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Quilt Blocks - 5 Sided
TIPS
When we stitch we are
like mushrooms and moles -
Our best work is done
while we are "hidden away".
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Susan Saltzgiver Designs

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Last updated 12/9/2016
TO USE METALLIC THREADS FOR STITCHING:  Thread the needle as above.

a. When inserting the needle into the fabric, front or back, insert your fingers or thumb of your
non-stitching hand into the loop that forms between the floss (braid, thread) in the needle and the 'exit'
thread of the last stitch.  
b. As you pull the thread through the fabric, the twisting that causes so many knots cannot occur.  Don't
remove your thumb or finger/s until necessary.   
c. Dropping the needle and thread and allowing it to untangle every few stitches is still extremely
important - even more so as the thread gets shorter and your thumb/finger/s no longer fit easily.   
d. A little tension (not too tight) helps make the stitches lay well and look uniform.  
e. Cross stitch normally using 2 strands for cross stitch and 1 strand for backstitch.

TO USE KREINIK GLOW-IN-THE-DARK BRAID #4 VERY FINE FLOSS (THREAD):

I prefer to use a single strand of Kreinik Glow In The Dark (#4) Very Fine Braid on 14 count Aida or 28
count Jobelan from Wichelt Imports.
a. Thread like backstitch thread, whether making a full cross-stitch or using as a backstitch.  
b. May use Kreinik Glow in the Dark #8 Fine Braid:  (single strand)

When you have finished stitching, hold the piece you are stitching to the light, then turn off the lights -
Voila! - the Kreinik Glow In The Dark stitches are still visible - amazing!   

TO USE KREINIK MORI SILK FLOSS OR OTHER SILK THREADS:  Silk is easy to use.

(You may wish to cold water wash the skeins of threads before stitching, because washing the finished
stitchery may cause the colors to run – especially reds – and ruin all your hours and days of stitching.)

a. Wash hands before use.  Even a ‘little bit’ of skin oil can show up on the silk floss.  
b. Cut silk thread 24 – 30 inches maximum (cut to half that length if using 2 threads instead of a fold).
c. Fold thread in half.
d. Thread the two ends through the needle.
e. Insert needle through fabric from back to front and front to back without pulling tight.
f. Pull the needle through the loop to secure the stitch.  
g. Drop the needle every few stitches to allow it to untwist.  
h. Go under 5 threads (or more) on back of stitchery to end.  
i. Dry clean.

If you find the silk strands are fraying as you stitch, use a slightly larger, smooth eye, needle which makes
a larger hole in the fabric, creating less friction on the thread as it passes through.  

Silk threads may not be color fast, and washing in cold water may result in your project being ruined by
running colors - especially reds.  

TO USE EMBELLISHMENTS:  (glass treasures, buttons, or other decorative attachments)  
Embellishments can increase the appeal of your stitchery.

a. Place the attachment in position so that it ‘looks right’.  Dots on the pattern are often used as guides for
the placement of the glass treasures, but only you know what looks right to you.  Use the picture from the
cover to guide you.  
b. Stitch the attachments in place using floss that as nearly matches the color/s of the attachment as
possible.   Use the same type floss as has been used for the cross stitching.
c. Stitching through the fabric threads near the holes may provide more stability for the attachment –
especially for small pieces.   (I used 2 stitches forming an ‘x’ through the hole in each Glass Treasure for
centering and for security.)
d. When there is no hole, apply white glue to the backs of the pieces (like Mill Hill ‘Very Petite Stars’) and
place using a tooth pick.

TO USE GLASS BEADS:  Beads give highlights to stitchery.  (I have used them instead of French knots.)

a. Use a
beading needle (some beads have smaller holes and need a finer needle) and a single thread to go
through bead.
b. Secure the bead in place on the fabric, placing stitches between the holes of the fabric.
c. Sewing thread may be used instead of floss if a similar color as the bead is used but floss is preferred.  

TO USE DMC SATIN FLOSS:  This floss provides sheen.

a. Satin floss is sensitive to twisting, which may result in tangles, but with care, beautiful results can be
attained.  
b. Cut thread 24 – 30” maximum, and fold thread in half (eliminates ends when starting thread).  
c. Thread the needle with the folded loop of floss and pull it through the needle eye.  
d. Insert the needle through the fabric (back to front and front to back) and through the pulled loop to
secure the stitch.  
e. Drop the needle every few stitches to allow it to untwist.  
f. Go under at least 5 threads on the back of the work to end the thread.

TIP: Pull thread through fabric softener sheet before stitching - fewer tangles.

TIP: Keep fingers or thumb in loop of thread as long as possible while you stitch - prevents tangles.

TO STITCH ON DARK FABRIC:
Sometimes, dark fabric sets off the stitchery and is recommended for desired results.

a. Place something white or light on your lap while you stitch.  
b. The holes in your fabric show up better as the light reflects off the white or light color.  
c. I have used a white sheet, white or very light colored clothing, or even a white sheet of paper.  
d. Lots of ‘good’ light is essential, and helps reflect the light color under the fabric ‘holes’.
e. There is a product called an ‘Up Light’ that may be used.  I have never used it.

RAILROADING:  (Straight / parallel threads give a smoother finish.)

a. Insert the needle threaded with 2 strands of floss through the fabric as usual.
b. On the front of the fabric, straighten the floss as that has been pulled through the hole.
c. Insert the needle between the two strands of floss at the exit hole.
d. Pull the needle through the fabric, needle and then floss between the two strands of floss, to the back.  
(This physically makes the threads stay straight.)
e. Repeat for every ‘front’ thread.

‘HOME REMEDIES’ FOR REDUCING THREAD TANGLING:
Commercial products may be available, but these home remedies work too.

1. Before stitching, pull each thread through a fabric dryer sheet.  The thread becomes more slippery and
does not tangle as quickly.  This also makes tangles that do occur easier to get out.

2. Drop needle every few stitches to allow it to untwist.

3. Use shorter lengths of floss for stitching.

4. Insert thumb or fingers into loop of thread to physically prevent floss from tangling.

5. Stitch slowly, watching floss going through the fabric and removing tangles trying to occur.

6. Use a combination of the above methods to increase your success at preventing tangles.
Through the years, I have found ways to improve my stitching – either in how
to do it, or in the finished results.   These new and improved instructions are my
suggestions for better results with less hassle.

TO SEPARATE THREADS FROM SKEIN:

a. Cut length of all plies of floss (18” – 24”) from skein.  
b. Hold one end of cut length between thumb and finger - an inch from the
end.  
c. Separate strands and grasp one strand with the other hand.  
d. Pull single thread until free from the rest.  
e. Straighten out both the single thread and the cluster of threads.  
f. Repeat procedure every time a thread is needed.

TO THREAD NEEDLE AND PREPARE FOR STITCHING:

a. Fold cut length of floss in half.  
b. Insert fold through the eye of the cross stitch needle.  
c. Pull folded floss longer than the two loose ends.  
d. Insert the needle through the cross stitch fabric from the back (where
the first stitch is to be placed).  
e. Insert the needle from the front.  
f. Put the threaded needle through the loop formed by the folded thread.  
g. Pull the thread snug (not tight).  Thread is secure and ready to continue
stitching.

TO THREAD NEEDLE WHEN USING METALLIC TYPE FLOSS:

For stitching with 2 strands:
a. Cut thread to 18 inch maximum.  
b. Trim off split ends, if there are any at the beginning of thread, so thread
is not separated on the front of the stitchery.  
c. Thread needle with a single thread, place the two ends together after
threading, and secure them together on the back of the fabric (as below)
before starting to stitch, allowing the fold of the thread to move freely
through the eye of the needle.  
d. Secure the ends of the thread (as below) when ending the thread.   
e. Do NOT stitch with split, separated, or frayed ends.

If you prefer the thread to be more secure on the needle:   
a. When using 1 strand as in backstitch, fold strand 3-4” from an end;
if using 2 strands for cross-stitch, fold strand in half.  
b. Put the folded loop of the thread through the eye of a needle.
c. Pull the thread loop beyond the end of the needle.
d. Put the point of the needle through the thread loop.
e. Pull the thread close on the needle.  
f. With your thumb and forefinger, push the loop off the eye end of the
needle.
g. Pull the thread tight and you are ready to stitch.  

TO SECURE METALLIC THREAD TO THE BACK OF THE WORK:

If starting on blank fabric, hold tail/s of threads behind work and work
stitches over them as each cross stitch is completed.  Ends should be under
no less than eight stitches.  

After the first thread has been used and there are stitches in the fabric,
secure ends of thread on back of work in the following way:  
a. Start 7 stitches from where you want to start stitching on front.  
b. Insert needle under 3 threads on the ‘back’ of the work.  
c. Pull thread almost through the threads, leaving a small tail.  
d. Insert needle again, beginning with 3rd stitch of previous set, and adding
2 more stitches.  
e. Repeat 'd' one more time.
f. Bring thread through to front of fabric and begin stitching according to
pattern.