With so many gorgeous designs available in machine embroidery, why choose Cross Stitch? Don’t Cross Stitch designs take forever to stitch? What about all those thread changes and jump stitches that need to be clipped? These are all legitimate questions for machine embroiderers.
My name is Donna Vermillion Giampa and I have a small Cross Stitch design business called The Vermillion Stitchery. I have been designing Cross Stitch since the 1980’s. Our company, The Vermillion Stitchery, began when we offered needlework kits in Cross Stitch, as well as Silk & Metal Thread Embroidery, of all things!
Since our incredible embroidery machines were not yet in existence at that time, I obviously worked all of my designs by hand. My method of designing was filling in a design grid of printed paper with colored pencil squares and entering a tiny symbol with a tiny pointed technical pen that always clogged up. No computers then either. Each chart though was a masterpiece in its own right!
In those early days, the stitching took even longer to complete than the designing. I loved the feel of the wonderful threads and linens. Color has always been my special thing, and the cotton floss or silk threads available allowed me full rein in creating my designs.
At left, Four Bears machine embroidery design
When computers came in and charting software became available, I resisted its use at first, but finally gave in. I had my twin sister, Diana, there to encourage me to get into computers. She was a CPA for many years, right there when the personal computer came in. She also shared my love of Cross Stitch and we spent hours together stitching. She also was my partner when we started the Vermillion Stitchery, offering hand-stitched charts. I lost her on Christmas Day in 2004. I miss her every single day, but our connection with Cross Stitch keeps her with me in my heart.
Diana’s expertise with computers led me to some charting software for the computer. I was astounded to see how quickly I could chart a design on the computer. My design output increased radically, due to the computer. I still considered myself a Cross Stitch purist though, both in the designs I created and the quality of stitching I did with my hands. I “test-stitched” small portions of every design, checking out the colors I had chosen and how they worked together. I was frustrated though because I did not have the time required to stitch whole pieces.
Then machine embroidery came in and wow, what a crazy thing—having a machine stitch my designs for me? The very thought was absurd! A machine could never put the love and care into what I stitched so patiently and lovingly by hand…never…until I saw a Cross Stitch design stitched on a machine. I was astounded and speechless. The design was wonderfully detailed and so “real” looking, that I had to give it a try. I was so impressed with the quality of the stitched piece, I found myself enter the machine embroidery world, almost against my long-held purist beliefs!
Shown below are similar areas of the hand-stitched Bears Bell Pull and the Four Bears Machine Embroidery Designs...On left is the detail from the hand Cross Stitch chart. On the right is the detail from the Machine Embroidery design, Four Bears.
Again, Why Cross Stitch? The answers lie in the actual contents of the design, as well as in the process of stitching…the experience of seeing a wondrous design take shape before your very eyes. Cross Stitches, a series of tiny “X’s”, while all the same exact stitch, can form a visual image, rich in detail and color shading.
You can create amazingly realistic images using those tiny “X’s”. The machine-stitched quality is a bit more perfect than Cross Stitch done by hand, but that very perfection is a wonder to behold! As a former hand cross stitcher, I was used to it taking forever to get something stitched. With the machine, it might feel like it’s taking forever, but take my word for it, it isn’t!
Those stitchers who have tried Cross Stitch on their embroidery machines are delighted with the incredible results. Many former hand stitchers have said how grateful they are to be able to Cross Stitch on their machines. They are willing to spend a bit more time to stitch a design that they know would have taken many more hours to do by hand. That extra effort is worth it to them. The results are what count!
I'd love to hear any comments you would like to share about anything and everything Cross Stitch!
Donna Vermillion Giampa
The Vermillion Stitchery