Check out my backside

This post is all about an x-rated cross stitch photo. Did you get the joke? I mean really… x-rated, cross stitch, x-stitch, backside. Slapping your knee yet? Last week my post about getting back into cross stitch inspired an interesting — and humorous — conversation about the wrong side of cross stitch. It also made me remember my mom inspecting my and my sister’s cross stitch projects. You must know that my sister is 14 years older than me and at that time I was 11 years old and she was already 25. Already a very accomplished cross stitcher, she did not need anyone – not even Mom – telling her what to do with her work. My poor older sister, depending on what she was working on, would either be labeled the “lazy” one or the “genius.” The problem with this is that my sister was never the lazy one. She was the smart one. This is the way it should have been, since she was thinking about the final product. Wall hanging? Lots of shades of one color or few colors? Table linen? Pillow? Cushion?

My sister the “lazy” one demonstrates that the purpose of the finished piece, its size, and the pattern you’re following will determine how “messy” or “neat” your wrong side can be if you’re more like my mother or more like my practical sister. Older sis could glare at Mom in the eyes and say, “It’s a frickin’ fridge magnet two inches wide with 10 shades, no harm done.” My mother was wrong and her daughter was right, and consistently so, given the way she cared for and then didn’t care for the wrong side of her cross stitching. She gave not a single hoot about our vigilant, hawkish matriarch who didn’t seem to care much about her lack of tactfulness. Unfortunately, my Mom somehow convinced brainwashed me that the back of the cross stitch was just as important as the front and, even after so many years, I seem to have not lost the principles she taught me, the same ones my sister very bravely defied day after day if she was working on something not backside-critical. In a short amount of time my mother even got me into using multiple needles with different colors, “parking” them and then stitching with them alternatively, to keep the reverse side neat and keep track of the chart without having to rip out much due to mistakes from miscounting gaps to be filled in later.

Please, have a long gander at my backside!

Photo Jun 26, 22 16 06

In my humble opinion, this is very neat and tidy. It has to be because it is going to be a cushion, which means there can’t be a lot of concentrated bulk in particular areas of the fabric. It needs to lie flat.

Here’s how far I’ve got on my project, by the way:

Photo Jun 26, 22 16 36

You might recall there was more gold towards the center. It was wrong and I had to pull it out. It wasn’t traumatic to undo it but it inspired me to start simultaneously working with the two shades of “gold” called for because they are really difficult to distinguish from each other: DMC 832 and 833 are my bane. 833 is like a bright gold color and 832 is a darker bronze color. As little skeins all bunched up you can see that one is obviously darker than the other. As double strands they look identical to me. I got so confused, let me tell you. My initial strategy was to stitch up large areas with 833 and then fill in the gaps with 832. So, I messed up and ripped, because I can’t count that much without letting my brain go numb. Working with both at the same time somehow makes it easier for me to stitch away without messing it up thanks to the blue and green areas that fill in what the general gold color outlines. I always park 832 to the left and 833 to the right to keep them distinguishable. That simple. Really, not a problem. I can work with three or four needles instead of two.  Plenty of parking here!


14 thoughts on “Check out my backside

  1. handmade habit June 27, 2017 / 1:12 am

    Beautiful stitching, Tony (and I am always up for cross-stitch humour!). This is going to be a beautiful cushion, and the back-side looks very neat and organized, indeed! It’s very instructive to read this post, and to know that backside-neatness is more or less important depending on the goal (I didn’t have anyone looking over my very first cross-stitch project, yet somehow managed to be bothered by my first back-side. I recall it more than the front, and that’s not right!). Multiple needles and different parking spots is a very good strategy for telling apart the near identical strands. Looking forward to more – happy stitching!

    Liked by 1 person

    • tonymarkp June 27, 2017 / 7:15 am

      Thank you very much. Yeah, it really depends on what you’re making. A little magnet, for example, can be done with one needle: stitch all the squares in one color, then use another, and another. Stitching one color at a time will create several layers on the wrong side. The result is a bulky mess on the back but then the back will probably wind up glued to a magnet so that’s fine. My mom only made wall hangings that were often very big so she was vigilant to keep her work neat for stretching and framing. I’m sorry you had a disappointing experience. Maybe in the future you’ll try again! If you do, and you want to keep things super neat, pay attention to what is happening on the other side. I often check the wrong side to make sure my thread was successfully pulled all the way through, for example, and I frequently let my thread untwist so it doesn’t get stuck.


  2. MrsCraft June 27, 2017 / 8:35 am

    Lol! It’s a very tidy backside, I remember my granny told me similar things about my sewing. I rarely carried a thread though, unless over 2 or 3 squares and only if they would be covered by a darker colour of stitch after. That is probably why I don’t cross stitch much!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Maia Tuitele June 27, 2017 / 12:18 pm

    *wolf whistle* Niiiiice backside!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. claire93 June 27, 2017 / 12:38 pm

    lovely back side Tony! As a xstitcher of more than 20 years, I don’t even think about my back side anymore, and really only worry if it’s going to be for a framed piece. For a cushion cover, even if it’s not 100% neat, it wouldn’t really need to be perfect because the cushion because any bumpiness wouldn’t notice once the cushion is inserted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tonymarkp June 27, 2017 / 1:22 pm

      Thank you! I should have mentioned that the finished piece will include generous blank areas of fabric. That is why I’m being careful about the bulk because I don’t want the empty areas to look uneven. In the end it probably wouldn’t matter much, but my mom brainwashed me and always warned me about patterns with big blank areas or big back stitched areas.


  5. jemehh June 28, 2017 / 8:36 am

    I initially didn’t know the back needed to be neat as well when I first started. It confused me to the point that I questioned whether that was the front or the back when I saw someone else’s post because it was so neat!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tami June 28, 2017 / 3:52 pm

    LOL I am not an expert at cross stitch but your backside looks very tight to me!!! hahahaha – I love the “battle” between sis and mom. I have also struggled in my mother/daughter and daughter/mother relationships at times especially when it comes to the Good vs Good Enough scenarios.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tonymarkp June 28, 2017 / 5:18 pm

      My sister began her rebellious stage of selectively listening to Mom at an early stage. It took me longer to figure out that Mom wasn’t always right. After quitting cross stitch for 25 years and going back to it you can see that she convinced me that her way was the only way!

      Liked by 1 person

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