From time to time I have people asking technique questions about my stitching. People wanted to know how my satin stitch circles were so circular, how I had made the small neat blanket stitches and for tips on back-stitch.
So here is a little guide to how I do my stitching! Some of this is personal taste, some of this is proper technique, but hopefully something in here will help you.
For starters I like to use 2 strands of floss as much as possible. Of course in some of my patterns it may call for 1 thread or 3 threads at times, but my preference is to use 2. I find that this is the easiest way to work to achieve a neat finish, less tangles and generally a better stitching experience. The second starter tip is to use a good quality embroider floss. I have not tried every floss on the market but my definite preference is the Comso threads by Lecien. I know that some of you have had trouble finding these threads, but more and more are becoming available in the patchwork stores which will only increase greatly as people start to use them and see the benefits. I recommend doing a google search or asking your local patchwork store if they will be stocking them.
In my travels I have found that there are quite a few people out there who have never been taught the correct way to satin stitch, and are therefore never achieving the desired result. It is very important to do this in the right way to get that neat and raised look. I think the second step may be what a lot of people are missing.
First you mark the shape that you want to satin stitch. In this case I have drawn a very rough circle.The next step which seems to be missed a lot, but is crucial, is to backstitch the outline of your shape with 2 strands of floss.Once you have fully backstitched your outline, this then becomes your stitching guide. Starting at the top, side most point (sorry for the angled pictures, but you can see the grain of the linen to see which way is straight). Take your needle through just outside your backstitches.Now take the thread straight down and thread it back through just outside your back stitches at the bottom.Now bring the needle back through at the top, right next to your previous stitch, still coming through just outside the backstitches so that you are maintaining the circle shape.Again bring the stitch straight down, in line with your first satin stitch, and thread it through to the back just outside the backstitches.Continue on in the same way along your circle. Please ensure that you never pull the threads too tight and warp your circle and that you continue to stitch outside your back stitches.Once you have completed you should have a neat circle/shape that looks something like this.Your satin stitch shape should always have the same shape as your backstitched outline. Another benefit to the backstitches is that they raise your satin stitches to give them that extra definition.The next stitching question was about the blanket stitches that were visible in the sneak peek. The stitch that I used for this section of my project was imitation blanket stitch. Before I show you how this is done I have to stress that this stitch should not be used for applique, but only when you are stitching and use blanket stitch for decoration purposes only.
First you stitch your line with standard backstitch. How big you want your blanket sticthes to be will be will determine how long your backstitches are. Once you have completed your line of backstitching, take the needle through to the front at a right angle to your first stitch (the distance out from your stitching is personal taste)Now take your stitch through to the same hole as your back stitch creating the right angle.Continue to do the same creating a right angle with the second back stitch.
Continue on in the same way, always creating a right angle with the next stitch. This way you can stitch any angle large or small.When it comes to back stitch, I don't think pictures or a tutorial will help to achieve a neater stitch. My advice is to always use 2 stands if possible, to try and ensure that you are keeping your stitches close to the same length, and I also prefer the stab stitch method (rather than working from the front only) for greater accuracy. Another help is to always use an embroidery hoop to keep you fabric taught and straight. Other than that, I think it is all down to practice and patience.
I hope that there may have been something in here to help you, and if not, thanks for reading along anyway. Stitching is so much fun and so therapeutic, so I hope I may have encouraged a few more of you to give it a go!