Stitching on plastic canvas and perforated paper
Plastic canvas and perforated paper are two alternatives to stitching on fabric.
This versatile medium is very useful for producing free-standing small designs in cross-stitch, or needlepoint stitches, to use as card decorations or as small ornaments to hang from a Christmas tree.
To use plastic canvas
First cut a piece of canvas at least 2 inches bigger all round than the size of your completed design.
Carefully bind the edges of your canvas with masking tape. You don't want to damage your hands, or risk fraying your thread by catching either on a sharp edge
Start stitching as usual from the centre of your design and work outwards. Plastic canvas is often worked in yarn or wool rather than stranded cotton. This ensures that the bare canvas is adequately covered.
When finished, cut carefully around the design with a small pair of general service craft scissors, ensuring that you leave a border of one un-stitched square of canvas all the way around your design.
Oversew around the edge of your canvas shape to cover the outside edges.
You now have a completed design to attach to the front of a card or alternatively you can attach a piece of ribbon to it and use as a hanging decoration.
A form of perforated paper was available from Victorian times. It was among other things used to decorate boxes, notebooks and cards.
Perforated paper has a right side i.e. the smoother side of the paper is the bit that should show.
Be careful not to bend or crease the paper since you don't want creases showing on blank areas of the design.
Unlike canvas you can use a ruler to locate and then mark your central starting point with a soft pencil. This mark can be erased if necessary afterwards.
An advantage that paper has over canvas is that if you wish you can keep a wider paper border and when you have completed your stitching, the border can be cut into a patterned border to give a lace effect.
This is the bit I love. With both mediums you need to use whole stitches only. Just because I know how to do half and three-quarter stitches, it doesn't mean I have to enjoy them!