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By January 18, 2013 Tip and Tricks

Six Easy Tips For Even Stitch Tension

I am stitching a canvas right now that I am doing entirely in full cross stitch. The design is colorful but doesn’t need a lot of stitch counting because I have set up and am stitching with the help of a grid. The reason I like patterns like this is because I stitch while “watching” TV.

As a multi-tasker I feel guilty when I’m not doing more than one thing at a time. This is especially true when watching TV. I have also come to think it helps me to stitch faster. But there are also a couple of downsides: I might miss a stitch and/or have uneven stitch tension.

It’s not likely I’m going to stop stitching in front of the TV so how about some ideas about improving stitching tension.

Check your needle. For starters it needs to be clean, and it should have a blunt tip and be slightly large for the canvas mesh you are stitching. The reason for this is that when you push the needle through the hole you open it up a little and create less rubbing on the thread it will also help you thread to lay flatter. Also, let your needle dangle and unwind every few stitches

  1. Always stitch with short thread length.
    I confess, I start out with a nice short thread and as time goes on I cut      longer and longer threads. Starting and stopping makes me go from 12” to      18 “ or longer thread really fast. But this is going to bite me by      resulting in knots, fuzzing and thread thinning. Areas on your canvas will      look differently depending if it was stitched with the beginning of a new      thread or the end. If you pre-cut your threads before you start stitching      you won’t be tempted to cut longer and longer threads.
  2. Strip you thread.
    After you cut your thread you should strip the fibers before threading      your needle. This means separating the threads and then putting them back      together before you stitch with them. This will give you a plumper, more      even stitch. To strip a six-stranded thread, pull each thread out of the      bunch individually by pulling each one in a line parallel to the      bunch. I always find this a little difficult and the thread tends to curl      back on itself. . (If you have a hint for this let me know) Even up the      thread at the top and run it between your index finger and thumb to work      the twists out and the threads are straight…don’t use your fingernail.
  3. Don’t split your stitches
    One reason I use a blunt needle is to avoid splitting stitches. When bring      your needle up or down through a hole that is already occupied by another      stitch, try to make sure you do not pierce, or split, the stitch that is there.      Sometimes you have to use your needle to wiggle out a space for the new      stitch to fit into.
  4. Plan where you rethread.
    Try to avoid re-threading your needle halfway across a row. Whenever you      stop and start like this, and the thread is secured through the back of      the stitches, you can end up with an irregular effect on the front. The      angle at which you pull the needle through the canvas should be consistent      across all the stitching as much as possible.
  5. Use a hoop when you stitch
    A hoop will help you keep your stitches even. If you stitch without a hoop      or other fabric stretcher your stitches will tend to be loose. Since the      fabric is not flat as you stitch, the stitches will come out a little      longer and when the fabric is flattened out again. If you are stitching      too tight the stitches will distort the fabric and leave spaces between      stitches.Helpful hint: If you have a tendency to pull your stitches too      tight, try this: start a stitch as usual, but when most of the floss has      been pulled through the fabric, stop pulling with your hand, hook your      little finger around the floss and pull it the rest of the way using only      your little finger. The muscles in your little finger are too weak to pull      a stitch overly tight. Thank-you Peggy N. for your hint.
Pat Emlet

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