I have a problem, for some reason when I embroider, the fabric tends to pucker. I don't understand why though and it is bugging me.
Also, I am doing a big project with the back stitch on basic linen/cotton blend (I think, we have one fabric store on my island and I had to deduce purity by how it felt to my fingertips- oh boy) but I always end up with large stitch holes between the stitches. Am I pulling it too tight? Help :( I love embroidery but because I haven't had a chance to learn from someone who 1. Knows how to embroider 2. Recognizes problems and mistakes, I feel not so confident.
It does sound like you're pulling it too tightly. That can make holes and puckers.
Are you using a hoop or frame when you stitch, or stitching in hand? Tension can be more difficult if you are stitching without a frame, and makes it easier to get puckers.
Hi BahamaDip, welcome to Stitchin Fingers. I hope that we will be able to give you the help and advise you are looking for. My first questions would have been exactly the same as Romilly's, are you stitching in a frame or in hand.
I am a big fan of putting fabric in a frame or hoop. Personally, I find it much easier to control the tension when my fabric is taught.
You say that your fabric is puckering and that you are getting large holes between the stitches. This really does sound as if you you are pulling too tight. With practice, you will learn to feel the tension.
Hey! Thanks for the responses :) I appreciate it!
I have the fabric in a wooden hoop and I have a tendency to pull it very tight, I like my fabric taunt.
I am trying not to pull the fabric too tight but if I don't the back stitch stitches come out so loose and I get shadows. I want my stitches close to the fabric but I can't do so unless I seem to pull it massively tight :S
Hi BahamaDip, you do need to have the fabric very tight in your hoop (almost like a drum skin), then do not pull your stitches too tight (they need to lie on the fabric, this does come with practice). When I am using a new fabric I do a number of 'practice' stitches on some spare fabric, just to test my tension as I pull the thread through the fabric. The other problem that you might have is that you are using a needle that is too thick for the fabric that you are using which will create the holes that you mentioned. I hope this helps
Hi BahamaDip, I meant that you may be pulling too tight on your stitches, sorry for the confusion. I agree with Deborah-Anne that the fabric should be very tight in the hoop.
If your fabric has a very open weave, perhaps you could back it with another, tighter weave fabric.
Thanks for the tips everyone. I'm taking another look at the project that I have devised, with your recommendations in mind. They'll help alot!
When you are doing backstitch, are you using an up and down stab stitch or inserting the needle sideways and coming up ahead of the previous stitch in the one movement.
With the stab stitch pull the thread downwards under the fabric and just pull down gently and "lay" the stitch on top of the fabric. Do not pull the thread though in a forward or backward movement. You may need a magnifier to see the hole that the last stitch came up in. If you are using a more open weave linen you have to be gentle with the pulling of the thread downwards so you dont warp the fabric threads. Hope this helps and more important that you can understand.. Also the holes between the stitches could mean you are using too fine a thread for that background fabric.
I see that Shirley talks about the difference of using the stab method versus the sewing method. as an arrogant begginer I really didnt beleive it made a difference which method I used but as I progressed I finally could begin to see the difference it made in the overall effect. So try using just the stab method and try not to be as impatient as I was to "get'er done" :)
Before yall mentioned all this I began to notice that the stab method is SO much better. I thought that I had a pretty tight weave linen but it seems that it is slightly more oven because the fibres move about quite easily with tension. As a result, I think that the stab is better.
I am honestly using a 3 strand skein because, well, basically I have little other choice. The 6 was too thick, the 5 as well, the 4 seemed good but down here I have a limited choice of needles, my ONLY choice being one with a tiny head. So 3 strands it is, but I think 4/5 is probably better.
One additional thought on your experience with backstitch: the thread you are using can also make a difference in the way the thread and ground cloth interact. If the thread is tightly spun, the backstitch length will need to be longer to allow the thread to lie flatter against the cloth. Tightly spun = stiffer, and stiffer= tendency to curve slowly and hold an arc: nice for keeping daisy stitch open at the curve, but not as nice for getting back stitch to lie flat against the fabric. In backstitch you are creating a little "U" in the thread each time you take a stitch, and if the thread is stiff, that "U" is not going to want to flatten out into a"V". If the thread wants to hold a curve rather than flatten, and you take a very short back stitch, that thread is going to become a little rainbow over your cloth rather than settling nicely onto the cloth. A longer stitch length allows gravity to help shape the thread to your cloth. (Too long and the thread "floats" start catching on things and getting snagged).
Trial and error, practice, and experimentation are your good and honest friends! Try each stitch with several different types of threads and types of cloth if you are interested in really understanding what each one is capable of! ... and if a thread + cloth combo isn't working right for you, feel free to change one or the other or both. I really love Carol-Anne's suggestion to back the fabric you want showing with a stabilizing fabric that will help achieve the results that you want. Brilliant!
And Bharma, thank you for including the photo! What you have got stitched so far is gorgeous! The unstitched lines are really interesting, too. This is going to be a great piece!
Hi BahamaDip, I know that the same materials and threads are not available to everyone and sometimes we forget that supplies readily available in some parts of the world are not to be found else where. Do you have access to stranded cotton i.e. one that is made up of a number of strands (often 6) losely twisted together? Did you know that you can seperate the strands and recombine the number of strands that suits your needs. In fact, it is preferable to do this in some situations.
Cut a lenght from the skein, roughly the length from the tip of your middle finger to your elbow. Tease a strand from the bunch at one end. Hold this strand with one hand and with the other hand gently slide the remaining strands down the one you are holding until the one you are holding is completely separated from the bunch. The other strands may be in a lose bundle now but if you pick those up by one end and gently shake the bundle it will usually straighten itself. Seperate each strand it turn the same way.
Now pick up the number of strands you want and line up one end, again a gentle shake will usually settle them to align. No need to twist them together. For best results try to keep them all in the same direction - if you think of the original strand as having a top and bottom you want to recombine them so all the tops are together.
Don't try this with the tightly twisted perle threads, they are designed to be used as they come from the skein. This is for the losely twisted skeins that separate readily.
I hope this is clear and helpful to you.