Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Large Cross Stitch and Hiding Travel Threads

When stitching a cross stitch over two canvas threads, the density of the thread on the top of the canvas usually hides the travel of the thread on the back of the canvas.  However, the larger the cross stitch,  more of the canvas is visible - and so are those travel threads.  Take this example:

Visible Travel Threads Along Vertical Stitching Path for Large Cross Stitch

The black arrows are pointing to the visible travel threads between each large cross stitch unit - and the larger the cross stitch, the more obvious the travel threads.  

Here is how I stitched the cross stitch like this:

Diagram of Large Cross Stitch

What if you do not want that travel path visible?  Look at this example:

Large Cross Stitches with Hidden Travel Path

The black arrow shows a hint of thread from the back, but this is where I pulled the thread to the outside area to end it.  What I want you to look for is those vertical threads that showed through from the back, as seen in the previous example.  What did I do to hide them?  

Look at how I stitched this sample:

Alternate Pathway to Stitch Large Cross Stitch

See a difference?  First of all I stitched the cross stitches so that there was a diagonal backstitch on the back of the canvas (behind the stitch 3-4 and 5-6).  Then I had to slide the 5-6 stitch under the 3-4 stitch.  Then I pulled the vertical thread (created by traveling from 4-5) to the middle of the cross stitch and tacked it to the diagonal thread on the back using sewing thread to hide it.

Tacking Stitch on Back with Sewing Thread

Now you may be thinking, oh for goodness sakes, I am not going to go to all that trouble!

Well, it is a bit more work, and if you are laying threads, it is a lot more difficult to slide the thread underneath a stitch and make it look nice.  

Thankfully, when stitching very large cross stitches, they usually do not stand alone, but involve other stitches on top of them (stitches made from one or more stitches on top of other stitches are sometimes called Composite Stitches) - and that is where you can hide travel threads.  In the next blog posting I’ll cover that topic.