The easiest way to make prettier stitches


The act of stitching is creative and fun, with each project like a textile coloring book. There's one
thing that can get in the way of the gorgeousness you are creating: sloppy stitches. Some stitchers strive for perfection, some don't want that kind of stress on their favorite hobby—but all want their needlework to look good. Let's talk about how to make prettier stitches happen easily.

The easiest way to make prettier stitches is to make sure your threads lie beautifully on your fabric or canvas. Sounds simple, right? That means a few things, such as:
  1. If using stranded floss—ie, more than one strand of a fiber—stitch slowly, intentionally, and stroke your threads to make them lie parallel. This gives a smooth finish.
  2. If doing specialty stitches—like lazy daisy stitch, satin stitch, chain stitch, etc—stitch slowly, intentionally, and position your threads to make sure they don't twist or misbehave as you complete your stitch. 

It's all about position and stroking

There are two ideal ways to 'stroke' your thread, which encourages the material to straighten out, lay flat, and give maximum light exposure or even texture for more beautiful stitches. Both ways can also be used to help "position" your stitches. It takes seconds to do, and will become second nature to you with practice. The habit is worth developing.
  1. Use a laying tool—details below, but in a nutshell, they work in tandem with your stitching hand to lay the threads right where, when, and how you want them.
  2. Use your finger or your needle—a laying tool is going to be more precise, but in a pinch use your finger or your stitching needle to keep the fibers in good shape as you complete each stitch

Basic, inexpensive laying tools to try

Needleworkers have used laying tools for centuries. Just as a good pair of scissors makes cutting the best it can be, a laying tool makes laying your stitches the best it can be. It may take practice to get used to using one, but you will love the results. Try these popular and inexpensive laying tool options to get started:
  • Bent Weaver's Needle: While commonly used for weaving, this large. blunt-point needle with a bent end is super helpful for stroking threads, fits easily in your needle case, and is cheap ($0.99!). 
  • Two-Eye Bodkin: This age-old tool us primarily used for drawing cording through things like hems, or even as a hair pin for fastening 'dos. Needleworkers find the edge useful for stroking threads. At only $0.99 get one for your needle case and one for your clothes closet (helpful for pulling cords that have retreated back into those hoodies or sweatpants). 
  • Trolley Needle: This medieval-looking, Edward Needlehands kind of appendage fits right on your finger so that your laying tool is always nearby, ready to tackle wayward stitches. It's a few dollars more than the previous two suggestions, but very convenient. Once you start using one, you'll love it. Trolley needles are very popular among stitchers.

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