Easy Count Guideline
I had the frustrating experience lately, of starting in the centre of my project, stitching to the left side, and then stitching to the right side doing only a narrow strip just for placement. I prefer to stitch right-to-left, so getting over to the right side of the fabric is important to me. I started filling in the top line (as it happens, a line of text - "Christmas" - the C is on one side, the S on the other in large text, the "ristma" in between in a smaller typeface. There is a vine running right down the center from side-to-side in the middle of the project - and the word "Welcome" underneath the vine (it is JBW Designs' Christmas Welcome chart). So I stitched the vine middle-to-left, stitched the C, then finished the vine to the right, stitched the S, and began to stitch the letters between.
Lo and behold, when I got back to the "C", I was one stitch too high! Now ordinarily I try to fudge it and often get away with it, but with letters in a word it is considerably more difficult. I found my mistake in the T, unpicked the letters which were in the wrong place, and stitched back to the "C". Well, you wouldn't believe it, but I was still one stitch too high! Arrgghhh! There was ANOTHER mistake, this time in the "M".
After unpicking a second time (and considering throwing the whole thing out, starting again, or burning it.....), I decided I wouldn't try a third time without making sure that everything was lined up correctly.
Enter the Easy Stitch Guideline. I've had this at the shop for a while, requested by a customer who was stitching a Heaven and Earth design - very complicated, very large, very detailed - and she had heard somewhere that this product could make such a large project not only more manageable but also reduced the chances of making mistakes.
So what's so great about Easy Stitch Guideline? After all, I've stitched so far without it and have done OK?? If absolutely necessary, I can always baste a guideline with a bit of sewing thread, right???
Let me tell you, this is SO MUCH EASIER!! Easy Count Guideline is made of nylon, fairly thick - though thin enough for most fabrics, and bright red. The nylon makes it hard to break (unlike sewing thread), the thickness makes it easy to see (sewing thread can disappear behind some ground threads), and the red is easy to pick out. Red sewing thread shouldn't be used on stitching as it can leave "bits" behind when being pulled out and has been known to dye the background fabric too.
The very best part for me is that you cannot pierce the nylon thread, so it is very easy and simple to just stitch right over top of it. When the stitching is finished, the Guideline is easily pulled out, leaving nothing behind but your beautiful stitching.
And you know what one of the best parts is? IT IS REUSABLE! Since is doesn't fray or get caught in the embroidery stitches, you can use the thread over and over (as long as it is long enough). I've now used the same piece about three times, just to mark lines for my stitching.
The instructions, videos, and other reviews suggest using the Guideline to mark off every 10 stitches in the same grid as your chart, however (I've mentioned this before) I hate basting, so I only use it to mark where my stitches should line up. Although if I was doing a large complicated piece like a Heaven and Earth design, I think I'd use the 10/10 grid just to reduce the chance of error.
You can buy the Easy Count Guideline here: Easy Count Guideline.
Oh, and the Christmas Welcome? Well, sadly enough those two mistakes weren't the only ones. Somehow when I started the chart, I missed the centre marks on the side (I knew they were there - I just didn't use them...). My brain took the fold in the pattern for the centre line. So now my stitching is about 12 stitches too high, making the top of the design about 1/2" from the top of the fabric. So it is currently in the "doghouse" awaiting inspiration for fixing it without starting over. Maybe it's time for the burn pile?? Let me know if you have any ideas....