Sunday, November 2, 2008

Cross Stitch Gridding - Tips by Pam

Guest Blogger Pam Narveson shares another great cross stitch tip - how to create a grid on your fabric to match a grid on your pattern. The advantages are:

1.) Less counting in the long run
2.) Don't have to start stitching in center of pattern
3.) Can move around pattern to stitch the color you're using, which means you change floss colors less often.
4.) Fewer errors (i.e. less "frogging") because it's easier to keep and verify your place.

Here is a picture of a blank piece of fabric on which Pam has created a grid for a larger project she is starting.

The basic idea is to create a grid on your fabric that coincides with corresponding areas on your pattern. While this is especially helpful for larger designs, the advantages apply to smaller projects also.

Sections on the fabric are made by using thread to baste large stitches, forming equally sized squares to form your grid.

To make the grid on your fabric:
1.) Locate the center of the fabric.
2.) Using neutral colored thread make a large centered cross the entire length and width of your fabric, matching the center lines of your pattern. In this project Pam made her stitches 10 squares long, then skips 10 squares, then repeats until she has reached the four edges of the fabric to complete the cross.
3.) Using the grid on your pattern as a guide, continue making horizontal and vertical lines to form squares, leaving about 2" of thread on top of your fabric when you reach the edges or need to start new thread. For this project Pam chose to divide the fabric into 50 X 50 squares. Let the size of the project and personal preference determine the grid size for your projects.

Next mark your pattern to match the grid on your fabric:
1.) On the picture you can see where Pam has marked additional arrows other than the center line arrow. To match the fabric she drew these arrows every 50 squares.
2.) Now the grid on your pattern matches the grid on your fabric. This allows you to quickly locate any point on your pattern and match it to your fabric. For example, if you're looking at a point 2/3's of the way down your pattern there is no reason to count individual tiny squares, just count the large grid squares, then locate your point within that area.
3.)Pam uses highlighter tape on the pattern to highlight the square she's currently stitching. This makes it easier to keep your place when looking back and forth from pattern to fabric. You can also use a traditional highlighter on your pattern.

In addition to stitching faster and more accurately, you also no longer need to start stitching in the center of your fabric. Pam often uses a rolling frame and prefers to start at the upper left edge of her fabric. This means her hands rarely touch the portion of the design she has already stitched, and she rolls the stitched fabric under as she completes it. This helps to keep her finished design cleaner, and prevents wear on completed portions.

Once you've started stitching simply clip the threads used to make the grid squares and pull them out. Do this after you've stitched over a few of the basted threads. If you stitch over too many you may have trouble pulling the thread out.

Final tips: Pam suggests using a neutral colored thread that is similar to your fabric color. This way if the thread bleeds onto the fabric at all, it won't show through when stitched with lighter colors. Also Pam suggests using Nymo beading thread. She feels it is smoother and pulls out easier.

If you have questions on this technique please leave a comment to this post. Pam or I will answer questions in the comment section so all readers can take advantage of each question.

Thanks to Pam for another great tip. Click here to learn more about Pam.


Laura said...

Thanks for these tips. They seem to be the easiest to understand and use, and I should try out gridding when I get back to my stitching in a few hours. (Taking a break at the moment; need to clean my room too.)

Marian said...

I use gridding for my Marty Bell projects. It's the only way to do them without going really insane!!