Cross stitch and other forms of needlecraft, by their very nature, emphasize the importance of memorising and mastering techniques and repeated actions more than anything else. No different to learning an instrument or learning to illustrate, one can learn everything there is to know about embroidery without having to remember the many definitions and names...but it does help to know them! In this instalment of the Past Impressions blog, we wanted to look at 5 lesser used cross stitch terms, and explain them so that they may end up benefiting your work, plus so you can show how much you know your craft!

#1 "Frogging"

Sounds cute! But what does it actually mean? In its simplest form frogging is just a slang term that describes the process of removing stitches from the piece after you've made a mistake. Unpicking your work can seem like a worrying prospect, but if done right it can rescue fabric and thread for future uses. Remember to never pick too hard, not to accidentally snip the fabric and that by washing the fabric beforehand you may be able to get the threads to relax a bit.

park your cross stitch

#2 "Parking Your Cross Stitch"

We won't spend too long on this particular phrase/technique as we already wrote a full blog on it in August. To sum up, it's a cross stitching method whereby you remove the 'holes' between the rows in your pattern, as well the need to anchor thread every time you wish to switch colour. The result is a neater cross stitch that also heavily speeds up the process to completion.

#3 "Stitching Over Two"

This phrase applies to cross stitch kits with a larger Aida count; such as 28-count jobelan, where the linen or other fabric uses individual woven fibers instead of the more familiar squares. On evenweaves of this magnitude it doesn't make as much sense to do the usual tiny little 'x's, but instead by stitching over two threads, both horizontally and vertically. The method isn't all that intimidating, and you can read a terrific guide to stitching over two via this article on Funk & Weber designs.

#4 "Basting"

A type of long, loose stitch that can be easily removed. Normally used as a way of navigating to the centre of a cross stitch or helping to keep fabric together and secure before you machine sew it together, basted stitches are meant to be quick fixtures that  you can take out with little hassle. we're not sure why it shares a name with the juiciest form of meat cooking, but in case the confusion is too much you can also refer to them as 'tack' stitches!

#5 "Overcast Stitching" 

This is a simple 'whipstitch' (also known as a blanket stitch - used to reinforce the edge of thick materials) that prevents the fabric from unravelling whilst you work. It can also be used for outlining designs. There are two methods for creating overcast stitching: one involves stitching a line to create padding, then more smaller stitches cover the padding at right angles. The other is called 'detached overcast stitching', which involves two alternating padding stitches that pick up the fabric, followed overcast stitches that cover the padding stitches without picking up the fabric.

What are some cross stitch terms that have helped you as a needlecrafter that you think are way underused as its is? We'd love to get them more into the minds of other embroiderers, so do let us know what they are in the comments, or you can share them with us on our Facebook page, through Twitter or on Google+.


Post By Graham Ashton