On June 13 of 2010, in my "Coffee Break" forum message, I said that I will start working on my Blue Peacock pattern. Well, it's December 2010 and I am just starting to work on it. This pattern has 104 DMC colors and I swear that they are all in 1st row. What a mess!!
I need guidance on how to work with so many colors? Thank you in advance for any suggestions that will come my way.!!!
I am working on 'The Young Gardener', which has many confetti stitches in it. I have stitched it in 10x10 stitch blocks...that is, 100 stitches at a time. I started in the upper left corner, but that is only personal preference, and go across the 10x10 blocks before going down to the next 10 rows.
With so many colour changes, this was the only way I could handle it...to go across the whole row would have been to much for my brain!!
I am also using parking to minimize the number of times I tie off a colour.
As always, this has worked for me, but we all develop our own way of stitching with whatever we are comfortable with.
Mariam, you have chosen a great project! You can do it, but it might take you a little while to get acclimated to it.
Before I started my Lady & Unicorn project, I had completed several Teresa Wentzler designs - and if you know anything about those, you know they are just packed full of confetti and blending - it's what I learned cross stitch on, basically.
Well, when I started L&U, I decided to give the parking a try (see the tutorials here for info on that). The very first stitch on my piece, upper left corner, was not used anywhere else for over half a page - so how was I going to start/stop? So I parked it. And so I went through pages 1 and onto 2.
Now, when I worked on all of my TW designs, and really, any others that involved many colors, I would pick a symbol, load the color, and stitch it until the symbol or my thread ran out; then I'd pick the next most dominant symbol, etc. And I got a lot of stuff done that way, though to irritate some purists, you definitely can't flip one of my pieces over and have the back look like the front - how can you on anything that has any significant amount of confetti? BUT though my backs are messy, they are CONSISTENT - there aren't any lumps in them, and they frame just fine (and some say they also last longer, being thicker/stronger on the back side, less single points of failure in a single thread).
So after a year and a half of parking on L&U, barely squeaking out a whole page, I gave up on parking, and went back to my usual follow-the-symbol method - and did 3 pages in the same time it took me to do that 1. For me, parking was way too much like work, and took the enjoyment of stitching out of it for me, and didn't provide a noticeable benefit - the L&U pieces will NOT be neat on the back after a point, I don't care who you are - if a square of 100 stitches has 30-40 different symbols in it (as many do on L&U), something's gotta give - and once it's hung, I will never see the back again, huh?
There is no right or wrong, don't let anyone tell you there is; try a few things out, and see which works for you. And what works today might not work tomorrow, and vice versa. Don't be afraid to switch it up if it's not working for you. The important thing is to NOT get discouraged and then not stitch at all. These SQ charts are HUGE, but in the end, they are all just little Xs - a whole lotta Xs, of course
Which is why I have so many projects going, so I always have SOMETHING I want to work on (usually many are hollering at me at once ), in case my brain can't deal with Confetti one day or other Ask around in here - those who know me know I have a vast assortment of projects going, and amazingly, I do get things done. Okay, not as many as I start, but that's beside the point
I have seen so many WIPs where they are obviously using the parking method or at least the 'finish one square before moving on' that I was thinking I must be the odd one to pick a symbol, stitch as much as I can with it and then move onto the next symbol. It is nice to know that I am not 'alone' in this.
I think it depends on if you are a Process stitcher or a Journey stitcher. I am a Journey stitcher - my goal is to create the picture, seeing a design advance is where my enjoyment and relaxation come in. Parking wasn't doing that for me, so I went back to my usual method - and the enjoyment came back.
Process stitchers are generally all about the technique - they want the finished product, of course, but HOW they get there is just as important as actually getting there. They get their relaxation & enjoyment from the mechanics of the act of stitching, maybe not quite as fixated on "seeing progress".
I'm not saying that quite right, but I think you kinda get the idea? I've seen this Journey vs Process discussion before, but can't recall now if it was here or somewhere else...? When I was a one-at-a-timer, I was more process oriented, but when I started having multiple projects going, it definitely became more about the Journey (and the fact that I am a serial starter
After trying various methods, I start working as Karen suggested.
Using the parking method drove me nuts. I did not know if I was coming or going. I was so stressed out and lost in my pattern that I gave up and ripped all out and started all over again.
What was so confusing too me doing the parking method is that for each symbol there are 2 numbers blended and the colors are so similar.
So this is what I did and so far it's working form me.
There are 35 pages (8-1/2x11) for this project. All symbols are black on white. I enlarged my pages to 135% and work with only 1 page (even if it's killing me). Than I take the most prominent symbol within 2 blocks of 10 rows each and I follow it JUST on that page. Also, I highlight the symbol before hand so my eye will travel to to the highlighted area. AND I NEVER, NEVER LOOK AT THE BACK OF MY WORK. I figured if my stitched are neat and not split and even in front that is OK with me.
This is my retirement project, I figured that by the time I hit 90 I should be half-way finished.
But of course I will be doing other (smaller) projects in between like knitting, embroidery sewing, reading, etc, etc. Summer will come and gardening will start. WHO SAID RETIREMENT IS BORING.
Wishing all of you a happy and healthy 2011!
Meredith Site Admin
Joined: 23 Feb 2004 Posts: 128
I am parking because I'm stitching this on 22-count fabric and it's really hard to insert a stitch above a completed stitch without splitting thread (not because I care how the back looks -- I don't know what my grandmother would say, but she's not going to see it). I've never parked with more than 4-5 colors before and I've learned some things about parking lots of colors but if you aren't going to park I won't go into those here.
Your comment about the similar colors in the blends, though, made me wonder how you're managing your blended colors. I recommend making a bobbin (or bag, whatever you use) for each blended color and putting both the symbol and the numbers on it. This saves a lot of referring back to the key. The floss labels make this easier but you can just write the info as well. Pick a length (I use 21") and always cut your floss to that length. When you initially blend two strands, then, the lengths will always match. (I have a pin in my fabric to use to gauge the length.) If you blend one length at a time, and keep the blend on its own bobbin, you never need to worry about which color is which.
I am also a no-parking, meandering-symbol stitcher; I pick a symbol and stitch that blend all over the place, running my start-stop thread under adjoining stitches. I am working a BIG piece (Edward Hopper's "Gas", beautiful and subtle, just right for a guest-room with Depression-era crafts), and gridded the whole linen with red plastic gridding thread. Gridding is key to comfortable meander-stitching. It sounds tedious, but wasn't; did this work watching mindless TV. The red plastic thread does not have to be removed before stitching the area -- it pulls out easily afterward -- so it provides a great grid.
Good luck! "Blue Peacock" is gorgeous. The idea of parking gives me anxiety attack: Too much like my day job!