How Do You Manage Your Pattern While Stitching?


Many professional designers, especially those designing counted canvas work, offer a project’s instructions as just a set of loose pages. As far as I can tell, this is for a number of reasons:

  • Good counted canvas instructions, particularly for complex designs, take a lot of pages. (Ruskin Garden Square, for example, has 70 pages of instructions, with at least one diagram on each page.)
  • Stitchers will often have to refer to multiple pages simultaneously, and binding the instructions makes this cumbersome.
  • Not everyone would agree on the best binding, anyway.

Since Ruskin Garden Square was originally a class project, Gay Ann separated the instructions into those pages that could be pre-class work from those that would be the focus of the class. When she sold the instructions to me, they came in a plain folder with the pre-class pages on the left, and in-class pages on the right.


I actually found that division of pages helpful to start, to get all of the various borders in, so I left the pages in the folder, and just pulled out one or two at a time as I needed them. But now I’m reaching the end of the borders, and I need to re-integrate those pages back into the main instruction set.

Juggling 15 or so loose pages of instructions (the pre-class work) is much easier than trying to shuffle 70 pages, though, so I’ve switched to my preferred method of managing instructions with loose pages. I prefer to use a three-ring binder with heavy-duty non-glare page protectors. I put two single-sided pages (back to back) into each page protector.


This is actually a fairly inexpensive setup. Over time, I’ve purchased a couple of boxes of 200 page protectors at my local warehouse club store (BJ’s in my case), along with a six-pack of 1/2” three ring binders. I prefer the kind with the clear pocket on the front so I can put the project’s picture there (though that’s not the type I first laid my hands on for these instructions, so the picture’s in the front inside pocket, as seen above). I’ll reuse the binder and page protectors for a future project after this one is finished. Theoretically, that should keep my WIP count fairly low, but I have a tendency to just buy more binders and page protectors. Smile

Here are the benefits I find to this setup:

  • I can pull out a few pages at a time for reference (still in the page protectors).
  • Since the protectors are non-glare, there’s no issue with my bright stitching light interfering with readability.
  • The page protectors keep the instructions in great shape, and prevent me from losing individual pages.
  • If I have to add notes to a page for some reason, I can just pull the paper out, make my notes in pencil, and reinsert it. The protector keeps the pencil from rubbing off, and I can always erase the note later if I want to give away or sell the instructions when I’m done.
  • With the project picture on the front of the binder, it’s harder to grab the wrong instructions when I’m taking the project somewhere.

What about you? How do you organize instructions with large numbers of loose pages? I’m really happy with my setup as it is, but I’d love to hear if somebody has some way that might work better!

A Quick Peek at Another Upcoming Project


Okay, folks, NaBloPoMo is starting to take its toll. I actually had a pretty good topic for tonight’s post, but if I actually wrote that post tonight, it would be far less than stellar due to the author (a.k. a. me) falling asleep every other line.

I’ll leave you tonight with a brief look at an ANG correspondence course I’ll be starting on the first of the new year. This is Hiogi, a project designed by Kay Stanis to teach silk and metal thread techniques on Congress cloth.


Another beauty to look forward to!

Preparing for a Ruskin Lace (or Reticello) Cutout


If you’ve ever done any Hardanger embroidery, you’re familiar with the idea that cutwork areas need to be “hemmed” with little blocks of satin stitches called kloster blocks. The preparation of a cutwork area for Ruskin lace or reticello is a bit similar, except that it is padded first and that buttonhole stitch is used as the hem.

The first step is to lay down a few long satin stitches along each side of the area that will be cut out. As in this block, there is often a row of four-sided stitches just outside of the square.


On top of those stitches, add a round of buttonhole (or, if you’re being a stickler, closed blanket stitch), with the loop side of the stitches on the inside of the cutwork area.


Then you can fill in the corners with a few straight stitches just to pretty it up a bit.


That’s all there is to getting an area ready for cutting in Ruskin lace and reticello. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got another 11 little boxes to stitch!

Four-Sided Stitches Complete!


At last. Here’s the reason why my last few posts have been a bit skimpy (as this one will be!). I’ve been plugging away at four-sided stitches on Ruskin Garden Square from Gay Ann Rogers for the better part of a week.  Who knew that such a simple stitch could take up so much time? But it’s done now.

RGS 16Nov2011

Next up on this project is to do a bunch of borders for areas that will eventually be cut out.

On a recent post about my completed Reticello 1 project, Wendy commented that she is “not completely sure what [reticello] is.” I’ll try to clear that up a bit, Wendy, as I go through the process here. From the little bit I’ve read on reticello and Ruskin lace, there are only a few differences. I’ll go over what I’ve learned about those differences as I stitch the various areas in this project.

Stay tuned!

A Couple Quick Progress Pics


In the interest of actually stitching a bit, tonight’s post will be short and sweet. I leave you with a couple of quick peeks at Magi #3 and his companions…


Magi 15Nov2011


A Stitch in Time: Reticello 1


Since I’m currently plodding away on lots of four-sided stitch on Ruskin Garden Square and don’t have much to share on that front, I hope you might be interested in one of my finished projects with a very similar type of needle lace.

Reticello 1 was designed by Diane Clements and was featured as the first of three reticello/reticella pieces in the (unfortunately now defunct) magazine The Needleworker in June/July 1999.


In this project, the edges of the center square were reinforced, then stitched all the way around with buttonhole stitch. The center square was then cut completely away. After basting the fabric to a laminated pattern, I added the horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines, stitched over them, and then stitched the remaining shapes off of these lines. If I recall correctly, the project really wasn’t too difficult to stitch, but it took quite a while! The trickiest part was getting all of those triangles to have approximately the same tension so they came out the same size.


I did have great plans to stitch the remaining pieces in the series, as well as another project featured in the Winter 2001 Fine Lines from the same designer. It just hasn’t happened yet! Smile

Have you tried any reticella work? How did it turn out? We’d love to see pictures!