a mark at each 10 from the center on both lines.  I continued my lines to the amount of the graph I was using.  When you use the pen, it's pretty easy to count as your pen bumps along in each hole.  If you are using linen and stitching over 2, just count 20 instead of 10.  Go slow, count twice, and once these two lines are marked accurately, you shouldn't have to count again except occasionally to double check that you haven't gotten off the line.  Draw out all your lines then you are ready to hoop!

    I did a little experiment because some have worried if their completed project gets cold, will the lines come back.  Generally that's not an issue unless you are driving in very cold weather to deliver your framed gift.  So, I put my finished project in the freezer.  Yes the lines came back, though not as vibrantly.  Then I thought that, if it were framed I couldn't iron it or use hot water on it, so I used a hair dryer.  The lines disappeared quickly and stayed off.  

    Here is the piece I practiced with:

Here it is completed and ironed ready to frame:

After the freezer you can see the lines reappeared:

I used the Hair Dryer and as soon as it got warm, it barely had to blow on the piece and the lines disappeared again!

So in my experience, it's much easier to grid with the Frixion pen than thread or fish line (yes, I've done that).  Just remember when ironing your piece, put it face down on a terrycloth towel so you won't smash your stitches.


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