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Friday, June 27, 2008

Make it easy to travel with cross stitch

It’s summer and that means vacations. Needlepoint can be a wonderful and relaxing activity during long hours waiting in airports and riding in a car. Here are some tips, adapted from my book, NEEDLEPOINT TRADE SECRETS to help make stitching on vacation more enjoyable.

Needlepoint in the Car

Car trips are great times for doing needlepoint! The needlepoint you pick should either be worked "in hand" (not on stretcher bars) or small.

Make sure you pack in your project bag scissors, a zipper bag to clean up your orts, threads, instructions, and many extra needles. I can't tell you how many projects got delayed because I lost my only needle.

A car trip is a great place to stitch large areas which use familiar stitches. I often reserve projects like this for trips.

Needlepoint in Hotel Rooms

Hotel rooms usually use lower wattage bulbs and this can make it hard to see. You can pack a 100 watt bulb in your luggage and change it when you get to the room.

Many hotels now have special fixtures which use fluorescent bulbs and you can't do this. If this happens to you, sit near the window during the day to stitch. Using lighter colors or larger mesh also helps.

But to be sure you have enough light, no matter what, get a small project lamp which is battery operated. If you're going on a long trip, be sure to pack extra batteries -- they can be hard to find n foreign countries.

Needlepoint in your Luggage

Don't leave your needlepoint on stretcher bars in your luggage. Take it off the bars and store it with the threads. Group the bars with a rubber band and pack them. Your tacks will have to go into you checked luggage.

I always pack an extra project in my suitcase to work on if I finish my current project.

Before you leave be sure you have ALL the threads you need and all instructions. You may not be near a place to buy more.

Needlepoint on Airplanes

It's OK to take needlepoint on board planes, although the regulations about scissors and cutters change often. In 2007, scissors are OK, but round cutters are not. The safest bet is to have a pair of bunt-tipped child's scissors you use just for traveling.

Put your name and address in any project bag you have. If you lose it, this might bring it back to you.

I always pack an extra small project (my airplane project) in my tote bag. Having this to do keeps me happy and busy even when the flight from SF is delayed 3 hours because of fog.

The light in airplanes, especially at night, is poor, the battery-operated project light is perfect for planes.

Since newer planes don't have ashtrays, getting rid of orts is a problem. Use you empty glass or bring on a small zipper bag you can throw away.

Janet M. Perry is one of the leading writers of needlepoint stitch guides in the world. She writes innovative guides for needlepoint canvases from over 20 designers. She puts into practice her motto to make needlepoint fast, fun and affordable.

She is an expert in needlepoint, both on the Web and through her writing as the Needlepoint Pro for Cross-Stitch & Needlework magazine. She works with designers, shops, and thread manufacturers on new products and regularly reports on trends in needlepoint.

Her newest book, Needlepoint Trade Secrets, will be available in the summer of 2007 on Amazon. Visit her website ( or blog ( to learn about my newest products.

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