Friday, 25 March 2016

Stitching the A to Z Challenge - fabric prep

This blog was originally written to go up before the Challenge reveal post.  But then I moved into my new place (which was last minute because of furniture delivery dates) which took up a lot of my spare time, and I had no internet, which really affects the ability to upload blog posts!  

Now that I've chosen my fabrics (and patterns) for the A to Z challenge, it's time to get them ready.

I like to have a 10x10 grid on my fabric when I stitch.  I find that it helps me keep my place when counting, I can stitch a single colour rather than having to constantly change so I don't lose my place, and all in all there is less un-picking (or frogging as it's known).

Stitched 10x10 grid lines for the Supernatural Alphabet
I used to stitch the 10x10 grid, using long stitch (or just really long back stitch - usually 10 squares at a time.  I'd pick a contrasting colour (one that wasn't going to be stitched in the pattern) and go for it.  It would take me a good few hours depending on the size of the pattern, but I always figured it would save me time in the long run.  My favourite part at the end of a long stitching project was pulling out the grid lines - hoping that I hadn't managed to stitch through the thread, making it a lot more difficult to remove.
The drawn 10x10 grid for the Pokemon Pattern
These days I use a wash-out fabric pen.  It is so much quicker!  A table/flat surface, the pen, the fabric, a ruler... and within about 15 minutes the job is done.  The pen I use is from a quilting store (it doesn't have the brand name written on it!) - it washes out in cold water, or air-fades in about 30 days.... which can mean you have to redraw the lines if your project is a bigger, or takes you longer to stitch... but totally worth it!  Just make sure you test it out on a corner of your fabric first - the last thing you want is to get to the end of your project and discover that the particular pen you're using doesn't wash out of your particular fabric!

When I was drawing up my fabrics a couple of days ago, I was using a fine-point one.  I thought "oh, this will be neater, less bleeding".  Slight problem - it faded within about an hour! Where I'd drawn the lines a bit thicker it was still (slightly) visible, but predominately there wasn't a trace.  I don't know whether it was because it was particularly humid that day, or particularly sunny... whatever the reason, I had to redo the whole thing with one of my older pens.  Oh well - you live and learn I guess!  I also had to stitch the grid-line onto the Supernatural pattern - the fabric just seemed to absorb the ink, and with the darker colour it wasn't really showing up.

Next I'm going to stitch the background lines.  The Pokemon pattern I've chosen has dividing lines between the letters so I'm stitching these ahead of time - to save me time during the challenge, and to help with the counting.

I've changed the colours a bit from the original pattern.  It always amuses me when I'm stitching one of my own projects and think "I don't like that colour choice, I'm going to change it."  I'm the one who came up with it in the first place, you'd think I'd be happy with it!  Oh well, colour choices/preferences change with time, and it really can depend on the fabric colours too.  Again - the joys of cross stitch - it's open to change to suit individual preferences.

How's your A-Z prep going?

Happy stitching!

1 comment:

  1. I'm still majorly flip-flopping on fabric, but I swear I'm going to start prepping this weekend!