Term of the Week: RAK

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Our Term of the Week this week once again dives into our stitchy acronyms and pulls out a popular term!

RAK stands for Random Act of Kindness, and it’s become a popular term to use in the stitching world to refer to charity items and gifts.

A lot of stitchers do work for charities, and others simply don’t have the funds to support the stash a lot of us have access to. That’s where RAK comes in. Stitchers will pull together and collect thread, fabric, charts, all manners of things and pass them along to someone less fortunate than them. Sometimes a stitcher will send a ‘care package’ without prompting, surprising the fellow stitcher with stash supplies.

A RAK is something meant to be passed along. It’s a random good deed from one stitcher to another that benefits everyone in the end. πŸ™‚

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β€œTerm of the Week” is a weekly blog post highlighting a new word or phrase commonly used among cross-stitchers but not found in an ordinary dictionary. These posts are to help explain the words’ meanings in context and provide a resource for anyone wondering what a term like β€œfrogging” means. Check back every Thursday!

Term of the Week: LNS

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For some reason I thought I had done this Term of the Week already… it’s such a common one to see! When I realized I hadn’t I immediately put it in the queue as the next article!

To put it quickly and simply, LNS stands for Local Needlework Shop. In general, the term is used for the small business, ‘mom and pop’ stores that offer almost exclusive cross-stitch or needlework supplies. But over the years, especially with a lot of local shops closing in the US, the term has evolved to mean any sort of shop or store nearby that carries cross-stitch supplies.

Sometimes there aren’t even any big retail chains (Michael’s, Joann’s, Hobby Lobby) anywhere near stitchers, and the big superstore chains (Wal-Mart, Meijers) don’t offer needlework supplies at all. At this point, stitchers have turned to the Internet and online stores, and now even those are being referred to as LNS. The term is evolving to mean cross-stitch shops in general, rather than just local needlework shops.

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β€œTerm of the Week” is a weekly blog post highlighting a new word or phrase commonly used among cross-stitchers but not found in an ordinary dictionary. These posts are to help explain the words’ meanings in context and provide a resource for anyone wondering what a term like β€œfrogging” means. Check back every Thursday!

Term of the Week: SINS

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So, for this Term of the Week we’re pulling a little-used acronym out of our stitchy bag. (At least, I haven’t seen it very often.)

SINS – other than being an actual word, what does it mean? Well, to stitchers, it means Stuff I‘ll Never Stitch. Looking at it, it’s got two connotations: a negative one, literally something you would not stitch, but in most cases it uses the positive connotation.

Stuff I’ll Never Stitch, when used in a positive connotation, is just lamenting the size of your stash – you’ve bought it because you love it, but with the amount of charts, kits, and patterns you have, you’ll never get around to stitching it. Or, from a different perspective, you want to buy it – your mouse is hovering over ‘Add to Cart’ – but you know that it’ll end up as “stuff you’ll never stitch”. Or, another example, you bought a chart because you loved it, but your tastes changed and now it’s become a SINS.

Basically SINS is referring to an overwhelming amount of stash. It’s mostly used as an excuse to sell some staff: “All of this fabric and these Christmas charts are SINS now and I need to clear up space in my stash area”, that sort of thing. I haven’t really seen it used that often… probably because no one wants to give up their stash!

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β€œTerm of the Week” is a weekly blog post highlighting a new word or phrase commonly used among cross-stitchers but not found in an ordinary dictionary. These posts are to help explain the words’ meanings in context and provide a resource for anyone wondering what a term like β€œfrogging” means. Check back every Thursday!

Term of the Week: SAL

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I figured, since we’re on an acronym trend why break it now? So we’ve got another popular acronym for this week’s Term of the Week!

SAL is a well-known, popular term among stitchers. It’s an acronym that means Stitch-ALong.

A Stitch-A-Long is an event similar to UFO Wednesdays. It’s usually structured like this: a group of stitchers choose a pattern, and week by week they stitch the design. A finish date is set, and everyone is encouraged to share their progress each week and finish the design by the set date. Once the SAL is done, a group of people have now all stitched the same design.

It started out in groups of stitchers meeting in person each week to stitch the design, but with the rise of technology and the Internet, stitchers from all over the world can participate in a SAL without ever actually meeting each other.

Designers and cross-stitch companies have picked up on this SAL trend, and nowadays several designers will sometimes do what is called Mystery SALs. It follows the same rules as a SAL, but the entire chart is a mystery; each week, the designer releases a new part of the chart for the stitchers, and the design is revealed over time. There are some downsides to this: some stitchers don’t like the mystery behind the design, because once finished, they may not like the design, and they wouldn’t have stitched it had they known what it was.

Other designers do Private SALs. They design a chart for the stitchers on their fan page or in their Facebook group, give it to them to do as a SAL, but only the stitchers who were in the group or signed up for the SAL get the design. The chart may or may not be released later for the general public.

I’ve never participated in a SAL myself, but I know a lot of people who have, and they enjoy them! Have you participated in a SAL before?

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β€œTerm of the Week” is a weekly blog post highlighting a new word or phrase commonly used among cross-stitchers but not found in an ordinary dictionary. These posts are to help explain the words’ meanings in context and provide a resource for anyone wondering what a term like β€œfrogging” means. Check back every Thursday!

Term of the Week: OOP

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For this week’s Term of the Week we’re diving into our stitchy acronyms and pulling out another well-known word!

So, OOP – what does it mean? This is mostly used to refer to charts and booklets that are very old or just a bit outdated. Maybe you’ve seen it on websites when you’ve tried to purchase a chart or a kit and they were out of stock?

OOP basically just means Out Of Print. Usually these are for old kits and charts that are several years old, the publishing company no longer publishes the chart, or (in some cases) the publishing company went out of business. It can be very difficult to obtain a chart because of it, unless the company still exists and they’re willing to send you a replacement copy. (Dimensions is known for doing this; if someone is stitching an OOP chart and something happens to it, Dimensions have been known to go into their records and send that person a copy to replace the one they lost, provided they still have it on record.)

There’s a well-known “Why I Cross-Stitch” chart (I think that’s what it’s called) that’s very popular among stitchers. But, it was a limited distribution and the company quickly went out of business for some unknown reason. Due to this, the chart is out of print, or OOP, and it’s now extremely rare and hard to find. I remember a conversation where someone said it was going for almost $100 at an auction. People want the chart and they kept bidding it up until it was well over how much the original cost!

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β€œTerm of the Week” is a weekly blog post highlighting a new word or phrase commonly used among cross-stitchers but not found in an ordinary dictionary. These posts are to help explain the words’ meanings in context and provide a resource for anyone wondering what a term like β€œfrogging” means. Check back every Thursday!

By the way – to keep up on Little Thread Crafts stitching news and get pictures, updates, and more that don’t appear on the blog until much later, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! I would greatly appreciate it!

Term of the Week: WISP & WIP

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This week’s Term of the Week is actually one I have never heard until recently! (Which is a little surprising considering all the research I’ve been doing into all the terms, plus it seems common sense.) I’ve also included another one in here because it would be too short to have its own article.

So, WISP is an acronym: what does it stand for? Well, the acronym WIP is a pretty common acronym known across many crafts and fields, meaning ‘Work in Progress’. WISP is just a variation of that: it means ‘Work In Slow Progress’. It’s pretty much WIP with an added word to it that describe a much slower WIP.

It’s when you’re working on a project, but it’s moving very slowly: whether it’s because you keep setting it down for long stretches of time or it’s an especially difficult chart or you’re just moving slow in general. The key difference between WISP and UFO is that the project is still being actively worked on.

For example, my Cat Rotation and my Native Wolf Dream Catcher are extremely slow-going, but I wouldn’t call them UFOs because I do regularly pull them out and work on them. I’d work on them more if I didn’t keep getting distracted by new projects (such as my pillow cases) or making gifts/working on Christmas presents. If I decided to put them aside completely to work on new things, THEN it becomes a UFO – otherwise, it’s considered a WISP.

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β€œTerm of the Week” is a weekly blog post highlighting a new word or phrase commonly used among cross-stitchers but not found in an ordinary dictionary. These posts are to help explain the words’ meanings in context and provide a resource for anyone wondering what a term like β€œfrogging” means. Check back every Thursday!

By the way – to keep up on Little Thread Crafts stitching news and get pictures, updates, and more that don’t appear on the blog until much later, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! I would greatly appreciate it!

Term of the Week: HAED

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For this week’s Term of the Week we head back into our stack of stitchy acronyms and pull out one that is arguably becoming a household name among stitchers.

HAED stands for Heaven And Earth Designs. Heaven and Earth Designs is an online company based out of Seaside, Oregon, USA. They work with local and international artists to turn works of art into cross-stitch pieces. They are known for several things: the size of their projects (HAEDs are known for being enormous, with charts often between 20 and 30 pages long), the types of charts they offer, and the cross-stitch they use to work the designs: all HAED projects are done in full crosses and full crosses only, no back-stitch, french knots, partial stitches, or blended threads.

HAEDs have exploded in popularity since the company’s creation in 2002. This is likely due to the number and style of the charts they offer; their website states,

“These are not your grandmother’s cross stitch designs, such as cute little bears and standard samplers. We offer you unadulterated cross stitch in its purest and most beautiful form.”

HAED charts can be expensive, and they only offer charts, not kits – you must supply everything you need for the project yourself. But the website runs sales frequently and if you get coupons and only buy during sales you can get a number of charts quite cheap. But be warned! Due to the massive size of most of these projects every chart you buy requires a large time investment. If you love large charts and you’re up for beautiful projects, then you may want to try an HAED!

I personally have never bought a chart from them, just because large projects aren’t my thing, but I have heard nothing but good things about them. Several stitchers consider it a “rite of passage” to stitch an HAED. For myself I’m going to stick to my “grandmother’s designs” because they’re smaller.

You can find the Heaven and Earth Designs website here: http://heavenandearthdesigns.com/

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β€œTerm of the Week” is a weekly blog post highlighting a new word or phrase commonly used among cross-stitchers but not found in an ordinary dictionary. These posts are to help explain the words’ meanings in context and provide a resource for anyone wondering what a term like β€œfrogging” means. Check back every Thursday!

By the way – to keep up on Little Thread Crafts stitching news and get pictures, updates, and more that don’t appear on the blog until much later, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! I would greatly appreciate it!

Term of the Week: Stitching “In Hand”

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This week’s Term of the Week is something that all stitchers have done at one point or another, and may still do it today – I’m physically unable to stitch in hand but that doesn’t mean someone else can’t!

So what does “stitching ‘in hand'” mean exactly? It’s actually extremely simple.

When you are working on a piece, if you stitch without anything but your fabric, needle, and thread – so no hoops, frames, stands, or q-snaps – then you are stitching in hand. It literally means to hold your fabric in your hand and stitch with nothing else attached.

Most of the time, stitchers only stitch in hand on small and/or irregularly shaped projects, the ones that are hard to use hoops on. But for some people it hurts or isn’t comfortable to hold a hoop or use a stand, so stitching in hand is the easiest way to get your stitching done.

For me, I find it extremely uncomfortable to stitch in hand for long periods of time. If I don’t use a hoop my left hand will cramp up and my left wrist will become irritated, making me unable to stitch. On anything other than small, 2 inch projects I have to use a hoop. Stitching in hand is physically not good for me.

What about you? Do you like stitching in hand or do you prefer a hoop or frame? Leave a comment below!

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β€œTerm of the Week” is a weekly blog post highlighting a new word or phrase commonly used among cross-stitchers but not found in an ordinary dictionary. These posts are to help explain the words’ meanings in context and provide a resource for anyone wondering what a term like β€œfrogging” means. Check back every Thursday!

By the way – to keep up on Little Thread Crafts stitching news and get pictures, updates, and more that don’t appear on the blog until much later, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! I would greatly appreciate it!

Term of the Week: Even-weave

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Welcome to this week’s Term of the Week, where we hop into a basic stitching term that’s good for everyone to know!

Evenweave (also even-weave or even weave) is a type of fabric where theΒ warp (up and down) and theΒ weft (left to right) threads of the fabric are equal distances apart, forming perfect squares. This fabric can be of many types, but for needlework, the two most common types are linen and aida. There is also a mixture of the two that is just called evenweave.

Most needlework fabrics are some type of evenweave, including the most popular Aida Cloth. All Aida is evenweave fabric, but not all evenweave fabrics are aida cloth. Some advanced stitchers prefer using plain evenweave or linen versus aida fabric.

What is the difference? Evenweave differs from aida in the count (or squares) of the fabric. Most evenweave fabrics are larger counts (28 or 32 ct. versus Aida’s 14 or 18 ct.) because the design of the fabric allows stitchers to skip a hole when doing the diagonal half stitch that forms part of the full cross-stitch. This is called stitching “over 2”.

This makes evenweave better for fractional stitches and also gives the stitcher more control over the size of the project. A 28 ct. evenweave project stitched “over 2” will be the same size as a 14 ct. aida project stitched “over 1”. So a stitcher using evenweave can make the project larger or smaller without making any changes to the chart.

A close up view of the threads that make up evenweave fabrics (also shows warp and weft)

A close up view of the threads that make up evenweave fabrics (also shows warp and weft)

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β€œTerm of the Week” is a weekly blog post highlighting a new word or phrase commonly used among cross-stitchers but not found in an ordinary dictionary. These posts are to help explain the words’ meanings in context and provide a resource for anyone wondering what a term like β€œfrogging” means. Check back every Thursday!

By the way – to keep up on Little Thread Crafts stitching news and get pictures, updates, and more that don’t appear on the blog until much later, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! I would greatly appreciate it!

Term of the Week: Railroading

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This week’s Term of the Week is a tactic I personally use with all of my stitching! Maybe you will too after learning the term.

The word “railroading” stands for the act of making your stitches lie flat against the fabric. There are different ways to do this – I believe they use the same word in needlepoint and it does something a little bit different than what it does for cross-stitch.

For cross-stitching specifically, to “railroad” your stitches means to place your needle between your two strands of thread before pulling it through the fabric. This forces the stitches to lie flatter on the fabric, rather than bunch up one on top of the other. I’ve found it also keeps the thread from tangling as easily because it also forces the thread to straighten as it is being pulled through the fabric.

You can railroad with any type of thread and as many strands as you are using to stitch – I’ve done railroading with three strands where I alternated two threads on the left, one thread on the right. Same goes for five strands!

A close up of how to railroad two strand stitches.

A close up of how to railroad two strand stitches.

Above is an example of how I railroad. I pull the thread in the direction that I’m doing the cross. Then, I put my needle in between the two strands, and pull through the fabric. As you can see in the second picture, the stitch is lying flat on the fabric, with the two strands side by side, rather than bunched together, or one under the other, or turned about.

While no one is required to railroad while they’re stitching, many stitchers consider it high on the list of “stitching etiquette”, along with having the crosses all going in the same direction.

Why is is called railroading, you ask? The two strands resemble the rails of a railroad – straight, one next to the other, for as far as the eye can see! Like when you put your needle between the two strands, and when the thread lies flat on the fabric.

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β€œTerm of the Week” is a weekly blog post highlighting a new word or phrase commonly used among cross-stitchers but not found in an ordinary dictionary. These posts are to help explain the words’ meanings in context and provide a resource for anyone wondering what a term like β€œfrogging” means. Check back every Thursday!

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