Thursday, May 19, 2016

Model stitching

I recently had the opportunity to see if I could get someone to be a model stitcher for me to help with the stitching of the various cross-stitch designs that I have been producing. Now, this person said that they could help me out with a project so I figured that it was worth a try to see if it would end up working out.

Before I outline the role of a model stitcher I will make sure that terms are understood. (wikipedia definitions)

Cross-stitch is a popular form of counted-thread embroidery in which X-shaped stitches in a tiled, pattern are used to form a picture.

Needlepoint is a form of counted thread embroidery in which yarn is stitched through a stiff open weave canvas. Most needlepoint designs completely cover the canvas. Although needlepoint may be worked in a variety of stitches, many needlepoint designs use only a simple tent stitch and rely upon colour changes in the yarn to construct the pattern.

Tent stitch is a small, diagonal needlepoint stitch that crosses over the intersection of one horizontal and one vertical thread of needlepoint canvas forming a slanted stitch at a 45-degree angle. It is also known as Needlepoint stitch and is one of the most basic and versatile stitches used in Needlepoint and other Canvas work embroidery. When worked on fine weave canvas over a single warp and weft thread it is known as Petit point in contrast to stitches, such as Gobelin, worked over multiple warp and/or weft threads.

The patterns that I have been designing are based on cross-stitch so that means I want all the stitches to be complete “X” and all the x’s to be crossed in the same direction. Yes, this is what basic cross-stitch is and what I have been doing my designing for. When the person said that they could do the pattern for me I was very happy because it meant that I would be able to focus on some more designing and preparing for an Art Show that I was getting ready for.

Some guidelines for model stitching:
  • Communicate with the designer.
  • Use fabric and floss supplied and if need to change talk to designer.
  • Ensure communication is good, if you promise pictures, ensure you do that.
  • Pictures need to be close up and not with a lot of empty areas and must be in focus.
  • If issues are discovered in the design while stitching talk to the designer before proceeding or before making any changes.
  • The designer has final decision in any changes not the stitcher when it comes to model stitching.
  • If full crosses are to be done don’t change to a half cross because it is easier.
  • If model is cancelled don’t continue and think designer will be happy.
  • Know the deadlines, if you cannot meet the deadline then communication is key.

Now the guidelines are something that are very important and the one thing you will notice is communication is repeated a number of times through the list of guidelines. Communication is vital to ensure that the piece is going to be what the designer originally had in mind (this could be catching problems, better colour ideas, or otherwise refining the design on the go). In a lot of cases, as a model stitcher, you will be the first person to actually start to see the piece come alive on a different media than the pattern was designed on. Communication between the model stitcher and designer is something that cannot be forgotten as the designer needs to see the work as it processes to ensure that it is still working.

Pictures are a wonderful method of communicating progress with a designer. Sending pictures of the work as it is being completed helps to ensure that everything is going as originally planned and designed. When you are taking pictures of the work, ensure that the completed stitches are in focus and that the area stitched is the main part of the picture. A designer doesn’t care about the rest of the fabric with nothing on it they just want to see the area that has been completed in each of the progress pictures.

If you happen to have the opportunity to show the designer in person the actual piece in progress, that is even better, but ensure the designer is prepared to see the piece. If they ask to see it again later that same day it means that I want to ensure that they have the time to actually sit and look at it as you may have caught them without their glasses or in poor lighting. Follow through with the promise to show them the work as they are original designer of the piece and want to ensure that it continues to meet their expectations.

As a designer it is something hard to see something in your mind and then know that it is going to turn out just like you expect it to turn out. I have had to make changes on patterns as I have been stitching them as I haven’t like a colour in a certain area. As a designer that is something that we are always dealing with as the piece is first being stitching. The model stitcher is sometimes being that person that will see something odd and show it to the designer to get the verification of it is what the designer wanted or if there is a problem.

So the outcome of my first experience with a model stitcher wasn’t as good as I had hoped. The design was for an Art Show that I was attending, so it was something that I wanted to ensure was up to a level that I wanted to have on display. I ended up telling the stitcher that the piece wasn’t turning out as I wanted, "so please stop doing it for me". I said they could keep the piece and finish it for themselves as I knew they liked the design. This meant for me to have the piece in the Art Show, it would mean some quick stitching on my part to have it ready but I did get it completed in time for the show and am happy that I was able to have it hanging on my wall at the show.

I am now looking for someone to do some model stitching for me or at least to test to be a model stitcher for me. What I learned through this experience is just because someone says they will do it for you, you may be disappointed in what happens. Communication is one of the key things that must be part of the role of the model stitcher and designer. If the designer starts asking questions about an update it is probably because they haven’t heard from the stitcher for a while. It is better to send too many pictures and emails then not enough. If you see the designer and you haven’t been able to send them an update but you have a picture on your mobile device let the designer see the design but letting the designer hold the device themselves.

The designing that I have been doing is still ongoing and I am now sitting with a number of designs ready to be stitched and I am juggling the stitching and designing now. It would be wonderful to have someone that I could send some designs to for them to stitch but until I can find someone that I trust to follow my instructions I will be doing my model stitching.

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