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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.


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