What are those little blue dots?
Whenever I share a work-in-progress shot of whatever I'm stitching at the time, you may have noticed my fabric always has a bunch of little blue dots (I will be honest - sometimes I Photoshop these dots out of my social media pieces for close-up shots, as they can detract from the image) all over it.
Why is that, you may be asking?
What do they mean?
I personally find it very difficult to keep track of where I am in a pattern if I work purely on a clean piece of fabric. Although it looks lovely while you're stitching, I find I'm spending more time counting my tiny little squares (remember, for 14ct Aida, that's 14 tiny little squares per inch!) than I am spending stitching.
So to combat this, before I pick up a needle and thread, I go over my fabric with a water soluble pen (which come in blue colours usually) and dot out a simple grid.
Fold your fabric in half, twice, so you find the very centre of your fabric. Mark it with a dot!
Looking at your pattern, there [should] be a center mark depicted in some way. For example, all of the patterns available on my website show this by a crossing of two red lines, seen here.
From there, find the closest 10s cross-over and mark that on your fabric (sometimes this will be the same as your centre point).
- From there, count out each 10s horizontally and vertically (or 5s, whichever you prefer - I do 10s personally) until you get the width and height of your pattern.
- Then fill in the blank quadrants! If your pattern isn't square, you might want to make a note of which side is to be the top/bottom of your pattern so it's clear when you start stitching.
But that's it! You now have your graphed out Aida cloth where you can easily count out your stitches on the grid. It does take a bit of time (especially for larger patterns) but I feel like it saves so much time in the long run. Especially investing the time in larger-scale things where you can easily lose count or easily miscount.
It's also great for doing parking method of cross-stitching! I have yet to talk about this type of stitching but I hope to one day 😊