TIPS~TRICKS~PDF Help

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A quick and easy illustration of how to do fractional stitches - quarter, half, three-quarter. 


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That first stitch on linen:
I was just discussing stitching on linen with a friend and remembered I had seen this little illustration. Starting just as the illustration shows really makes a difference in how your stitches looks. More than once, as I have been working away, I have thought "now why can't I get my stitch to look right and I am forced to go around the back side - if that makes sense- to get my X to be properly standing properly. Then when I look, I realize I did not take the time to be sure just where I began on the linen. Do you know about this method? This is the site with other little tips. This tip comes from
 http://www.gloria-pat.com/webpages/basics_linen.html

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July 2010 Tips  
Quite a few discussions here on starting and ending floss without turning the work from front to back, or threading tails of floss under previous stitches.
Linda in Morristown, NJ writes regarding starting your floss without turning to the back of the stitched piece.  She says : When I'm stitching over one using a single strand of floss, I use an "in the path" waste knot to finish and start new threads.  That way the next stitches are done over the  tails without having to run the needle through on the back.


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Tabatha in Hayden, Id writes about her procedure. She says: I take one strand of floss and fold in half then knot the ends together. I thread the loop through the eye (The opposite end of the knot) and stitch. When I need more floss of the same color I take the new strand and loop through the first. I knot the new floss ends and make sure the knot is at the end of the first loop and thread the needle and continue. This way you don't need to hide the end string and it is continuous. Also since the string is looped you never end up with the two strings where one is longer then the other and less string is wasted by hiding or uneven lengths. (the knots are very tiny and are stitched over so they neither show nor come loose.

Dawn in Kendrick, Id has something similar, but no knots.  She writes: 
Take 1 strand of floss, fold it in half.  Take the two end strands and thread that through the needle, leaving a loop at the bottom.  Pull the needle from underside up through aida and bring the needle back down from the top to the back.  Here you bring the needle through the loop and pull tight.  No knot, no under stitching.  Your floss is secure.  Hope this is explained well enough.  If not, let me know and I'll try again.  I do this at the beginning and Tabatha does it to secure same colors at the end.

If only floss could accommodate the wonderful technique called  Russian Join, which is great for yarn as the wool has tiny barbs which grab and hold the fibers together.  I won't explain here, but will include a link for the curious.   How to Do A Russian Join
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Here is my tip for today: A complicated chart can become tattered over weeks of use. Some large projects take months! If you have access to a laminating machine or service, that 's one way to preserve the pages. However, here is a cost effective way to accomplish the same thing. Slip your chart, turned to the appropriate page, into a clear page protector and fasten to your chart holder. If there is a specialty stitch information page, you can inset that in the back so all you need to do is flip the folder to review the instructions. Most magnets that come will magnetic boards will hold at least a half dozen pages in a plastic folder. These folders are inexpensive. You can turn from page to page as you progress. Once your stitching is complete, you will have a nice place to keep the chart & any notes you made for a little stitching history.   Deb

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3-21-10 - I've been chatting with other stitchers on methods for stitching over one thread of linen so that the floss does not get "lost" within the weave of the linen. The tent stitch method helps to eliminate this problem Here are a couple of links where you can read all about that.
http://crossstitch.about.com/od/howtocrossstitch/ht/htsonlinen.htm

Or these links: http://www.gloria-pat.com/resources/basics_linen.html
http://www.twistedthreads.com/missives/stitchover1.html
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3-17-10 Chris in CO offered this which I will definitely be using:
"Attacks, Frog, method for the prevention of"
FIRST, a disclaimer, says Chris: This method will not prevent ALL such attacks, but will
decrease their frequency. It is most helpful with any kind of Quaker or spot
samplers, where you need to count across a gap.

You start by threading a spare needle with a single strand of a color that will contrast with your fabric. It is almost certain that you will wear this out and throw it away, so make it something you don't care about. You will also want to take care that it is a thread that will not leave 'fuzzies.' I use a piece of regular sewing thread.

Park it somewhere handy. When you have to count across one of those gaps, use the spare thread and stitch half cross-stitches across to your next starting point. For example, if you need to move 9 stitches to the right and 5 down, stitch that number of
half-crosses. Make the half-crosses or running stitches over the same number of threads you are stitching X's over.

The contrasting colored stitches will give you something more visible to count than counting just the fabric threads, which is quite helpful when stitching over TWO on the fabric, as it is easy to get off by one thread.
After you’ve established the next starting point, pull the 'counting thread' out and park it until you need it again. Not a perfect system, but it's helped me, I hope it helps you. - Chris in CO
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3-17-10 Gillian wrote last night to offer this: My tip or reminder iswhen you find a freebie on the web, print it out right then and there or save a copy on your desktop. So often I've found something wonderful that a designer is kind enough to share and when I go back it's either gone or I just can't find it :( Also, make sure on the copy you print out you note the designer's name and blog, sometimes it's not mentioned and you'll want to give credit when you stitch it!
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3-14-10 Hand-Dyed Fibers forum is my go-to place for ideas and advice. Today I was delighted to see a set of questions and answers to the topic of wrinkled linen in their forum. I am sure this tip would work on a variety of fabrics:
Several stitchers said they recalled seeing their mothers wet wrinkled garments, then wrap those in a bath towel and place in a plastic bag. The whole thing would be placed in the fridge for 24 hours or so. If you think you might forget, you can put it in the freezer instead thereby eliminating the fear of mold or mildew on the damp linen. The linen will be uniformly damp and iron like a dream. This trick works beautifully with linen we use for our needlework.

But, do you want to know why in the fridge??? Or the freezer? Vikki Clayton clears up this question: The answer can be found in the structure of the linen! Linen absorbs huge amounts of water. If you iron it while it's warm you're merely steaming out the water. If it's cold you're steaming out the top of the fiber to smoothness and then allowing the linen fibers core to dry naturally (never iron linen till dry, just till not wrinkled).
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3-12-10 This tip from Rebecca R. is similar to Narita's .
She writes: How to choose which end of your skein to pull from: When you cut a section off the skein, you have 6 threads. In order to pull a single one out, use the end that fans the most. This will be the end that was first cut off the skein. After the set of strands have lain in your tray, waiting to be used, sometimes it is hard to tell which is the proper end. To tell, gently brush across the cut ends. This is called the blossoming method. The end that fans the most is the end to pull from and use to thread the needle. Even though the set of strands may bunch up as you pull the single out, if you are pulling from the proper end, the remaining strands will slip right back down and lay smoothly together.
Similarly, threading the more frayed end thru the needle is a good because it keeps the thread going in the right direction and lying smooth.
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On 3-2-10 Vonna wrote: A tip I have is that I never turn my needle. I go down through the fabric with the point and come up through the fabric with the eye, this keeps the thread laying smooth (you don't have to railroad) and you can use the tread way down to a nub. Try it...it works fantastic! I started doing this 6 years ago...came up with the idea myself....never went back. I stitch using a stand and two handed and can stitch like wildfire!
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More wonderful tips:
1. Put your name and phone number on an index card in your stitching bag so you can be located if the bag is lost. - by Elouise L.
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2. Libraries can be great sources for out of print books on techniques and designs. Many have needlework magazines and charts as well. - by Augustine H.
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3. Framed pieces displayed on easels add a nice touch to a room. - by Susanne G.
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4. If buying to stash rather than for immediate use, wait for the LNS and OLN sales for things like threads, accessories, and fabric. - by Frances L.
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6. Display trees are a nice way to show off smalls and can be left out all year. - by Janine A.
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7. Create your own thread of the month club. Select a thread then print off the numerical or alphabetical list of colors. Each month buy 5 threads going down the list until you have them all. - by Liz R.
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8. Take a 10 minute break after each hour of stitching. This helps reduce eyestrain, reduces swelling in the feet, and makes it easier to concentrate. - by Cathy S.
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9. A great needle for beading is the John James Bead Embroidery needle. It is the same length as a tapestry needle but thin enough to glide through the beads. - by Alma M.
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10. Keep a pair of micro serrated edge embroidery scissors on hand for metallic threads. They will dull ordinary embroidery scissors. - by Patricia S.

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Monday, 3-1-10  Narita T offers this:
I have a tip for your tip section. It's about threading the needle the "right" way. I found it in one of the Just Cross Stitch magazines 2 months ago (I think!) It says you take the end of the floss and look at them (both ends). The ends that are most frayed go into the needle and become the short tail. This ensures your stitches lay nicer. (This has to do with the twist of the floss). I can't tell you how many times over the years I have run floss through my fingers to try and figure out which way the nap goes and then still seeings some X's that just don't look at pretty as the others. I have found that to be, probably, my most favorite tip of all. Also, it says you can put the ends in your fingers and tap the ends to make them fray but I notice I only need to do that if the ends have been cut fairly recently. If they've been laying around for a bit, I can just pick them up and see the end thats most frayed. I love it!!

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2-17-10 "Flying Needle Prevention": In the past... I would usually start to frog with the very needle that put in the stitches. All too often, the needle would go flying when it caught on a stitch that has not been clipped and my fingers lost control. Then the great hunt for a tiny needle would begin. To avoid this, I have finally learned to keep a nice big darning or heavy tapestry needle at the ready, threading with a few inches of heavy yellow fishing line, knotted into a loop. I have finally developed the habit of reaching for that big needle when I need to remove stitches. I almost never lose control of it, but if I do, it is easily visible on the carpet or in the crevices of my stitching chair cushions. -Deb
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Yoyo said... This is a great tip! Recently someone sent me adarning needle with a cute set of beads threaded where you have your fishing line. This needle sits right in my pin cushion and I find it reeeeeaaaallllly saves on the lost 'flying' needles -- and it's so cute with its beads that it makes frogging slightly less frustrating (LOL). This has turned into one of my favorite stitching tools.
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Here is my tip for today: A complicated chart can become tattered over weeks of use. Some large projects take months! If you have access to a laminating machine or service, that 's one way to preserve the pages. However, here is a cost effective way to accomplish the same thing. Slip your chart, turned to the appropriate page, into a clear page protector and fasten to your chart holder. If there is a specialty stitch information page, you can inset that in the back so all you need to do is flip the folder to review the instructions. Most magnets that come will magnetic boards will hold at least a half dozen pages in a plastic folder. These folders are inexpensive. You can turn from page to page as you progress. Once your stitching is complete, you will have a nice place to keep the chart & any notes you made for a little stitching history. Deb

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