Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Questions from The Beginner

So I'm getting around to personalizing the little bird gift tag I'm stitching for a baby shower this weekend. I want to put baby's name on it and then put a "to/from" on the back. The problem is, I can't figure out how to start or finish lettering that is entirely backstitched and not near regular cross-stitches to tuck the ends under. When I did the lettering on the Peace of God project - I'll be honest - I knotted the thread. I could think of no better way to handle it. Is there an alternative?

And where does everyone get the pretty alphabets they use to sign their work? Is there a book or anything that anyone can recommend?

While I'm on the topic of asking questions, I have one more to throw out there for anyone/everyone who reads this modest blog. How do you store your threads? I have some "specialty threads" coming and that is new for me. I've only acquainted myself with DMC thread. I've been storing those on paper bobbins. Should I be using the plastic bobbins instead? Or should I not be using bobbins at all? And should I store specialty threads the same way I store DMC? It looks like many people store them hanging on "thread drops." Is that a better alternative? And if so, how do you keep them from collecting dust? Wow, that was quite a series of questions. Sorry to overwhelm!

Michele asked what goodies I ordered from eHandcrafts. I ordered the Love and Faithfulness Thread Pack from LHN, A Place We Call Home from CCN, and all the specialty threads I need to complete the CCN design and two other patterns I have (Gingerbread Cottage from CCN and Peach Tree Cottage from LHN). Little House Needleworks and Country Cottage Needleworks are hands-down my favorite designers to look at. I haven't completed a single one of their designs but I love the way they look. They're so simple and lovely. I am really enjoying watching Michele work on Gingerbread Cottage! It sure is coming along!

And finally, I've been trying really hard to get over my insecurities about commenting on everyone's blogs. I have a long list of blogs I check daily for updates and I feel like the best way to acclimate myself with the stitching-blogger world is to go ahead and comment on the wonderful entries. But I have this fear of commenting - like who on earth am I to comment on anyone else's work (even if they're all positive comments)? I really need to get over that.


staci said...

If you're backstitching near any other stitching and it won't show thru to the right side, anchor your thread there. Or if you aren't near any other threads, I leave a tail 2-3 inches long and maneuver it underneath the backstitches as I go for about 4 or 5 stitches or so. It's a little awkward at first. I don't know if that's the 'correct' way of doing it or maybe others have different ways, that's just what I've always done.

And don't feel self-conscious about leaving comments, I know I did at first, but I think everyone enjoys the feedback~~I know I do :)

Aussie Stitcher said...

For storage for DMC I am in the process of changing from cardboard bobbins to plastic, using the stickers for labelling, that way at the end I will have a full set of DMC. For other fibers I use floss-away bags, or any small zip lock bags, and separate different brands with rings.

Congratulations on finishing your little sampler, it looks great.

Kathy said...

Staci did a good job of giving you tips on anchoring your thread for backstitching. It is a hard thing to do when there are no other threads nearby. Best way is to use the long beginning thread and concentrate on making sure your backstitches go over your tail and anchor it. Many a time I have pulled it all out before I was done and had to start over getting it anchored.

I store all my threads in Floss pack bags (the zip-lock ones). It really protects them from dust, dirt and if you carry them around from getting fuzzy. I know a lot of people that use the bobbins, but I personally don't like them. When you take thread off them, they are kinked up from being creased on the bobbin. Plue I would not want to spend time winding them all.

My LNS owner/designer is transitioning her DMC from the bobbins. She puts Weeks and Sampler overdyes in the Flos bags on rings. She has also taught me to wind my pieces of floss that I have pulled strands off of to stitch with around 2 fingers and put back in the bag. Then the remaining strands don't get twisted and tangled up. If you don't want to spend money on Floss bags, buy the snack sized zip-loc bags at the grocery store. Then punch holes in one end to be able to put the on the loose leaf rings.

When I set up for a project, then I pull the required colors of thread and put it on a ring for that project. Right now I have so many projects going, I have run out of rings.

Sorry so long, but hope this helps. You can find my e-mail address on my blog and e-mail me directly, if you like.

Linen Stitcher said...

To start a thread of one ply or many, I leave a slightly longer tail on back, then I sew over the tail for the first few stitches. After catching it two or three times, I take the extra step of folding the tail back over on itself and catching it once more, to make it more secure.

There are whole books of just alphabets and there are free alphabet patterns available online, but I don't have a good recommendation for either.

I recently reorganized my floss storage system. My 10/23/07 blog post has a detailed explanation, if you want to check it out. And feel free to leave a practice comment there, if you'd like . . .

Jennifer said...

You should never feel self conscious about commenting on other people's blogs. It's a great way to draw traffic to your own blog - everyone likes to check out other stitching blogs because of the wonderful chain reactions that happen. You comment, the blog owner comes to look at your blog, and they may add it to their own blogrolls and readers. Then their readers are exposed to your blogs, and you get introduced to other people. You will be amazed at the inspiration and support you can get from the stitching community by just making a few comments here and there!

Susimac said...

Oh don't be shy about leaving comments - everyone loves to receive them, it makes blogging so worthwhile cos you realise that people are reading your blog.

There are lots of wonderful free alphabets out there, you will find.

I only store my dmc and anchor on paper or plastic thread bobbins, my speciality I store in differnt boxes still in their skeins, WDW & GAST are in one box and these are in floss away bags, my silk thread I store in their own box not on bobbins or in bags.

Mary KAthryn has a wonderful online store and is very helpful I always find.