Sunday, July 29, 2007

Five Things I Won't Stitch Without

In the picture above are five things I will never cross stitch without, unless I'm stitching on antique cloth, and then two of them won't be used. I'll explain below, but first, don't you think that's an odd-looking set of thingamajigs? My daughter says the things in the lower left look like miniature condoms, and would make for a great practical joke (though a bit risqué).

First, the Fray Check. My sister-in-law Carol is a quilter, and suggested this to me when I had a problem with some buttons coming off my jeans. When I started stitching again, I realized that this is the error-prone stitcher's answer to mistakes! You know how sometimes you realized you've miscounted, but don't want to have to pull out hundreds of stitches to fix it? Now you can just pull out the one or two that are wrong, and "attach" the loose threads to the back of your piece with Fray Check. It works like a glue. When I first used it, I thought I'd forever ruined the piece I was working on, because when it's first applied, it's wet and darkens the area of cloth and surrounding stitches. But it dries clear and you never know from the front of the design that it's there!

The yellow thingy is an old hair clip. I use it to hold excess cloth in so it's not in the way, and the clip fits perfectly over the Q-Snaps.

For years, I stuck my needle in the cloth I was working on when I wasn't stitching, and I lost a lot of needles. (Or I spent a lot of time looking for them.) Lynda Orme, owner of Forever Stitching in Idaho Falls, told me about the Earth Magnet. It's so strong that you'll even have difficulty prying the two pieces apart in order to put them on your cloth. It keeps my needle safe every time I have to stop stitching.

Those little condom-like things are the cut-off fingers from latex gloves. Whenever I'm stitching on Aida, or other firm cloth, I've noticed that my middle finger and my baby finger get raw from the needle and the thread. I cut off the fingers from latex gloves, and can stitch away without pain. I first thought I'd use "finger cots," which are purchased already cut, but they had a box of 30 at Walgreens for $4.69. A box of 50 gloves, meaning 250 pieces for my fingers, was on sale for 3 for $10. The only difference is that I do the cutting off the glove myself. Each piece lasts a few days, even longer if you're not stitching a lot.

Another little thing Lynda showed me was this little piece of sponge in its own plastic keeper. It's about 1/2" wide, 1/2" tall, and 1 1/2" long. Dampen the sponge with a few drops of water. When you separate your strands of floss for stitching, run them across the sponge, lightly pressing against it, and they won't twist and curl when you stitch. What a cool idea!

What kinds of tips and tricks would YOU like to share?


Nancy said...

Hi Cyndi,

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog! You have some nice stitched pieces, and I think it's wonderful you have the very first thing you stitched. What a great item to have in a shadow box.

The pinkeeps are not hard to make at all, and when you get to the ribbon and pin trims it's really fun! Here is a link to my friend Heidi's blog which has a tutorial on how to make them -

Scroll to the very bottom to begin with Step 1. Enjoy!

kitten said...

Thankyou so much for the comment.

It's Japanese Octagon Box, a Chatelaine design. It's currently not available for purchase though :(

You can look at finished pieces on the chatelaine forum though, it's really beautiful.

She republishes the designs she runs as online classes about a year after they finish, so look for the chart in about February next year :)

MysteryKnitter said...

Wow! A stitcher may need that much stuff. But as you showed, you can't remove even one of them.