Monday, May 23, 2016

Handstitching - WIP

An update on a project you just saw a couple weeks ago seemed boring. So while the photos are the latest progress, I'm  going to use them as a basis for talking about handstitching, a technique in which you hold the fabric in hand with no supports. 

Some projects require scroll rods or q-snaps due to length of project, specialty stitches, etc. The advantage of scroll rods are that tension remains the same and there are no creases like when using a hoop. 

Other projects allow more flexibilit. Medieval Hearts by Kelsyns is one of those, in my opinion. While the piece is all cross stitch, it is done in silk and treasure braid (metallic thread) and on a linen 32ct. Many would argue that means you should use scroll rods. 
I'd agree except that there is nothing like having a gorgeous soft linen in hand with silk threads. So I have been stitching my version in hand. 
The main draw backs to handstitching are: 
- creases in linen 
- uneven tension 
- easier to damage stitched stitches 
For me (I stitch like a lefty) but needle in my right hand, so working right to left to ensure I'm not damaging stitches is okay when I'm stitching each x on its own (which I am due to variegated silk thread). 

So with all those drawbacks why stitch in hand? 
Because I just love to. There is something about working on smaller pieces in hand that I find personally satisfying. Maybe because as a child I learned to stitch in hand; maybe because I love the softness of a gorgeous linen. But then maybe also because it feels more like the women of 1800-1900's would have stitched. We know the higher class ladies used hoops but the average peasant would not have had such luxuries. Odd as it may be I like the challenge of handstitching and it just feels more genuine (if you will). 

Not to say that we should always hand stitch. Definitely not! But I do tend to have pieces that I plan for hand stitching from the start. There's a challenge to it and a connection that I adore. 

If you've never hand stitched before I recommend starting with an ornament sized piece on Aida with DMC. Learn if you like it first with the basics. Remember for truly perfect stitching you can't beat scroll rods. But not everything has to be perfect! 
I'd love to hear in comments if you like to hand stitch? 


Shelly said...

I tend to handstitch out of necessity when the fabric is too small for my smallest q snaps. I started this hobby handstitching and progressed to using scroll rods. Now, I either handstitch or use q snaps. When handstitching, I roll up the edge on the left because I'm right handed and I really try not to hold that extra fabric tight but I still manage to get creases that sometimes will not come out no matter how much ironing I do. I can see using scroll rods on something that has specialty threads on it. I cringe thinking of squishing braids and metallics using a hoop. Personally, I don't use hoops because of the squishing! This was a topic I could really sink my teeth into! Thanks Mel!

Tiffstitch said...

I like to stitch in hand occasionally as well. It is soothing, as you've mentioned.

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

I stitch in-hand for everything I do. I've never had issues with fabric creasing because I roll rather than scrunch! I've never noticed tension issues either, apart from that Arctic Rays stuff I used for the Little Snowy Gray Cottage. That would be the only time I might consider using a frame of some sort.

I tried hoops years ago and didn't like the marks they left. I also don't like wasting stitching time on prep work. Hence the dislike of bobbinating!

For me, another issue is my eyesight. I have to hold the fabric very close to my face, which would make a frame quite difficult to use.

Each to her own though, if people are happy with their method that's the important thing!

deb said...

Like Jo (*points up*), I stitch everything in hand as well, and rolling one's fabric definitely avoids creases. I've not had trouble with tension either - just make sure I do any specialty stitches carefully.

You're absolutely right, it's wonderful to hold that linen in your hand while you stitch!

Justine said...

I'm a hand stitcher too! I roll the fabric too and actually find this leaves less creases than using q-snaps. I've never tried a hoop.
I find my stitching is quicker and neater when I stitch in hand. I do use q-snaps occasionally for a change but it makes me a lot slower! I would be concerned using q-snaps for a larger project that my stitches could get squished.
An interesting subject!

Katie Haskins said...

I learned with a hoop and never liked the marks they left. I also tried scroll rods but the tension never stayed and the one piece when I went to have it framed was a bit stretched in one direction. Since then I've always stitched in hand. The only exception is embroidery where I physically have to punch through the fabric.

KimM said...

I usually use a hoop.....for far, so good...

Heather said...

I love stitching in hand but only smaller pieces

Leonore Winterer said...

I handstitch on very small projects, and on the corners of bigger ones I can't properly reach in the frame...not a big fan, but to each their own. I am very impresses by people who can handstitch and still have it look really neat, I never manage that :)

Jo said...

Totally agree about stitching in-hand. I work my CITA in hand and although it's getting quite creased the feel of it as I'm working the stitches is wonderful. Must admit all my HAEDs are done on scroll rods for the big ones or hoops for the SKs though.

Faith... said...

Personally I learned with a hoop and I can only stitch with the tension on the fabric! Also I can not stitch on linen at alllll.....LOL I admire you along with anyone else who can stitch in-hand. Medieval Hearts is looking great and I love the colors!!

The Crafty Princess said...

After reading your post and all the comments, I think I will give it a go. All very good positives for trying it at any rate
xo Alicia

Brigitte said...

I have always stitched in hand and never used a hoop. I once tried it but found that hoops aren't made for me, lol. I love in hand stitching and am somewhat surprised that there are so many others who prefer it as well. And like the other commenters I have never had any problems with creases or tension.