Saturday, February 16, 2008

X Marks the Spot

Here's the finished result of my little stitching project. As Kathy guessed, it's an X - for X Marks My Spot, of course! I'd like to figure out how to make it into a banner image for my blog, although if you look closely, you'll not only see my mistake with the border, but you may notice some miscounting that led to a lot of fudging in the bottom half of the design. I even had to stitch over one in a section in order to make things look relatively even. My skin must be getting tougher, because it's not bothering me as much as it would have earlier in my stitching career.

Now that I'm done with this, I needed a new project. I know I've mentioned LHN's Moon and Stars and The Snowman, but neither of them are calling to me right now. So I visited my LNS yesterday and lo and behold, the elusive Gingerbread Cottage by CCN was on the rack at last. I snapped it up along with Summer Garden, bought the linen for it, and am about to commence upon it. This will be more of a challenge than I have taken on before. For the first time I will need to do areas with a number of color changes, something I've not felt ready for. This seems like a good project to try it with.

One thing has always puzzled me. Have you ever noticed that when instructions for how to cross stitch are given in a chart or a magazine, what's never mentioned is how to change colors. No one ever addresses this. The directions always seem to be geared towards single blocks of color. To a newbie, color changes look very daunting. I'm not talking about the kind where you do one color for awhile, then switch to another. I mean in designs where the color changes every few stitches, making it impractical to switch floss color and then change to a new color within a stitch or two. I think I've learned enough to try it, but I wish I had some guidance on the best way to accomplish it without going crazy. I guess Gingerbread Cottage will be the test of what I can manage. So here I go!


Jennifer said...

Changing colors won't be as hard as you think. The important thing to remember is not to bring long stretches of threads across the back of your fabric, especially with lighter fabrics and looser weaves. Those long stretches will show, so it's better to bind off the thread in one section and start fresh in the new section.

What I usually do with changing colors is stitch as much as I can with one color, skipping spaces where other colors need to be filled in. You can carry threads over short distances without them showing through the fabric, especially if you'll be stitching over that area later. Then I come back and fill in with the other colors as needed.

Kathy said...

Great job with your finish. I have no advice for how to put it in your banner. Maybe someone else will.

The previous comment has given you directions on changing colors. The rule of thumb for carrying threads is to not go more than 4 stitches across the back. That can vary depending on the color of your fabric and the color of the thread you are carrying on the back. Dark colors on a lighter fabric are harder to carry on the back, even when you are stitching over them. Good luck!

If you have further questions, let us know on your blog. I wish you were close to me and we would spend time together helping you learn.

staci said...

Your finished X looks great :) I'm sure you'll do fine with the color just takes some practice getting used to it. Can't wait to see what you start first!

Teri said...

Great job with your finish!

As for advice on color changes . . . I'm working on a project with a lot of color changes. In fact, sometimes I can only complete one stitch before a new color is called for. I would also recommend that you work sections where you can complete several stitches of the same color. That way, when you complete only a single stitch, you have completed stitches on the back of your work that you can secure your ends under. Don't knot your ends. And one other tip: use a highlighter to mark off areas on the chart that you've completed. Those symbols start running together all too quickly.

I look forward to seeing your new project!

Kim said...

Your X looks great! I spent a couple minutes trying to find these *alleged* imperfections, then I gave up. I think you're just seeing things ;-)

Jennifer's advice is spot-on, as always, but I'll just add my 2 cents anyway. I'm looking at Summer Garden on the CCN website and wishing that I hadn't framed my Rose Sampler so I could show you a photo of the back! They're very similar.

I try to come up with a *strategy* for how to stitch each section in a way that'll maximize my ability to hide threads as I stitch them, because I'll totally forget to do them later on. For example, the flowers on the left of the pattern (the lilac?), I'd stitch the dark green stems first, since that's a contiguous piece. Then I'd do the green leaves, and at the end of each leaf I'd tuck my thread under the darker green to carry to the next section. I'd do the flowers last and either tuck under the greens or drag behind since they seem to be a stitch or two apart. Provided that the pink wouldn't show through the fabric.

In the end of course just do what you're comfortable with, now that you know what to watch out for. And of course keep us posted on your progress :-D

Sally said...

Your X looks brilliant! What a brilliant idea.

You seem to have been given some wonderful advice from the other ladies and I have nothing to add other than I am sure you will do just fine. It's not as difficult as you might think:)

Michele said...

I love your finish .. X looks great. we all have mistakes in our early stitching .. and sometimes in our current stitching too! lol

great advice from all the ladies :)

Kim said...

Hi! I've tagged you on my blog.

Leena said...

This is a great finish, congratulations!!

Aussie Stitcher said...

Your Gingerbread Cottage is looking great, I you did well with the color changes.