First, I would like to mention that I am mad at myself. I thought of a good idea for a question, then got distracted and promptly forgot it. Grrr. I hate when that happens. Probably I will wake up at 3 in the morning remembering what it is.
Anyway, on to this week's question. What tips would you give to a new stitcher to help her stitch faster and neater while still keeping it enjoyable? (Submitted by Nancy)
Always keep your hands clean, especially when working with fabrics and flosses you can't wash. I'm surprised at how many people forget to do this, or forget that even if their hands look clean, there are still invisible oils and dirt that will ruin a piece. Nothing ruins the enjoyment of stitching something faster than a stain on the finished piece.
Organize your materials and chart, and keep them protected when they're not in use. Again, it would be heartbreaking to have all your work ruined because someone spilled coffee or stepped on a piece by accident. I keep all my threads in a ziploc bag, my chart in a protector sleeve and store my project in a plastic tub with a snap on lid whenever I am not working on it. Sounds obsessive, but we have a cat that likes thread. I'd rather not have him ruining my project or himself by eating what I am stitching.
Finally, don't bite off more than you can chew. It can be daunting to stitch a big project or something with a lot of backstitching. Give yourself a break by stitching up something small and quick - you'll feel a sense of accomplishment when you see faster progress. Unless you're really enjoying it, give yourself permission to take breaks from a big project and work on other things. If you end up hating the piece you're working on, what's the sense in putting all that time and effort into it?