I'm doing this little kit project at the moment for a friend's baby and it came with 18 count Aida. I'd never used it before and I absolutely hate it! I usually use evenweave but have certainly had occasion to use some of the lower count Aidas and never had any particular problems with it. But this stuff is terrible, it tears my thread to shreds, it forces my stitches so close together that I am forever splitting the thread, I suddenly find it impossible to keep my tension even, and the stitches are so tight that the effect is of all these knobbly little knots! It's a diasaster!
I can't think why all of this is happening- the threads are DMC so they couldn't be poor quality but maybe this is just bottom-of-the-range Aida. Is there such a thing?
Either way I'm just about ready to give up on the whole thing. I'm just not enjoying the process at all and, from what I can tell, the results are very mediocre as well.
Am I doing something wrong? Is there a trick to 18 count Aida that is eluding me, or am I just the victim of cheapy kit fabric?
I use 18-count aida all the time and like it (well, not the way it looks, but then the stitches cover it up). I think BarBaraPrz may be right about the starch or sizing - or how many strands of floss are you using? If the holes seem too small they may be clogged with starch, and/or if you are using more than 2 strands, 2 is the most I would use on 18-count. I would bind the edges before you wash it though or it will be fray city.
I'm only using two strands, but I think I will give washing it a try. It's not that the needle won't go through, it's just that by the time I reach the end of my piece of thread at least 5 or 6cm are just completely wasted away to fluff and the whole section I've just stitched needs de-fluffing. For some reason it just tears my threads to bits!
Sounds like you DO have a starch issue... also, the fabric that comes in those kits is rather low-end, and when fabric sits around stored in plastic, folded and starched, it can degrade till it's more like stiff paper than fabric.
If it is causing you this much pain AND you havent gotten so far in it that starting over is heartbreaking - I say invest in some better quality fabric and start over. Thread is dirt cheap, so the only real loss is your time.
Charles Craft makes some pretty good aida, and DMC has started selling it in smaller sizes. I do enough on 18 count aida that I buy it by the roll in creams and whites. Especially for what my husband calls "those insane Scarlet 'Squints' projects"... LOL! He swears that the only way I will ever get everything I want to do done, I will have to be stitching from the grave!
Yes, I suppose I really should give 18-count aida another go before I swear off it for life. At least it's a relief to hear that there is such a thing as dud fabric and it's not that I've just magically lost all my embroidery experience overnight and can no longer put thread to canvas!
Unfortunately, I think this project is a dead loss. I've done more than 2/3 already and just can't see myself starting over at this point. I think I may just cut my losses here- lucky I've got another birth sampler in my drawer so all is not lost!
Thanks for the advice everybody!
PS: I know what you mean about stitching ambitions: I've got a list of 'projects to do' and there's at least twenty years there- and that's a conservative estimate! Still, busy hands are happy hands.
If you are using DMC or other colorfast cotton, you might try running a steam iron over it a few times - that has the same effect as a "slight" washing (a spongebath, if you will) and might relieve some of the stiff.
I know a lot of people scrap the fabric that comes in kits because it usually isn't very nice. 18ct of one brand shouldn't feel any different than 16 or 14 of the same brand, but brands vary widely - and who knows what they put in those kits??
Well, this project is finished now and it's definitely my most tatty to date... but... well... if you stick it in a frame behind some glass and look at it from across the room... it doesn't look too bad...