The back of a cross stitch piece

by karen
(Minneasota)

Does your backside look like this?

Does your backside look like this?

I love working on the picture, and this is my 5th picture using 50+ colors. My question is what does everyone else's backside look like?

I read that you are not to travel more that 3-4 stitches and how to properly start and end your thread. But what do you do when you only have one stitch per given color in a 10 x 10 stich square. That is 100 different colored X's all clumped together. My looks like spagetti. what do Judges think about this? Any help out or is this the way it supposed to look.

Comments for The back of a cross stitch piece

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Advice please...
by: Jacqui

Can someone please confirm if there is a vertical line of crosses, should I finish each cross as I work down the column - or should I work a vertical line of half stitches and then complete the cross working back up the stitches again? In addition, I have purchased a printed cross stitch kit, using wool, and the instructions advise to work from top to bottom of the work. Can I not work along the rows instead? One last question: how far can you carry the wool across the back of the work to the next bank of stitches of the same colour (and, likewise, with embroidery thread - do people carry their thread and how far, if so. I have some charted cross stitch kits to be completed with embroidery thread and the pictures are made up of a lot of small groups of the same colour stitches so I am not sure whether I should be starting a new thread every time. Thank you

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Backing
by: Margie

The back of my cross stitch bib looks terrible. Has anyone out there put some kind of backing on their project after it is done to cover up the threads?

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
FinishInh
by: Anonymous

For those of you who say it doesn't matter, you're wrong! If you're framing it is a huge problem. Your back will be so messy, thick and uneven that the fabric will look bumpy.

My recommendation is to learn the right way to start and stop and make all your stitches vertical on the back. Because if you learn at the beginning its a lot easier than figuring it out too late. Your back should look almost as neat as the front.

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Learning curve
by: Craftv

I have found that once I became aware of the muddle on the back I started to take a lot of care to reduce the mess.

Loop stitch to start reduces it by half. Always use every chance to hide the threads as you move across. Slide under existing stitches till you reach the next one. I also cover the backs with iron-on fabric when I frame. Keep the neatness at the back in your mind, you will see an improvement. I promise.

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Copy machine trick
by: Anonymous

I know the thought of back threads showing is a great concern. I had the same problem with images copying from the back of a page to the front when I ran copies for my students. My solution was a piece of black construction paper. If you will put black craft felt behind your project before you frame it, the dark threads will not show through the front once framed. This won't take care of the bulk issue, but the felt does absorb some of the bumps and the dark color will be a great help with the visual issue.

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Last one I did
by: Anonymous

My last cross stitch looks just like that, I am trying very hard to keep this one that I am doing now from getting sloppy or too bulky.

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Back of my cross stitch
by: Anonymous

When you buy cross stitch patterns is it possible after I have stitched them am I allowed to sell them? Will they have copyrights? Thank you for any help x

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
finish your thread runs in front
by: Su

I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but I have learned that to clean up the back, one runs the tail through two stitches in front and clips so that there is no tail showing at all. Also, I try to find a way to keep the stitching homogeneous so that verticals always appear in the back, as much as possible. On these more complex and 'colorful' pieces, I relax the rules a bit, but I don't allow a tail on the back anymore. It just comes out much neater. You have to get very good at hiding it in the front. Look up Cross Stitch Finishing on YouTube. There are series of four videos on this subject. Here's a link to the first one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4MdYZgzHCw

Rating
starstarstarstar
Backs of work?
by: craftyx

I try to be very neat because I find that this gives me the discipline to work carefully.

My backs have improved since I started using the LOOP Stitch to start with new thread, It reduces the "tails ends" by at least half. I also use the "capture" method with tail ends which entails, before you reach the last stitch capture it underneath and snip off.

When you have threads across the back, look behind your current stitches and see if there are any threads you can "cover/capture as you go along, this works well to hide at least some.

If all else fails, cover the back of your work with Iron On Interface which will cover all sins. Craftyv

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Backs on Complicated Projects
by: Anonymous

I know what you mean!

I never worry about the backs. I like to do the Teresa Wentzler projects, which tend to be the type you mention (one color per 10 squares). There is no way I could keep the backs neat.

The projects typically take about 2 years anyway, and if I tried to clip each stitch to avoid "carrying", it would take me about a decade!

My mother-in-law (who is usually delightful) always mentions a friend of hers "whose backs were beautiful" in cross-stitch, and I've tried to explain the nature of my projects, but I've given up.

I've framed them and put them in our dining room and foyer, and plan on passing them down through the generations. Beautiful backs or not:) Just enjoy! Your projects will be amazing and they will be real treasures!

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
A thought...
by: Lynne

I have only just found this page and would like to add my thoughts.
1. There will always be a knot, mistake, tangle or snarl in a big project. Be brave.
2. I was told when I first started cross-stitch that the back of the work was shared by the creator and the Creator - no-one else needs to know about the little "issues" - take courage.

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Need advice
by: Anonymous

I'm stitching (counted cross stitch) a bib and the back (of course) looks terrible. What do you suggest I do to cover the back? I don't want to have to machine stitch a back cover as I bought the bib finished, except for the stitching. Thanks. Gina

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
photos please
by: Anonymous

I'm looking for a picture of the back of a cross-stitch / needlework piece (as you have here) and a picture of the front side, too.

It's for an illustration that when life seems as messy as the back side of the cross stitch, often there's something beautiful being woven on the other side - we just can't tell.
If you're able to help me, please email to danclarkis@gmail.com

Thank you!

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Back of Mystic Stitch piece
by: Debbie Rice

Mystic Stitch and Heaven and Earth designs are so solidly stitched -- I would not worry about carrying threads.

The carried thread problem is having the shadow or clearly visible outline of a carried thread visible in back (particularly a white or light colored) of fabric.

On these designers' pieces, I put a large magnet strip (you can also buy commercial thread organizers) and park needles off to side without finishing my last cross stitch leg until I have enough stitches in another color to weave on back to next section needing parked color just because I like neater back -- not so much the carrying thread issue.

Lumps and knots can show through on your framed piece (and some framers won't even frame it because it will be so hard to get piece straight on backing and Mystic Stitch patterns are usually perfectly rectangular/square with very straight borders that will show it if not squared when framing) -- if you have same thickness and same amounts of lumps and knots all over your back it could serve to make a perfectly even thickness all over so that it could get mounted.

Or framer could try some batting so that lumps could make their own little nests in batting instead of being pushed out by harder backings. Usually the puffed look is not suited to Mystic Stitch.

I'd show my back to my potential framer and ask them if you should worry.

Long tails left loose and running around in a framed piece a couple of months later are going to wind themselves up into a lovely snarl that bumps the needlework out from backing and can even unstraighten a piece that was perfectly evenly mounted into a frame.

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Back of my work
by: Michelle

I have been told that the back of my work looks just as good as the front without even trying.

I start my stitching with a loop. When I cross stitch, it most usually calls for 2 threads. I use one extra long strand and then loop it in half. That way, when I start my stitch, I come up through the first hole and when I go back down, I catch the loop with my needle and it secures it. When it has been cut and there isn't a loop I just catch the little tail end under the very first full stitch that I make.

When I tie off, I don't run my thread under 3-4 stitches because I am scared that although it is secure, that it will come undone. What I do is run the needle under one stitch that is near what I just finished and then run it under again to make a loop. Then twist through the loop a couple of times and it make a very very small knot.

I have been stitching for about 15 years and have always done this. It secures the threads and also makes it nice a flat for framing.

As for the rest of my stitches, I do not make one complete stitch (whole X) at a time. I make a running stitch. I start at the bottom left and go to the top right...I go that direction for the number of stitches I need then come back starting in the lower right then to the top left. I have found that works best for me because it tends to keep all the stitches the same tension.

Rating
starstarstar
Thanks for your encouragement.
by: Karen

I have noticed that not many women like to show their "work in progress" until it is all neatly framed. Guess this is why, the dreaded backside! I will go on to enjoy completing this picture. It is Peaceful Morning II from Mystic Stitch Inc. I'm on panel 9 of 15. only 4 more to go.

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Threads on back of work
by: Lorraine (New Zealand)

Good morning all
I can't see anything wrong with a thready back - as long as the front looks good, why worry? Especially if you're enjoying your work.

I began my first needlepoint and got so worried about the great clumps of wool on the back (I read all the expert advice about how the back should look as good as the front) that it began to take the joy out of it.

Luckily a friend who's work I admire, told me not to worry about it, but just enjoy the stitching. So that's my advice - just enjoy the front!!

Kindest regards to all
Lorraine

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
The back of a cross stitch piece
by: Valerie Kalyani

I usually stop & start, even when there is that much 'confetti' stitching.

Judges do not see the back of your work; it is supposed to be framed or finished in someway for judging, which conceals the back.

If I decide I really don't want to stop & start so much, I do run the needle under the stitches so I do not leave long threads behind. I do a stitch, then I poke my needle in where I want to com up next. Then I flip the work over, run the thread under until it is where I want to come up at and just keep going.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Cross stitch forum.

  


Recent Articles

  1. Wallington Northumberland - a virtual tour of the needlework collection

    Nov 11, 16 12:46 PM

    Wallington Northumberland offers a feast for the eyes of any avid needleworker. Come for a virtual tour with me.

    Read More

  2. The History of Embroidery - part 1

    Nov 07, 16 11:17 AM

    The history of Embroidery from Anglo Saxon to the 20th Century

    Read More

  3. Needlework at Arlington Court, Barnstable, Devon

    Nov 06, 16 05:22 PM

    Arlington Court's needlework collection is extensive. Enjoy these photos of my favorite pieces on display.

    Read More