Pals Hints, Tips & Infomation

If you have a tip, hint or just some info you'd like to see posted here, please E-mail it and I'll get it added. All the pals are responsible for the information here, sorry we can't give credit to each individual.


Stitching Tips

Colonial Knot~~Bring your thread up in the desired location that you want the knot to be. Put the point of your needle so it touches the fabric where you want to go back down. Now wrap the thread around your needle in a clockwise fashion and bring it back to the front. (Half of your figure 8) Now with the thread still in your hand, lift up your needle with the loop on and wrap your thread around your needle again only counter closckwise (your 1st loop will be on the top portion of your needle) and bring this loop around the bottom of the needle. As it lays there you can kinda see the figure 8. Put your needle in where you want to go back down in your fabric and pull your stitch tight, then pull your needle through your fabric. It can never come undone as the 2 "loops" are going in opposite direction and can't tip over.

Some projects asked for blending filament or tweeding. I found that I go faster if I prepare a carboard bobbin with specific floss and blending filament.

1 strand of Anchor 874
1 strand of Anchor 956
2 strand of Kreinik 032

I identify the bobbin with the symbol and put it in a separate case in my storage box used for the ongoing project. A lot easier to work this way.

I try to do the backstitching when an item or a group of items (ie: persons, trees, birds) is completed. This way, I do not miss any stitches, especially ¼ and ¾ stitches.

If you want to reverse a pattern copy it on to a transparency.

Beads on Cross Stitch~~When I attach beads to a piece I use two strands of floss. I come up at the bottom left of the x, put the bead on and go down at the top right. I them come up at the bottom right, split the floss on each side of the bead and go down at the top left. It looks something like this /=first leg of stitch and \=last leg of stitch. I think this really secures the bead and keeps it in the middle of the x.

Doing the bottom half of the cross all the way then coming back and crossing them looks a lot better (especially from the back) than crossing each stitch as you go. And did you know that when you make a completed row it's called a "journey" ?

Loop Method~~Fold the floss in two, and insert your needle through the loop in the floss as you come to the back of the first stitch, it locks your thread in place.

Metallics~~when stitching with metallics or metallics mixed with floss: fold the thread to make a loop, then insert the looped end into the needle; pull the ends through the loop and tighten, pulling the thread snug up against the eye of the needle. This will keep the metallic thread from slipping around while you stitch.

Waste Canvas~~Backing when using waste canvas. I have always put a light-weight fusible backing underneath. That way you know the T-shirt can't stretch as you are basting on the waste canvas. I use tapestry needles -- they are a little sharper to get through all the material, but not so sharp that you'll keep pricking yourself.


Finishing Your Stitched Pieces

I use one strand only for any count fabric. Now don't get excited. I go over each leg of stitch 1, 2 or 3 times as dictated by the count of the fabric. Whatever is needed to get good full coverage. The reason for this is: (1) fewer strands beginning & ending to weave in (2) neater backs as you have a xs on back also (if stitching 2-3 times on leg) (3) less chance for carry-over thread to show when you have to skip to another stitching area. In this vein, I make sure that carry-over is diagonally on back, doesn't show as much that way) (4) I can railroad with my left thumb (I use 4" hoop) and place strand exactly where I want it. #4 will not work if you're using frame or 2 handed method.

I take a finished cross stich piece and sew strips of 1&1/2 inch fabric on all sides, Log Cabin pattern style. I usually do four rows of fabric on each side.
When I am done with the strips, I place it face down on a piece of batting material (old mattress pads work great), and a piece of backing material.I usually use ether double bias tape or material strips (folded in half and sewn together & turned right side out) as the hanging part. THese need to be on the inside with just just small tail extending thru the sew line. Sew all edges, leaving a 3" opening to turn it right side out. Once you turn it right side out, you should have your stitched piece with four stips of fabric on each side (overlapping each other on the ends), a batting piece behind it and a backing piece on the back, with 2-4 hanging tabs spaced across the top. I usually will do what quilters call quilting in the ditch, on the top side then. This means I usually sew along the edge where the cross stitched piece meets the material all the way around all four sides. SOmetimes I also quilt (sewing by machine, straight stitch) on the material part. As sometimes instead of strips I use a series of small 2-3" blocks of different fabrics sewn together.

I have done some that I just place in the old style wood hoops, trim the fabric and glue it down on the back edge. THen trim it with a ruffled piece of fabric or lace or both. I also did this a clock piece, but you have to make sure when you hang it that it hangs on the clockworks not the hoop this prevents it from pulling on the stitched piece. THe clockworks are very lightweight and I have had mine done for several years and shows no wear and tear.

Mounting by Lacing~~ Stabilize your edges with bias tape, machine zig zag or hand overcast to role a tiny edge. Use acid free foam core instead of the sticky board. Positon your work on the foam core and temporarily pin (I use T or push pins)in place along the edges. Then using a neutral color cotton sewing thread (waxing it helps to strenghthen it) carefully "lace" your work. "Lacing"=criss-crossing back and forth between opposite finished edges of the work. Begin in the center and work outwards to maintain even tension. Depending on the size you may have to tie on additional lenghth to the lace or end off and begin a seond thread. If you pull an area out of alignment you can usually adjust the tension of the laces to work it back to proper position.


Stitching Tools

My favorite one is the magnets. Couldn’t live without them. Very handy, it holds the scissor and when you want to change your floss, instead of leaving your needle on the table, you attached it to your magnet. You won’t lose it on the floor....! Only one problem, anything metallic becomes magnitized by leaving it too long on the magnet, but if I drop a needle on the floor, my scissors will attract it for me.


Storing Charts, Floss, etc

I have a binder for the alphabets, one for the charts that I have interest in, one binder for the different stitches, one binder for the tips from different sites, etc. In each binder, I will have an index so it is much easier to find what I am looking for.

I put my charts into plastic pages/sleeves and store them in a notebook labeled with the name of the designer. Each notebook is then put on my "stitching" bookshelf.

I store my floss in a large tackle box-the kind that has dividers that can be moved (so as each section of numbers grows, so does the space). Mine has two sides, so I have double the space. It's made by Plano

I store lots of buttons, charms, large beads, etc. in clear film containers-you know, the kind 35mm film comes in. Then I put the whole collection in a smaller tackle box.

When I finish a project, I press it, roll it up(right side in, of course) and place it inside a cardboard tube until I can get it to the framer. That way it stays nice and clean and PRESSED.

As I finish a project, I take a picture of the finished item, date it, list where I keep the directions,and put the photo in my "Stitching Thru the Years" album. I keep an index page in the front of the album to list the names of people that I've stitched gifts for and what they were ( so I don't repeat)

Whenever I see a really good idea or tip (i.e. framing, matting, back of work) etc. I print it out and put it into my Cross Stitch Notes notebook. Getting on the pc isn't always convenient at times so a notebook really helps.


Posting on the Message Boards

To post an image on the BB's, find the image you want to use on a webpage, right click on it, click on 'copy image location', then on the BB, paste it in the Image URL box. After you post your message, go to the BB and click on it. There's you image!

To post a link to a site, copy the URL from that page (or type it in, but make sure it's correct), paste it in the Link URL box, then type the name of the site or the page in the Link Title Box. After you post your message, go to the BB and click on it. You might want to check to make sure you have the link correct.


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