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:
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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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…