Welcome to the exciting and rewarding world of cross-stitch! I hope you enjoy it as much as I have and still do.
I began cross-stitching as a child. My mother would transfer patterns onto white tea towels and taught all three of her children how to cross-stitch. I was the only girl! (Don’t laugh. Former football player Rosie Greer — a really big, masculine guy — not only stitched to relieve stress before games and during half-time, but he appeared on television shows to teach others, as well as creating and marketing his own patterns. He put many a woman stitcher to shame with his creative and talented pieces.) My brothers stitched fairly well, but they stitched for only one or two projects before quitting. I, on the other hand, had found a lifelong love.
After becoming fairly skillful in the simple cross-stitch patterns stamped on fabric, my paternal grandmother taught me basic crochet, and my maternal grandmother taught me more advanced crocheting the following year. Next, I learned embroidery, graduating from the “Xs” to more exciting stitches and styles, much of which I learned from books. I learned to sew clothing and home accessories in my preteens from my maternal grandmother and home economic classes in school. In my early 20s, I learned to tailor suits and create macramé pieces, again from books. Then, I became interested in upholstering furniture, also learned from library books (you gotta love the public library). I continued to do all of these crafts throughout to this day, except upholstery and cross-stitch patterns stamped on fabric. For whatever reason, they got left behind.
At age 31, I rediscovered cross-stitch in the form of counted cross-stitch. The patterns were constantly appearing in my monthly craft book subscription. When, I saw an actual finished project done by a friend, I was hooked. It was beautiful and so unique. I had to give it a try!
I went to the local craft store and purchased a kit, which I still believe is the best way for a newbie to begin — everything is there for you. The kit was a “Home Sweet Home” sampler by Creative Expressions with a finished size of 11 x 14 inches (27 x 35 cm) — much too big and much too difficult for a beginner! The counting is what truly tripped me up — at one point, I was off target and had to remove over 13 rows of stitches! Fortunately and painstakingly, the project did turn out well. There still were mistakes throughout it, but I was the only person who knew. I framed it, and it hung in my home for many years — bad job of mounting and framing, too! It did not matter, I was proud of it.
I now have been doing counted cross-stitch for over 30 years, having given away my first project years ago. I make my own computer patterns with finished projects that appear as photos from a few feet (meters) away, and they generally take from four-to-six months to complete.
In addition to my hobby of cross stitch, I have been a professional writer and researcher for well over 20 years. I have authored several books under my own pseudonym of Patricia Hawke and a great many for clients as their ghost writer. That is how I met John Wigham of PatternsPatch.com, who needed several books written for his site on cross stitch and similar crafts. So Janis Applegate was born – a pseudonym I created just for John’s books.
One project John wished for me to write was a cross-stitch beginner’s guide. As was my routine, I went to the library and checked out 30-plus books on the topic. I must admit that I was mystified that so many books labeled as “complete” guides were very far from it. So I went about creating a “real” complete beginner’s guide – from the start of the project to the end. You can find it on this website’s menu under “J. Applegate Books”. It still remains (as far as I know) the complete beginner’s guide to cross stitch in existence.
Additionally, under the menu link “Interview”, you’ll find an mp3 interview I did with one of John’s representatives on my own cross-stitch ventures. I’m sure many will find similarities to their own endeavors.
The “gift plate” is a printable information piece that you can include with your cross-stitch pieces that you gift to family and friends.
Lastly, the “XS Diary & More” are three computerized books that can be completed and saved – XS Diary of your projects (wished I’d had this; I’ve forgotten all the projects I’ve done), School Days diary of your children’s educational time, and Wedding Planner to make the grand day easier to organize. You’ll need to download the DNL Reader, which your antivirus software will most likely say has a virus – but it doesn’t. Your software is just seeing something within the file that “looks” similar to a virus but it’s completely safe and is needed to make these turn-able, customizable ebooks work.
Please use the Contact page and email me with your comments, thoughts and suggestions. I hope you enjoy this website.
By the way, I originally had some of these items at my Faith-MakeItReal.com website. I created this site and moved them here, when I decided to place the F-MIR site into another format. So, you’ll see it referenced on a lot of these materials. Please enjoy.