Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Cross Stitch Backsides - My Opinion

Disclaimer: So I'm finally approaching this very very controversial topic and need to be clear that all backsides shown in the post below are posted with permission and are 100% kid friendly :D Just saying!

Now we have the silly out of the way lets get to the important discussion. Why and Why not?
There is debate after debate after debate on the cross stitch forums and groups around the internet about the backside of your cross stitch and how neat and tidy it should be. While it is always a matter of personal preference what you do and how neat you make it I want to talk about the whys. Because every beginner gets told that they need to do it one way or another but rarely does anyone explain WHY!

1. To avoid bumps when framing

The number one reason (only because I had to put something at number one) why you should keep a neat back on your cross stitch and particularly a flat back by avoiding knots and tangles is when you are framing and stretching your fabric over a flat piece of card. Any bumps behind the fabric are noticeable and will cause it to look a bit bumpy when framed.

Then we have pieces like this... so full of confetti that you can't help but make them a little messy but you do all you can to make it generally smooth.

2. So you can't see the backside from the front of your piece


We all know that person who leaves nothing to the imagination? Well in this case it's when you skip over stitches and leave these long trails of thread behind that are highly visible (particularly when done in black) Or you carry dark colours UNDER light colours and you get this highly contrasting colour showing through. It doesn't look nice, and it muddys the look. But if you watch for this then it doesn't matter.



The red as you can see in this piece is BEHIND the light colour. So thankfully doesn't stick out.

3. So that your piece is almost reversible. 


I know there are some great stitchers out there that can cross stitch so that it looks almost 100% reversible... I'm not one of those BUT I'm talking about when you choose to stitch on something like a jacket or table cloth where the back side is not covered. (scandalous I know!) and in this case you will want to make sure your stitching is neat on both sides because both are visible. Makes sense.


I just do the smart thing for me and choose not to stitch on something that I can't cover the back up with something or frame it so that you can't access the back. As you can see here while I am not 100% reversible when I try I do get it neat.

4. If you are putting your piece into a show


Now if your piece is not reversible but you are putting it into a show you do want to be aware of points 1 and 2 as they are important and visible reminders that all is not as it seems with your piece and can lose you marks.


I know it's been a while since this... 2012 but I did ask a lot of people about what makes a good piece for a show and points 1 and 2 are what they mention... also full coverage and very neat stitches but those ones aren't the point of this post.

5. Because you are proud of your work and want to learn how to do the correct techniques. 


This one is a contentious reason because the debate comes up well what makes it correct? But to be proud of your stitching, making it lay flat on the front and keeping a generally neat backside are not bad reasons. They are in a lot of ways the real reason we do any of this. If you want to have a piece you are proud of. That you can sit there and go hey look at this, you want to be happy with it. If everytime you stare at it you notice the thread that is peeking through that you carried a bit too far behind the white, are you going to enjoy it? There is NOTHING wrong with mistakes but it really is a matter of what you yourself are comfortable with and what you are most proud of.

Final Say


As with anything it is truly a matter of personal preference but if you know the reasons why you will often make different choices.

Also know that I will sometimes leave knots in the back of my stitching, if I realise too late or if I know I'm finishing it as a pillow how flat the piece is doesn't matter. I will carry threads, often waaayy too far particularly on my HAEDs because the coverage on that piece doesn't let the threads show through and it makes the counting and whole stitching process more enjoyable. But on a piece where I know the coverage is a little dicey I try to be aware of it and not carry the threads as far.I try to find a happy medium myself between anal about every little thing being perfect and just enjoying the process. Just so you know that all the pieces in this post are mine, they are sometimes super neat, sometimes halfway inbetween and in the case of the HAEDs they are quite messy but I am proud of all of them!

Only you can make a decision about what you are going to do and what you are able to do with your stitching, and only you can decide whether a choice is worth it. The only thing I'm trying to do here is give you the reasons WHY. Honestly if you are happy with your work then who am I to judge? Too many people on the internet are judgy but are they worth interacting with?

How do you feel about the backsides of your work? Do you have any more reasons to add to this list?

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin


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