Monday, October 26, 2009

Ways to Improve Your Stitching

Here are a few simple suggestions for improving your stitching. More to come in the days ahead.
  1. Use a new needle for each project. The plating on tapestry needles wears off amazingly fast. If the plating is gone, the needle may leave a black mark when you stitch. Metallics and other rough fibers can nick the needle eye. If this happens, it will rough up your threads and will contribute to pilling.
  2. Use the correct size needle for your canvas. In general, use a size 20 for 13 mesh, 22 for 18 mesh, and 24 for Congress cloth. A slightly larger needle can be used when stitching vertical and horizontal decorative stitches.
  3. Work from light to dark colors. Fuzzy threads like wool pick up fibers from existing stitches. So, if you've stitched red and then stitch around it in white, the white may pick up little bits of the red, leaving a pink smudge.
  4. Clip the threads close to your stitching on the back so you don't "pick them up" when you stitch the next area.
  5. For best results, stitch on a frame. Stretcher bars and scroll bars keep the canvas taut so the stitches don't distort the shape of the canvas.
  6. Work with clean hands.
  7. Protect your work from animals, spills, and other accidents.
  8. Work in the best light you can manage.
  9. Choose to stitch only things you're crazy about. There's nothing worse than dreading a project because you don't like the design.
  10. Try something new. Take classes. Try new threads, new stitches, new techniques. If you always stitch painted canvas, try a charted design. If you always stitch from charts, try a painted canvas. Try blackwork, Japanese embroidery, bargello, goldwork, stumpwork.