Thursday, October 19, 2006

This week's SBQ

I've been answering these lately on one of my mailing lists, and figured I should paste a copy here too!

Which way do you stitch, i.e. do you stitch /// followed by \\\ on top, or the other way around \\\ followed by ///? Are you left- or right-handed and do you think that this affects the way that you stitch?

For me it depends entirely on the piece, and on where I'm starting it. I can stitch either way, and will often rotate a piece in 90 degree increments to get it into a comfortable working position for the section I'm working on. By default, I'd guess I'm a /// then \\\ stitcher. I know once when I offered to teach a beginner's class at my old guild some of the ladies were horrified (and actually filed a protest) because I had the students starting out going \\\ because it was the easiest way to show them where to start stitching on that little piece. I was asked to provide references that either way was acceptable so long as they all went the same way (which I did, out of the guild's own library) and still had people complain. I was so ashamed to be part of that guild and never offered to teach again.

Because I rotate as I go and don't have a presumed preferred orientation, handedness really doesn't seem to apply to me. It's where I start a piece that will have the biggest effect on stitch direction. I never seem to start in the very center of a piece, but where I do start depends on the design itself. I like to start with a little bit of a single colour stitching to set up a 'reference point'. Sometimes this is in the middle of the fabric, since that's *really* easy to find, and sometimes it's along one edge/corner of the design. Then I usually measure out my border allowance (and then measure again..) then start along a corner or the middle of an edge. On Fantasy Triptych I actually did the border itself first because there *was* no other solid section to do! Which direction the stitches are formed in seems to depend on the shape of the area I'm starting stitching with. I'm rather (ahem) uptight about trying to make sure stitches are formed so the needle is coming up into empty fabric and the needle is going down into the holes that already have stitching through them. It's not always possible, but as much as it is I try to follow this. I think it makes the stitches look better and I seem to have less problems with fuzzies on the top of the piece.

Phew! Was that a long enough answer?

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