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Sun, Sea, Sand, and ... Stitching!

Aug 17, 2007
Going away on holiday can be a great opportunity to indulge yourself in your favourite pastime... cross stitching, of course! There's the prospect of lots of time to spend on what you want to do, without those guilty feelings that arise when you're stitching at home -- when you know that the garden needs weeding, or that the kitchen cupboards could do with a clean. No! On holiday your time is mostly your own.

So which cross stitch projects should you consider taking? And how much stitching should you take?

Let's think about what's essential to take, first of all. You'll need your basics: chart, threads, fabric, needles, needle-threader, scissors, magnifier, a few spares... the list can go on, until your stitching paraphernalia fills a large suitcase.

I personally have found that the best projects to take on holiday are small ones -- cards for example. (No, not Christmas cards. You probably won't feel in the mood for stitching Christmas robins or snow scenes when you're on a sunny beach, and besides, your family will conclude that you have finally flipped.)

Despite your best plans, it's unlikely that you'll suddenly be inspired to complete one of those UFO's (UnFinished Objects) that has been gathering dust under a table for ages. Two years ago, I took a half-stitched Millennium celebration sampler, started in 1999, to Mexico. Yes, you've guessed it ~ it never left its bag.

I'd recommend a number of cards, packed in kit form, so that all you need is easily accessible. If you do use manufactured card kits, remember that it's not necessary to take the cardboard-part of the project. You may as well leave that part of the kit at home -- it could easily get crushed being transported around - and you can always do the card mounting when you return home.

Place your kits in a zip-locked clear plastic folder so that you don't have to spend too much time rummaging around to find things. The plastic folder will keep out any sand, unexpected rain or melted ice cream that could spoil your stitching.

Now for the serious bit. Scissors and needles can be dangerous, as you know. Not only that, but if you're travelling by plane and fancy a bit of stitching during the flight, it must be remembered that some airline companies will not allow you to board the plane with scissors in your hand luggage.

There's a good way around this. You can buy a thread cutter, available from most good needlecrafts shops. This hangs round your neck like a pendant. A cheaper way to cut thread is to use a dental floss container. It has a small blade for cutting floss, and works well with sewing threads too.

Now for those needles... do consider buying a needle container -- don't just use the original paper wrapping. Keep your needles in a customised cylindrical box and not only will you always have needles ready to use, but you can relax in the knowledge that no one will sit on them and hurt themselves.

As for small pairs of scissors, a scissor-keep is a good option for transporting them. If you don't have one, then plunge the sharp points of your scissors firmly into a cork, and carry them that way. Never take your favourite scissors on a family holiday. They'll end up being used by everyone for all sorts of functions, believe me.

So now you're packed and ready to go on holiday. Have a wonderful time, and let us know what stitching projects you attempted and even completed on your holiday. Your stitching project could be a valuable memento of the great time you had. Happy holidays!
About the Author
John Wigham has been a professional author and editor for 20 years and is a co-founder of Patterns Patch an online cross stitch club dedicated to counted cross stitch. The website has a small team of writers who are devoted to our cross stitch club and enjoy writing about their hobby.
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