Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Sky Is Falling! The Sky Is Falling!

Well, no, not really, of course not. It's just -- two consecutive posts, on two consecutive days?! The sky falling in is more likely than that!

But I wanted to respond to the several positive comments I got about my cross stitch. It is a complicated pattern, but made much simpler by two nifty little tricks I learned from a cross-stitch group I joined online: parking threads, and gridding.

Some people grid their fabric conscientiously, every ten or twenty stitches, using ordinary sewing thread, and the whole fabric looks like a giant checkerboard until they start stitching. I don't have the patience for that; so on a pattern like this, I work it in blocks of 10 x 10. (My pattern is gridded.)

Then there's parking: Once I've finished a sequence of stitches in one color, I find where it next occurs within that 10 x 10 grid, and bring up the thread in that space, and leave it there. Then I pick up the next color and work with that in the same way. When I've finished with the color in that row, I park it in the next place where it will occur. Looks something like this:

x = brown
~ = red
$ = green (all examples -- this whole piece takes a total of 87 colors!)

xxxx~~xx$$
$$~~~~$$$x
x ~ $

Now, it will occur to you that the last little tongue on the piece I put up yesterday looks like a heck of a lot more than a 10 x 10 grid. That's because I was down to the last 40 rows, and decided to work that bit straight down to the end, just to make sure I wasn't going to run out of room at the end -- yes, I had checked and double-checked innumerable times, but "paranoia strikes deep, into your life it will creep" (OK, Blast from the Past out of my system now). I had to be sure. Now that I am sure, I've gone back to a regular 10 x 10 grid.

And once this page is done, my pattern will be 20% complete. The next part takes me back up to the sky, and to stitching the word "Hope" in the sky -- the idea is to have "New Hope and Ivyland" arcing across the sky, and the word "Railroad" appearing in a straight line beneath those words. It's a present for my son, who has seen it, and, for an almost-27-year-old bachelor male, is quite excited about it!

3 comments:

Philippa said...

Those are two excellent ideas. I never thought of that. I always finished a color and jumped all over the place by counting blocks. I like the idea of parking threads. That way you are also stitching down the threads for a better hold in place.

Hmmm...I may be inspired to pick up an unfinished project so I can practice these two new ideas.

Thanks Miss Meg!!

Catrin said...

I have to confess I don't have the patience to "grid" fabric like so many do. In only one case have I done so (an icon I hope to finish in this lifetime :) but I did not use thread. Instead I use an ink pen - NOT felt, or something that might not be permenant - very, very carefully counting my spaces - I draw the grids in. I actually do have the patience for this and I don't have to deal with some thead I used for gridding. It works for me, and I am using Congress Cloth on that project. I would not do this on Linen, only on Congress Cloth or Canvas.

When it comes to complicated pieces with full coverage and lots of color, I do it pretty much the way Meg does. I don't actualy my threads, but I work section by section - pick a block, fill it, move onto the next one. I do this by pre-threading as many needles as seems appropriate and just setting to it. Parked needles/threads get in my way, but it is certainly a good approach.

Margi said...

Ohhhhhhh... lol (I think) so now I know why my cross-stitch was always such a disaster. I thought I had to count the threads in the fabric as I went along. I gave up :-)