Double Stitch Needlepoint Tutorial

couching doneDouble stitch needlepoint is very attractive for filling areas in both needlepoint and cross stitch projects. I’ve used it in two projects thus far, my fun (and free!) Denver Broncos cross stitch tutorial,

 

 



Compass Tile WIP #4aand again in my Compass Needlepoint project.

 

 

 

 

It’s a lovely stitch and it can be executed horizontally (as I will present below and as in the photos above) or vertically – it makes no difference as the stitches are worked the same. However, executing it presents some interesting challenges – challenges that this tutorial will address. Let’s start at the beginning…

In diagrams, you’ll see the basic instructions for the double stitch as follows:

double stitch needlepoint tutorial - figure 1Work the long cross stitches (in blue) first as shown in Figure 1b, up through the canvas at 1, down through the canvas at 2, up at 3, down at 4, etc.

Then go back and fill in the small cross stitches (in pink) as shown in Figure 1c, again up at 1, down at 2, up at 3, down at 4, etc.

 

fig2The second column will be worked from bottom to top, and the third column will be worked from top to bottom again. With that in mind, the first three columns of long cross stitches will be stitched in the order shown in Figure 2.

 

 

 

fig3Then the first three columns of small cross stitch will be stitched in the order shown in Figure 3.

 

 

 

 

 

In a square or rectangular area, there will be areas on the edges of the rows that will need coverage (shown in yellow).

fig4If it’s one stitch, depending on the weight of floss or wool used, these can be covered either with one stitch (in blue) in Figure 4a
or a small cross stitch in Figure 4b (in the diagrams that follow below, you’ll see that I chose to show the single stitch in Figure 4a purely for simplicity’s sake).

If the area on the edge that needs coverage is two stitches, create a two stitch long stitch as shown in Figure 4c.

The double stitch gets more challenging in areas that are not square or rectangular.

fig5Use the area in Figure 5 as an example. It’s similar to some of the areas in my Compass Tile project. I had a heck of a time wrapping my brain around how to tackle this, and I even put the project on hold for a while until I figured out this approach.

 

 

fig6On your pattern, draw the location of the small cross stitches as I did in pink in Figure 6. This will be an invaluable guide. Go ahead and stitch these small cross stitches using the same order of stitching as shown in Figure 3 above.

 

 

 

[What follows is especially important when the small cross stitch and long cross stitch are different colors.]

fig7From here, you need to consider the long stitches column by column, AND define what makes a column. With the double stitch, columns look like they do in Figure 7, shown in alternating in gold and gray. Essentially, the long stitches will play hopscotch over the existing small cross stitches while also filling in the extra one stitch and two stitch long stitches on the edges at the same time.

This will make more sense as you work through the next few Figures below.

fig8Let’s say we approach this area working from the left to the right. Then if we stitch the first column from top to bottom, the second column will be stitched from bottom to top, third column top to bottom, etc.

Starting from the left, the first column (gold) will only needs one stitch (in blue) as shown in Figure 8.

fig9The second column (gray), worked from bottom to top, will need a single stitch, two full long cross stitches and a two stitch long stitch as shown in Figure 9. Stitch the full long cross stitches and two stitch long stitch in the same order as they were shown above in Figure 2.

 

 

fig10The third (gold) column, worked from top to bottom, will need a single stitch, three full long cross stitches, and another single stitch as shown in Figure 10.

 

 

 

 

fig11The fourth (grey) column, worked from bottom to top, will need a single stitch, three full long cross stitches, and another single stitch as shown in Figure 11.

 

 

 

 

fig12Continue working your long stitches, serpentine-ing up and down as you work from left to right until your area is filled in as shown in Figure 12.

You’ll notice that the directions of the single stitches at the top and bottom and left and right are different. That’s just my preference – you could have them all go the same direction, or make them cross stitches as shown above in Figure 4b.

I hope this helps you use this beautiful double stitch in future needlepoint and cross stitch projects!

Linky Goodness – Embroidery, Fabric, and Knitting x 2

In my ongoing mission to demonstrate how crafts can make us better people, here’s the next installment of linky goodness!

Schindermania at Aviva House

photo-7Sometimes the good isn’t in the crafts you make – the good is in the crafts you help others make. Ellen Schinderman volunteers teaching needlework to girls who are in the justice system. She sums her feelings up well in this post when she says “Not only do I get the selfish joy of giving back – and feeling ‘there but for the grace of God go any of us’ when I see the situations these girls are in and from – but I adore my girls!!” I’m left wondering if the teachers at Fine Cell Work get the same type of buzz from helping their inmates.

“Why Knitting and Yoga are Perfect Bedfellows”

Yoga Wrap and Legwarmers_Page_1The Guardian published this excellent article which shows how knitting and yoga complement each other. Some knitters use yoga to help solve some of their repetitive motion problems. Knitting is also very calming, producing effects similar to yoga and meditation. The article cites some impressive statistics about the benefits of knitting on thought and concentration.

Make Time to Play!

fabric scrap storage I love this post by Melissa at 100BillionStars about the value of play. She always has some fabric scraps around, and for her “this is where the ideas come from, where the sparks of creative fire reside.” She also says that “play has no hard and fast rules, except one….let go… of every negative and critical thought.” A way to tackle this rejection of judgment can be found in this article that I posted previously. This is excellent advice for people working in any craft.

A Free and Powerful Mind

This interview with Annie Modesitt was published when her book, Romantic Hand Knits, was released in 2007. When asked how knitting has brought romance into her life, she answered: “When my mind is free—and powerful—the way it feels when I knit, then my soul soars a little and all of this adds a layer of joy to my life. Not to put too fine a point on it, this makes me love life, and love love, in a much deeper way, which in turn makes me more lovable. Nothing is more attractive than a quiet self confidence, which is what I get from knitting.”

She goes on to say some great things about brilliance being in all of us, and also shares some constructive thoughts on women’s body image issues. An outstanding, positive interview!

What do you think of the links above? Do you know of any inspirational craft blogs or posts that you would like to see in a future edition of linky goodness?

ACrafty Interview with Apockylypse

Welcome to this ACrafty Interview with Apockylypse! Today we’re peeking into Kelly’s viking-helmeted skull and her knitting goodness.

When did you start crafting? K: In all honesty, I would probably say I’ve been crafting my entire life. I’ve always been the creative sort, whether it be drawing pictures for parents/grandmothers or taking objects to create something else. I had quite the imagination as a little girl. /* who am I kidding, I still do! */acrafty interview with Apockylypse viking hat photo two

But if I had to give a specific age of my first memories of crafting, I would have to say the one that stands out is when I was 4 or 5 & played “Pins and Needles” with my Mimmy. For crafty sorts you would more commonly know it as cross stitch. That was actually my first experience with designing too!

We took a plain white cloth and I told Mimmy what I wanted to make. She drew, ever so neatly, x’s in the pattern I described. Gave me a threaded needle in the color I picked & then I was set loose. Poking the needle up until I found the right mark. /* hence the name “pins and needles”. */

What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? K: It might take up less time if you had asked me what crafts I haven’t tried. You see, I’m a bit of a craftaholic and I love to learn new crafts any chance I get. But I guess I’ll give you the answer you are looking for:

  • Cross Stitch
  • Sewing
  • Knitting
  • Crocheting
  • Macramé
  • Felting
  • Drawing
  • Beading
  • Loom Knitting
  • And there are probably some others that I’m forgetting at the moment, but if it’s not on the list that just means I haven’t had a chance to learn it yet.

My favorite? Yikes! That’s almost like asking a parent to pick their favorite child. But I guess I would have to say knitting. It’s my crafting paradise because I can always seem to get lost in the stitches and escape all the crap the zombie job sticks in my head after hours. Plus I just love sweaters!

What craft project are you most proud of? K: I would have to say any of the sweaters I have made as gifts for family. For the most part I stick to hats since most of my friends and family love the hats I make, but I wanted to challenge myself and do something for family. I was proud not only because they turned out well, but I actually finished them. It was quite the project! If you’ve ever hand knit a sweater, you know what I mean.

If you’re a seller, what is your most popular project? KM: I don’t have an online shop yet, but I have sold a few things to friends and at a few local craft shows. So far the biggest seller has been my plain crocheted beanies, but that’s starting to become a close second to the Viking beanies I’ve been making lately.

My mister wanted one to wear to various cons and once I posted pictures of the finished product I started getting messages from people I didn’t even know that saw it on his page or through a friend. And I have to say that the Viking hat has definitely become one of my favorites to make. It’s just so darn epic!acrafty interview with Apockylypse viking hat photo

Has a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? K: Oh I’ve been challenged, but the way I look at it is that it’s just another awesome puzzle to piece together. And boy do I love me some puzzles!

There was one project I was working on where the gauge (stitches per inch) was incredibly important to be spot on. I knit up a swatch that matched perfect, but when I cast on for the actual project and got a few inches in things didn’t match up. But I wasn’t going to let this project beat me!

Instead of sitting it aside, I started scouring every craft book and site I could think of…trying to learn that one secret that would help me understand it all better. See? I told you I always want to learn more about crafting!

How has crafting affected your character? K: I can’t really say that crafting has changed me because I really can’t remember life before crafting. But I will say that it does have a wonderful effect on my mood.

There have been many times when the zombie job has stressed me out or frustrated me so incredibly much. And while coming home to my mister and furbabies definitely helps calm me, nothing seems to do it quite like crafting. Like I said before, it lets me escape to another world that is my happiest of places. And depending on the project, it could be a fantasy world where anything is possible.

I’ve seen many a knitter say “I knit so that I don’t kill people” and there really is some truth in that. I honestly think I would be in the looney bin if it wasn’t for something as simple as sticks and string. It’s almost as calming to me as meditating.

I also believe I can thank crafting for my thirst for knowledge and amazing puzzle solving skills. Some may say it’s my math brain that allows me to do a book of Sudoku like it’s nothing, but I think crafting might have a little bit to do with it too! You are always piecing things together. Matching things up. Or finding ways to fix little mistakes or mishaps.

Another funny thing about knitting. You hear so many people say that they aren’t patient enough for it, but you know what? Some of the most impatient people I know are amazing knitters!acrafty interview with Apockylypse knit needle yarn scissors

Can you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? K: Well I have been told by many friends how I’ve inspired them to learn to knit or crochet. Sometimes it has to do with the projects I’m making, but a lot of them see how excited I get about making things with my hands and they want to give it a go. I have to say that I am a creativity advocate. There is nothing that makes me happier than being able to watch my loved ones express themselves through handmade things and see all the amazing pieces that are a product of that. So what amazing project do you have inside you? I know there is one!

That reminds me! I need to go grab some sticks and string to take over to my in-laws house. My mother-in-law has asked me to teach her to knit. She expressed the desire to find a hobby and is always intrigued by my knitting.

What crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? K: I have a few more Viking hats to make, but one thing I’m super excited about is my future online shop. I have dreamed of the day that I could quit my zombie job and do the craft thing full-time. I mean, it is my passion! I don’t have an exact date of when that will happen because I’m working on designs and acquiring some funds to get it going, but if you keep your eyes on my blog or other social media I know you will be hearing about when that day comes.

Thanks so much, Kelly! Best of luck with your future shop…

You can follow Apockylypse’s adventures on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest

Would you like to be a part of this ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with knitter Sabrina, cross stitcher WhateverJames, and multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPod!

Linky Goodness – Fine Cell Work, Crochet x 2, Quilting, and Scrapbooking

I re-directed this blog less than two weeks ago, and since then I’ve found some extraordinary articles and posts that clearly demonstrate how crafts can make us better people. I realize that I’ve just started to scratch the surface on the topic, and so on a regular basis I will make it a point to share the linky goodness I’ve found on these here interwebs.

Fine Cell Work

fine-cell-work-logoOne of my first inspirations is the amazing program in the U.K. prison system called Fine Cell Work. Prisoners are given training and guidance by volunteers, and they learn job skills and make a bit of extra money by creating some amazing pieces of needlework. Beyond that, their testimonials speak of learning patience, gaining focus and calmness, acquiring a sense of accomplishment and pride, and enjoying the “freedom of creativity.” In a most remarkable story by a man named Andy, he writes that “being able to stitch was a great way to take my mind off what was going on inside my head.”

Crochet Concupiscence

Kathryn Vercillo has a compelling story about how crochet saved her life. Her story is now a published book that also contains the story of two dozen women who crochet to heal. Her blog, Crochet Concupiscence, is a great mix of crochet inspiration, news, fashion, projects, interviews, and more. I’m certain I will feature more posts from her blog in the future. [Note: I’ve purchased her book and it’s being shipped to me as I write this. Stay tuned for a possible review…]

Daintytime

Quilter Sherri Lynn Wood has a very refreshing take “On Being Judged” on her Daintytime blog. Instead of accepting judgment on a piece either by others or by herself, she instead asks herself “…questions as a way to evaluate my work rather than judge it.” Simply brilliant. This is applicable to all areas of our lives, not just our crafts. I think her quilt RGB Modern (shown at right) is beautiful and vibrant (despite the judges comments)!

Geekgirlcrochet

This post by Geekgirlcrochet describes how she uses, among other things, crochet to help her cope with anxiety and OCD issues. She shares her story not to garner sympathy, but instead as a genuine way to explain her situation and to help “…anyone out there who might be suffering in silence and not know how to help themselves or someone they love.”

She says: “Not only is creativity a means to release and express a lot of what you’re going through, it also is a great tool for getting out of your head. Simply making my mind focus on a challenge really redirects a lot of my anxiety.”

Shimelle

Scrapbook page #4My last linky goodness for today, this “Never be afraid to scrapbook yourself” post by Shimelle really resonates with me. I have never felt very photogenic – and she gives the best reasons I have ever encountered to just GET OVER IT. In a nutshell, we need to appreciate where we are and how we look NOW. You’ll just have to read her well-written post – it’s absolutely spot on.

 

Do you know of any inspirational craft blogs or posts that you would like to see in a future edition of linky goodness?