Needlepainting tips part 10: secret behind getting the rows right


Needlepainting tips part 10: secret behind getting the rows right

Now, this is not exactly a “secret”... but it is also hardly ever brought up, although I do see beginners making this mistake.


Congratulations on the 10th post of the needlepainting tips! Wow, who could have thought that there is so much to explore in this area of hand embroidery??

But let me tell you, I actually have more topics to cover! They are just waiting for their turn, haha.

Today's topic, in my opinion, is quite important to grasp if you want to master needlepainting, especially, if you want to work some projects by other embroidery artists and work them close to the instructions. So even though the subject might be a little confusing please bear with me. I hope you will get the idea by the end of the post. And if it still leaves you confused you can always ask away in the comments or through a direct message!


Usually, when you take a pattern, whether it be someone else's design or your own, you have there marks for long and short stitching rows and placement of colors. These marks are transferred to the fabric along with the pattern, or if the pattern doesn't have them, you can add them yourself with a pencil to make things easier for yourself. And you follow these marks while you're adding the colors on your needlepainting project. Right?

Well, there is one mistake that beginners tend to do at this point.

And the reason is because experienced stitchers don't talk about it often. So, naturally, if there is no source to learn this little detail, the only way to get to it is through your own trials and failures.

But today we will tale a shortcut!

The mistake


First of all, let's take a look at the mistake itself.

Actually, calling it a “mistake” is probably too strong of a choice of word. There is nothing wrong with that. More like, this is the most logical way to work long and short stitching when you look at diagrams in stitching encyclopedias. It's just that diagrams leave a lot unsaid...

Needlepainting tips part 10: secret behind getting the rows right

1. So, here we have a petal shape to fill in with long and short stitching. There is a certain change of colors through four rows and for each of them you can see marking inside the shape. The first logical thing that a beginner would do here is work the first row of long and short stitches which would end where the marking goes. Logical, right?

2. Except that, we forget, that when we stitch the second row, we pierce through the stitches form the first one. Which means that the lower part of the first row will be hidden.

3, 4. The same with the other rows. Each row is laid upon the previous one, which in turn makes the lower part of the previous row stay underneath the new stitches.

What does it bring as a result?

Needlepainting tips part 10: secret behind getting the rows right

You can compare how the rows are supposed to look and how they actually turned out in the picture above. The upper row turned out very short because we didn't consider the fact that half of it would be hidden. And it led to the lowest row being too long compared to what it supposed to be.

If you look closely at the picture in the right and make out the pencil markings, you will realize that the third row started where the second one was supposed to start, and the fourth one started where the third one was supposed to start. So the rows moved one step up.

There are situations where it is not really critical. However, if you want to make your project closer to the original of someone else's work or closer to what you have in your mind, then there is just one simple thing you need to fix.

The secret


Needlepainting tips part 10: secret behind getting the rows right

1. The whole great secret is, in fact, very very simple. Just end the stitches of each row around the middle of the next one. As you see in this picture, the guiding stitches are ending in the middle of the next row.

2. After completing the whole first row, you can see that all of my stitches end approximately at the same level. Now look at the guiding stitches for the next row – they also end in the middle of the next row.

3. You can see that the stitches of the second row start at different places of the first ones – some are placed lower, some are placed higher. This variation is what “long and short” stitching is actually about, and this is what makes color blending easier. You can end your stitches in different ways as well – some shorter, some longer. But I prefer to end them all approximately at the same level.

4. And so, the third and forth rows are worked the same way.

Needlepainting tips part 10: secret behind getting the rows right

In the end, you can see that the placement of rows and colors is approximately the same as it was planned with the markings. Right?

So, that's what diagrams often leave behind the scenes. Hope it helps you in your next project, and don't forget to check the other needlepainting tips!

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