Organize the materials

The printed download packet provides two organizing elements: the symbols page showing the floss colors needed for the chart and the Stitch Count. The symbols page lists the floss colors in DMC color number sequence. The Stitch Count lists the floss colors in decreasing number of stitches sequence.

The benefit of the way the symbols page is sequenced allows you to quickly find which symbol is used for the color in the chart. We have done another thing on most charts that helps: the first 36 colors from Stitch Count have been assigned symbols with the sequence 1, 2, 3, ..., 0, a, b, c, ..., x, y, z. This means that as you stitch, you can easily recognize the areas where the colors change more frequently and plan the positioning of starting and stopping threads. This minimizes the buildup of threads commonly found on the back of pointillism charts. The Stitch Count sequence allows you to stitch the chart more efficiently. The first color is the slowest to stitch, not only because it has the most stitches but because one has to count threads more often to find the right place for the next stitch. Once the first color is completed, there is a grid of sorts on the fabric that is useful for relative positioning (two over and one down from this stitch) rather than using absolute positioning (grid coordinates 126,76). Because the first color is usually scattered all over the chart, one also ends up with places to start and stop threads of subsequent colors. You will also find that, after the first few colors, the next color is stitched near to existing stitches rather than out in the open. This holds true until about 75% of the stitches are completed. The remaining 25% are usually pretty well scattered in lumps of 1 to 5 stitches.

The next organization step is to put the floss for the project into a separate container, along with scissors, markers, 0.5 mm lead pencil, soft eraser, your favorite needle, and a large headed pin or two. These are inexpensive and readily available. The ones we use are roughly dimensioned 11 inches wide by 7 inches deep by 1-3/4 inches high with 17 compartments.

Box 1 of kit Box 2 of kit

Place the floss in increasing DMC number sequence from front to back, left to right. Some (okay, most) of our charts take two boxes. We build boxes for the prototypes of each project and print a label the size of the rectangle on the lid, cut it out, tape it to the inside of the lid so the print is readable through the lid. The label has the name of the project and other bits of information we find useful. If you have multiple stitching projects active at the same time, the label sure saves some confusion.

to send us an email requesting a Microsoft Word document you can use to create your label. Replace the second line of the template with the chart name. Edit the third and fourth lines with information from the top of the symbols page then delete the "<Adjust as needed:>" portion of the third line. Save the file under a different name and print. Make one label for each box in your project.