Stitches

A basic single Cross Stitch if you complete each cross before moving on to the next is called 'English' Cross Stitch. Traditionally cross stitch is done from lower left to upper right then lower right to upper left.

-stitch

but there is no reason why it can not be doen the other way from lower right to upper left then lower left to upper right . In Cross Stitch it is important that the top leg of the stitch always runs in the same direction. This gives an attractive surface to reflect the light. If you stitch a row of the bottom legs, completing the crosses with the top legs on the return it is called 'Danish' Cross Stitch.

danish

Partial stitches come in three kinds half-stitch, quarter-stitch, and three-quarter-stitch. They're very handy for detail work, shading, and rounding shapes to avoid the stair-step look

.half stitches

The half-stitch is the bottom leg of the cross stitch. That's all two of the corners will still be vacant

You often read of the "half-cross" stitch in needlepoint directions, and this may be where the term "half- stitch" originated. Half-cross in needlepoint is the same thing as the half-stitch in cross stitch. The half- cross looks the same on the front as the tent/continental/basketweave stitch but uses a lot less wool to stitch. On the back of the work is only an upright stitch-- | --instead of a slanted stitch-- / -- which means that this stitch wears less well for things such as footstool or chair seats. A Half-cross also tends to distort the canvas more than other stitches because of the consistent pull in only one direction.

half cross

In cross stitch, half-stitch is often used for shading, background objects, or to really lighten the colour. The effect of half-stitches is better when seen from a distance!

Half-stitch isn't used that often. The partial stitches that are used quite a bit are quarter-stitch and three-quarter-stitch.

Taken separately, these two stitches cover half the area of a full cross stitch, with the three-quarter-stitch looking more "complete."

A one-quarter-stitch is from one corner to the middle (where the legs of the x would cross).

A three-quarter-stitch is a one-quarter-stitch plus a half-stitch.

The stitches themselves are simple enough. The problem is interpreting the chart! When you have two colors sharing a box on the chart, the general rule is that the object closer to the viewer gets the three- quarter-stitch. The object farther away gets the one-quarter-stitch. For example, suppose it's an apron on a dress. The apron color would be the three-quarter-stitch and the dress color would be the one-quarter- stitch because the apron lies atop the dress and is thus "closer" to the viewer. Other ways to describe this relationship are foreground/background and front/behind.

Sometimes this guideline doesn't work. Maybe neither object is closer to the viewer. Now ask yourself: what is the function of this pair of partial stitches? You may find that you need to skip these combination stitches until more of the area around them is complete; then come back and see if it's more obvious which color should be the larger partial stitch.

There's still another chart problem as regards partial stitches! This one involves backstitch!

What happens when a chart square has two colors in it -and- a backstitch line through it?! There are two schools of thought.

(1) Do two one-quarter-stitches--one of each color--and let the backstitch line function also as the half-stitch.

(2) Do one one-quarter-stitch and one three-quarter-stitch and place the backstitch on top of all.

 

Smyrna Cross Stitch aka Double Cross Stitch The fact that there are so many variations of this stitch shows that the exact order isn't terribly important. The real thing to notice however, is that invariably the the 'X' or cross is done first and then the 'plus' over the top.

smyrna

The French Knot is a fun and often used. It does take a little practise, however. Bring the needle up through the fabric. With the needle pointing away from the fabric, twist the floss two or three times around the needle. Insert the needle part way in the same place (or very close to) where you brought up the needle. Gently pull the thread until it coils at the tip. Pull the needle and thread the rest of the way through. Be careful not to pull too hard

french knot

The Colonial Knot is quite similar in appearance to the French Knot. Again it does take practice to make this one smoothly. Bring the needle up through the fabric. Pass the thread around the needle in a figure 8 pattern. Insert the needle part way in the same place (or very close to) where you brought up the needle. Gently pull the thread until it coils at the tip. Pull the needle and thread the rest of the way through being careful not to pull too hard.

colonial knot

Resign yourself that the back will never be as good as the front, even if you do a reversible cross stitch. The front is what's important so don't overly-stress on how the back will look! If it's a framed piece or a pillow, the back will be hidden. Do your stitches in a consistent manner -on that piece- either across the row or down the row. If working across, do either the English method (complete the whole x) or the Danish method (/// on one journey and \\\ on the second). One method will produce the "same pattern" on the back. Try to avoid a mishmash of methods on the same piece.

End your threads by weaving them under the same color, if at all possible. Otherwise, pick a similar color Don't carry your threads over more than 4 stitches or if possible not at all

A laying tool

is something that improves the look of your stitches.

laying tool laying tool 2

What do you use for a laying tool?

A big needle a #13 tapestry needle, or you can use a trolley needle (A trolley needle is like a thimble, in that it fits over your fingertip, but instead of being flat it has a sharp spike on the end), toothpick, plastic hair roller pick, a stick from a "Pick Up Sticks" game, a small-gauge knitting needle, or a skewer from a turkey-trussing set. You can also use a tekobari, a Japanese laying tool which is very sharp or, you can purchase a laying tool. A great one is the Perfect Stitch (Gripit Plus) - - wear it on your non-needle-hand thumb

Some laying tools have sharp ends so you can use them as an awl.

 

Here's how to use a laying tool.

Send the needle to the top of the fabric and pull the thread through all the way. Now bring the needle towards your navel so the thread comes out of the hole, lies on the surface of the fabric, and the needle points toward your body. Place the laying tool flat on the surface of the fabric, lying perpendicular to the thread and trapping the thread beneath it.

Hold the thread to the fabric surface by placing your thumb on the laying tool.

using laying tool

send the needle to the back of the work--STILL holding down the thread with the laying tool. As you pull the thread through, you will eventually reach the point where the laying tool is preventing your completely pulling the thread through to the back.

Pull the thread the rest of the way to the back. As you do this, the laying tool will rise up from the face of the fabric and move toward the hole into which the thread is sinking.

using laying 2

As you pull the thread and slowly lift the laying tool, keep the laying tool still parallel to the plane of the fabric. This keeps tension on the thread, and the thread doesn't just twist any way it wants to as it goes to the back of the work.

Finally the thread will be pulled through as far as you can and the laying tool will be trapped beneath the stitch. Pull out the tool and finish pulling the thread all the way through to the back of the work.

laying tool differencetop row is using laying tool bottom row not

Some stitchers use the laying tool to "stroke" the thread. This, they say, helps the plies straighten themselves out into a neat parallel alignment.

The tip of the laying tool also can be used to comb through the stands of floss to help them lie parallel. This is especially helpful when stitching with more than 2 plies, and I find "combing" more effective than "stroking."

The first way to reduce knots is to let the needle dangle from the back of the work.

Another way to discourage tangles is to counteract the unconscious twist we give the needle. Do this by twisting the needle in the opposite direction. If you're right-handed, it's likely you twist your needle clockwise. (Left-handers probably turn it counter-clockwise.) By looking at which way things untwist when you let your needle dangle, figure out which way you're turning the needle. Either as you pull the needle up or sink it, give it a quarter-turn in the opposite direction.

Moistening the thread really works wonders for eliminating knots and tangles. I think it's the one single thing you can do to reduce these problems. Get yourself a hunk of clean sponge moisten it and squeeze out almost all the water so that it's damp but not sopping. Put it in a plastic container like a little box or a film can. Pull out one strand of floss from the 6-strand length (this is called stripping) let it dangle until it untwists itself and then run it over the moist sponge. Set the thread aside to dry (30-60seconds). You will see that moistening the thread is like ironing it. When it's flatter and straighter, it's less likely to kink up. Keep the same cut ends together so you can tell which way the grain of the thread runs. Don't stitch with moist floss! Let it dry first! Stitching with long lengths also invites tangles, use a thread about 15-18" in length.

A quick trick for stitching on dark fabrics -- Get a piece of tailor's chalk and brush on to the top of the fabric. It makes the holes show up immediately and very clearly. It brushes right off and will not stain. Only use it on the section you're immediately planning to work on, if you coat the entire surface, it will brush off before you get down to the far corner.

Another note on fabric types is that in general, aida stitchers tend to use hoops, Q-Snaps or scroll bars while stitching to keep their fabric taut. Stitchers using evenweaves and linens do not. Some of the advantages of not using hoops are

one can use the sewing method rather than the poking method.

getting to feel the fabric in your hand.

Easier to take with you

Completed projects look more like paintings; no holes showing in completed projects.

Easy to stitch 1/4 and 3/4 stitches

The sewing method is preferred for stitching on linen and some other evenweaves, but can also be used on Aida. Stitches are made as in hand sewing with needle going from front to back to front of fabric in one motion. All work is done from the front of the fabric. When stitching with the sewing method, it is important not to pull thread too tightly or stitches will become distorted. Stitching on linen is prettiest with the sewing method, using no hoop. If you use a hoop or frame when using the sewing method with Aida, keep in mind that fabric cannot be pulled taut. There must be "give" in the fabric in order for needle to slip in and out easily.

In the stab method, needle and floss are taken completely through fabric twice with each stitch. For the first half of the stitch, bring needle up and pull thread completely through fabric to the front. Then take needle down and reach underneath and pull completely through to bottom. Try these methods for beginning a thread, then decide which one is best for you.

When a group of stitches or a length of thread is completed, finish off the end carefully before starting a new colour. At the back of the work, pass the needle under stitches of the same or similar colour and snip off the loose end close to the stitching. Don't leave small loose ends, which have a nasty habit of pulling through to the right side!

Donxt be afraid of little stitches!" Being able to see the holes in this high count fabric seems to be the biggest challenge. A good light and a magnifier are often recommended.