Last but not least in the parade of presents are a set of monogrammed handkerchiefs I embroidered for Andy's grandpa, Mark. The hankies themselves came from the men's department at Nordstrom (there were three, but the third hankie didn't make it into this photo, I guess, I can't remember) and I embroidered the monogram using 14-count waste canvas and cross stitches.
Do you know about waste canvas? It is super, super cool. Waste canvas is available at any fabric store or craft store that sells embroidery supplies, and it allows you to cross stitch on fabrics that aren't "evenweave" fabrics. It is a heavyweight grid of canvas threads held together with water-soluble glue. It looks a lot like needlepoint canvas, and comes in different "counts." The "count" of a piece of cross-stitch fabric determines how many stitches per inch you will be making when following the grid of that fabric. Waste canvas typically comes in counts of 8.5, 10, 14, or 18 stitches per inch. The more stitches you have per inch, the smaller your design motif will be.
For this project, I used 14-count waste canvas, and 2 strands of cotton embroidery floss. To work it, I basted a piece of waste canvas to the hankie, and then stitched the design through the grid using a crewel (sharp) needle. Then I trimmed away most of the excess waste canvas and soaked the whole thing briefly in water, which dissolves the glue of the waste canvas and makes its threads very pilable. Then, using tweezers, I slowly plucked and slid each waste canvas thread out from under my cross stitches, being careful to keep the canvas threads parallel to the hankie while I was pulling. This sounds a bit fussy and tedious, but I assure you that at this point (after you've spent the time stitching the design) you are pretty psyched to see how it looks on its own, and this step is the most fun.
There is a nice photo tutorial of how to use waste canvas here, and some tips and pointers about choosing designs to use here. But there are also very good directions on any packaged canvas you buy, and once you've done it you will see how easy it is to use and then you'll want to put a little cross-stitched motif on absolutely everything. At least that's what happened to me. Ohhhh, the possibilities here. . . . It's too good.