Complex cross stitch patterns

I have cross stitched for over 20 years. Most of the things i have done have big areas of one color.

I am now doing a very complex pattern where there are only 1-10 stitches of the same color in an area. Normally, I do one color at a time, then move onto the next color. Should I continue to do that with my big complex pattern, or is there an easier way?

Maybe starting at the top row and working my way across? I would love to 'graduate' from the easier stitches, but am at a loss at how to start.


Carol responds...
That is an excellent question.

When I work more complex designs I tend to use a number of needles at the same time. I will thread up each one with a different color that will be used in a section. I then start stitching with one needle. When the stitches in that color are complete for that area I will bring the needle to the surface again well out of the stitching area. I can then "park" that needle and thread to come back to later.

I then move on to the next color and use the next needle. Again when those stitches are done, I park the thread out of the way.

In this manner you will end up loose threads around an area that you can pick up and use again when there are stitches in that color to be worked.

If possible I try to work over the loose threads to anchor them in place and avoid long straggly pieces on the back of the completed work.

As for simpler designs, I like to start in the center of the pattern, rather than the top. I don't always start with the center stitch though. I will look around to see a clump of stitches in a similar color near the center. I will then count out to a suitable starting point on the chart and find the corresponding place on the chart.

To help me keep my place on a complex cross stitch chart I like to use a highlighter or colored pencil to mark off the stitches as I do them.

I hope this helps.



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Complex cross stitch patterns
by: Cross stitch passion

Well, I cannot work on a single colour for too long and need variations within the same pattern.

I usually select an area of the pattern and one by one do the colours in that area.

However, in case thread is left over after completing the colour in the area, I work the remaining thread in another area before picking up the next colour. Then there is no chance of the remaining threads getting entangled.

Another advantage of this technique is that areas of the pattern, other than the one I am working on, also get filled in a little and by the time I move on to those areas I have the satisfaction of having done some of the work there already. Try this.

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