Header Photo

Header Photo
American Quaker Sampler stitched by Krista


Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Some Tips To Share from Barbara G

Choosing linen, thread and needles for your project:

When you purchase a kit or chart for a project the designer has stated what she thinks is best for the piece.  If you decide to change either it should be done with care.

If 35 count is to be changed to 40 thought should be given to the proper size of thread to be used.  Tent/continental stitch takes up a lot of space in the linen.  If a piece has a lot of this stitch for example a single strand of silk or two strands of floss might be too much.  Once a motif starts to bulge it will never lie flat.  The linen threads should always remain parallel.  Think about using one strand of floss or another type of silk.  Try a sample and do enough of it to see what happens.

All linen is not created equal.  I have different types and counts of linen.  There is good quality and bad.  Keep with the good – you can tell by the feel and hand.  I have , for example, 35 count linen that you could drive a truck through and some that is very tightly woven but both are 35.  That is the sort of thing that might determine what type of thread you use.

Needles:  Your needle should always pass easily through the linen without needing to tug.  Did you know that the width of your needle should be the same width as your thread?  Thread should go through the eye of the needle without too much effort.  If you let the needle drop the needle should not move.  You don’t want the thread to be squashed in the eye either. 

If your needle starts to sound squeaky, turns blackish or the thread starts to shred  throw it out.  Always start a new project with a new needle.  In the summer I go through a lot of needles because they turn black from acids on my hands.  Keeping a damp sponge or cloth handy to wipe your fingers on is a good idea as well.


When a stitch is made a little bit of the thread rubs off.  When a stitch is removed more rubs off.  If you are removing more that a few stitches a lot of thread will rub off and in the end you will have a slightly smaller size thread.  It will also not be a smooth.  In my opinion you should never reuse thread.  Save it if you have to in case you run out at the end of the project but try not to use it again.  Linen is very rough compared to the silk so it can get damaged very quickly.  A length of 18 to 20 inches is usually safe.   I use 18.  Sometimes kits come with thread already cut into lengths so you have to go with that.  One I have came with 20 inch lengths and I find it frays before I am finished and so a lot is wasted.

Barbara G


Nicola said...

Thank you Barbara. I found the post very interesting especially about the linen and thread choice.

Angela Cruz-garcia said...

You mentioned a lot of things I did not realize were important. Thank you for your post.

Jon Lee said...

Thank you for your information. I am going to print out your comments and keep them. I did not know much of this information.

Laura said...

Thank you very much for the info.
Very successful your comment

Lanie said...

Thank you, Barbara. I am so happy that you graciously share your knowledge with us!

Elizabeth said...

Thank you so much for this advice Barbara. It is very helpful to me as a complete novice. Now I understand more about the use of threads and linen and the importance of trying out combinations of threads of your linen before starting. I found the comment about the motif bulging very interesting as I am doing my first piece (not on SL) on linen. I have used two threads but probably should have used one (Nicola did give me that advice but I had done too much to frog it) and I think the little house I am doing stands a bit 'proud.

Fiona said...

Great post, lots of useful hints and tips, thank you.