Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Cross Stitch Letter Tags and Bookmark Series

Gift tag and bookmark projects which each feature 
cut holes for hand cross-stitching a two-tone 
embroidered initial letter with rose bud. 
Cross-stitching diagram included to print for reference.
For tags, stitching shape is doubled for sturdiness,
hand-stitched, then echo "buffer" and plain back panels
are attached. Header and reinforcement accents added,
and ribbon length with twine tie added.
Tag measures approx. 2.375" wide x 3.75" tall
(W letter is slightly wider).
Bookmark is shown as fold-over magnet style with
score dash marks (to avoid tear-out with use) to create
.125" top face. Recess circles in inside front panels
are designed to hold .25" diam. rare earth magnet,
rectangle placement window on inside back panel
shows where to place 1" piece of magnet tape.
For simpler bookmark without magnets, prepare
and layer stitched, buffer and plain back panels.
Bookmark is approx. 2.375" wide x 5" tall when folded.

This tutorial will demonstrate stitching and assembly
steps using representative letters E or B.

The gift tag assembly and stitching will be
presented in first steps 1-17.
Bookmark assembly begins in step 18.

ASSEMBLY: 1. Identify and cut the shapes for
the particular letter chosen to stitch and create.
(This tutorial will demonstrate the letter 'E'.)
A stitching layer (cut 2 for extra strength, glue together)
B buffer layer that accommodates stitching threads thickness
C plain back layer (to camouflage) backside of stitching
D tag top header accent and oval slot 
2. Remove any "chads" still in place in stitching holes
after the cutting and brushing-away step.
A bent paper clip end is one good tool to do this.
3. Layer and align the two stitching tags to make sure
all stitching hole and slot openings align as precisely
as possible, as well as outer edges, and glue together.
If using liquid adhesive, press the glued-up shapes
under a heavy flat weight such as this thick book
for a few hours until the glue is completely dried
to prevent warping or curling.
4. Assemble the stitching supplies needed.
For the tag sample project here, these are
the colors used:
light and dark gray for letter
pink, med. pink and dark pink for shaded bud
green for leaf and stem.
A blunt tapestry style needle is also needed:
size 24 (or 26) work well.
5. Study this stitching explanation diagram to see
one best practice for the stitching progression.
NOTE that the first stitch of the 'X' is always created
in the same direction (RIGHT slant in this instance). Then
the second stitch is added coming back across the row.
Even though the rows of these letter tags are short,
this consistent procedure should still be followed.

6. Cut a 24-30 length of floss, then separate out one ply.
Place cut ends together to fold in half, then insert the loop end
(somewhat easier to thread than two cut ends) through the eye . . .
. . . and pull along needle until the two cut ends are approx.
4" below needle eye. The loop is the bottom end
and the doubled floss will create 2-ply stitches.
7. Set up and print the stitching diagram or refer
to the diagram on-screen. Determine where you will
begin the stitching. Lower left is one good suggested spot.
Insert the needle at top left of the first 'X' stitch hole,
identified as #1 as shown in Step 5 diagram.
Draw floss through until 6-7 inches above loop end remain,
then insert needle from front to back in the lower right
#2 hole of first 'X' stitch.
With loop end and needle at backside of tag,
insert needle through the loop . . . 
. . . and pull the stitch down flush with backside surface
to tie on and lock the stitch.
8. From backside, insert needle into the #3 position at top left
hole for second stitch, then continue stitching across
toward right end of row. Come back toward left to complete
the first row.
9. Continue in same manner to complete second
and subsequent rows, endeavoring to work as smartly
as possible to complete "connected" stitches and
avoid stringing across long spans to get to next 
uncompleted stitches. Shown here is one way to
connect the 'E' bottom end stitches, by working the first
right slant stitches of row 2, moving upward to complete
the four short-row stitches, then moving down to
complete the left slant stitches.
10. Continue to work the stitching in rows,
sliding the needle along toward cut ends as needed
to make more floss available for stitching,
until the length of thread is too short for more stitches.
11. To "tie off", complete final slant stitch to bring
needle to backside, then run the needle under several
stitches to "bury" the thread, then . . . 
. . . clip the thread tail close to surface
12. Thread the needle with new length, "tie on" in manner
described above, and continue to complete stitches
on the chart in the color being used. Tie off as needed
and change colors.
13. Toward the center of the letter design there is
a HALF STITCH that will/may be needed near where
the leaf tip is, indicated here by the tiny hole not in line,
with the other stitching holes. Study the diagram to see
where left slant stitch combined of letter and leaf color 
is created using the small hole. 
14. Thread needle with various colors to match chart,
and continue to complete the letter, bud and leaf.
Refer to the bud stitching enlarged diagram to complete
these parts of design. Once the bud and leaf area
'X' stitches are in place, straight "back stitches" are
used to outline and emphasize those areas.
For bud, use darkest thread and switch to single ply
(pass 2-ply attached thread under a few stitches,
then cut away one of the plies, for instance),
then stitch next to the "color block" of the whole bud.
For leaf stems, use 2-ply to stitch where diagram indicates,
and also switch to single ply to outline the leaf 'X' stitches.
15. Position, align outer cut edges and slot edges
of buffer layer behind the stitched tag, 
and glue together, then . . .
. . . position and align the back plain tag layer,
and glue in place. 
Press under the heavy flat weight until thoroughly dry.

16. Position, align and attach header and reinforcement
ring shapes. Press under heavy weight.
17. Finish the tag by threading a short weight through
the slot, and tie with twine as shown, or as desired.
18. For bookmark (letter B as sample), identify and cut the shapes:
A stitching shape (use 1 shape for thinner bookmark;
or 2 for sturdier stitching)
B buffer shape with circle magnet cut out
C reinforcement front layer with circle magnet cut out
D reinforcement back layer with rectangle magnet cut out
E fold-over bookmark base with circle magnet cut out
19. For a simpler version of the bookmark which is
NOT fold-over or magnet style, cut:
F front stitching layers (1-2)
G buffer layer   H plain back (camouflage) layer
(Further explanation for this simpler project
is given in step 27.)
20. For the magnet version, a 1/4" neo disc magnet
is used (fits into the circle cutout 
in backside of FRONT layers) . . .
. . . and a cut piece of magnet tape
(fits into the rectangle cutout of inside BACK).
21. Crease and fold the magnet base layer by
locating the pairs of cut dashes near the center of
the length  near the side edges. Align a straight edge
between the first pair across the width, and score.
Repeat with second pair.
NOTE: it may be just as easy and make more sense 
to perform the scoring and creasing step when
the front and back reinforcement or stitching layers
are in position, then score and crease along the edges.
22. Fold along BOTH score lines, one at a time,
and crease.
23. Refer to steps 2-14 above to complete
the stitching of the letter and bud. Also layer
and glue together the stitching layer and buffer
and reinforcement layers; press under heavy weight.
24. Position and attach the front assembly over
the front portion of the bookmark base; press flat.
25. Position the BACK reinforcement layer to
the INSIDE of the bookmark base.
26. Position the neo magnet into the circle cutout
and attach with strong adhesive.
Cut a length of magnet tape that will fit into
the rectangle window, then position and attach
with strong adhesive.
Here is the completed fold-over magnet.
27. For simpler magnet, complete stitching layers,
position and attach the buffer layer, and . . . 
. . . plain back layer, and glue together; press
under a flat weight.

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