When Should You Give Up A Cross Stitch Project?

I’m a big believer in sticking with a project and seeing it through, but I, like every cross stitcher, have asked the question “should I just give up?” before. And you know what, sometimes giving up is the best thing to do. Sticking with a project you’re just not in love with can drain on you, and make you lose your inspiration for cross stitch. But when exactly is it OK to give up?

You’ve stitched it wrong

This is probably the biggest reason people want to give up a cross stitch project; however its normally unlikely to result in giving up your project. Whilst stitching something wrong can be hell, there is always something you can do about it, so you might not have to give up

You can pull it out

No one likes to frog cross stitches out, and whilst there are a few tools that make frogging easier, it can seem like it’s just not worth it, but sometimes it is. For my New Moon on Tokyo Tower cross stitch for the XStitch magazine, I stitched a massive section in the wrong color. There was no fixing it, so I had to make the choice between giving up or frogging it. In the end, I pulled out over 1200 stitches and redid them. And you know what; it made the cover of the magazine. It went from being a pain in my ass to being one of my best cross stitches ever. Just cos it seems bad now, doesn’t mean it will once you’ve restitched it.

New Moon on Tokyo Tower Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
New Moon on Tokyo Tower Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

You can’t pull it out

Let’s face it, we’ve all been in a position where we couldn’t pull out the threads, you kept on stitching without noticing it, and now more than 50% of the piece is a few stitches to the right. It happens, following patterns is a pain at the best of times. Now, if this is you, I’d suggest investing in a markup app for cross stitch but that doesn’t solve the here and now.
This isn’t a rare mistake. In fact, it’s pretty common. So common that one of the first blog posts I wrote was on how to fix common cross stitch mistakes like this, so you can fix it! You don’t need to give up.
However, if any of the other issues below are also present, I think its time you gave that pattern up.

Its just no fun

Yeh, we’ve all been here too. “The pattern looked so good online” or “I didn’t realize how much backstitch there was”. Yeh, sometimes the stitching just doesn’t go how you want to. It might be that the pattern sucks, or you might not be into it right now. And you know what; if it isn’t fun give up. This is a simple cut and dry case.
BUT! Don’t throw it. I’ve been in this situation a few times and I’ve given up, most notably on my Portal cake reveal cross stitch, which I had placed in a box for over 6 years. But I did, eventually, pick it back up, and I loved stitching it then. So don’t throw out your cross stitch; just place it in storage.

Its for someone else

I hear this a lot I’m afraid. Stitching for others can be a fantastically rewarding experience, but sometimes it doesn’t work out. Cross stitch takes time, and I often hear of people who started stitching something, then fell out with the person who would get it; do they continue? Well, I guess that is impacted by two things.
First off, is it still fun? Stitching something for someone who you no longer want to receive the gift probably means there are some negative feelings attached. Can you separate these from the actual stitching?
And secondly, do you want to keep it? If the pattern is frankly great anyway, you might want to keep it, but if it’s super personal, it isn’t something you want to continue with…

mass effect cross stitch gift
Ethan Jones first cross stitch for his friend Alex, proving that guys cross stitch too.

You love to start

I guess this one goes out to a few of you, who just love to start. I follow a whole raft of flosstube channels and some of them just love to start stitching. In fact, there is one who currently has over 80 starts; and only 1 finish in the year. For some people, it’s all about starting; and that’s OK! Cross stitch is there to be fun, so if you can’t be bothered to finish; don’t finish! It’s your hobby after all!
Finally, it should be noted that these are the reasons I found on an online poll for giving up. If you want to give up earlier; go ahead! I won’t tell 😀

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Cindy Jo

    I renamed one project I hated working on but it was for my mother. It was a Santa. An embroidery project I fell in love with the pattern but hated the colors, so frogged and changed the colors.

  2. Crickett

    I have been there. I fell in love with Theresa Wentzler, and did a few of her dragon patterns. I bought the kit for her peacock in a tree, and it was during the work on this pattern that I fell out of love. I first did the part that drew me to the pattern – the tail, with its many eyes and iridescent thread. Then I worked on the background. Got bored and changed to the border. Didn’t want to do the metallic thread until last, for fear it would get crushed, so went back to the background.

    And that’s where things ground to a halt. I just couldn’t pick it up. It sat there, glaring at me accusingly, for years. Eventually I realized something…I hated the colors. Once I realized that, it didn’t take me long to give myself permission to get rid of it.

    So I did. I found someone online who was thrilled to have it, and sent it to her. I heartily wish her joy in finishing it. I was finally free to work, guilt free!, on other things. Best cross-stitch decision I ever made.

  3. Kerry Aggen

    I love this topic!!! 🙂 A couple of my projects I might not finish, or just say “good enough”, and that’s that. Another one I might actually burn! lol. But, really, I think I will burn it – I associate it almost completely with my sister’s breast cancer and her death, because I started it during my last visit to see her… Plus, it’s the last stamped cross stitch I will ever do, well, except a few small cute ones… I learned a lot about how to make stamped cross stitch come out looking fairly okay during this project, but it’s a mighty pain, and most of this one doesn’t look too bad. But, the heavy association with my sister’s death, and wanting to cleanse some of that bad juju, will likely lead me to burn it in a sort-of ceremonial style way. I want my memories to be of the good times we had together, not the bad times. So, thought I’d share that with you as another example of reasons to give up (and/or get rid of) a cross stitch project. Best wishes!

    1. LordLibidan

      I’m 100% in agreement with you there. I got no time for bad juju. Although at first I was like “you wanna burn it!?!”
      Sorry to hear about your sister though. Maybe you could cannibalize the one you hate and use bits in a new project? Turn the bad into good…