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You Need to Know Basic Techniques of Stitches?

You Need to Know Basic Techniques of Stitches?

The best way to learn needle point is by actually doing it, but before you embark on your first stitches, there are a few general tips and techniques you need to know about.

Let’s talk about these techniques now.

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Preparation

When measuring the canvas, leave 5cm (2in) extra on each side for stretching it when the work is finished. Always cut it following the same thread along the canvas, otherwise it will unravel, wasting canvas. Once you have cut the canvas, it is a good idea to put masking tape on the raw edges or to hem them or sew on bias binding so that you don’t keep catching your yarn on the rough edges while you are working.

It is useful to mark with an arrow which way up the design is so that you always know in which direction you are working. Otherwise, if you have to keep putting your work down to do other things (as is inevitable) it is all too easy to pick it up and start stitching in the wrong direction.

Use lengths of yarn that are no longer than 50cm (20in); anything longer becomes worn, weak and thin, giving insufficient coverage.

There is no need to use knots; they create a very uneven texture and make it more difficult to stretch the finished work. To begin without a knot, bring the needle up through the hole in the canvas where you wish to make the first stitch, while holding a 2.5cm (lin) tail of wool underneath with your other hand. Form the first stitch and pull it firm, holding the tail so that the stitch cannot pull through, then form the second and subsequent stitches so as to catch in the tail on the underside. Similarly, when finishing a strand of thread, darn it in neatly on the underside of the canvas and cut off any remaining end.

When moving with one colour from one area of canvas to another, provided it is not too far away, thread the yarn through the under­side of the stitching so that you do not have any untidy loops left hanging. If you wish to use the same colour at some distance away, it is better to finish the thread off and then begin it again in the new place.

Stitching

Working the stitches using the sewing method – in which the movements of pulling the needle and thread through to the back side and then pulling them through to the right side are done in one scooping movement – is the easiest and quickest way to learn needle point, particularly tent stitch. The so- called stabbing method, which involves two move­ments for each stitch, is effective when using a frame or when working the more intricatestitches. In this book the diagrams used to illustrate the stitches show the sewing method.

Be aware of stitch tension as you work. Tension that is too tight will distort the canvas threads and therefore the design and also make the yarn too thin so that it doesn’t cover the canvas adequately stitches stand away from the surface.

Using Charts

Most of the instructions for the projects in this book, and many other needle point patterns you will come across, are in chart form.

  • The main type of needle point chart: a box chart

A box chart is the most frequently used chart for a wide variety of stitches. On it, each square represents one stitch. The squares either are coloured in or contain a symbol to indicate the colour and type of yarn, and sometimes the stitch if more than one stitch is used. A square on a box chart represents one canvas intersection – ie, a vertical thread and a horizontal thread intersecting – not a hole in the canvas.

A line chart is more often used for ornamental stitches. On it, the grid lines correspond to the canvas threads, and the yarns/stitches are indicated by thick lines actually drawn over the intersections as the stitches should be worked. The lines either are in colour or incorporate symbols.

There are no standard symbols, but one or more keys will appear with the charts. Where only part of a chart is given, it means that the rest of the design consists of repeats of that portion, either identical or a mirror image of it. Many geometrical designs are symmetrical and so only a quarter or a half of the chart needs to be shown If a chart is the same size as the needle point will be, you can place it under the canvas and draw the outline on the canvas with a permanent marker If not, either enlarge it on a photocopier or count threads on the pattern and canvas. You may wish to mark the canvas and chart into groups of ten threads by ten threads.

Blocking and setting

Because your needle point will inevitably become distorted as you work, especially if you are not using a frame, it’s necessary on completion to block or stretch, it and then set it. The process involves smoothing and stretching it back into shape, then damping the canvas so it redries in the correct shape First make a template out of brown paper or thin cardboard to the dimensions your work is intended to be. Obtain a piece of wood at least 10cm (4in) bigger all the way around than the finished work plus bare canvas border, so that you will have room to pull the work into shape and to nail it in position. Place a piece of undyed cotton or similar fabric on top of the wood, then lay your work on it, face down. Dampen the back of the work evenly using a plant mister or sponge. (Be sparing with water when dampening silks. Tapestry yarn is normally colourfast, but it is as well not to dampen them too liberally.)

Basic Techniques of wool art

Using your template to guide you, pull the work into shape. Using 5cm (2in) rustproof nails, hammer in a nail at the centre of each side about 4cm (1 1/2in) from the stitching, then work out to the corners, keeping the edges of the work straight, and making sure the corners form right angles if they are supposed to, Put in enough nails for them to be no more than about 2cm (3/4in) apart. Once it is stretched into the required shape sponge. (Be sparing with water when dampening silks. Tapestry yarn is normally colourfast, but it is as well not to dampen them too liberally.)

Using your template to guide you, pull the work into shape. Using 5cm (2in) rustproof nails, hammer in a nail at the centre of each side about 4cm {1 x/i\x\) from the stitching, then work out to the corners, keeping the edges of the work straight, and making sure the corners form right angles if they are supposed to, Put in enough nails for them to be no more than about 2cm (3/4in) apart.

Once it is stretched into the required shape, paint the back of the canvas with ordinary wallpaper paste, using a large brush. Leave the canvas on the board in a warm place until completely dry (at least 48 hours), then pull the nails out with the claw of the hammer.

Protecting your work

Fabric protectors such as Scotchgard can be useful for protecting your handiwork if it will be vulnerable to stains, as in a placemat, for example. However, be sure always to test the product on some of the yarn, as some can make colours run.

Marking The Centre Point

  • Needle point designs should be worked from the centre outwards. Find the centre of one edge of the canvas and work a line of running stitches, from the centre to the opposite side. (Or, if you prefer, mark the line with a permanent marker pen.) Do the same for the other dimension. The two lines cross at the centre of the canvas.

Threading a Needle

  • To thread a tapestry needle with yarn, loop one e of the yarn over the eye end of the needle, holding tightly between your thumb and first finger to form fold, then remove the needle. Now push this fold through the eye of the needle. Needle-threading tools are available if you find this fiddly.

Mitring Corners

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To miter the corners of a finished canvas, first trim off excess canvas around the edges, leaving about 3cm (1 1/4in) all around. Now, with the right sides facing, fold the corner diagonally towards the center Fold firmly and then press.

Fold the other two edges and stitch neatly along the diagonal seam. Secure all the edges on the back of the work with herringbone stitch.

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