Loop thread starting method

Loop starting method for cross stitching

When I learned cross-stitching many many years ago, I didn’t have much of Internet access and had to resort to books and stitching instructions on kits. Most of them said something along the lines, “Hold the thread on the back with your fingers and secure it with several crosses” or “Run the end of the new thread on the back of your stitching under an inch of already made stitches”. When this is definitely one way to do it, it is extremely time-consuming, uncomfortable, and in some cases not possible.

And then I discovered the loop method.

And believe me – it’s a real treat! Neat, clean, and fast – and only requires that you stitch with an even amont of threads (2 ply, 4 ply etc).

The loop method is very simple to grasp: just fold your thread in half, thread the needle with the loose ends (NOT the fold), and pull the needle on the backside through the loop after the first stitch.

The video explains it even better!

And how do you prefer to start your thread?

Temari with elongated kiku flowers tutorial

Work in progress: kiku on S12

A couple of days ago Judy asked for the directions of how to make a temari with slightly modified and elongated kiku flowers. Here is a tutorial!

Green modified kiku temari

Start with a temari base (I chose the orange ball today) and divide it into eight sectors (Simple 8, S8 division) with an obi center line. Here is a great tutorial on how to do it.

Balls for temari embroidery

Place all the marking threads. Your mari now looks like that: Temari with S8 marking and obi (center line)
My metallic marking thread tends hide on the bright orange ball, so I made a few illustrations as well. The marking lines on these pictures are drawn parallel only for convinience!
Take four pins and place them on the nonadjacent points of intersection on the obi: points A, B, C, and D on illustrations. Be sure to use the pins that are colored differently from North and South poles. These pins wiil be the centers of future kiku flowers on the temari.
Temari tutorial: S8 with selected intersections on obi
Pins to mark the centers of kiku
Keeping all the pins in place, position the ball so that pin A is the north pole, making pin C the south pole. From that point of view, you will see a S4 division. Complete it to S12:
Temari tutorial: S12 stitched around a pin on obi
Temari with additional S12 marking on obi
Rotate the ball again to make pin B the north pole and stitch an S12 around it as well.
Return the original north and south poles in their rightful places. You should have four similar sectors on your mari with 12 marking threads coming out of points A, B, C, and D. Breathe out, we’ve done the hard part – let’s get to stitching the kiku flowers 🙂
Temari tutorial: obi with additional S12 marking
Start at pin A and place pins on all intersection of it’s S12 threads with neighbouring marking threads of the original S8 (the ones coming from north toВ south pole).
Pins around one sector
Measure the distance from pin A to the nearest pin (it will be along the obi) and divide it in half. On my ball, the distance is 3 cm (1.2”), and half of it is 1.5 cm (0.6”). Now move all the pins (including north and south poles) closer to pin A by that measurement.
Temari tutorial: kiku petal pins
Pins marking the ending points for kiku stitches
(The photo is only here to show a bit of my cat’s belly 🙂 )
Pins marking the ending points for kiku stitches
Note, that on the illustration above I placed the yellow points (=pins) by eye, just to give you the explanation how it all should look.
The pins that you just placed will be the ending points for kiku petals. Stitch kiku stitches around pin A.
Elongated kiku : first row
First row:
Elongated kiku: second row
When you finish the kiku on one side, move on to pins B, C, and D, and repeat. (I will post the photos for that step a soon as I finish my own mari 🙂 )
Work in progress: kiku on S12
To give your temari a finished look, take a long piece of thread and wrap it from north pole to south along marking threads 2 and 6, then repeat again across the wrapped threads along marking lines 4 and 8. Place tack stitches (called tabane kagari) at the poles to keep wrapping in place and reward yourself for a job well done.

Enjoy your stitching!

Floss conversion table (DMC – Anchor – Madeira)

As you may have noticed, I usually use DMC floss in my cross stitch patterns. So for those of you who wish to use different type of floss, here is a long table of floss conversion.

Keep in mind, that the more realistic your pattern is (full-coverage, lots of colors and confetti) the less it is recommended to change the palette!

Sometimes it is not possible to find a close match. Colors marked by an asterisk (*) are the closest replacements.

Disclaimer: not all of this table has been tested and created by me, some of the data is based on other conversion tables from the Web. If you have better conversions for some of the colors, feel free to add them in the comments!

Continue reading “Floss conversion table (DMC – Anchor – Madeira)”

Basic temari patterns: kiku (chrysanthemum)

Pink chrysanthemum temari
Temari with kiku pattern

Kiku, or the chrysanthemum, is one of the most common patterns for a temari ball along with spindles and squares. It can be designed in various sizes and colors, but the basics are the same.

Kiku is stitched with Uwagake Chidori (zig zag) stitch, which is quite easy to master. Though it is not recommended by most temari teachers, it is still easier to think of uwagake chidori as of a modified herringbone stitch. It is better to learn kiku pattern on even simple divisions like S8 or S10 with an obi (center line).

Continue reading “Basic temari patterns: kiku (chrysanthemum)”

Common division types in temari marking

S8 marked temariBefore you start stitching a pattern on your mari you have to mark it into a division.

The process of marking is one of the most dull and yet important steps in making a good temari. The geometrical beauty of the finished ball depends directly on the preciseness of your marking (in web-design I would add !important modifier to every word, but in text I’ll stick to bold letters).

Marking is made with marking threads (jiwari), that are traditionally metallic, but can also be the same as design treads. You can even make the division invisible (but non inexistent!) by using the thread similar in color to the ball base.

There are two basic types of divisions: simple and combination (complex). Тэмари с разметкой S8Прежде, чем вы начнете вышивать красоту, тэмари необходимо разметить, то есть нанести нитками специальные разметочные линии. Для направляющих ниток дзивари (jiwari) традиционно используют металлизированное мулине, но в зависимости от узора можно взять и основную рабочую нитку, и даже сделать “невидимую” разметку в цвет шарика-основы.

Хотя я сама терпеть не могу этот трудоемкий процесс, но трачу на него иногда даже больше времени, чем на саму вышивку, потому что от качества и точности разметки напрямую зависит красота будущего узора.

Есть два основных типа разметки тэмари: простая разметка (simple) и комбинация (combination). Continue reading “Common division types in temari marking”

Cross stitching basics (+ photo)

To show that cross stitching is really easy, here is the a small photo-tutorial on how to do it. (You may also want to take a look at cross stitching tips beforehand.)

Basics - materials

Materials: I used thick Aida canvas and wool in order to make stitches more contrast and thus better looking on pictures. But everything written applies to smaller canvases and thread as well. I strongly recommend using Aida canvas for your first cross stitching projects, because it is already marked into squares.

One cross stitch.

To make your first cross stitch choose any square on the fabric and bring your needle up from the wrong side in it’s lower left corner. Leave a tail of 2 cm (1 inch) on the wrong side and bring the needle back through the upper right corner. Now you have a diagonal stitch – a half stitch. Half stitches are used in tapestries and as additional stitches in other needlework.

Basics - half stitch Continue reading “Cross stitching basics (+ photo)”

How to make a biscornu pincushion

How to make a Biscornu A biscornu (pronounced biss-core-new) is an eight-sided stuffed pincushion with French origins. The name literally means ‘two-horned’, though I found four horns on mine 🙂 It may look intricate and irregular, but in fact it’s really easy to make. This photo tutorial will guide through the process step by step.

Biscornu materialsMaterials. You will need:
– a square cross stitch pattern (or two if you want your biscornu to have different pictures on top and bottom). I found it easier to use motifs with even number of stitches.

– some canvas enough to stitch your pattern twice
– stuffing material (I used fiber pillow fill)
– a needle and colored thread for stitching Continue reading “How to make a biscornu pincushion”

Cross stitch: choosing the pattern

Simple pattern and canvasThe choice of a design is very important for somebody making first steps in the art of embroidery. If you are only learning to embroider, start with a relatively simple pattern. If the project turns out to be too complicated and hard to accomplish, it may remain unfinished, which is disheartening and discouraging. After such an experience, you may lose interest in embroidery for a long time.

The best size for a beginner is 15 by 15 cm (5.5 by 5.5 in), that is, no more than 60 by 60 stitches. Assessing the complexity of a design is not an easy task in itself. A simple pattern should not contain many details. Also, look for the number of colours and their shades. Of course, shades melting into one another make the picture more natural and beautiful, but the work in this case will be more difficult. It is best to choose a pattern with contrasting colors.

Same as with the details, there should not be too many colours in the design. We recommend beginning with charts with large parts of the same colour. These may be pictures of fruits, simple landscapes or fairytale characters. Continue reading “Cross stitch: choosing the pattern”

Cross Stitching for beginners: Accessories

Cross stitching accessories

The art of cross stitching is one of the most popular hobbies in the world. It is an easy stitch to master but using it you can create beautiful designs to decorate all sorts of items for your family and home. And you’ll have fun doing it!

Cross stitching is an easy hobby in many ways. First, it is an easy technique; second, you don’t need many things to start embroidering with it. What you will need is primarily motivation (a quite necessary component), and also an embroiderers hoop, the fabric, threads, needles, and a pattern. Using needle threader, special scissors and thimble is not necessary but convenient. We recommend purchasing all accessories in advance, and an original pattern for cross stitching you can find at this website.

The best fabric to use for beginners is canvas. It comes in different colours, with or without tacking, with large, medium or small grids. The higher the grid number, the denser the canvas. The most popular canvas type is Aida. More intricate designs are usually done on Aida No.18, while for beginners we recommend Aida No.14.

The embroiderers hoop helps to stretch the fabric and keep the stitches even.

Cross stitching requires special embroidery threads. They can be of different quality, which determine the ultimate result. Good-quality threads are more fun to work with and the design comes out better-looking and more professional. The threads come in a wide variety of colours. Check your chosen design pattern carefully for the colours you’ll actually need. To make things easier, you could buy an organizer to keep your threads and note their reference numbers. Embroidery organizer is a cardboard box with perforations near the edges, which will help you to keep your threads in order and always find the right colour.

Cross stitching accessoriesThe needle used for cross stitch is a round-ended needle with a wider eye than a sewing needle. The higher the number, the finer the needle. The needle size varies according to the weft. For example, embroidery needles no. 22, 24, 26 are suitable for canvas no. 14. Sometimes a needle threader would be handy, especially when you need to thread two or three threads together.

You will also need small pointed scissors that you will use only for your embroidery. To protect your middle finger, use a thimble.

Now, when you have assembled everything you’ll need, the fun part starts. You can begin embroidering!
Материалы и аксессуары для вышивки крестомСейчас уже мало кто занимается рукоделием по необходимости. Это хобби, и оно должно приносить удовлетворение. А чтобы работать было приятно, начинающей вышивальщице понадобятся некоторые приспособления, основа для вышивки, схемы, нитки и, конечно же, навыки и знание техники вышивания. Со временем мастерство будет повышаться и опыт придет. Чтобы это произошло быстрее, воспользуйтесь советами для начинающих.

Итак, для работы вам понадобятся: желание (без него никак нельзя), пяльцы, материал для основы, нитки для вышивания, игла, ножницы и схема. Авторскую схему для вышивания крестиком вы можете скачать на нашем сайте, все остальное надо будет купить.

Лучшей основой для вышивания является канва. Она бывает различного цвета, с разметкой или без нее, с крупной, средней и мелкой клеткой. Чем выше номер клетки, тем плотнее канва. Наиболее популярна у вышивальщиц канва Aida (Аида). Сложные композиции обычно выполняют на канве Aida №18, учиться же лучше на Aida №14.

Материалы и аксессуары для вышивки крестомДля вышивания используют специальные нитки – мулине. Они бывают разного качества, от которого и зависит конечный результат. Хорошими нитками и работать приятно, и картина получается красивой и более профессиональной. Так как вышивка популярна во многих странах, то и нитки для вышивания производятся и в Европе, и в Азии, и в Америке. Начинающей вышивальщице можно посоветовать приобрести нитки китайского производства. Они представлены широкой цветовой гаммой и прекрасно ложатся на ткань. Неплохо показали себя и нитки российских производителей, но для больших и профессиональных композиций лучше брать мулине DMC, так как у отечественных ниток номер не всегда в точности соответствует оттенку.

Для вышивания крестиком по канве используют иглы с тупым кончиком (вышивальные иглы). Игла не должна прокалывать ткань, ее задача – раздвинуть нити основы. Номер иглы подбирается в зависимости от номера канвы. Например, для основы Aida №14 подойдут вышивальные иглы № 22, 24, 26.

Кроме обязательных предметов, перечисленных выше, вам могут пригодиться наперсток и специальный органайзер для мулине.

Basic temari patterns (masu, spindle, swirl)

A list of most commonly used temari patterns with names and how-to instructions in pictures.

0. Basic recommendations.

– Stitch on the ball itself, not on the marking thread
– Mark with keeper pins the points where you start stitching, but take the pins out after the first stitches are made. The pins can loosen the thread and damage the pattern.
– In most temari stitches you first go over the marking thread and then tuck under it and backwards.
– Remember to rotate the ball after every stitch (so that you always start a new stitch from the same angle/position).

! Marking thread on the pictures is drawn in yellow, while working thread is purple. Numbers indicate the sequence of stitches.

1. Square (Masu) Continue reading “Basic temari patterns (masu, spindle, swirl)”