Monday, October 29, 2012

Those Pesky Ending Threads

I was recently at a needlepoint exhibit and I came across a needlepoint piece that had an error in it related to ending a thread.  The piece had a lot of white stitching in it and there was a section that had a red metallic thread that was couched down.  Surrounding this red metallic thread was all white threads.  Where do you end the metallic thread with all that white thread around it.

Here is an example of what I am talking about:

The arrow is pointing to the ending part of the red metallic thread showing through to the front.  The problem is intensified because the two cashmere stitches end right at the point where the thread is pulled across the back, showing through to the front.  I don’t quite remember what was above and below the metallic thread, just that whatever stitches were there were not suitable for ending the metallic behind either.  So I put in some herringbone stitches in white so that I could make my point.

The back of the canvas looks like this:

The arrow shows how the ending thread is pulled away from the red metallic thread on the front and through the white cashmere stitches on the back.  This is why you see the red thread from the front of the canvas.

The correct way to end those threads should not reveal any metallic threads showing through to the front, as shown below:

The black arrow points to the location that the red thread is taken to the back of the canvas and you can not see the any thread shadowing through to the front.  Just how did I end that thread without any red showing through?   Look at the back:

The black arrow points to where the red thread is brought to the back of the canvas and pulled behind the red thread on the front of the canvas.  I used a length of white sewing thread to tie down the thread on the back directly behind where the thread lies on the front.  Furthermore, to make sure that thread does not wiggle out, I pierced the metallic thread with the sewing thread in more than one place.  That thread end will not loosen or wiggle out of place - it will keep the front thread crisp and solidly in place.

Do not hesitate to whip or couch threads in place on the back of your canvas piece.  Piercing the ending thread will hold it stable.

Red thread stitched near white thread is notorious for causing troubles:
  • red fibers may shed onto the white thread
  • red ending threads show through to the front very easily 
  • the red color may rub off onto the white thread
Always stitch the white thread first and the red thread last in these circumstances.  And always end the red thread directly behind the red stitches on the front of the canvas.  Now you know how to end that pesky red thread behind the red stitches on the front of the canvas even when it first appears that there is no way you can do it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Slanted Gobelin Borders

How much thought have you given to how you execute Slanted Gobelin borders?  Here is a picture of such a border:

Here is a stitch diagram of how I am stitching the border as I approach a corner:

Many people will continue stitching as shown in the diagram below.  If the stitching began by stitching from the outside of the border to the inside of the border, once the corner is turned the stitching will continue in this manner (outside to inside):

Let’s look at a picture of the front and back of the canvas for this border:

Do you see why this is incorrect?  The slant of the stitches on the back of the canvas changes after the corner is turned.

Another way to think about this is if you reduced the width of the Slanted Gobelin Stitches, shown above as over 3 canvas intersections, to just over 1 canvas intersection you’d have a Tent Stitch Border.  Here is a picture of tent stitches stitched just the same way as the Slanted Gobelin Border above, from the outside of the border to the inside of the border.

Most needlepointers know that this change from continental to half cross stitch is incorrect and will not stitch this way.  And yet, when they lengthen that tent stitch to over 2 intersections or more, they will happily stitch away in this manner.  Remember that how the thread lies on the back of the canvas affects how it looks on the front of the canvas.

What is the correct way to stitch a Slanted Gobelin Border?  All threads on the back of the canvas need to have the same slant.  This means that if you are stitching vertically and the stitches travel from the outside of the border to the inside of the border, you will need to change the direction of your stitching after you make the turn (need a tacking stitch to change direction) so that you are stitching from the inside of the border to the outside of the border.  Here is a diagram of what I am saying:

And here is a picture of the front side of the canvas and the back side of the canvas:

When you are stitching a Slanted Gobelin Border, think of it as a long tent stitch, and you want that tent stitch to be in the continental style, not the half cross style of stitching.  If you think about it this way, then you will be able to adjust for any direction of travel that you may need, eg. horizontally left to right, horizontally right to left, vertically top to bottom or vertically bottom to top.