Friday, February 15, 2013

Backstitching: A Love-Hate Relationship

It's a complaint I often hear from stitchers: I hate backstitching!!!

I can certainly sympathize; I often find myself growling at a needle that keeps splitting stitches or moaning that it's plain boring. But every once in a while I find myself backstitching and enjoying it.

How could I like a thing that is universally derided in the stitching world? The answer has finally dawned on me: the type of backstitching makes all the difference.

Take the above piece, Lavender Blossoms Heart by The Sweetheart Tree, as an example.  The stitcher is required to backstitch through an area that has already been cross stitched. While there's no doubt that the backstitching truly enhances this work, I loathe it. I moan and groan and curse the designers who think that I would want to spend my precious free time torturing myself in such a manner. And then I finish the backstitching and bless the aforementioned designers for their beautiful patterns. (No, designers, you just can't win!)

Now take this piece of work: Blueberry Heart by The Sweetheart Tree.

In this piece, the backstitching is the design, so there's no need to stick a needle into a hole that eight threads have already taken up home in. It's simple and pleasant with a beautiful result. Even the backstitching near the cross stitched blueberries is mere outlining, which isn't complicated. This is the kind of backstitching that I like; I find it very relaxing.

The outcomes in both kinds of backstitching are gorgeous, but I don't think I will ever be convinced to like the first type of backstitching- it's just too frustrating for me!

 Speaking of backstitching, I had to make a change to my Around the World SAL. There is a section in Part I that calls for backstitching around some ray stitches and Norwich stitches. The backstitching color was meant to be Flower Color #6: light yellow in my scheme. However, since the ray stitches were metallic brown and the Norwich stitches dark yellow, this color combination was...

Revolting, no? So I switched the backstitching to Floral Color #7, which is dark brown in my piece.

Sweet relief!

I sewed up my first needleroll- Merry Christmas by Down Sunshine Lane. It's much skinnier than I expected, but I'm still pleased since it was my first.

Finally, the winner of my giveaway! Please give a loud congratulations to...


Congratulations! Please email me at with your address, and I will send you the Pretty Pinks frogging needle & scissor fob set.

The mistake in the Around the World SAL? The Lazy Daisy flower on the left was off by a half of a stitch! It's been frogged.

Best Stitches & Wishes,


  1. You are so right some back stitching is a pain but some is relaxing . Love your needle roll.

  2. Great job on the needleroll, looks lovely!

    I am with you with the backstitching but sometimes they are really needed in some designs...patience really needed.

    Congratulations to Tracy!!

  3. Backstitching definitely does make all the difference. I really don't mind it, since it makes a piece really shine. Glad you changed the color on the ATW piece. It looks a lot better. Congrats on your finish-finish.

  4. I totally agree, while backstitching makes the world of difference in a completed piece it can most of the time be a dreadful task. Love the color change you made to your Around the World piece. Great call!!

  5. actually don't mind backstitching I do it as I go along :) and well done on the needleroll finish too ... love your ATW and congrats to Tracy :) love mouse xxxxxx

  6. The Sweetheart Tree, Lorri Birmingham and Just Nan make backstitching really fun on many of their designs. It's the delicateness of turning single strands into loops and swirls of a design. So agree with the color change! And the needle roll turned out really cute! Keep in stitches.

  7. I have a love hate relationship with back stitching, one minute I hate it the next I love it lol.
    Love your finish and I agree about the colour change on ATW!

  8. Oops...left the needle roll comment on the wrong post! lol. I need to read them one at a time and comment :)

    I do prefer your back stitching choice. Who the heck thought that yellow worked? icky!

  9. I think you've just changed my life LOL - attitude is all :) I've liked the look of some of the Sweetheart Tree designs (and even have a couple tucked away somewhere), but have always been wary of all of the backstitching - now it doesn't seem so daunting. Merci!


Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and leave a comment! They make me happy :)