Cross Stitch F.A.Q.s

Here we shall attempt to answer some of your most common questions. Please let me know of any needed additions!
Where can I find a specific pattern?
Can I sew this on Aida? The design calls for linen but I would like to do this design on Aida.
My cross stitch got dirty, how do I clean it?
What if there are no instructions with the design?
Can I order by mailed check? I don't like using my credit card online.
How long will it take to get my order? Do you keep everything in stock?
I've ordered a kit but I ran out of thread! Help!
Please also see Helpful Hints and Glossary of Terms.

Q. Where can I find a specific pattern? I am searching for a pattern of...

You can find designs on my web site by:
the designer's name  - go to my 'Designers' page
the subject type  - go to my 'Subjects' page
the title  -in the Search box above, type a word or two of the title.

If you cannot find the design you want on my web site I have linked to the Hoffman Distributing Company web site.  They are wholesale distributors and they list about 12,000 designs by title, designer, number and subject.  I can get any of them for you.  To see them, please:
1.  Click on the link to Hoffman Distributing above, then Choose Designer or Keyword search.
2.  For a Keyword Search, enter in the Keyword Search box the word that you think describes the subject, or is in the title, or is in the cross-stitched words,  then click the Search box, instead of hitting 'Enter'.  This might produce hundreds of 'hits'.  Searching on two or more words may work, and the designs you find will be far fewer, and closer to what you want.  If that gives you no 'finds', you  probably have to enter fewer search words or a different Searchword.
Instead of doing a Keyword search you can also do a Designer Search of the Hoffman site, by entering a designer's name, or check several and see the lists and thumbprint pictures, after that you can narrow it down by subjects as well.
If you find what you want there, please note the title, designer and code number of the chart(s) you want.   That is all I need, and I can get it for you in about ten days or so. Please note that all the pictures on the Hoffman site are of charts, they do not sell kits.  I can kit most of the designs, but I will have to buy the chart for you first, in order to find out what materials are needed.

Q. Can I sew this on Aida? I have sewn on linen all my life and I would like to do this design on Aida.

If you go to my 'Glossary' page, you will see many ideas on linen and Aida.  It is important to know the difference between these fabrics.
If the pattern calls for sewing 'over two' on linen, you can get the same size of project by sewing 'over one' on Aida.  However, there are limitations on this change-over.  If the linen calls for 'over one', you would have to sew over a half on Aida - i.e. put the needle through the stands of fabric between the holes instead of through the holes.  This is the situation with quarter-stitches, and it can be with back-stitches. Therefore, it is more difficult to do the quarter-stitches and some back-stitches on Aida.  It can be done.  Many people do it.  But, it is up to you if you want to try it. Some designs say that it may not be sewn on Aida.
If the linen was 32 count, you need a 16 count of Aida to get the same size picture.  And, 28 count linen or Jobelan needs 14 count Aida.
If the linen is to be sewn over one,  you would have the greatest difficulty in transferring it to Aida, unless you want to sew it over one also, and then the size would come out as twice the original size.

Q. My cross stitch got dirty, how do I clean it?

It is the greatest pity when a great project gets a black mark.  It is hardly comforting to let you know that ladies used to sew with gloves so as keep the fabric clean.  It is still of the greatest importance to follow all the helpful hints that save you from this devastating situation. (Some hints are on my 'Helpful Hints' page.)

However, if you need to clean a finished piece, you have two choices, wash or dry clean.  If you go to a dry cleaners, you must only use a high quality one and discuss the possibility of the dye running beforehand.
If you wish to wash it, I suggest you test the threads left over for dye-running first of all.  In any case, washing should be done in cold water, never scrubbed, and only gently rinsed through.  I cannot recommend any of the washing powders, etc. as any may be too strong.
After washing, do not wring it out, but lay it out to dry.
Remember these things:
1.  The better quality flosses run less often - you can phone and ask the floss manufacturers about it.
2.  If you do not know the make of the floss,  ask.
3.  The darker colors run more than the lighter colors.

Q. What if there are no instructions with the design?

The older designs are less likely to have full instructions as mothers used to teach their daughters to sew.  Some of the designs coming out now are full of instructions, of a general nature, and some are specific to the design.  Most of these are excellent, and you can learn a lot from them.  Some have just the basic about the cross stitch, and other types of stitches have to be found elsewhere. 

If the design has no instructions, then these are generally what most cross stitchers do:
On linens and evenweaves (usually 25 count and up) the cross stitch is sewn over two holes, with two strands in the needle.
On Aida (usually 18 count and down) the cross stitch is sewn over one hole with two strands in the needle.
Remember that there are linens with 18 counts as well Aidas.

Cotton floss comes in a skein of 6-stranded thread.  This is separated into single strands before sewing.
Braids and filaments must not be unravelled.
Floss, braids and filaments must be securely fastened at both ends.
Back stitches are usually sewn with one strand of floss.
Braids (like Kreinik) are used with the whole thread -  single thread.
Filaments are usually sewn with one thread of filament and one strand of floss in the needle.
If there are quarter stitches, it varies much more from design to design as to how many strands are used.

Beads are sewn with the same color thread as the bead, using a half cross stitch in the same direction as the under-half of the other cross stitches.  There are other ideas about this such as using the thread of the same color as the fabric, or using a colorless (invisible) thread. Some people use a full cross stitch.  Keep it consistent.

Keep your project clean.  Preferably wash it before rather than after sewing it,  Floss dye colors can run.

REMEMBER to read the instructions fully before starting, and they always supersede these general ideas.

Q. Can I order by mailed check? I don't like using my credit card online.

Absolutely, we accept mail orders. In fact, you can order through our website using a mailed check. Add the items you are interested in to your cart. Then 'checkout'. There will be an option to pay by a mailed check or money order. Fill out the form (this will calculate the shipping and taxes if applicable), then print it off and send it in the mail, along with your check. Mail it to:
Salt & Pepper
1302 English Ave NW
New Prague, MN 56071
There are two conditions - Firstly, the check or money order must be made in US Dollars, and secondly, we will wait for your check to arrive and clear before we send your order.

Q. How long will it take to get my order? Do you keep everything in stock?

The vast majority of orders ship within 2 business days, and will be in the hands of US customers within a week or so. We keep a healthy inventory of everything we carry on site. Even so, it is impossible to keep everything in stock all of the time, especially if items get backordered. In cases where an item is out-of-stock, it can take 2-3 weeks or so for shipment, and if the item is backordered, it can take longer. If you have a question about the status of an order or backorder, we will happily and quickly answer it for you! You can email us through our contact form. We answer all emails about orders and do our best to keep you informed. For credit card orders, we will not process your payment until the items are ready to ship.

Q. I've ordered a kit but I ran out of thread. Help!

If you have run out of thread for a Dimensions kit, this post on our chat forum should be very helpful!
Other kit manufacturers, like Bucilla, are also very good about sending replacement threads. All you have to do is ask them, or use their conversion chart to DMC.
Lanarte is much more close about their floss conversions. However, I have never yet heard of one Lanarte kit that ran out of floss. If it happens to you, I will see what I can do to help!
And of course, if you bought a full kit from Salt & Pepper, that came with the full skeins of DMC, and you needed more than one skein of a color or otherwise ran out - let us know! We make the kits based on the requirements listed on the patterns, but sometimes these may be misprinted or miscalculated. We will not only send you the skein you need, but also update our kit requirements so that future customers do not experience any shortage.