In my last article, I wrote about the seven bad habits of cross stitching – those dark secrets that lurk in everyone’s cross stitching past – and even persist when we become more skilled. Today, I’m thinking of the opposite – cross stitching tips: the 7 essential secrets of the best stitchers. You’d think that this may just be the opposite of the bad habits. But great cross stitching doesn’t just mean avoidance of bad habits.
Cross Stitching Tips for Spectacular Results
There are important strategies you can use positively to get the best results. These include:
1. Use the best cross stitch equipment you can afford. Stitching is a relatively cheap hobby. However, you will get better results from a good sharp pair of embroidery scissors, than an old pair of ordinary scissors. And you will see the difference between good quality threads and cheap floss that you can buy from a market stall. Usually, you get what you pay for.
3. Prepare your project before you start it. It’s important to sort out your threads before you begin – placing each colour in a thread sorter. It can be frustrating to discover when you are well into your project that you have used the wrong shade of a certain colour. Oversew the edges of the fabric to prevent fraying.
4. Store your ‘Works in Progress’ (WIPs) well. Good storage of sewing equipment will make your work easier to manage. As for the projects themselves, roll up your work, remove the hoop or needle, and place neatly with all the necessary threads etc. in a space where it will not get mixed up with another project. Never leave WIPs on shelves or at the backs of cupboards where they pick up dust and stains.
A further 3 cross stitching tips
5. Make the back of your work neat! Trim the ends of threads. Use no knots or trailing threads.
6. Plan your route around the chart/pattern. This will prevent the temptation to trail threads across the back. Counting over short distances can help you avoid mistakes. It’s generally agreed to start near the middle of the chart, and work outwards.
7. Look after your finished work. You may need to wash it gently if it is stained. Otherwise, iron it between two soft towels. Be careful not to press too heavily on the stitches. The thread looks nicer if it isn’t flattened. Mount or frame your finished work with care. And take photos of projects that you plan to give away. Result: Stitching Perfection!
Here is a revealing short (4 mins) video with smart cross stitching tips on getting your stitches nice and even. Wait until you see the back off her stitched piece. It’s probably not what you’ll expect.
Hopefully you learned something useful from this video. I certainly did, especially when she showed us the reverse side of her stitched project.
I hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful. Most of these tips are widely known and are plain old common sense. However, many of us have ignored them at times, mostly due to laziness – I’ve certainly been guilty of such too often I’m ashamed to admit. I’d love to hear from you with any tips, in the comments section below, of your own that you consider essential to your own stitching success; I always reply.
Scarlet, In the UK.