Neatness counts

I recently replied to a comment in a cross stitch group on Facebook asking whether anyone thought it was important to have a neat reverse to your stitching.  I posted the photo below taken of my celtic heart design showing both the front and back of my own stitching:

Does it matter how neat the back of your work is? I think so…

Comments flew in from far and wide with many people of the opinion that I must have OCD to keep my stitching that neat.  Some thought it was a waste of time and that it must take me weeks to make sure that everything looks so nice on the reverse and others said it didn’t matter at all what the back looked like as no-one would see it.

Well, I do care about how my stitching looks, both front and back, but do I take ages worrying about the back and checking it looks OK?  NO!  It’s neat on the back because I have been stitching for over 25 years (makes me sound very old) and you just get used to it.

But why do I think it’s important that the back is neat?

  1. Lumps and bumps on the back mean that framing, stretching or even making your design up into a cushion will leave the front looking uneven and it will be noticeable.
  2. Long lines of thread from one place to another show through to the front of the fabric – especially if the thread is a lot darker than the fabric you are stitching on.
  3. It can use up a lot more thread if you run thread all over the place or don’t stitch in a systematic way and if you’ve bought a kit you may well run out of thread before you finish your design.

So whether the reverse of your stitching looks like mine or better or worse, you (and your framer) are the only people who will see the back your work, but try to recall my reasons for neatness next time you start a new piece and see how you get on…

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Plans for the New Year

2013 is finally here and I have big plans for my cross stitch business this year.  As much as I love designing and stitching, it really must start paying some serious bills so here’s what I’m doing:

Advertising – I spent far too much money in all the wrong places last year and a quick survey of my customers in December showed that over 80% of them found me via Google and not via all the shiny printed adverts I’d paid for.  So this year I’m going back to basics and making sure my website and images are great and setting myself a challenge of paying for no advertising at all!  I sell worldwide and I doubt whether my latest customer in Mexico found me through the Birmingham News in the UK…

Designs – one of the problems of working for myself is that I find it hard to get motivated with new designs, especially if the existing ones are already selling OK.  My customers are asking for more though so I am planning to release at least one new personalized name sampler kit each month in a new theme – just picking the themes is going to be difficult now.

Organization – I used to be a great organizer – and then I had children!  All of my organizational skills seem to have been sucked into making sure they get to school on time, eat on time, do their homework on time and get to bed on time.  So when it comes to my business, I have really neglected it as it’s had to fit in around them.  However, this year will be the first year that both of my children will be at school full time so now I have no excuses and plan to get myself organized!

I’m sure there are more things that I could and will change and look at during 2013 but these are my Big 3!  I find it easier to focus on a few points than crushing myself under the weight of what I should have been doing all these years.  I’ll keep you posted on how I get on…