The TW Lists
pose special challenges to the stitcher. Embarking on a "stitching
marathon" can be a rewarding (and even pleasant!) experience if approached
in an organized manner.
First of all (and this may sound strange, but trust me, it's very
important!) As with any challenge you face, you need to be ready:
prepare yourself mentally! And, you should ask yourself some questions.
You are going to be expending a large amount of energy, not to mention
a large chunk of your time (and probably money) on a large project.
Are you willing to make such an investment? Are you someone who stitches
only one project at a time, and will a big, time-consuming project
make you miserable? If you stitch several projects in a rotation,
how often will you work on the "monster"? These questions aren't meant
to discourage you; merely to remind you that a decision to stitch
a large piece should be one that is grounded in reality....
After you've decided that you'd like to tackle stitching a large piece,
these tips should help keep frustration at bay:
purchasing the floss for a large piece, be sure to buy from the
same dye lot if extra skeins of the same color are noted in the
instructions; dye lots can vary substantially.
sure you have enough fabric for your design; don't skimp! Remember
to allow at least 3 extra inches on each side of the design,
and be sure to finish the edges to minimize fraying. Many stitchers
believe this amount is not enough, especially if the fabric frays
at all, and they allow more than three inches.
organized! It will take a bit of extra time and may seem like
a bother, but it's definitely well worth the effort. If you work
on several projects in rotation, this will prove doubly advantageous:
it allows you to set aside a large piece, work on something else,
and then come back to the original project days/weeks/months/years?!?!
later with minimal problems.
Floss is one of the best things you can do to keep a large
project under control.
the chart is a big one-piece fold-out giant, which is very
difficult to handle, make a working photocopy in normal page-size
sections, enlarging it if necessary. (Note: See warning
concerning photocopying). This also has the added psychological
benefit of breaking the large piece down into 'manageable' sections...much
to begin stitching? Many of my large designs have borders, and
I usually recommend stitching the very outermost edge of the border
first for a couple of reasons:
this minimal amount of stitching, you can be sure the fabric
size is correct for the design. Once the counting has been
double checked, you can also rest assured that the
stitch count is correct as well.
the entire outside edge of the design stitched, there is always
a concrete reference point if you would like to move around
and stitch somewhere else on the design. Just remember to
always count in from an edge, and not from the stitching
you've just completed, in case you've miscounted somehow!
I heartily recommend moving around if you have stitched the
outside edge first: it serves to break the design down into
"small designs" within the big design: and gives one a sense
of accomplishment and a much-needed psychological "boost".
It also helps to keep boredom at bay!
the darker 10th chart grid lines directly onto the fabric using
light-colored sewing thread is another trick stitchers use to
stay properly oriented. It's a bit time-consuming, but works very
well. Just be sure that the chart is actually divided into 10
X 10 blocks. With this method, you will always have "concrete"
reference points (the basted grid lines), which will allow you
to move around on the design. I recommend this technique if there
is no border, or you make frequent mistakes in counting.
do I "keep my place" on the chart? It's easy to become "lost"
with some of my complex charts...
stitchers "color in" the areas of the chart they've already
stitched using highlighting markers (the fluorescent colors
that allow the chart symbols to show through). If you've made
a photocopy, this method works
fine, and the original chart remains undamaged.
stitcher laminate their charts, which allows them to mark
on the plastic without harming the chart, and also eliminates
the photocopying aspect.
I am so very color-oriented, and have a difficult time distinguishing
all those small black symbols from one another as I'm stitching,
my favorite method consists of making an enlarged copy, and
then coloring in the blocks using colored pencils. The colors
I use have absolutely no bearing on the actual floss colors
used, I simply use the most visible colors: the ones I can
most easily distinguish at a glance. Whatever works, is my
Finally, some common sense things to remember:
pieces of needlework require alot of handling. For that reason,
be sure your hands are very clean when you stitch. Resist
the urge to touch the stitches, especially the front of your work.
caution is required if you are stitching using a hoop. In moving
the hoop around on your work, the stitches are distorted and stressed.
It takes a surprisingly small amount of friction to make floss
begin to lose its sheen and "pill". Additionally, unless a hoop
is moved frequently, the inevitable "ring" develops: dirt and
dust adhere to the minuscule amounts of oil even clean hands leave
using stretcher bars, onto which the fabric is rolled, be sure
the finished stitching is rolled "under" instead of "over" the
bars. When stitching is rolled "under" the back of the stitching
takes any wear and tear. If the stitching is rolled"over" the
bars, the exposed stitches must take the stress, and will show
the wear very quickly.
you store needlework for any amount of time, do not leave needles
in the fabric; they may rust.
2000-2013, Teresa Wentzler. All images and information on this
website owned and copyrighted by Teresa Wentzler, PO Box 176, Montoursville,
PA 17754, USA. All rights reserved.