Wednesday, January 22, 2014

cross stitch: basic shit

i craft in phases.
like, i get really into one thing and do that almost exclusively for a while and then i find something else that's really interesting and turn my attention to that and sometimes forget about the first thing forever.
right now the thing is cross stitch.

it's really a lot easier than i expected it to be, although it's time consuming--it definitely helps to pass the time while marathoning on netflix, but it can be pretty slow going. this one took me about three episodes of buffy along with this week's elementary.

it's pretty simple, though, and i mostly got started because i had everything on hand (besides the aida cloth) already so it was pretty easy for me to adopt.
you need:
-embroidery floss (DMC seems to be the preferred brand, and you can pick out colours very specifically with that, but i've just been using a jumbo-pack of embroidery floss i had on hand because of a bracelet-making phase)
-aida cloth (i'm using 14 count)
-needle (i'm using embroidery needles because, again, that's what i already had, but there are special cross stitch needles out there)
important: most embroidery floss comes in skeins with six strands. you have to actually pull the strands apart in order to stitch properly, otherwise the design will be chunky and unwieldy. the standard is two strands--so cut a length of floss, then pull two strands out to sew with and set the other four aside for when you need to rethread.
 to start a stitch, push the needle through one of the holes in the cloth and pull the thread most of the way through to the right side of the fabric.
 leaving a little tail of floss on the other side, bring the needle back through the hole that is diagonal to your initial stitch, and pull it through.
 i know it's sort of hard to tell what's happening in this picture, but the next step is to bring the needle back to the right side of the cloth using one of the two holes bordering the square that you're working on that you haven't stitched through yet with this cross. if you don't pull the thread all the way through, there will be a loop on the back side of the cloth. pull the end through the loop to secure it, then pull the stitch tight.
 cut off the extra because if you don't it will poke through on another stitch and fuck your whole day up
 ok that's a cross stitch now what??!
when you run out of thread or need to switch colours, just bring your threaded needle to the wrong side of the fabric and slip it under some of the stitches you've already made on the back of the piece. pull it through and cut it short to secure it. 
 when you're making a long row of stitches that are all the same colour, or filling in a large area, it's fastest to stitch the whole row at once but only one way. 
 then, you can come back around to complete the stitches, going in the opposite direction.
 theoretically, all of your stitches should be going in the same direction so the piece will look its nicest. i'm not quite there yet, it's too much of a headache for me to remember which stitches are over and which are under.
 because i wasn't working off a preexisting pattern, i did my longer word first so that i could properly center the smaller word. 
and here is the finished piece! the heart was a last-minute decision because i felt there was too much white space.
i'm not 100 percent satisfied with this, because i'm still experimenting with how letters fit together and how they look. the s-es kind of look like a's to me, and i think some of my connections between letters are too short (and some are too long).
practice makes perfect or whatever i guess
i made this one yesterday, although using cross stitch plastic instead of aida cloth. i'm not sure what i'm gonna do with it, but it was my first attempt at backstitching (the littler letters on the top and bottom) and i'm happy that i think i've gotten the hang of it~


Shybiker said...

Good start. Clever message. I didn't recognize your comment this morning because of the new name -- glad I looked you up! So happy to hear from you, mouse.

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