I was watching/listening to a Floss tube while sewing yesterday. It was Jean Farish, and she started talking about the other side of cross stitch, the back side. It seems that there was a “heated” (not really) discussion on a Facebook group recently about fun verses neatness. Some people don’t care what their project back looks like, some are fastidious, and some are very sure that if your back isn’t as neat as your front – well you know. I think it is a matter of craftsmanship, I fall somewhere in the middle of the extremes. I have been hand stitching things for almost 50 years, I can still remember when I was six years old, and my grandmother showed me how to embroider on a hankie. Later, my favorite first grade teacher gave me an embroidery kit, with wool yarns and a metal hoop and a printed design. Crafting took hold and I haven’t stopped. I don’t remember how I started to care about my backs, but I think it evolved with my skills.
There is one particular incident that stands out in my mind though. My first real job, was as an assistant manager in a craft/garden center chain store. I was in charge of the craft section, ordering and merchandising etc. We also had a framing department within the craft part. I would hang out in there, see what was going to be framed, and how it was done. I had a lot of free framing lessons, and learned more about framing than I probably needed to know. Anyway, there was a cross stitch piece that I will never forget, it was a full size monopoly board. All the words, properties, railroads and GO TO JAIL boxes carefully stitched out in all the right colors. It was really a neat piece of work. However, the stitcher didn’t bury any of the black thread ends. They also jumped from lines to words and outlines over the whole back. When the piece was framed, all those threads showed, I felt it was ruined. I remember the framer felt bad about the finished product too, I don’t remember what happened when the stitcher picked it up though.
Long Arm quilting has also helped me to become a better craftsperson too. Those loose bobbin threads or railroaded threads are the bane of my work. I have to check my quilt backs all the time, at least with cross stitching, it happens more slowly, and is a lot more controllable. Miscounting though, that’s another story, lol. A back side area that I need to improve on is ironing my completed tops. I am a bit lazy about that, I have no problems ironing units and blocks, but once that queen size top is together, my ironing mojo is out the door in a flash. Wrestling that big thing around, having it slip off the board, meh, no fun there.
This week I have been working on more rainbow blocks, I have three more to do. I am thinking two pink and one red in the corner. Then I need to make the sashing and cornerstones. I may switch it up a little and use blue, but I have plenty of WoW, and the sashings are very narrow.
I really NEED to work on my Halloween Figs BOM. I sort of forgot about the March blocks, I pulled the package out when I got the shipping notice for the April installment. I thought I better get it done, it was three blocks and 42 flying geese, and one of those blocks was a 12″ square with appliqué. So much for whipping those together. I got the appliqué prepped and one stem done, the small blocks were simple Ohio stars, an hour of sewing there. The 42 geese, well they are going to have to wait until the rainbow is done. April’s package showed up yesterday, it is the 11th month, but glancing through the instructions, there is a lot of putting chunks together, and a lot of filler and border pieces, more geese and nine patches I think. I can’t remember if I have done the pumpkin seed ones yet, there are a bunch of those. That’s my goal for next week, get this BOM into shape and mostly, if not wholly together.