Skip to main content

The ABC's of Cross Stitch Alphabets

Alphabets are quite popular on cross stitch samplers and there are many decisions to be made when choosing an alphabet.  Upper case or lower case is one decision.  It seems that upper case is most popular.  Using lower case causes all sorts of compications.  Extra space is needed for j, k, l, p and the other letters that extend above or below the main line. 

Another important decision is even or odd.  The alphabet above is odd.  That is, it is and odd number of stitches high, in this case 7.  Notice the B and D.  Both are symmetryical.

This is an even alphabet that is 6 stitches high.  Notice that the B and D are no longer symmetrical.  I prefer odd alphabets.  I've been known to change the size of a sampler to mak an even alphabet into an odd alphabet.

Both of these samplers are in a traditional font.  But it is easy to re-arrange the stitches to create different looks for you alphabet.  Here is an elegant alphabet that is only 7 stitches high:

Each letter takes up more space and give an entirely different look.

Some letters are simpler to stitch while others are more complicated.  F, K, M, R, Q and W, for example.  For instance, the M's on this page are all different.

 My maiden last name started with R so I became well aware of some of the poorly designed R's out there and learned how to make them appear nicer.  Now, I have a C to stitch for an initial and it is a lot easier.
Another way to stitch alphabets is to be wonky.  Not all letters have to be the same size or start on the same row.

These alphabets are whimsical and give a totally different feel to a sampler than the classic block letters.

There are many free charted alphabets to use in samplers but it is much more fun to come up with your own letters.  It's hard to go wrong.  I've discoverd most people stop reading after A, B and C.  After that the brain says "alphabet" and stops looking at the details.  If the R doesn't really look like an R in an alphabet, it doesn't matter.  Most will not notice.  Many won't even notice if a letter or two is absent.  But if it's in your initials it better look like an R.

Here is a good example of an alphabet that isn't.  Almost everyone who looks at this cross stitched case asks what it is for.

I say "read all the letters".  People still look at it and are confused.  Maybe I should have made the "I" lower case to make it more obvious.  Yes, this is an even alphabet.  I did not have much space to work with so I had to resort to a small even alphabet.


Popular posts from this blog

Do Overs

Starting over means re-doing some of my projects.  A lot of the projects that I've done I don't want to do over.  Some turned out not to be the worth effort and others were not fun at all.  There's also a feeling of "been there, done that".    I've also discovered that I enjoy the act of creating more than the results sometimes.
My first do over was this penstemon I designed a while ago.  It's small and simple and only 2 colors.  I'll eventually be restitching many of my own designs.  Luckily, I still have the charts even if I no longer have the item or pictures of the item.
My second do over is actually actually stitching something for the third time!

After the second stitching, I'd had enough.  But, I was given the 2010 Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue with the pattern and that was a sign that the reindeer needed to be stitched again.  Hopefully, that's it.
My last do over represents all the EGA seminars that I attended over the years.


Blocks 2 and 3 - Hourglass and Square in a Square

The next two easy blocks in my quilt are Hourglass and Square in a Square.  Both finish out to be 9 inches.  They are good starter blocks for working with triangles.  As the quilt progresses and the blocks get more complicated there will be many more triangles.
The Hourglass is also known as a Quarter Square Triangle Block or QST.  It is easier to make 2 blocks than it is to make 1 so that's what I did.  The picture is of 4 blocks, not one block made up of 4 units but it is fun to combine multiple hourglasses in one block.
For both colorways I used a directional print and it's easy to see where the quarter squares are in the block.  Since you want the edges on the straight of grain making one would waste fabric and by making 2 blocks at once, you can deal with piecing squares together instead of triangles.
There are plenty of QST tutorials to be found.  I started with 10 1/2 inch squares to yield the 9 inch blocks.

The square in a square can also be pieced using squares but I…