Saturday, 26 March 2011

Neat Stitching??

A couple of posts ago Annette(who shows as anonymous so I can't contact you direct - please feel free to email me Annette) asked if I could share some stitching tips for neat stitching.  After I got over my laughing/choking fit, I tried to think about how I stitch and really had a bit of a blank! I've given it some thought and come up with a couple of ideas.  I'd love you to add your own tips and ideas for stitching neatly via comments if you'd be so kind. 

Here comes the disclaimer folks! I in no way claim to stitch the 'right' way - if there is such a thing - and I certainly think there is a lot neater work out there than mine, but here goes:

Current block from Natalie Birds 'Tis the Season' Stitch-along blog project

I'm not sure really what to say about the way I stitch, other than that I use a small hoop for embroidery(though not always for cross stitch). I have finally come to the conclusion that using an iron on backing/batting like Parlan or lightweight Pellon does help the final result with stitcheries, though I still have occasional issues with the fabric puckering after the piece has been pressed. (Check out the comments on this post for lots of suggestions about this.) It makes a big difference in stopping your threads showing through from the back, and I think it helps the tension too. I haven't used any backing in my AGJ quilt blocks, and I regret this now, as I'm worried that when the quilt batting goes in behind it that all my dark thread shadows from the back of the work will be obvious from the front.
Mini block from Leannes House 'Butterfly Garden'

I am very fussy when I'm backstitching that my needle goes down in the same hole as made by the previous stitch. If they don't quite line up, or I get a bit of a random stitch I will unpick it - that's just my perfectionist nature coming out, sorry! It does mean I'm not a fast stitcher though! Often my uneven stitches are because I have traced poorly and am having to cover the uneven lines I've drawn with Pigma pen. Neat tracing = neat stitching as all we're doing is following the lines anyway.

As far as needles go, I think the finer and longer the better - the longer they are I think the more relaxed your hand is - and the finer they are you don't need to pull on them so hard - so then you don't get an aching hand after lots of needlework.  Bear in mind the finer they are the harder they are to thread, so if you're visually challenged like I am becoming, you  might need to use some kind of threader contraption. Must get my eyes tested one of these days. lol

Thread - I almost always use 2 strands of embroidery thread(usually DMC - though I'm a little smitten lately with Cosmo threads.)  The Birdie Stitches BOM I'm stitching this year calls for stitching with 6 strands, but I don't like the look - it comes out too chunky looking for me - and it's hard work dragging 6 threads through fabric with pellon on the back too!  Each to their own though and if that's what you like the look of - go for it.

Stitch length - I do try and keep the length even,  though I wouldn't say they're perfect.  I usually end up stitching some projects with bigger stitches than others, just depends on what the project is - ie Birdie Stitches I am making all my stitches bigger than normal, main thing is to keep them consistent.
From Hatched and Patched 'A Gardeners Journal'

From Hugs n Kisses 'Stitching Round the Block'

I really, really hate leaving long tails of thread on the back of the work, and I always tie them off and thread them down under a line of stitching to hide and secure them as soon as I've finished with that thread.  It's just my pet peeve, the same with cross stitching too - I hate the back of my work to look like a dog's breakfast of jumbled tangled threads. 

There are days when no matter how hard I try things just don't look right, maybe the threads get all fluffy, or the fabric won't stay at the right tension in the hoop.  Also I've found it really hard to stitch neatly in black or very dark colours, for some reason they look thinner to me - might be a trick of the colours or maybe my eyes. lol

Most of all - practice, practice, practice, even if, like me, you have to start lots and lots of projects, it means you'll get more practice.  LOL  They do say "Practice Makes Perfect', and of course, enjoy your stitching too!

Any more help anyone can give here via comments would be great, as I'm always looking for pointers too, and I've found before when I've asked for help everyone is so obliging, so THANKS!
Thanks also for sticking with me for all this waffle today.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend...............Nicky

Friday, 25 March 2011

Some stitching progress

It was so interesting looking at the comments on my last post about searches that have sent people to your blog.  Turns out there really are some strange people out there, some in a funny way, and obviously some in a scary way! 

It's been another busy week here, but here is a little progress made this past week. First up is the quilt top I finished up last weekend for my dear little niece. This is Bloom's Abracadabra pattern, using the lovely Bliss fabric I've been drooling over lately. My youngest is behind the top here helping me hold it on the line for a windy day photo.
I'm so pleased with how this has come out, now I'm just waiting on the backing fabric I've ordered and then I'll have to give this quilting lark a go!  I've had a wee play with my new walking foot, and I can't believe how much difference it makes. 

Below are my first two blocks from Tis the Season.  You can check out a whole lot more of these over at the Stitch-Along Blog.  These are fun and quick to stitch, and I've cut out all the pieces for the block borders today, so now I just need to try and keep up to date with the stitching.  (Do great intentions count? lol)
And finally, my March block for the Birdie Stitches BOM (link in my sidebar) - this also was a quick stitch this month.  These wee guys put a smile on my face every time, they are so sweet.

I hope you have something lovely planned for the weekend, stitching or otherwise!

Till next time, thanks for visiting me today............................. Nicky 

PS:   A couple of posts ago Annette asked if I could share some stitching tips here for neater stitching.  Thanks Annette for your kind words about my stitching.  Not sure if there is much I can suggest but I will work on a post with some thoughts over the next couple of days.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Check this out........

Back again - 2 posts in a day - pretty much unheard of around here.
I found this earlier on the Yahoo home page.  I'm amazed by the flashmob phenomen - obviously this was very well planned, but have a look and see what you think. What a fun way to get in the groove of St Paddy's Day! Just wish I was lucky enough to have been in Sydney to have seen it. Or anywhere else exciting would have been fine too. lol

I've never tried linking to a Youtube clip before, so I hope this works.
Right then, catch you later.........Nicky

How did we get here?

Don't panic - I'm not studying anthropology, philosophy or started navel-gazing yet.  lol

BUT ............ I have been having a look at Blogger stats for my blog.    If you're not familiar with what I'm talking about have a look from your Blogger Dashboard at the Stats button.  I've never taken much notice of these before, but there is some cool data about how people get to your blog and when and where from.  Who knew?!?    Apparently the most popular search phrases that see people arriving at my blog are 'weaveline' or 'stitchery stabiliser' to this post,  'leannes house block of the month' to this post, 'a gardeners journal' to here, and 'shepherds bush stockings' to this post.  Now all of that makes perfect sense, but late last year I had a lot of people arrive over about 24 hours searching for 'lemonade stitch'  - they ended up on this post - which had absolutely nothing to do with lemonade stitch - whatever that actually is!  

And then there are the slightly dodgier searches like someone looking for 'farm girls in stockings' - thankfully you won't see me here in suspenders and stockings. lol   Seems there are a few people out there with a fascination for 'farm girls' - not sure what they're looking for exactly but this is probably not the blog for them(unless they enjoy stitching too of course!)
I'd love to hear some of the oddball searches that have seen someone visit you at your blog - sometimes it can be the beginning of a great friendship -  and sometimes you just wonder 'what on earth?'

Anyway that's all from me today, I've been doing a little stitching, but no pictures taken yet, I'm going to be out tomorrow night for Friday Night Sew In, so might try and get a bit finished up on Saturday instead. 

Almost forgot  - HAPPY ST PATRICKS DAY! 

Take care, and as always happy stitching to you.........Nicky

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Sometimes life gets in the way..........

................. of being a regular blogger.  Thanks so much for the kind words on my last post for the people of Christchurch.  From what I've seen and heard life in Christchurch is still incredibly difficult, with ongoing aftershocks and life turned upside down for so many.  I'm still thinking of you and hoping for things to improve for you all!  Your netball girls almost did the impossible last night and came so close to beating the Waikato-BOP Magic - Go the Canterbury Tactix!(and of course Southern Steel)

Despite the lack of blogging I have acheived a little stitching, here finally is my sixth A Gardeners Journal block.........
Oops..... just noticed the top flower on the left needs a few more stitches!  I'm undecided on whether I will applique the hearts into that big green block, add something different, or even leave it blank.
Over at the Stitch-A-Long blog, the 2011 SAL has commenced, a lot of the girls have finished their GJ quilts, and are on to Tis The Season by Natalie Bird.  But you know me too well... and I've started the next one too.    LOL    Here are the fabrics I've chosen, all French General in pinks and reds, and stitching with DMC 115 thread. 

Next up is February's Birdie Stitches BOM block, these are fun, and pretty quick to stitch up too.
And finally, here is a sneak peek at what I'm making with my Bliss Layer Cake.  This is part of a little quilt for my gorgeous wee niece, using Bloom's Abracadabra pattern.  Excellent instructions, and I have enough to make a single bed size quilt for my elder daughter too.  She has been watching me piece this one and has been begging me to get some more fabric and make her one too!  If only she knew I'm already a step ahead of her!
Well, thanks for sticking with me this far, I hope you're having a fabulous week, I've been catching up with some blog reading today, so I might just 'see' you soon!

Take care and of course happy stitching......... Nicky
Related Posts with Thumbnails