Grid Basting Method

A technique to minimize errors when doing black work and counted cross stitch

Intro: No, no, I've never made a mistake!

Have you ever worked a box-like outline in fabric, going down, over, up and across, only to find that your stitches don't line up to close the box? And, worse yet, you can't really recover the error because one of the lines is critically too long?

Cross Stitch error... Ouch!

Just as irritating is to be working any sort of closed-loop design, be it a leaf or a circle, and to complete the line, but the line of stitches does not end up where it should. For example, the cartoon on the left shows a gourd with two closed loops: a smaller top and a larger bottom. The image on the right shows what can happen when three mistakes are made, and the loops don't end up closing where they should. Mouse over the image on the right to see where the mistakes were made, adding a few extra stitches where they don't belong:

example of a design with closed loops The circles shows where extra stitches throw off the design so that it doesn't complete the loop in the correct place

Of course, similar sorts of errors can be the result of omitting a stitch or two along the way. It really doesn't matter which kind of mistake is made; the point is to minimize all mistakes so that your finished piece lines up the way you would expect it to based upon the original pattern.

I've come up with a methodology that makes it possible for me to 'check my work' so that I don't have to wait until the end point of a loop or square to find a mistake: every few stitches, I can easily confirm that I am still on track.

The purpose of these pages is to teach you what I call the "grid basting" method, a method that I have been using for both cross-stitch on Aida fabric and black work on linen. I hope that you, too, will discover that it will help minimize any mistakes that you make in your projects.

As I see it, the main problem with any large area, or even with a small but intricate area, is that, until you get to the end of the line(s) that you're working, you may not really be sure that you haven't added or dropped a stitch. But what if there was a way to check your work, on your piece and with your pattern, so that you know for certain, every few stitches, that you're still on track?

Grid Basting Method > > >

Grid Basting Method
Grid Errors Pg. 1 Grid Errors Pg. 2
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These pages are currently new and under construction. If you find the information clear and helpful, if you find the information confusing and useless, if you think you're going to try this out, please, please, write to me and let me know how I can improve these pages (before the book goes to press, I hope!).
Katla jarnkona

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Small Dragon Design from a 16th c. Italian Blackwork Sampler