I’m on deadline, again, for a project. Since this seems to be my usual working method, I’ve developed some methods of working that allow me to stitch more efficiently. When I need to finish something fast, they are a lifesaver. When I am not stitching on a deadline, they give me freedom to stitch without worrying or doing things such as trying to find a matching thread in a semi-dark room, or using kitchen shears to cut thread.
I can’t show you that project, but the stitch sampler above, from 25 Tent Stitches, was developed this way.
Here are my methods of working & how they help.
- Have multiples of the tools you use most. I keep a ceramic jar of inexpensive scissors, a bin of thumbtacks, a little metal jar of needles & plenty of other tools. This gives me the freedom to pack what I need for any project when I gather it together. It also means I don’t worry if a needle gets lost or a thumbtack bends — I have more.
- If it’s not a painted canvas, decide on your mesh size & cut the canvas first.Many things depend on your canvas from the needles you use to the project bag you put it in. By cutting first, you get out the right tools the first time.
- Pull out more threads than you need if stitching from stash. Because many of my projects are original or I’m doing my own stitch guide, I don’t know how it will turn out in advance. That’s why I pull more threads than I plan on using. In this current piece I have changed the thread for one color twice and for another color I had to pull out what I had done because the thread was to thin. Because I have extra threads, I can do this without worry.
- If you can, plan out your stitches. And have diagrams of them. At the very least have a stitch reference nearby so you can look there for ideas.is project I printed out most of the stitches I’m using & put them into the project bag.
- Have a mix of large & small areas, along with easy & complex stitches. I have to stitch every day for several hours to get this done in time. But my energy and alertness is not always good. For those times, I try to have parts of each project I can do without thinking. Even if my energy is not low, these spaces provide a relaxing break.
- Know when it’s time to quit for the moment. When you are tired you make mistakes. Making mistakes in your stitching can be the first signal it’s time to put the project aside for a few hours. Pay attention to how you stitch, you’ll know when there are too many mistakes (for me it’s three in one row or three stitches.