Backstitch is often the thing at the end of a cross stitch, and whilst you know it can make a big difference, you’ve not really thought any further than that, right? Well, it turns out that whilst backstitch is super simple, there’s a lot you can do to improve it. The smallest of changes in your backstitch can have a massive impact, and it’s as simple as changing the thread thicknesses.
In my recent Star Trek Voyager LCARS cross stitch I took backstitch to the extreme, and thanks to a few zoomed-in shots of it at my Portal 2 Gun cross stitch, I can show you a few tips.
Thickness of different threads
On the example below you can see a series of different backstitches, and whilst stitching everything as 2 stands would have been fine, I decided to stitch the grid with a single stitch. Why? Because it makes the ship stand out more. The subtle change here hasn’t taken anything away from the cross stitch, but it’s clear that when looking at this section, the ship is the most important bit. Obviously you could go the other way around here, stitching the ship with 3 or 4 strands of thread.
Thickness of the same thread
Yeh, its a thickness thing, but this time we’re speaking about the same thread. In the example below I’ve taken wires coming out of my portal gun and instead of using the 2 stands it called for, at the tips, split it into one. The effect it has is super small, but anyone looking at the cross stitch quickly can see that they start off as two separate wires, which come together, then split off again. Something small like this has added another layer of detail to a simple cross stitch.
Going back to Voyager here, I’ve taken to combining both thicknesses of threads, and layers. When you look at this image, the first thing that comes out is the outline of the ship, then the decks, and then the details. This was achieved not only by laying the stitches in the opposite order (details first) but also by making the thread thickness larger as I when up. The overall effect has now changed so that the image as a whole is a ship, then the details, and not a super detailed hot mess.
I’m not saying any of the above examples are perfect, however, layering is an effective way to change the focus of your cross stitch, and might just be worth practicing.