May 22, 2013

I've been working on the railroad

Greetings to all.  Prayers for Oklahoma.  I've mentioned before that we were 1/4 mile from the F5 that came through Wheatland PA in 1985, and took our best friend.  Seeing such destruction is mind numbing, and hard to comprehend.
I received an email from Beth, the stitcher responsible for the perfection in Kathy Barrick's post.  She mentioned railroading, a term I remember from my early stitching days.  After checking a few online sources, I thought I'd give it a try once again.  My sis in law used a laying tool to smooth her threads, and she was kind enough to gift one, which I considered a direct hint.  She was a top notch stitcher and rolled her eyes a bit at my style.   Using the stabbing method instead of the laying tool is my preference, and I tried it on my messy eyelet stitches. 

 The last one on the right is railroaded.  See the one above with the twisted thread?  This is how many of my regular cross are also.  I usually give the needle a quick twist in hand but it doesn't always work.  Sometimes it comes up through the linen with a bad twist and a laying tool doesn't even help. 
This is the stab method I tried on the eyelet.  Instead of the usual down stitch (on the right), 
 you lay the floss in front and insert the needle between the two strands before going down.  This prevents the twisting and both threads lay side by side (as a railroad track), which gives better coverage and a full flat stitch.
 The biggest problem I have with this method - I can't see the linen threads and end up in the wrong hole.  So I decided to scrap the idea of better stitches out of fear that frustration will add to my impatience.  Looking at these photos did show me another reason my eyelets are off. 
Take a good look - don't they look like they are all doing a Travolta move?  The top left corners appear to be pointing, don't they?  This is because I am starting the next stitch from that outside edge and it's being pulled from the left.  I guess I should start it from the center eye or a middle stitch rather than a corner.  Another color will fill between them and probably even them out but I should pay attention to that. 
Here's the railroad stab on a regular cross stitch.  I may keep practicing and see if it becomes a habit I can handle.  I doubt it, but it's only because of my lack of patience and absence of caring what anything thinks.  It bugs me that my threads are twisted, but not enough to be more careful.  Beth also directed me to this article on correct placement of the first stitch.  I can never remember, but this article used the term, "leaning on the post", and that was all I needed.  Thanks for your help Beth!
Ed left after what we hoped was the final sanding this morning.  For some reason, I am so exhausted I can't even go out for groceries.  This afternoon will be spent on the swing stitching, enjoying the beautiful day.  Eliza is turning out to be a fun stitch with the different dividing bands and bright colors.  I'm so glad I chose her.  In fact, I think my last few projects were some of my favorites.  Which brings up a question I may not be able to answer.  Can you?
What is your absolute favorite piece? 
Have a wonderful day and stay safe!
Thanks for visiting.


Jan - Life on Buttermilk Hill said...

Hi Marly...I remember the tornadoes well. We lived up towards Greenville and the firetrucks were screaming all around us...we were outside with the neighbors watching . It was Craig's birthday and he was only allowed to the corner on his new 10 speed...he's still mad about it at age 38. Have no clue about your problem stitches...yours always look great to me! Jan

Elisabetta said...

These points look very beautiful and striking !!!

Vickie said...

Hey, I like the "leaning on the post" term.
I do railroad most of the time. I am especially careful with gift stitches.

cucki said...

I do railroad too ;)
Sweet stitching x

Peggy Lee said...

I don't worry too much about railroading. I tried it once with a laying tool but it proved to be too awkward for me. Thanks for the link about post leaning. Very interesting.

Shirlee said...

How about that! I've been railroading all this time & never knew that's what it was! Thought it was just something I dreamed up to help me stitch a little neater. Your eyelets look great either way. I'm not seeing the twisted threads. I can't answer your question regarding my favorite piece. I guess I haven't stitched it yet : )

Joanie said...

I use the Twisted Stitcher's (Vonna Phieffer)method when I stitch with 2 threads. Go down through the hole with the needle point and back up through the next hole with the eye. It keeps the thread from twisting.

Barb said...

Your stitching looks great to me. If I had to choose, I think my favorite is a sampler called Mary Livcey. It has a big red house as does John Foster another of my favorites-I guess I can't choose!!

Barbara Shores ~ Village Folk Art said...

OH My Gosh Marly... This is all new to me. I guess I do the 'primitive style' of stitching as I just want to enjoy it during and after completion. Now I will be looking into this more closely and hope I do not get too discouraged ... my favorite expression has been, "That's good enough". I know my stitching will never fetch much $$$ ... so not to worry, right? ... or yet, cause I look up to you and your talents for inspiration.

Samplings from Spring Creek said...

I try to railroad--makes for a better finished product

Rugs and Pugs said...

You are just hyper-critical of your work :) I think your stitching is lovely!!!
Hugs :)

Kaisievic said...

Hi Marly, your stitching is just fine the way it is but I did find it interesting to read about the tips and tricks.

Chris said...

I railroad :0) Sounds like a relaxing stitching day.

Karen said...

Well I just read a post on something I know nothing about...LOL
But is was interesting on how you get that stitch. I'm so darned basic in my stitching that I'd never be able to learn all you do.
And I can imagine the sadness you felt about this tornado.

Chocolates4Breakfast (TerriBoog) said...

I can't say I railroad my stitches but then, I never really thought I needed to do it. I learned to stitch using the method Joanie referred to as "Vonna's method" and it works quite well. I don't think I could be bothered taking the time to split the threads. I already have too little time to stitch as it is. I'd never get anything done if I had to do that.
Your stitching is lovely, truly. Not to worry! Enjoy it.

Deb on the Cumberland Plateau said...

Thanks, Marly. Twisted thread frustrates me to no end. When I stitch, I usually have the linen in a Q-snap frame, I'm holding part of the pattern either against the frame w/ my non-stitching hand or laying in my lap, scissors resting somewhere on my chest, and a cat lying on my lap under the frame--a laying tool would cause the whole 'delicate' balance to collapse. I will give this railroad technique a try! as always, I love your stitching and color choices.

I remember going to OK to visit familly as a child and seeing the long trenches dug out by torndoes. This event is heartbreaking.

backporchcarver said...

I love reading your posts, I always learn something I gave the "railroading" a try and really like the results.Hopefully if I keep learning one day I will at least compare to your stitching. That is what I aspire to.

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