Today we have a guest post from the folks at Yarn Explosion, a needlepoint and knitting shop in Roanoke, VA. I got an email from last week and I loved these tips they shared about what to do when you are burned out, frustrated with your needlepoint, or just want to expand your knowledge.
During this time we are stitching more than ever and, because of that, we can find ourselves wanting a challenge. I love these ideas and can’t wait to try them out! Marilee, the owner has been using this time to stitch with every thread they carry to learn about them but also to be able to discuss the advantages, challenges, and characteristics of each one.
- Increase complexity: If you are stitching with good old standard Continental Stitch, try learning Basketweave. If all you use is Basketweave, try learning a couple of new stitches for larger areas: Nobuko, Hungarian, Brick, Pavilion, etc. [ed – you can search for diagrams of these and many more stitches on this blog.]
- Increase thread variety: If you typically stitch with just DMC Pearl Cotton, try adding another thread variety or two. We have threads made of cotton, wool, silk, acrylic, and many with glittery content. Each thread has its own personality for ease, appearance, and effect. [ed – you can also get information about many threads here, just search under threads or the name of the thread.]
- Diagnose the quality and consistency of your stitches: Are there variations in the size of the stitches, twists in your stitches, or other oddities? There are so many factors that can affect your stitches: sunlight damage to parts of your thread packet, the tension of thread (are you varying the pull as you finish a stitch); the size of the needle; the grain of the fibers- are you always pulling the threads in the same direction (smooth or against the grain); the color of the canvas under the stitches (similar, different, not-painted); the number of strands you are using (too few, too many); has your fiber deteriorated from overuse (too long a thread or sitting too long in storage); are you holding the canvas loosely in your hands (distorting the canvas) and using the ‘sewing method’ or using stretcher bars and the ‘push-pull’ method; or if when stitching basketweave, are you correctly stitching in the direction of the canvas threads (down a row on vertical and up on horizontal bars)? All of these issues can cause distortions and inconsistencies that we don’t want you to become frustrated by.
- Learn to use a laying tool: if you stitches twist or if multi-strand threads snag.
Finally, she shares this tip with us: “for dirty or off-color stitched area problems, always wash your hands before stitching and be extra careful if eating or drinking as you stitch.”