Tips on Increasing Stitching Speed
Thank you to Vincent for posting these on the TWBB! I felt these were great tips to share with other stitchers on the net. If you'd like to see some of the projects Vincent has stitched please visit his stitching pages!
These are only suggestions and not a must:
1. Keep the flosses short. I cut the blends in short 12 inches long (twice as long as the length of the skein thread). This speeds up pulling of thread. This also prevents the threads from getting worn out soon.
2. Develop chart-reading skill. Read the next symbols to stitch while stitching the last symbol. In other words, read symbols ahead your stitching. This will make your stitching speed in average rate. You will minimize pauses in stitching (caused by the longer time reading chart). I believe I develop this because when reading musical notations, you play or sing at the same time also reading ahead the next notes as preparation.
3. Use highlighters to mark your path. Know where the direction of same symbols go. Once you know the path, you can focus on other aspects of embroidery like speed, well-laid Xs, etc.Use as many as you need. I keep 5 colors, although I mainly use 2-3 at a time (yellow, blue and pink).
4. Stitch by hours, not by minutes. After a longer stitching time, you get focused on your stitching. This develops to a passionate stitching time with faster speed and even tension. Stitching in few minutes breaks the flow of passion and results to slow progress and uneven tensions in stitches.
5. Use scroll frames then use both hands in stitching. I use scroll frames. Because Teresa uses hundreds of blended/tweeded floss, I use a laying tool to lay both colors with my left hand. This prevents correcting and restitching if the flosses twist or are not laid properly. When backstitching, I don´t use a laying tool, so I backstitch with my left hand on top of the frame and the right hand pulling and poking the needle from under the scroll.
6. Organize symbols and flosses accordingly in groups or in order of your working direction. Before I knot the threads in my thread organizers, I write the symbols according to the order I will work (ex: from lower left to lower right, or with my TW PK, from Border, to Foreground grasses, to Lion, to Boy, to Lamb, to Trees), and not according to how Teresa listed them in the charts. This minimize the time spent looking for symbols because Teresa mixes the symbols.
7. Time organization. A. Pick the best time for you to stitch and stick to it. The best time for me is right after waking up. My sight is excellent after a whole night´s rest. So I make it a point that I stitch 1-2 hours in the morning daily. (I would not advise stitching at night when the eyes are already tired from the day´s work. That would strain the eyes and may lead to eye problems.)B. Limit your time surfing the internet. Keyword: DISCIPLINE. C. Either do your household & domestic duties first or stitch before you do them.
8. Get motivated. There are so many ways to get motivated. A. One is to keep others informed of your progress, like keeping an online album of WIP pictures or blogs. (It is not the goal to get others to respond to your posts; many are busy with their lives too.) Being inspired, enthusiastic up to the last stitch will maintain your stitching speed. B. Another motivation are your patterns collection themselves! Don´t we all want them finished in this lifetime? (I know, many would reply, "It´s enough that we have them all STARTED in this lifetime!" with all the UFOs they have: )
9. Make larger copies of the charts for better chart reading. Better chart reading = increase in speed.
10. Cut away parts of the chart copies that are already finished so they do not distract your sight and you can quickly focus on areas you still have to stitch.
11. Be flexible. in a way that you can easily get out of (and back to) your stitching workplace when called to eat or do something.
12. Develop skills that you find suit your personality. There are tips that will not work for you, of course. You might discover some tips in increasing speed while stitching that you can share with others. I would love to hear them. I have piles of patterns and I would love to finish half of them, if not all of them!
13. Thread needles as quick as you can. To thread quickly, I fold the threads not far from the ends, using the needle itself. Then press it with my fingers. This results to a stiffer, thinner and straight pair of threads ready for a quick and easy threading.
14. Stop Flipping your frames when starting and ending stitches by learning the Pinhole stitch! I will try to find a diagram. pls come back to check.Hope this inspires everyone! My favorite motivation is "I want to finish stitching all my favorite designs in this lifetime!"