HINTS AND TRICKS
This is a collection of suggestions and ideas from customers as well as my own experience. Hope it helps answer some questions or solve some problems. The subjects are listed in alphabetical order. If you have any suggestions or problem solvers to add, email: brenda
Test your beads on the material first to make sure that your size works. (Miyuki Delica beads are good on 14 count cloth or 28 over two threads, size 10 seed beads are good on 12 count but great on 25 count over two)
Use a soft cloth ('velux' or velour) to put your beads on so that they won't wander as you pick them up. The soft cloth can be placed in a tray to also help control the beads. This also makes it easier to pick them up with your needle - all you have to do is touch the hole of the bead sitting on the cloth with the point of your needle and it seems to just pop onto the needle. Then you slide the bead up your needle with your finger and make your stitch.
Nylon upholstery thread is optimum for stitching on the beads. Twisted thread is stronger and less problematic than filament thread. Use sizes 33 (B) or 46 (D) for the best results.
Using waste canvas lets you stitch your bead design on clothing. Always test wash the beads you will be using to make sure that the colors and finishes are permanent (treating the fabric as you normally would when washing). Glass beads stitched with nylon thread will hold up in a delicate wash cycle as well as a regular dryer cycle. This does not apply to plastic beads or other threads - not all bead colors and finishes will survive the wash. That is why you test them first.
To correct a stitching error in your beads, forget about backing up your stitching, simply and carefully clip using side cutters, the bead(s) mistake and stitch in the correct one. Be careful not to cut the thread when you are breaking the bead. The thread from the clipped bead will then lay flat so your new bead will cover it.
When using beads to stitch, you can lay the colors out on your soft cloth and stitch row by row. It is important to get your placement right so double check your count to make sure you start in the right place. Sometimes it is easier to start in the center and work up or down from there.
Wash all materials both thread and cloth before you start stitching
Baste a contrast thread on your cloth to mark center by folding the cloth in half one way and then the other. This helps you place your design in the center of your fabric.
Choosing a background color - take all of the colors in the design and use them to find the background that makes your design colors look the best.
HOW MUCH FLOSS DO I NEED - I always thought there was a magic formula but never found one so I took a measured length of floss and stitched as much as I could on the various counts. This is what I estimate (remember these numbers are approximate as each stitcher has their own stitching style):
14 count fabric using 3 strands of floss - 1200 stitches per skein
14 count fabric using 2 strands of floss - 2000 stitches per skein
16 count fabric using 2 strands of floss - 2500 stitches per skein
18 count fabric using 2 strands of floss - 3000 stitches per skein
Latch hook rugs
To figure out the size you need for the carpet canvas, divide the stitch count by 3.75 which is the number of squares to the inch that a rug hook canvas has (e.g. 80 x 100 divided by 3.75 = 21 1/3 inches x 26 2/3 inches). You would then want to add your border to frame the design and enough extra to finish off the edge of your carpet. (e.g. Adding approximately a 4" border and 4" edge your canvas should measure 36" x 42")
Can't find enough colors of rug wool to do the design - combine some of the colors that are close so you use only one yarn color for two different symbols or find lighter and darker dye lots to give you the widest possible color selection.
To figure out how much back ground color you need to buy, you will need to know how many stitches the pattern uses as well as what size your carpet will be. (e.g. - pattern contains 3980 pieces of yarn - the carpet finished would measure 28" x 34" which would total - (28 x 3.75) x (34 x 3.75) = 13387.5 - 3980 (the number of pieces needed for the design) = 9407.5 pieces for the background of your rug).
Mark center on your pattern and on your canvas (with something that won't bleed onto your yarn) and make sure if you are starting at an edge rather than from center that you have double checked the placement of your yarn. I start from center and work left or right and up or down.
Mark center of your canvas with something that won't bleed onto your yarn. See the Reading Charts section for more helpful hints.
Some people stitch color by color but others stitch section by section (I'm a color person myself). It's easiest to start at center with a dominant color (large stitch count) if possible.
Choosing a background color - take all of your design colors and use them to find the background that makes your design colors look the best.
Make a cardboard frame (heavy card or matt board work well) to hold your gauze and put your centering marks on the good side of the board for lining up your stitches on center of the gauze. Tape the gauze to the cardboard using acid free mounting tape.
To give yourself an instant color background, stitch your design on an even weave fabric like linen or similar. On "Zweigart's 25 count Lugana", I used two strands over one in the Continental stitch for a stunning effect.
HOW MUCH FLOSS DO I NEED - These numbers is what I estimate and are approximate as stitcher have their own style:
24 count (3 thread) gauze - 3500 stitches per skein
30 count (2 thread) gauze - 6700 stitches per skein
40 count (1 thread) gauze - 15,000 stitches per skein
Use a highlighting pen on the pattern as you stitch sections or colors to help you keep track of where you are. If you make a mistake and need to redo a section, use a different colored highlighter over top of the previous color.
If center is not marked on the graph, use a red pen or other bright color and a ruler to mark center so that it is easier to read.
For larger graphs, not only do I mark the center, but I also put a line at 50 stitches past center and 50 past that if needed. I will count and baste the cloth to match. This reduces mistakes but also helps makes them show up quicker if you do make mistakes.
All rights reserved - Brenda Franklin © 2007