Tips and Tricks!

First off I'd like to say I'm by no means an expert but still I'd like to share what works for me in the hopes it might help someone else :) .
It seems common sense but my first ever finished cross stitch has two dark stains and countless small ones I could cry when looking at it! So wash your hands always, always have a clean area to work and wash any hoops or frames you like to use.

Starting and Finishing off
When first starting cross stitch I ignored repeatedly the bit on each cross stitch instructions saying NEVER tie a knot in your thread to anchor it when starting to stitch and tieing it off when finishing! Being self taught I simply made up my own rules but now I've learnt a much better way :)
Loop Method
Taking a single thread and doubling it over, thread the two ends through your needle and begin your stitches by anchoring the end (which is the loop) as shown is the picture (which i didnt make and I take no credit for) This method is really good when starting off a new project where there may not be enough stiches to anchor the new thread under or your new colour is too dark for those existing stiches.

Under and Out!
When your at the end of your thread take the thread under 5 or 6 stitches (as many as you see fit to anchor it) and then snip off the end. If possible take the thread under stitches of the same colour or similar. For example dont put black under white or another light colour as its likely to show through. (again not my photo). Also to save thread you might carry a thread over a few rows at the back of your project, again avoid carrying dark colours over light or bare fabric as it could possibly show through at the front, check this before continuing.

                                                   Hoops and Frames
I use all the popular style hoops and frames I've got big ones small ones square ones and round ones :) I actually don't have a wooden one like in the picture shown but they look great for framing finished projects in my opinion! I like (depending on the project) a big enough frame so that you can stitch a decent amount before having to move frame and also the bigger the less likely you'll have to your from over stitching which can damage the tension, but also small enough you can hold it easily making the project portable. For large projects I like to use my large scroll frame and stand therefore
                                                   no holding but does not fit in your handbag :).

Photo Copy your patterns
Not for profit but for preservation of the original only!!!! you could also laminate the pattern :) this keeps it as good as new if you ever want to restitch the pattern!!! Also with projects with large patterns this could break them down into bite size sections- be careful not to stitch a section twice or on the wrong place or forget a row all together.

Washing your finished work
It seemed easy enough, but having researched it befire hand made me scared to do it incase the colours ran and my many hours of work were ruined. I use lukewarm water with a very small amount of mild dishwashing detergent, I gently mix the detergent in with the water before putting in my work
i usually just move it around a bit before leaving it to soak for a couple of mins. I will rub non stitched areas of fabric together because with me usually the part around the frame where I
hold my project as I stich gets more dirty.

I'm very new to this and I use Grip-N-Frame things you attach around the backing board then it has teeth that make aligning and stretching your fabic very easy. My tip when using this is when you have a rough idea of where your cross stitch will sit dampen your fabric where the teeth will hold your work it makes it much easier to get the teeth through and make adjustments accordingly. I also don't use glass in when framing but it really seems to be personal preference and depends on the project. You can buy frames especially made for needlework, but the prices I imagine would be higher than a cheap ones I buy :)

Thread Conversion Charts
Whether its anchor or DMC thread your working with it could save you alot of time and some money if you had the coversion charts handy to determine whether you need to buy more thread for a project or you have some already in your collection. It also can help when your all excited to start a project and find your missing some threads and it may be that you have the colour just in a another brand!

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