Confessions of a Lazy Stitcher

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I am a lazy stitcher.
I count as little as possible and plan my stitching so I rarely have to rip out stitches. There are three tricks of the trade I use to facilitate my laziness: counting from existing stitches, parking, and basting.

Here, I’m using a sampler worked on linen with floss as my example but the techniques can be applied to any fabric, including Aida, and stitching with any fiber.

In this example, I was ready to stitch the Victorian castle (Craigdarroch) in the sampler. So the first stitch I took was the single stitch at the top of the tallest chimney.

The next stitch I want to take is at the top of the chimney.

The next stitch I want to take is at the top of the chimney.

At this point, I have completed the backstitch lettering to make “The” so the next stitch I want to take is at the top of the chimney. I started here because it was easy to correlate that stitch to the word “The.” From the unworked space next to the “T” I can simply count down three spaces.  It involved the least amount of counting from a place I already knew was correct.

I made this one stitch and immediately “parked” that color and stitched the rest of the chimney, outlined here in red.

Planning ahead reduces the time wasted in ripping out stitches.

Planning ahead reduces the time wasted in ripping out stitches.

I did not skip this column of stitches to do the roof (area A, above) even though it’s a very short distance. After completing those six stitches, I picked up that first color and stitched the beginning of the roof on the left side of the chimney (area A). This may seem like extra work but stitching around existing stitches is much easier for me than counting across unworked linen threads (or unworked squares if this was done on Aida). It’s easy to lose your place and we all know that being off just one stitch in any direction is what leads to much ripping out. Once finished with that little area, I parked my floss again rather than counting across the unworked fabric to get to area B. It can wait until I get there.

“Parking” is the common term for leaving a working fiber attached so it can be used in the future. I’ll use floss in this example. I park my floss when I know I have more stitches in this color but want to complete another color before going on. I bring the floss to the front of the fabric and take a few long running stitches in an unworked area just to keep it out of my way.

I take long running stitches to keep the parked floss out of my way.

I take long running stitches to keep the parked floss out of my way.

DON'T just leave the floss dangling!

DON’T just leave the floss dangling!

In these photos, you see evidence of my basting. For this project, I basically stitched a grid to exactly match the darker every-tenth-lines of the chart. Now it serves as another way to check the accuracy of my counting. I do not create a grid to cover my entire fabric. I only baste when I feel that I need to. Usually it’s just where the chart is dense with symbols. I remove the basting threads as I come to them. And by the way, I just use the longer single strands from my ort pile for my basting. I really don’t get why people buy special thread for basting. So now you know I am lazy and cheap!

Keeping my counting to a minimum, parking, and basting are the three ways I avoid errors. My process may seem like it takes extra time and effort but I have found over the years that I spend very little time ripping out and re-stitching.

Like I said, I am basically always looking for the easy way out!

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My Etsy widget is still not working. In a few weeks, I’ll be able to get some help from my son-in-law who is a wizard with techie stuff. In the mean time, if you want to see some of my designs, this is where you can shop!

 

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