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Archive for August 14th, 2009

Pin Stitch Tutorial – Part 2

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 14, 2009

In the first part, Pin Stitch Tutorial – Part 1, you learned how to start a thread with a pin stitch.

This part teaches you how to end a thread with a pin stitch. This, for me, is the best part because it makes “confetti” stitch embroideries (where you make a single stitch with a colour, end the thread, start a new colour, etc.). Making one or two stitches at a time with a single colour is extremely tedious and running the ends into the back of the piece can make it very bulky.

Most explanations of ending a thread with the pin stitch have you work the pin stitch underneath the finished stitch. This has two major disadvantages: the stitch becomes very thick with all that thread underneath (particularly if you have also begun the same stitch with a pin stitch) and when working on finer counts of fabric (36 count linen, 18 count aida), there isn’t much room to manoeuver the needle under the stitch. The stitch itself is easily pulled out of shape.

I believe this is my own innovation, to end the thread in a spot where it will be covered by another stitch, but not in a place where a new thread must be begun. This keeps the bulk of thread ends buried under the stitches to a minimum.

All photos are on my Flickr account. If you need to see a larger version, click the photo to go to the Flickr photo page. Click “All Sizes” to see the original size photo. All photos were taken with a Canon PowerShot S5.

Ending a thread with a pin stitch

1. Choose a stitch to end the thread. Remember that it must be a stitch where you will not be beginning a new thread, so the middle of a block or row of one colour is a good choice.

2. Bring the needle upwards, between two threads (or the center of the block, if using aida) at the bottom of the stitch.

Pin stitch end 1

3. Insert the needle down into the center of the block or the center of the two threads.

Pin stitch end 2

4. Pull the needle underneath so that the stitch is tightened. It should be a tiny stitch in the lower half of the square. I know it doesn’t look like much but it does do the job.

Pin stitch end 3

5. Bring the needle up in a nearby hole (it doesn’t matter which) and cut the tail flush with the fabric on the right side.

Pin stitch end 4

That’s it! Now you can start a new thread without having to turn your frame over, bury the ends, and so on.

Posted in embroidery, needlework, tutorial | Tagged: , , | 37 Comments »

Pin Stitch Tutorial – Part 1

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 14, 2009

I didn’t invent the pin stitch. I believe it was invented by a talented American stitcher named Mayté. I learned it from on-line forums and Web sites years ago, but recently haven’t been able to find it. So it seemed a good idea to put together my own tutorial.

The pin stitch is a neat, unobtrusive way to begin and end the thread in counted embroidery. Its advantages are that it can be worked from the front of the fabric (a big advantage for those of us who do not own a frame that flips over easily), it uses very little floss, it is secure, does not cause noticeable thickening of the stitch or back, and it is invisible.

I’ve worked these examples on 18-count aida, because that’s what my current project is worked on. This method works for 2×2 (cross-stitches over 2 threads) but it isn’t good for 1×1 cross-stitching because it tends to make the stitch too thick. I’ve used this stitch to secure the thread under satin stitch, chain stitch, and other stitches. It works well as long as the threads on top cover the area where the pin stitch is worked.

All photos are on my Flickr account. If you need to see a larger version, click the photo to go to the Flickr photo page. Click “All Sizes” to see the original size photo. All photos were taken with a Canon PowerShot S5, because it has such a great macro function.

Starting a thread with pin stitch

1. Insert the needle down in the center of the first stitch. (If you are using linen, insert the needle between the two threads of the stitch.)

Pin stitch 1

2. Pull the needle until only a 1/4 inch (.5 cm) tail remains on the right side of the fabric.

Pin stitch 2

3. While holding the thread tail with your fingernail, bring the needle up, one thread below where you started from. It should be aligned with the bottom of the stitch.

Pin stitch 3

3. Hold the thread tail out of the way, and insert the needle down in the center of the stitch (the same place where you originally inserted the needle). Pull the thread tight, so that a nearly invisible stitch appears on the center/bottom half of the stitch. If you are using aida cloth, make sure that this stitch is parallel with the weave direction of the fabric in that square (in this case, the weave is running vertically, so the stitch is vertical; if the weave is horizontal, make a horizontal stitch). This stitch must be pulled fairly tightly, so that the end does not work itself loose after you cut it.

Pin stitch 4

4. Bring the needle up in the corner to start the first stitch. I like to start my cross-stitches in the lower left corner.

Pin stitch 5

5. Cut the tail close to the pin stitch (sorry, no photo. I was taking these photos myself and needed both hands to cut the thread).

The reason for cutting the thread now and not earlier in the process is because by bringing up the needle to begin the stitch, there will be very little tension exerted on the pin stitch, which might cause the end to pop through the fabric to the back. If you cut the thread right after making the pin stitch, a sharp tug can cause the end to pop out. That’s why you should cut the thread when the needle is on the right side of the fabric again.

6. Complete the first half of the cross-stitch by inserting the needle downwards in the upper right corner of the stitch.

Pin stitch 6

The entire stitch is worked on the front of the fabric, which makes the back very neat. If you’ve ever tried to unpick this stitch, you will discover that it is quite secure. Because the pin stitch adds so little bulk, it is ideal for designs with lots of “confetti stitches” (isolated stitches, where you have to begin and end a single stitch in one colour).

The only important note is to make sure that the stitch is tightened before you cut the end. If you don’t tighten the stitch, the short end may work itself loose.

Part 2 will show you how to end a thread with a pin stitch.

Posted in embroidery, needlework, tutorial | Tagged: , , | 21 Comments »