Wednesday, 21 January 2015

How To Cross Stitch - Starting your thread

This is Post 2 of the Ultimate Cross Stitch How-To Guide - Securing your thread

When you begin learning how to cross stitch, one of the first things you need to know is how to start... as in how to secure your thread!  One of the biggest no-no's of cross stitch is using knots - these can cause bulges in your stitching (and make the back look ugly) and is generally frowned upon.  This is why starting cross stitch (and other hand embroidery) is very different to regular sewing.

There are two different methods to securing your thread when you start your stitching - the Running Start (also called the waste knot start) and the Loop Start.

The Loop Start

1. Separate one strand of thread

2. Fold it in half and thread the open ends through the eye of the needle

3. After stitching the first half of the first cross, turn your material over.  Push your needle through the loop at the end of your thread.

4.  Tighten the thread gently so that it looks like picture 4.  Turn your material back right-side-up and continue stitching.

The Running Start

1. Remove two strands of thread 

2. Thread them through the eye of the needle.

3. After stitching the first half of the first cross, turn your material over.  Hold the loose ends in position with your thumb.  Push your needle back through the fabric, taking care to ensure that the loose ends are trapped under the thread.

4.  Continue stitching, ensuring that the loose end is caught or 'trapped' by your crosses.  Four or five stitches should secure it in place.

This method is also sometimes known as the waste knot start as some people knot the end of their thread to help secure it under the four or five stitches, and then snip the knot off.  I have only ever done this with metallics, but each to their own.

 Loop Start or Running Start?

I prefer to use the loop start as it keeps the back of my stitching looking neater (I'm a bit of a snob like that!).  Of course, sometimes there is no choice but to use the running start: 
  • when you are using only one strand (such as backstitch)
  • when you are using left-over lengths of thread or short lengths from kits 
  • when you are using metallics and want to secure them to your needle
At the end of the day the choice is yours - use whatever you feel most comfortable with.

Coming Up....
Next post I will show you how to complete the most basic cross stitch stitch - the cross.

Happy Stitching!

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