Monday, April 23, 2012

Tent Stitch - Part 3

In this posting I would like to cover the issue of starting and stopping threads in a tent stitched area a little more in-depth.  As I stated in the previous 2 posts, never bury threads on the diagonal in basketweave tent stitch, only end threads vertically and horizontally.
What I would like to suggest is that you only run your needle and thread under previously stitched threads, no matter what type of stitch you are using, only as a last resort.  What does this mean?  Try to always start with a waste knot and try to end with another waste knot.
There are two types of waste knots, in-line and away.  First, let me define what is the difference between an in-line waste knot and an away waste knot.  For an in-line waste knot the thread on the back of the canvas between the knot placed on the front of the canvas and the place you will start stitching will be covered with the first row of stitches.  The example shown in this diagram would indicate that the first row of stitching is horizontal.  As you stitch towards the knot on the front of the canvas you will be covering the thread on the back.  When you get to the knot, pull up tightly on it and snip it off.  I suggest pulling up tightly on it so that the tension you create will cause the end that is cut to pull to the back of the canvas and end up under the stitches you already placed.

You can place an in-line waste knot horizontally, vertically or diagonally depending on your first row of stitch direction (granted a vertical row should be called a column.)
For an away waste knot, the knot is placed on the canvas away from your stitching, usually outside of the area that you are stitching.  If you place the away waste knot inside the stitching area, it will eventually get covered later by your stitches, but not completely in the first row.  If you place it outside the stitching area, you must place it far enough away so that you will be able to cut off the knot, thread it into a needle and bury it in the stitches on the back of your canvas.

Now, let’s look at where you place your waste knots when stitching the tent stitch in the basketweave style.  The placement of the waste knot depends on your direction of travel, whether you are travelling on a down row (the first canvas thread you cover is a vertical canvas thread) or an up row (the first canvas thread you cover is a horizontal canvas thread.)

Now, what about it you are in the middle of your stitching, how should this situation be handled?  What you want is to have your ending thread and beginning thread cross in a “+” on the back of the canvas.  If you start and end your threads any other way, there will be a spot on the back of the canvas that is open, it won’t be covered with thread in a basketweave style.  However, if the beginning and ending threads cross in a “+” then you will maintain that basketweave style.   This is once again: “How the threads lie on the back of the canvas affect how they will look on the front.”  Sometimes a “hole” created by non-crossed threads will be seen after finishing.  So take care that this does not happen to you.
Here is a diagram of what I mean for changing threads in a down row (the colors of the thread in the diagram are red and blue for ease in seeing the new vs. the old thread, when you stitch the thread will be the same color):

And for changing threads in an up row:

The nice thing about this style of stitching is that you don’t have to turn your canvas to the back all the time to start and stop threads.  Also, you will not disturb already stitched threads by burying your threads in the back of them.  Obviously this will only work if you have room to cover those start and ending threads with future stitching.  If this is not the case, then you will have to resort to turning the canvas to the back and running your needle under previous stitches - just don’t dig down deeply into those stitches, use more of a skimming action.
Remember to not have more than one start/ending thread in the same location on the back of the canvas, as this will create bulk that may be seen on the front.  Only start/end threads that are light under light colored threads and start/end dark threads behind dark colored threads.

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