Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Posing a Stitchy Question

At the beginning of the year my website designer suggested that I should probably be using more social media platforms like Instagram or Pinterest to help gain followers for my designs as I have such a visual product and my first reaction was .... oh no more technology to get my head around!  It just takes me a little time to get the hang of it all.  My Gen Y daughter (who seems to be across all forms of social media) thought it would be a good idea too and tried to explain how it all worked, how to set it up, etc. and I was left with my head spinning and so the whole idea was put in the 'too hard basket' - at least for a little while.  But never let it be said that I don't give things a try.  With a bit of googling here and there I had soon set up my own Instagram account and posted my first photo.

If I can be totally honest I love Instagram because I am following some absolutely amazing stitchers and embroiderers and their work is so beautiful. From small and simple projects to large and stunning designs I feel like I am part of a global community where we share a common interest and gain inspiration from each other and that gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling.  One of the things I love in particular is seeing photos of other stitchers' WIP's (Works in Progress) of the larger projects as it's always lovely to watch the design come to life and I've been interested to notice how some stitchers work differently.  What I am talking about is the technique of 'parking' threads.  I've noticed how the stitching is started in the top left corner and worked either line by line or grid by grid down the design with the threads 'parked' or left loose on the front of the fabric ready to be re-threaded when needed again.  

This photo is courtesy of crossstitchforum.com. 

Now, I have worked on a number of large projects myself over the years and was always informed that it is vital to start your stitching in the centre of the fabric so as to ensure that your work has left an even border and sufficient fabric needed for framing or trimming.  And I have always worked with one colour at a time within a certain space and in a certain direction to help get the feel for the design whilst at the same time marking off the symbols on the pattern with a coloured pencil.  Perhaps I should have taken the time to grid the fabric but I managed quite okay working this way.   I understand that by gridding the fabric with thread or marking with a pen that it is possible to use mathematics to count up the design and match where on the fabric that the design would start on Line 1 and then logically work down from there.  That I get.  But I look at the technique of 'parking' the threads and I have to wonder how not only do they not become tangled, but if it really does save time if you are having to re-thread the needle each time and be careful that the 'parked' threads are kept out of the way. 

When I was stitching my large projects I had a cross stitch needle organiser which allowed me to thread all the colours required for the project on a needle and when not in use placed into foam which had been wedged on to a frame-like device against a very small window where the corresponding symbol for that colour could be written.  

Perhaps this thread parking technique has been around for quite a while and I've just not been aware of it, but I have to say that in all the workshops and groups of stitching that I have been a part of, this is something I've not seen before.

So I would be very interested to hear from anyone in the cyber stitching community with their thoughts on this stitching method and its advantages.  I would also be interested to hear of any other helpful ideas for working on large projects with regards to using different colours over a small area within the design.  It's always great to be able to help each other.


'Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens' - Jim Hendrix

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