Beth Katz's Pinhead Stitch Instructions
Pinhead Stitch for Starting (and Ending) StitchingLiz Turner Diehl has been showing her students this method of starting stitching without a knot. At least this is my interpretation of what she was showing people. It was described to me for use with at least two strands of thread over two fabric threads. However, several people have been successful with one stitching thread. The basic idea is to make a figure eight around the fabric threads, pull the little stitch very tightly, and cover the little stitch with the regular legs of the cross stitch. The tail of the little stitch can be trimmed closely to the fabric.
It seems to be secure. However, if a piece was going to be handled a lot or even washed aggressively when finished, I'd use another method of anchoring the thread. Also, if I were stitching for competition, I would be concerned that the pinhead stitches would show. Your mileage may vary, but if you like a neat back, the pinhead stitch greatly decreases the amount of thread on the back.
Shay Pendrey's 'Needleworker's Companion' (http://www.shaypendray.com/) mentions the pinhead stitch as the "Securing L". The book is available off her web site or with ISBN: 1-931499-07-1. Supposedly her version differs a bit, but not much, from what I describe here. This book sounds like a good thing to have.
Mayté played with this stitch and came up with what seems to be an even more secure version which I include lower in this page.
|This is a picture of fabric where you are stitching over two threads. |
I'm assuming you are completing each stitch as you go (stitching English) so that you will come up at A, go down at B, come up at C, and go down at D to create your stitch. If you are stitching Danish (doing many bottom legs and coming back stitching the top legs), this approach should also work.
|This picture shows the stitch. Bring needle up at 1 and leave a short tail that you hold on the back. |
Put the needle down at 2 and come up at 3.
Put the needle down at 2 again and above the earlier thread.
Holding the thread on back tightly, pull the thread tightly around the fabric thread between 2 and 3.
|This picture shows the stitch after pulling tightly. Come up at A to start your cross. |
Trim the tail just below the fabric at 1.
|This picture shows how the regular crosses cover up the pinhead stitch. The pinhead stitch is barely noticeable. With two strands of floss, it almost disappears. |
|This is a diagram for ending stitching using the pinhead stitch. Use this diagram of the fabric to end your stitching. I'd practice on a margin or keep the tail long for a bit before I trusted it, but I'm paranoid. |
This stitch is more difficult because you are working underneath an existing stitch.
As in the top diagram, come up at 1, go down at 2, come up at 3, go down at 2. Pull the stitch tightly without distorting the last stitch you made or distorting the fabric. Trim the tail closely.
I have been practicing the pinhead stitch in different ways to see how much we can do with it ... well, I found that you can start with: down at 2, up at 1, down at 2, up at 3, down at 2, cut the starting tail of the floss, and do the x as usual. The start of your stitching will be very secure, regardless how many strands of floss you are using to stitch ( 1, 2, 3, etc.). Also, the pinhead stitch for starting and ending the thread is the best choice when stitching the isolated and confetti stitches using the one strand of floss style to make them.
Isolated Stitches or Isolated Bead AttachmentBeth notes that the one strand style for isolated stitches done with two strands of floss is to use one strand, stitch a bottom leg, then another bottom leg, then a top leg followed by another top leg. Sometimes I use bottom, top, bottom, top. Then you tie the ends with a square knot and clip closely. It appears that you have stitched with two strands, but it's more secure. I think I learned this from Martha Beth Lewis.
Note to self, I don't think she picked this up from Martha Beth, I just checked her books (class taken in 2003?2004?) and it wasn't in any of them.