Suggestions for a Newbie!!

Tips, Tricks & Techniques - anything to help fellow cross stitchers.

Suggestions for a Newbie!!

by Rose » Thu Sep 06, 2007 1:36 am

I thought it would be a great idea to have a post were we could give our suggestions for a new stitcher.

If you were asked by a person what to do as a new stitcher what would you tell them. Things that you have learned over the time you have been stitching.

????Basic materials needed, tools you think are an absolute must have, how to start, books that have helped you with stitching, Web Sites that have helped you?????

Here is what I say....Enjoy the time you are stitching. Don't get frustrated the nore you do the better you will feel. Don't expect perfection with your first piece.

1) Don't overwhelm yourself with your first few projects start small and build from there. A kit is a good first time project as everything is provided except the hoop/frame/scroll.

2) Start in the center of the fabric. At least for the first one or two projects just so you can see that the piece is going to be directly in the center. It can be heartbreaking to get half or more done and find out that the pattern won't fit because you have calculated wrong.
After you have done a few pieces you can decide how you want to start and that will be a personal decision

3) Make a copy of the pattern and as you stitch mark each square off. That way you will know were you are during stitching and when you have to stop and put down your work. Also at the end you will still be able to see exactly where the backstitching lines are rather then trying to see over the marked off paper. Also if you use the same pattern more then once you don't have to keep buying it over and over.

4) Each person will have to decide if they want to do half a cross or a full cross. I personally make all of my crosses complete regardless of if it is a block of color or if I am doing confetti stitches. I like to finish each cross and then go to the next. This also helps when you have to go back and frog.

5) When making a cross always do the bottom leg of the stich in the same direction. Always cross the top leg in the same direction. This is something that I hear from many new stitchers when I finish my stitches look funny well it is usually that they don't make all there crosses in the same direction.

6) When carrying thread across don't go more then 4 to 5 squares If you do then you will be in danger of catching the floss when stitching with another color and maybe fraying or causing the thread you are working with to tangle and knot.

7) And this is a rule I alway stick with if you are stitching confetti stitches that are out in the open all by themself DO NOT run the thread out over an open area of material. This is a big NO NO it may seem to be hidden but once the piece is finished the thread tends to show through any unworked areas with floss stretched across the back so don't do it.

I think that asking questions of other stitchers is a must, their experience is very helpful. But also remember there are no real rules to stitching and advice is just that advice. You will have to find out what works for you.

I think as a beginner some sort of hoop, scroll frame, or Q-snap is very important but that is just me.

I think some sort of bobbin, bow type, or baggie form of floss storage is very important also.

Go to the thread titled "Glossary Terms" This will help you with the terms you will see used on this forum and in other places. :P

I hope that others will join in and that this will be a place for new members to find help and also for some of us old stitchers to pick up some great tips.
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by raelou » Thu Sep 06, 2007 9:22 am

Wow Rose that's quite a novel there!!
But excellent idea!!!!
My advice to a newbie at stitching is NOT to knot your threads on the back of your stitching I did this on my first ever project,and it was very bumpy and messy!! :lol:
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by Genevieve » Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:14 am

Brilliant idea Rose. May I add something about stitching with metallic threads? I learned these tips gradually, but I wish I'd known them all the first time I attempted to stitch with metallic thread - it would have been a lot easier than it was!

Stitching with metallic threads:

a. Make the thread you work with no longer than 12 inches.

b. Fasten it to your needle. (This made such a difference, as the thread could no longer slip.)

c. Use a product like Thread Heaven or beeswax to make the thread easier to work.

d. Work slowly.
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by coffee_freak » Fri Sep 07, 2007 10:15 am

wash and dry your hands often

don't eat or drink around your piece

if you stick yourself and bleed on your fabric..use your own spit to get it out..

count twice..or three times..

have fun!
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by Rose » Fri Sep 07, 2007 2:30 pm

I forgot about thread heaven??? :shifty: How could I forget about Thread Heaven???? :doh:

Stands can be a plus if you are working with a large frame and also if you want to try working 2 handed. That is one hand to push the needle through the top and the second hand to plus it back through from the bottom.
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by Rose » Sat Sep 08, 2007 3:47 pm

Washing your piece after finishing.

I wash just about everything that I have stitched. The only thing I haven't washed is the coasters I made and the cards that were stitched on paper.

What I have found works for me:

Wash the piece in the machine on the gentle cycle (you can put in a couple other small pieces, but nothing with a hook ie bras) use liquid tide or a like product.

Hang on a clothes line to dry

Iron with a medium iron. If you want you can put a lite cloth between the piece and the iron but I don't. Also some say to only iron the backside or you stitches will be flat. I don't seem to worry about that they will be a bit flat right after ironing but once it has set for a while they seem to bouce back and look fine.

You will have to decide for yourself if you want to iron the stitches or not.
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by raelou » Tue Sep 11, 2007 3:51 pm

This is a wonderful site for newbies
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by Rachael » Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:35 am

Excellcent site for newbies not sure if anyone else has mentioned it!
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie!!

by Becca » Wed May 14, 2008 11:17 am

Don't be afraid to do things your way. The most important thing is you enjoy your stitching.

I've never used a hoop or frame, and i've done some pretty large projects. There has never really been a problem with tension, and i wouldn't really be able to work with a hoop or frame because my projects need to be portable. I pack them up into a bag and take them with me on the train etc.
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie!!

by juenbug7334 » Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:42 am

Pick something small to finish so you will have the " I finished something" feeling. Then pick something YOU's nothing worse than to labor on something you really don't have a feel for. Good luck. EYES--take it from me---they can get strained!! Protect them. Scarlett
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie!!

by tattyted » Tue Sep 02, 2008 4:55 am

If when stitching a piece you find you've made a mistake, Take a deep breath and unpick it. Then put your stitching down and leave it alone for a few mins before going back to stitch again. Even better, stitch another section! I always find that when I've made a mistake this is best because just unpicking can be frustrating enough, let alone knowing that you have to restitch the same bit you just spent hours on. Plus this way if you can't bear to touch it after the mistake is found, it gives you a fresh place to start from next time you pick it up. Theres nothing worse that abandoning a project beacuse you put it away before unpicking and can't bring yourself to touch it again!
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie!!

by Serinde » Thu Oct 09, 2008 6:38 pm

If you buy a chart or pattern, don't wait too long before you kit it up. I bought a gorgeous design and only got around to buying the threads, metallics and beads for it years later. (Hey, you'll understand once you have some stash!) As a result, although the threads were available, the beads were out of stock. It took a lot of fossicking about to find two of the special bead types. The other beads were unavailable, and I have just had to wing it.

Avoid disappointment: kit up now!
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie!!

by Rose » Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:32 pm

Pinking is a type of scissors that are zigzaged to cut material so that it will not fray. usually used by quilters and seamstresses. I have tried it with my aida fabric and it did not work.
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie!!

by Lessa54 » Thu Aug 20, 2009 7:35 am

This is a good link for explaining different methods of starting and it has helpful diagrams of each method too. I've yet to try the pinhead stitch start/end, but the next project has some isolated stitches, so may be experimenting with it soon.

PS - I take absolutely no responsibility if anyone starts looking at the charts for sale on that website and adds to their stash :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie!!

by frankattleborough » Thu Aug 20, 2009 7:50 pm

Sylvia wound all of her threads on bobbins, that is until she got me to do it for her!!!!

Provided that threads are not wound on too tightly they do not kink.

She used to keep them in embroidery thread organizer boxes by colour until I persuaded her that keeping them in numerical order made much better sense as they would be easier to find when she wanted to do a project from a new chart.

She wasn't too sure at first that it was a good idea, and said that if I wanted it kept that way then I would have to sort them out!

Once I had done it she agreed that it was much better that way.

We used to go to craft fairs where you could pick up bundles of 100 or so colours, but that does lead to you having duplicate skeins. In the past few years we only bought skeins that we didn't have, which meant only having to buy one or two at a time. I now have 7 of these organizer boxes mostly full, and I still have a number of skeins not wound onto bobbins. :lol: :lol:
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie!!

by bamdaph » Fri Sep 04, 2009 3:27 pm

My big tip is when you're stitching with a hoop, to stitch into the well as it were. So you put your material face down on the inside of the hoop and then put the outside of the hoop on top. This means that when you are finishing off it's a lot easier to pull your needle out and snip the end of the thread off. :)
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie!!

by craftymathematician » Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:11 am

I'm not as much of an expert as many of you although I started cross-stitch as a child. Anyway, what I would say to a newbie is: if you make a 'little' mistake and don't notice it for a while - think if and how it's going to affect the whole design. It might not be a vital stitch and may not make very much difference so don't bother unpicking - just carry on! After all, when it's up on the wall, your friends who see it won't know what the pattern said!
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie!!

by MaggieM1750 » Thu May 13, 2010 9:08 pm

I guess my suggestion for a newbie would be to work at whatever pace suits you best. Stitch as much or as little as you have time for. This is a hobby not a chore.. it should be fun.

Work on whatever you feel most comfortable with.. fabric counts, type of material, threads, charts or kits. Smaller projects like cards and ornaments or fully stitched pieces.

When you have a question.. just ask. This site is such a wealth of information. Most often someone has already asked and answered my questions somewhere on this site.. that SEARCH box is a very handy tool. If not, start a discussion thread and you will have an answer in no time.
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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie!!

by stitchiemom » Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:19 pm

I know most charts state to find the center and start working there. This is ok for a newbie, but once I got better I found I make more mistakes this way. I now find my center, mark it with regular sewing thread, then count my way up to the top left corner of the design. I work my project left to right, just like reading, then top to bottom. I noticed discussion about stitch technicalities. Yes, the books say bottom left to top right, but it doesn't matter which way you go so long as the stitches are all the same and the back is "clean". It should look somewhat like a lot of l's in the back, unless when you are skipping (only two stitches at most) or going to the next row. I have all sorts of tools now, a needle holder so I do not have to keep threading the needle during the project when I change colors. I am stitching a piece now that has bears in a tub (trying to upload my WIP) and I work the area not the item. I use a vairety of hoops, depending on the size of my project, and have curved scissors, and a magnifying lamp with eye drops, tweezers to pull begging threads taught before snipping, and a few other gadgets to help get my projects to look great. I would like to try using the frame and holder, but think that may hurt my back after a while.

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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie!!

by dwitt » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:16 pm

I love using scrolls for my projects. It is so easy to keep the tension tight!

I have also found that the stitch bow system is a wonderful way to keep your thread neat and organized. I bought the binder to store them and the travel case. When I start a new project I pull out all the colors I need and put them in the mini storage pages. I can't believe how easy it made it to stay organized!

Recently I purchased a metal board and magnets in order to keep my place better on my chart. Can't seem to get on board with marking off the pattern.
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