Friday, March 11, 2016

Cross stitch vs. Petit point

Gitta's Skating Buddies in cross stitch
Skating Buddies in petit point
Cross Stitch

                 Petit Point

What is Petit Point? is a question I get asked quite often.  Probably, because when stitchers come into the shop to purchase 25ct Lugana, I question if it is for a Heaven and Earth design.  Once affirmed, I usually ask "Why not petit point it, instead of cross stitching?"  What's the difference? is then the usual response.

Petit point is stitched using the Continental or Tent Stitch.  This is an angled stitch that is often mistakenly described as a Half Cross stitch.  The Half Cross may look like the Continental stitch on the front, in that they are both angled up to the right, but on the back they are noticeably different.  The Continental stitch is angled and the Cross stitch is vertical.  For full stitch instructions please visit Free Stuff on  Gitta's website.  In this blog I want to talk about the differences between these two stitches and why all Petit Point designs can also be cross stitched, but not all Cross stitch designs, in my opinion, can be petit pointed.

An ideal pattern to petit point is composed of only full stitches.  A continental stitch cannot be split, and thus a cross stitch pattern that has many 1/4 stitches and backstitches would be next to impossible to petit point.  When two 1/4 stitches fill one square on a cross stitch chart, each represents a different thread colour.  When petit pointing such a design, only one of these thread colours can be choosen.  You can appreciate that if too many of these decisions have to be made the finished design will be altered.
Cross stitch patterns also rely on backstitches to define the design.  It's not until the backstitches are complete that the design comes to life.  In contrast petit point designs rely on the subtle changes in colour to create depth and definition within the design.

Gitta's  Spray of Violets in petit point

Gitta's Spray of Violets cross stitched on 32ct.hand-dyed linen
With Petit Point, the stitches completely cover the silk gauze or canvas.  In contrast, with cross stitch the stitches do not completely cover the fabric and the fabric colour peeks through the stitches.
The resulting difference is that the same threads will appear richer when petit pointed.

Another noticeable difference is that a design will generally be smaller when petit pointed.  This obviously is determined by the fabric count.  Although the continental stitch can be worked on many different canvas counts the most common  is  22ct. canvas or 23ct. silk gauze.  Whereas the most common count for cross stitch is 14 stitches/inch.  The fewer the stitches per inch the larger the finished design size will be.

If you have never stitched a petit point, and want to give it a try, Gitta's has many small designs, mostly florals, available on our website.  If petit point is not for you, don't discount Gitta's designs.  They also look great cross stitched, and they have no 1/4 stitches and no backstitches.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Heaven & Earth stitching instructions: to follow or not to follow

Heaven and Earth recommends to complete their designs page by page.  This makes no sense to me on several levels.  Practically  - if the symbol you are following on one page continues onto the next, why end your thread only to later have to weave it in again.  This will bulk up the back, and brings me to my second reason  - Aesthetically.
Depending on your tension and how you end your threads, stitching page by page, can create visible ridges that cannot be repaired.  Stretching and framing will only make these more noticeable.
These ridges are only created vertically, not horizontally.  They are most noticeable in the darker  and solid coloured areas.  This is a photo of one of our Heaven & Earth models, The Forbidden Doorway. You can see a ridge in her skirt and another running down the door and through the stone steps.
My suggestion to avoid these ridges is not to end your stitches along the sides of each page.  As you get close to the edge of each page, tape the next page to it and follow each symbol across, or park your threads.

Heaven & Earth also recommends to cross stitch on white 25ct Lugana.  There is nothing wrong with this, but by no means is this the only fabric you can stitch a Heaven and Earth design on.  Due to the large stitch count of these designs, the finished design size sounds smaller and thus more manageable than cross stitching it on 14, 16 and even 18 count aida.  The amount of work is the same, only the finished design sizes vary.   In actual fact, I find it easier and faster to stitch on aida than to cross stitch over one fabric thread on 25ct Lugana.  Lugana is a woven fabric and if not careful, stitches can slip under at the cross over.  Furthermore, cross stitching  1 over 1 on 25ct Lugana does not completely cover the fabric, this is very noticeable with darker thread colours.  One way to avoid this is to reduce the contrast, choose a light to medium fabric colour.  Another is to cross stitch on 18ct aida.  Yes, the design will be larger, but 2 strands of floss give perfect coverage on 18ct aida.

So, my recommendation is to draw from your own knowledge and cross stitch experience.  Designers, and that includes yours truly,  will make recommendations based on their own preferences and biases, but this does not make it gospel. Just remember..
The only rules to needlework are:
   1.  The thread must go through the needle.  
2. The needle must go through the fabric. 
 Everything else is only a suggestion.

We stitch because we love it, so enjoy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Starting & Restarting my first Heaven & Earth Design

I had always wanted to petit point a Heaven & Earth design, but which one?  They're all stunning, HUGE and require a great commitment of time.  While perusing their website last November I finally found one that I could not resist, "Catherdral".  It is 400 x 640 stitches, or 256,000 stitches in total.  If I stitch one of the 10 x 10 squares (100 stitches) per day, then it will only take me 7 years to complete.  No problem, right?  Right!  I figure I can petit point more than 100 stitches a night, so I should get it done in less than 7 years.  I started as soon as I had the pattern in hand.
 This is as far as I got  in 2 nights, but then with the Christmas rush I put it away for over the holidays.   So maybe 7 years isn't far off the mark after all.

To further complicate matters, I am starting all over.  I first petit pointed on a 22 count canvas, using 3 strands of floss.  I would have preferred to petit point using 2 strands of floss, but there is no finer count of canvas.  Or at least that is what I had thought.
I have since found a 25ct canvas, it's grided and 2 strands of floss give perfect coverage.  So it's decided, I am starting over and this will become my new project for 2016.

I'll post my progress every once in a while, and over the next month I'll post some general suggestions to consider when stitching these large  computer generated charts published by companies such as Heaven & Earth, Mystic Stitch, and Scarlet Quince to name a few.

If you have any questions or wish to share your experiences, please join the conversation by posting a comment.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2015 Annual Christmas Open House

Twas 20 days before Christmas when all through the shop
Gitta's Gang was stirring early, quite rowdy nonstop
Working on last minute preparations, all done in a dash
Getting ready to open our annual bash

The stockings were hung by the fireplace with care,
The lights on garlands twinkling in mid-air
The shop looking quite festive  I do declare 
In hopes that our customers soon would  be there.

The gifts were all nestled all snug in a bin
To be given to cherished customers that would visit within

Carol in her antlers, and me in my new frock
Had just settled the layout of our goodies and discounted stock

When out on the sidewalk there arose such a clatter
I looked out to see just what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Tore open the door and welcomed the chatter

The sun, to our pleasure did not shine on new fallen snow
giving way to clear driving below
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
Many of our customers loving this year's gifted reindeer.

They all came in so lively and quick
Gitta's Gang rushed to help whomever we could lickity split
I myself, ended up in back measuring fabric by the meterstick
More rapid than eagles our stitchers they came
As I kept on cutting and called them by name

 Welcome Teresa, and Linda, Nicole and Sherry
On Lorraine!, On Patsy, On Wanda, and Mary
There was Debbie, Darlene, Samantha, Karen, and Sue
On Julia, On Ellen, and Edith - to name but a few
Through the shop they all wandered, looking along our fibre wall.
Shop away, shop away, shop away all!

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the counter the stitchers they flew,
With their baskets full of treasures, and patterns anew.

And then, among all the action, I heard from the door
the clatter of little bells jingling more
As I drew up my head, and was turning around
Through the door St. Nicholas came with a bound.  

He was dressed all in red, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were not tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of candy canes he had tucked in his sack,
He hugged all the ladies, mingled, and then made his tracks.


He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And Monika laughed when she  saw him, in spite of herself!


When he sprang to the door, to the ladies he gave a whistle,
And away he flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he walked out of sight,
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

             All of us at Gitta's truely enjoy our Christmas Open House every year,
          it is a wonderful opportunity for us to say Thank You, to our customers.  
Without you, Gitta's would not be here;
 we are grateful for your support and  friendship. 

If you were unable to drop by to this year's Christmas Open House, 
but would like a copy of this year's Reindeer.  Please Click here.  Merry Christmas
 If you would also like to view the photo album from this
 years Open House please click here.  

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas
 and a fabulous New Year,
 filled with love, laughter, health and happiness.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

November and December's Ornament Stockings

Where has the time gone?  I was so busy thinking about and making preparations for our Annual Christmas Open House, that I completely forgot to post the November Stocking.  I used  neutral shades for the straight stitches surrounding the Navy and bright Blue straight stitches.  And then inserted a little bit of burgundy thread and bead between the clusters.
This colour combination was a big hit.  The kits were all sold out in early November.

The December stocking is my favourite.  We used Rainbow Gallery's Very Velvet, Tiara and Treasure Braid.  The pricier fibres and that a full card of Very Velvet is required, has made the price of this kit a little higher than previous stocking kits.  The kit for the December stocking is $13.95 and we are almost sold out.

Take care and I will post all the festivities from Gitta's Christmas Open House shortly.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

October's Ornament of the Month

Voila, the October mini Stocking ornament.  The black mono canvas peeks out through the orange and green.  There is also a little bit of purple running through the design, to which I managed to match the trim.   I found the trim, believe it or not, at a local Dollarama (dollar store).  The backing fabric I choose is green and the lining orange.  I love the way the stocking turned out.  Imagine it filled with Halloween treats.  Kits available at for only $9.95

Here are the colours for the November Stocking.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Guest Designer : Me

Last month I had been invited as a guest Designer by Jeannette Douglas for her weekend retreat/workshop in Cambridge.  I had a fabulous time.  

I have known Jeannette for many, many years.  Since before she published her first design, the Northern Shield Sampler.  She had visited our booth at the Creative Sewing & Needlework Festival in Toronto.  She introduced herself to my Mom and me with her stitched sampler in hand.  We loved it straight away and that was the beginning of a what I am sure will be a lifelong friendship.
For many years Jeannette had joined us at the CSNF teaching and introducing new designs, today she is world renowned in the stitching community.  So, when she invited me as the afternoon guest to display my designs, I was honoured.

I took models to represent the range of designs available under Gitta's Designs.  From my current designs I took my Tree Sampler series, my Petites - the four Seasons and Winter Walk, the Chair Necessaires and Biscornus.  From some of my older designs I took my Wildflowers afghan, which shows all 10 Provincial and 3 Territorial flowers; some of my original floral designs, landscapes, and the Nordic Santa. 
I also took a few of our Inuit children designs, which have actually been designed by my husband, David, and some of my Mother's floral designs. 

Finally, I introduced my newest release, a Bargello Scissor fob, available in 5 colour options.  In this straight forward design, there are 8 fibres that run through 2 colour ranges.  The stitched piece is then wrapped and capped, in essence making it a large bead.  The tassel is then made  from the remainder of the fibres, and with the beads and clasp the fob is complete.

The ladies were quite taken with this scissor bling, some even purchased several for their stitching friends back home.  To either gift the kits, or the completed fob.
These kits are now also available through  They can be found on either the Canvaswork page or under Gitta's Designs.