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Starting a pattern
Posted By:    darbyann
When you start a new project, do you do all the first color first, and then the second color and so on, even if it means hopping around with it.? Is it easier this way.? Thanks
Replies:  
Posted ByReply
Bermuda
03/20/17
Hi,
Are you new to counted cross stitching? The reason I ask is just so I can understand how much you know....:)
First, almost all patterns are started by finding the middle of the pattern and beginning your stitching there if you have found the middle of the pattern then fold your fabric into fours and crease the folded edges with your fingers in a firm fashion, then when you lay fabric flat, you should see the middle of the fabric. It is at the center of your PATtERN, you should look at the floss color symbols that are around it. I personally look at what is the floss symbol that is the most around the chart's center and start with that floss color and cross stitch as many in the area around the center as I can. RULE 1: Do NOT carry your floss more than 5 spaces in any direction to stitch with the same color!
Example: I have the $ symbol for floss color number 725 and this symbol is showing on the chart like this:
$$$$$ @@ $$ @@@ $$$$$ @@@@@@@@ $$
I would be stitching my floss color 725 5 squares, would skip two squares (@ is a different floss color), stitch 2 squares, skip 3 squares, stitch 5 squares BUT I would NOT stitch the last two $$ because I would have to carry my floss over 8 of the @'s to get to them and what is the rule? Get it?
I also suggest that you either watch stitching tutorials on You-Tube or the "scarletquince.com" web site has EXCELLENT tutorials on everything on learning counted cross stitch. Hope this helps!
I am not an employee of Everything CrossStitch but one of the stitchers that saw your chat.
VCESS
03/20/17
Generally, I start in the center, working adjacent colors and areas...no set pattern, particularly. But do what feels right to you! When I first learned, it was all about getting the pattern centered, now its more relaxed, even giving tips about different ways to begin and still be centered. I found I didn't like holding already stitched areas rolled in my left hand...worried about wear, oils, silly crap...so I started beginning near the right border if not using scroll rods. Works for me because it feels right. But I would never suggest this blasphemous behavior to a newbie. :) Any minute now, somebody will tell you a different way to begin. Just pick what's right for you. :)

BTW, I'm seeing all these big projects where all the colors in that row are parked and its like 50 rows finished with 100 colors in each row. It's traumatizing me! YIKES!
Bermuda
03/20/17
It's traumatized all of us... and I never was a stitcher that could do parking...
darbyann
03/20/17
LOL.....It's that obvious that I am a newbee.! Thank you both, Bermuda and VCESS for your advice. I am going to start my new hobby tomorrow so thank you all for the tips. Believe me, you will be hearing from me if I even prick my finger.! (kidding)
Bermuda
03/20/17
That's wonderful. We stitchers encourage you to ask us any questions you have and, yes, we do give emotional support for when you prick your finger or you get fustrated: but you are the future for carrying on counted cross stitching as an art form, so we want you to succeed. After a bit of experience you will come to love it! :)
craftydivakat
03/20/17
I start in the middle, much like Bermuda talked about.

I usually try to start with the lightest colours first. If you do carry floss over, it's much less likely for a light colour to show through than a dark, so if there are dark browns or blacks, I try to do the other colours around them first to minimize the chance of anything showing through.

I do try to do as much of a colour as possible in an area, but I don't skip large gaps. It's way too easy to make a mistake that way! Even if you aren't carrying floss over, if I'm having to count fifteen squares up and ten over, I'll wait til I have more colours in to do that section. This is PARTICULARLY the case if I'm working over two. I've screwed up with that, with counting one instead of two squares where I was supposed to way too many times to do that again!

I absolutely cannot do parking either, ladies. I tried it once and figuring out which colour was which made me cry. I ended off all the threads, threw them away, and started fresh. The colours were too close together and I couldn't tell them apart and the notes I took while working wound up making no sense to me. An experiment never to be repeated!
ladyj117
03/20/17
What is parking?
Bermuda
03/20/17
Parking is a method of stitching in which you do not leave "open areas" of the fabric unstitched to a different floss color. Supposedly it makes the back of your fabric look nicer and you can stitch faster.
There is a tutorial on "scarletquince.com" website which has excellent tutorials on everything you want to learn about cross stitching. It's one of my "go-to" tutorials..
Basically, you are stitching with one color, lets say DMC 310 black for 4 squares, then in that same row, the pattern states you need to stitch the next 3 spaces in floss color 725. So you take your needle with the black floss and "park" it (away so it doesn't get tangled with your needle with the 725 color). So you do the 3 spaces with the 725 and then notice that the next 6 spaces want you to stitch the color 801, so you take your needle with the 725 and "park" it and stitch the 801. It's a bit more complicated than that if you go to the tutorial, but what you have are all these needles "parked" where you have the colors in an area to do. I tried it, was an abysmal failure, forgave myself and went back to stitching one color with one needle at a time. I would think that with all the subtle floss colors in patterns nowadays, it would be hardpressed for a stitcher to "remember" which floss is the 800 color versus the 801 color versus the 803 color so you don't "unpark" the wrong needle and therefore stitch the wrong color. Sorry folks, I No-can-do...I personally just don't like what it involves.... :)
NANCYE G
03/20/17
Not everyone starts in the middle. It is a good idea when working on a large project. Some designers suggest starting at one of the upper corners. That can get boring if the background is boring because it takes awhile to see your main project take shape. I started one project at the bottom because it had a lot of different colors down there and the top was many rows of shading in the same color family.

Most recently, I have only been stitching small projects. Mostly smaller than 80 x 80. I have been starting at the top middle and working my way down. However, I miscounted on my last piece and was and was slightly off center when finished.

You just have to try several different methods until you find the one that works for you.

As far as parking goes -- I have been driving for over 40 years and still avoid parallel parking whenever possible. (LOLOLOL)
Bermuda
03/20/17
I can't even remember the last time I "parallel parked" a car.....nowadays I even try to park where I pull straight through to a parking space and don't have to back the car up when I leave...
ladyj117
03/20/17
Thanks, Bermuda that makes perfect sense and kind of thought that's what you were talking about. Funny about the parallel parking. Both my daughters are learning to drive and have to learn to parallel park as well to pass the test. Once they pass, they said they would do like I do and drive around to find a parking lot rather than parallel park. lol When you live in the suburbs you can get away with that but not so much in the city!
Jacquie
Bluejay
03/20/17
Hi DarbyAnn,

I am not a pro by any means but I've done a lot of counted cross stitch in my life. I usually start my projects in the middle in blocks of 100 stitches. Work all stitches of the same color in each grid block before moving to the next, finishing the block completely. Do the four center blocks first. Then do all the blocks around those four, radiating out in an equal amount in all directions as you go.

I have also learned not to use two separate strands of thread but to use one, fastening the ends to the back of the project so that the needle is secured and cannot slip off the thread. This does not work for blended threads obviously. It also does not work for finishing thread as it is usually only one strand.

Work all stitches in the same direction. Every kit gives you an example in the instructions which you should read thoroughly. Tips and tricks and what works best for you will come with time. How exciting! Enjoy!



Texas Stitcher
03/20/17
Oh, Nancye, how funny, that's the first thing that popped into my head! I've had a license for almost 50 years and only parallel parked three times in my life! The first time when I took the test, then many years later when a coworker "directed" me. that was an awesome experience. He twirled his fingers from an upstairs window and there were huge piles of snow by the curb and I got it first try! I knew that I couldn't top that and left it alone. Except for one last time when DH was in the hospital. It was the first spot on the street and all I had to do was back up, so I don't think that it counts. All this happened before I turned 35. :)

I do not park my floss, too much of a mess and then those pokey needles.

I also work in sections like VCESS. I started in the center, then after a comment I read, began in he upper right corner and that worked great for me. Everybody seems to start in the left corner so now I tried it. The vote is still out on where I'll start my next project. Maybe I'll go back to center.

I do not like working all over to complete one color because if you are off by a stitch you have one hell of a mess on your hands, namely a lot of frogging. However, I say whatever is comfortable and works should be the method you should stick with.
Bermuda
03/20/17
ladyj117,
OOOh, you have two daughters learning to drive? That can be a bit stressful for a Mom!
I never could figure when it comes to parallel parking-that one begins to start turning the wheel when the END of my car was even with the END of the car already parked and will be ahead of me- without hitting it.
Most of the time in the beginning I'd end up with the back wheels on the curb. A LONG time ago, I had to take a driving test to successfully be hired at this one company. I borrowed my sister's car to get my driver's license on a Thursday and took the company's driving test the next day. I went down a one-way street the wrong way and ended up with the back wheel of the vehicle ON the curb and they passed me....:) It's called "desperate for help" employment....

Darbyann- Did you start your cross stitch pattern yet?
Craftydivakat: Good idea about starting with the lighter floss first! I can see where that decreases the risk of having those nasty dark floss strands show through. Also learned my lesson, this past 2016 NOT to stitch my one floss color too far down (like 15 rows!) and missed placed one stitch. It took me 3 days of "frogging" to get it all straightened out! Whenever the temptation occurs, I remember those three days with Mr. Frog...
VCESS: A lot of times on the smaller projects, I start in the middle but with the large to extra large projects, I'm beginning to get into the habit of measuring off the Extra fabric from upper left corner in and upper side corner in to find where to place my first stitch, then work at least two-3 rows ALLL THE WAY to the upper right corner to make sure I didn't start the pattern where I would run out of fabric. I agree with you that doing what feels the best seems to work.

Texas: Let us know which of the angels you are planning to work on! YES, I'm NOSEY!!! :)
Nancye: Hope your feeling better! :)

HI BLUEJAY!!! :)
dave001
03/21/17
I usually start project(s) in the middle seems better for me. Haven't been brave enough to start anywhere else--I goof up enough starting in middle!!! As to color they are "listed" numericaly on pattern material needed list. I "arrange my floss bags in same order and starting in middle complete as much of that color as possible before moving on to next color. I prefer to work the pattern in 10 space blocks as most patterns I have done are printed. As to parking--car --like newer models that do it for you. Needle nope memory to short to remember which colr is in which needle--any time I've tried this wasn't good out come. As several other suggested try what works for you best for you. That's what I do and have been happy with my decisions and results of completed work.
Bluejay
03/21/17
Hi Bermuda and all,
Its nice to meet you. I may not be on much but I am finding the discussions infomative and the finished projects beautiful. If frogging is pulling out stitches I do a lot of that myself which is why I work in blocks of 100, give or take. Have a great afternoon all!
clgibson20
03/22/17
I just received my first kit from this company and i was just wondering how you all dealt with the thread from the beginning? Do you leave it on the long boards they came on? Or do you do something else with them? I have never had a kit with anything like it before. All the thread hanging from a board and labeled is great but not exactly easy to keep clean or untangled.
ladyj117
03/22/17
GLgibson20,
I agree with the fact that being labeled with the color is great and also agree that the strands are so long they do get tangled very easily. Sometimes I use another cardboard that has the holes punched in them so you can loop the thread around and use numbered stickers or number them by hand. You can either transfer them all over to the new cardboard, cutting them in half making them shorter and loop around holes or split the long strands in half and have two cardboards with same thread but easier to manage. Also, I have used the square cardboards and kept them in a plastic container. Just some ideas.
Jacquie
Bluejay
03/22/17
Hi CL,
How exciting! Look up Bobbins on this website, plastic or cardboard. You can wrap each color on its own bobbin and write the color code number on it. I have also had luck with Targets little ziplock baggies which are for small portions and also have a spot to write the color code on. I will try to look up the actual product name. What is the kit you are working on?
Bluejay
03/22/17
http://www.everythingcrossstitch.com/cardboard-floss-bobbins-mrp-p1235.aspx?k2=e1

This should be the link to the cardboard bobbins here.
clgibson20
03/22/17
Thank you guys! I have bobbins. I've been doing cross stitching for many years. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something with these things. haha My husband tried to convince me to peal off the back and stick them to the wall next to me in the living room. OMG!! As if that would ever happen but he thought he was pretty funny. Partly because we have 3 cats who would greatly enjoy them hanging from the wall! haha

Bluejay, I am working on the Peonies & Delphiniums kit. My 10 yr old daughter saw it and begged me to make it for her room. I'm excited to get started! It looks like its going to be beautiful!
Bluejay
03/22/17
Peonies and Delphiniums is gorgeous! My favorite color palette. I did look up Targets Up and Up Portion Pack ziplocks anyway. Bigger than bobbins they hold larger amounts of floss. I use a combination of the two. Enjoy your new project. Its lovely!
Bermuda
03/22/17
clgibson20,
I had to laugh, your husband is as helpful as mine with the suggestions!! LOL!

A gentle reminder, since it IS a kit and you have the specific floss that came with the kit, that you protect it from your 'Miss Kitty' from eating, playing or otherwise using it, or you will have to request more floss from the manufacturer . :)

clgibson20
03/23/17
Bluejay would you mind giving me the target link? Thanks!
Bluejay
03/23/17
https://www.google.com/search?q=target+up+and+up+ziploc+baggies+portion+control


Hi CL,
Had trouble with Target website search so I put these keywords in Internet search and came up with the product. I hope this helps. Please let me know. 😃
clgibson20
03/23/17
I see. You meant actual snack bags. Thanks a bunch!
Bluejay
03/23/17
Yes. Believe it or not they work really well, both during a project and for storage afterwards. And you can write the DMC color code number on them like you can write on freezer storage bags.