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Frequently Asked Questions! We get lots of questions that are easy to answer & that we answer every day! So we're setting up a new section here & we'll add in as many as we can think of! If you have a question we haven't covered here, just shoot us an email (shop@strawberrysampler.com) & put FAQ in the subject line!
This is the alltime, number1 asked question! I'll try to keep the explanation as simple as possible. Each design has a stitch count (this is the number of stitches horizontally & vertically). MOST designers list the stitch count somewhere in the info for the design. If not, you can simply count the stitches across (& then the ones down). Then you simply divide that number by your stitch count (14ct aida, 16ct, 18ct...). Now, we have to backtrack a little bit & talk about stitch counts. Cross stitch fabric is organized by stitch count. What this means is the number of THREADS both vertically & horizontally. Therefore, 14ct has 14 threads (or intersections) per inch. 28ct linen has 28 THREADS per inch. HOWEVER! Usually, when you stitch on 28ct linen, you go over 2 threads; therefore, you will only have 14 STITCHES per inch ~ because you're going over 2 threads, you get half the number of stitches as the threadcount.
So, back to our question. Let's use an example here. Let's say our design is 140 stitches wide by 105 stitches high. And let's first assume we are stitching it on 14ct aida (14 threads per inch & also 14 stitches per inch). So we take 140 & divide it by 14: 140/14 = 10 inches wide. Next, we divide 105 by 14: 105/14 = 7.5 inches high. Therefore, your piece will be 10 inches wide by 7.5 inches high.
Now, let's switch gears & say you were going to stitch this on 32ct linen over 2 threads. How many stitches per inch will you have? Well, since you're going over 2 threads, you will have 32/2 = 16 stitches per inch. So, let's do the size of your piece.
140 divided by 16: 140/16 = 8.75 inches wide 105 divided by 16: 105/16 = 6.5 inches high
THIS IS JUST THE SIZE OF YOUR STITCHING! IT'S THE MEASUREMENT FROM THE LEFTMOST STITCH TO THE RIGHTMOST STITCH, AND THE TOP STITCH TO THE BOTTOM STITCH! It does not include extra fabric for finishing. DO NOT cut your fabric that size. Read on....
The next most asked question! Once you figure out your design size, you need to allow room around the edge for framing or finishing & just so the fabric doesn't ravel out. The rule of thumb is to add 2~3 inches ALL THE WAY AROUND. We generally add 3 inches to each side, unless it's a small ornament or something else that's small. When you calculate this, remember: you are adding 3 inches on the left AND 3 inches on the right. So that's a total of....6 inches!
So using our earlier example, let's say we're stitching our piece on 14ct & the stitch count is 140 wide x 105 high. So our design size is 10" x 7.5". Our piece of fabric needs to be cut approximately 10+6 = 16 inches, by 7.5+6 = 13.5 inches. Now, if your piece of fabric is 16 x 13, that's fine!!! It's not a big deal. Even if it's 16 x 12.5, you're fine. You'll just need to keep this in mind as you get started. Which leads to our next question...
Okay! There are several schools of thought here & NONE of them are wrong. You just have to decide what way you're going to go & understand the implications of it. 1) Start in the center. This is how I ALWAYS start. And I'll tell you why. I know if I start in the center, I will have an even amount of fabric all the way around. So, to find the center of your fabric, fold it in half & then in half again. When you open it back up, the center is that point where all 4 quadrants come together. Now find the center of your graph. It is generally marked on the graph using arrows ~ follow those in to the center. Sometimes you may have to count one way or another to get to a good starting point. 2) Start in the top left corner. Lots of folks like to do this & that's great. You just need to be sure how much extra fabric you have. So let's assume you have 3 inches all the way around. You can measure in 3 inches & down 3 inches & that will be the top left corner of your pattern. BE AWARE, not all designs have a stitch in the top left corner ~ you may have to count over &/or down to where you start. 3) Start in the center at the top. Sometimes there's nothing in the top left corner, but you still want to start at the top. So, assuming you have 3 inches all the way around, you can fold your piece of fabric in half longways, then measure down 3 inches. That will be the center top.
Needles come in sizes from 22 (the largest) down to 28 (the smallest) & in regular or petite. Generally, you use a larger needle on larger count fabrics & smaller needles on smaller count fabric. Now, SOME OF US (that would be me) prefer using a small needle all the time, and as long as you can get the floss thru the eye without shredding it that's fine. You can use a small needle on any size fabric. However, the reverse is not really recommended. Large needles open larger holes in your fabric ~ not always a bad thing, because then your threads slide thru more easily. But don't try to use a size 22 needle on 36ct linen ~ you won't be happy. Here is the general rule of thumb:
Petite needles are simply shorter needles. The eye & the thickness are similar to their regular size counterparts. Also, we have discovered a strange inverse relationship between height & needle preferred ~ around here, the taller stitchers prefer petite needles, while the shorter stitchers all seem to like the longer needles. Strange, no?
Depends. You want to use enough to cover, but not so much that it is bulky. How much is enough to cover? It depends on how you want your piece to look. I'll give you another chart below:
Having said that, there are some stitchers (& a few designers!), who prefer to ALWAYS stitch with 1 strand of floss, even on 28ct linen. That's fine ~ it makes it look a bit more ethereal...like the difference between a watercolor & an acrylic painting. Make it look the way you like. If you're not sure, go down to the corner of your fabric & stitch 3 or 4 rows (8~10 stitches long) in 1 strand & in 2 strands. See which you prefer!
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