One of the things that will keep your stitching looking its best is to always be consistent in how you stitch. What do I mean by this?
Recently, I taught a class and one of the stitches was a Large Upright Cross Stitch that was spread out, I diagrammed the stitch to be executed diagonally. Here is a portion of the stitch diagram:
Traveling diagonally down, the first two stitches include numbers for execution. What happens when you travel to the next diagonal up row, the red arrow points at the next stitch in the progression.
Interestingly, many people wanted to start this stitch with this numbering sequence, stitching that first vertical stitch from top to bottom:
This actually caught me by surprise because the previous stitches were started at the bottom of the stitch. When I asked about it, one of the students explained to me that she chose the shortest route to begin stitching. OK, this makes sense - BUT, we are back to How the Stitch Lies on the Back of the Canvas Affects How it Looks on the Front.
I wanted the stitch to be executed like this, which is the way all of the other stitches were executed, stitching the vertical stitch from bottom to top:
What actually made things worse, is that after stitching the first stitch of the second diagonal row with the vertical stitch executed from top to bottom, most of the stitchers switched back to stitching the vertical stitches from bottom to top.
Here is how each one looks actually stitched, side-by-side (18 count canvas, 2 strands Impressions):
Let’s look at just the inconsistent stitched sample in depth:
The red arrows point to the tops of each vertical stitch. When the stitch execution is from top to bottom there is a little hole space between the top of the thread and the upper canvas thread (tighter tension means more space between stitching thread and canvas thread.) If you look at the bottom-most stitch, the vertical stitch has a different slant to it than the vertical part of the other stitches in that diagonal row. That’s because the thread pull on the back of the canvas is different from the other stitches.
Further, if I change back to executing the stitches from top to bottom after the bottom-most stitch, (the stitch to the left of the bottom-most stitch), I have the same issue. It would have been better to stitch all of the stitches in this diagonal row with the vertical portion either going from top to bottom or bottom to top, but not changing after the first stitch. A tacking stitch underneath where I am going to place that first vertical stitch would be best if I want to change the execution of the vertical stitch from bottom to top to top to bottom.
Here is what I mean by a tacking stitch (the tacking stitch will be hidden by the actual Large Upright Cross Stitch):
So, going from top to bottom or left to right is not the issue, the issue is changing from top to bottom for one stitch and the next stitch from bottom to top. Same thing if you change executing the horizontal stitch from right to left to executing the horizontal stitch from left to right.
I admit that this is a subtle difference. Remember that your eye will discern that there is a difference. This difference makes the viewer look more closely at that spot to try to determine what is different instead of gliding smoothly over the entire area. Magnify this difference by many rows and your eye will look at the edge of the stitched area more closely than usual, which is not what you want.
Be consistent in how you execute your stitches and your stitching will look better.