Thursday, 7 June 2012

Finer Points of Unpicking

OR ...

Frogging Woes

I had to do a some unpicking yesterday. Thos of you who cross stitch a lot will recognise frogging as unpicking because you 'rippit, rippit, rippit' out.

But actually while I was unpicking I was thinking I do it in two different ways and one is most certainly not ripping.

Here's the green I had to unpick;
I decided the outside green was far too dark to go with the rest of the piece. I thought long and hard about leaving it and then made the decision to just take the time to do it right.

As you can see the stitching is already touching other colours. What you can't see is how the thread laces through some of the other colours at the back. So instead of cutting each stitch (which I consider 'unpicking' I thought it best to 'unstitch' instead.

The way I see it, when you unpick, you cut the threads on each stitch and then pull them out in short lengths. When you 'unstitch' you pull the thread out in the recverse order to how you stitch it. I find this to be a much more gentle way to remove unwanted stitches, especially if you a) wnat to use the thread again, b) have other stitches around the area to be careful about not unpulling, or c) are undoing an area that won't be restitched as you have counted incorrectly.

I didn't want to reuse the dark green thread, so I was still able to cut it into shorter lengths as I unstitched it. If I do want to reuse the thread (usually if I've counted wrong), I'm very careful about how I pull the thread out. The I'll spereate the threads again before I reuse it.

 Here's the area after I unstitched the dark green. You can just see that the holes of the aida aren't pulled open or damaged in any way;
And here is the area re-stitched with a lighter green. I'm much happier with the result, and I hope you agree it blends better;

And lastly here's the area with back stitch nearly finished. The more subtle blend looks more like fabric and less like blobs of colour;
In case you are wondering, the item I was working on is a country angel which I hope to sell to Homespun magazine as a quilted wall hanging.
The toatl time of un doing and restitching took about 1 and a half hours, well worth it to get a better result.

I hope you've enjoyed my blog about unpicking ... I thought I might as well get something out of the process. :)


  1. Definately worth the unpicking as the new colour works better. Country Angel is going to look so sweet when she is finished!

  2. The new green looks great...well worth the hassle!

  3. All that effort was worthwhile - it looks much better with the lighter green. Looking forward to seeing more of your project.
    I always "unstitch" but only re-use the thread if I have miscounted a small area. Where the thread is longer it usually gets too tatty.

  4. definitely a better choice of colours!