The TW Lists
The following are some tips for working with specialty stitches. Always
practice unfamiliar stitches on a fabric swatch before adding them
to your piece. If a design contains specialty stitches, diagrams should
be included in the stitching instructions. Don't be intimidated! Most
specialty stitches are quite easy to master: simply follow the numbered
diagrams. Don't be discouraged if your first attempts look a bit lop-sided...it
will take a bit of practice to get them right. The tips below should
help smooth out any rough spots. But...Beware! specialty stitches
can be addicting!
Specialty stitches (sometimes called sampler stitches or palette stitches)
have very different qualities from basic cross stitch. I use them
in my designs for their contrasting textures and unique shapes - a
pleasant foil for all those uniform little "x"s! An added benefit
for the stitcher is the variation they add to the stitching process
adding specialty stitches to a design, use the designer-recommended
number of floss strands for the fabric count you are using. If
coverage is not to your liking, feel free to change the number
of strands used. If you are stitching on a fabric count that is
different from the designer's model (usually photographed for
the cover), you will need to experiment with the number of strands
until coverage is pleasing to you.
cross-stitching, it is important, in order to achieve a uniform
surface appearance, to keep floss strands from twisting. For beautiful
specialty stitches, this is an absolute necessity! The floss strands
must lay as flat as possible. The effect of specialty stitches
such as satin stitch, and eyelets can be ruined by twisted floss
strands. There are several ways to keep floss twisting to a minimum:
moisten individual floss strands and allow them to dry before
use. This tames the fuzz of the cotton fibers and removes
any kinks, allowing for a smoother stitched appearance.
your needle to "fall" and untwist periodically while stitching.
be sure to study the chart carefully: placing specialty stitches
can be a little tricky. Sometimes, due to editing errors, the
stitch diagrams included in the directions do not always match
exactly what is called for on the chart. For example: The chart
may show that you will need to stitch several different sizes
of eyelet stitches, but there may be only one eyelet diagram included
in the instructions. In this case, you will need to use the diagram
as a reference only: as instruction on how to do the stitch, not
necessarily as the exact size stitch you will use. In situations
with omitted diagrams, always be sure to read the chart carefully:
it will tell you exactly where to place a specialty stitch.
If you would like to learn more about specialty stitches for counted
work I recommend "A Notebook of Sampler Stitches" (Books 1 & 2) by
Eileen Bennett. These are small spiral bound notebooks which contain
a wealth of specialty stitches, background information, and nice,
clear diagrams. Another fabulous reference book is "The Proper Stitch"
by Darleen O'Steen: a unique spiral-bound hardback gem that contains
not only tons of specialty stitches, but also two gorgeous samplers
incorporating all the those stitches.
these sites for specialty stitches and stitch diagrams:
very cool animated diagrams!
B's Dictionary ofStitches for Embroidery
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website owned and copyrighted by Teresa Wentzler, PO Box 176, Montoursville,
PA 17754, USA. All rights reserved.