Starting a pattern
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
Posted by: darbyann on 03/19/17
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 "" 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.
by: Bermuda on 03/20/17
Generally, I start in the center, working adjacent colors and 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 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!
by: VCESS on 03/20/17
It's traumatized all of us... and I never was a stitcher that could do parking...
by: Bermuda on 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)
by: darbyann on 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! :)
by: Bermuda on 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!
by: craftydivakat on 03/20/17
What is parking?
by: ladyj117 on 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 "" 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.... :)
by: Bermuda on 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)
by: NANCYE G on 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...
by: Bermuda on 03/20/17