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Pictoral Parking Demo (or, Becca's Insanity Revealed) 
3rd-Dec-2005 10:12 pm
Well, I got tons of positive feedback, so here's my little guide to
parking. I'm starting off with a disclaimer: This is only the way I
park, and
I'm laying no claims whatsoever to it being the only way. That being
said, feel free to link to this or put it somewhere else or whatever.
Just keep my name on it.

Ok! So I'm going to be taking you through how I stitched the second
page of my across the design stitching. It's a little strange to use this as a demo, because
it's an unusual bunch for me - because of where a page break was, I'm
doing 7 rows instead of my usual 5. Still, the method is the same.
Also, I use a tent stitch, so that's what you'll be seeing. Still the
method shouldn't really be different for a full cross.

Here's what it looks like when I've unwound the thread and am ready to begin.

As you can see, the threads are laid out fairly neatly. The couple of
short dark threads you can see are just my way of ending threads.
They're safe to ignore.

This is a closeup of the where I'll start to stitch. I've gridded 10
stitch columns, and for this bunch of rows I'm going from left to
right. Because I stitch an odd number of rows, the next group of rows
will be from right to left. You can see lots of parked threads waiting
to be stitched.

To start, I pick up the first thread in the top row, thread my needle,
and fill in all the stitches of that color. I then bring the needle up
through the hole where I would start the first stitch in row 8, and
then unthread, leaving it dangling. I always make sure to start my
stitches in the same relative hole, so I know when I pick up a thread
which symbol of the chart is corresponding to it.

Next, I pick up the second parked thread in the top row, and do the
same, filling in the color and bringing it up where I would start it in
row 8.

I continue this until I've stitched all the threads in the top row of the 10 stitch section between gridlines.

After this, I go back and stitch all the other threads within that 10
stitch column. I always stitch from the top row down, so I start by
looking for threads parked in row 2, then 3, and so on. As a note, when
I bring the threads up, sometimes there isn't a symbol in the next row
(row 8 ). That's totally ok, I just bring it up in the next row where
it's represented. Sometimes I'll skip as many as 40 rows to park the
thread, but that's my personal preference - other people might be
appalled to even see me suggest it.

This next photo shows that while I only pick up threads within a 10
stitch column at a time, I in no way confine myself to stitching within
this column. If it's a big chunk, I'll happily stitch over a 40-50
stitch wide section. I only stay within the column to pick up threads.
Here you can see how much of the next column over is already stitched,
even though I haven't yet picked up any threads in that column.

Sorry about the blur in the next one. I was really happy this situation
showed up in my current section, because you may have noticed I haven't
said anything yet about starting threads. That's because I almost
always leave new threads until I've stitched all the parked threads.
Right here is the exception. You can see (if you tilt your head and
squint) that the next to last stitch in that column in the top row
doesn't have a parked thread in it, yet all the stitches earlier in the
row are filled in. When I come across a stitch where a thread needs to
be started, and it's in the top row, I first check to see if I
accidentally parked the thread in the wrong place, but then will just
go ahead and start the new thread. I do this because I know that
there's no way this thread will get pulled in from a later colum - all
the stitches earlier than it have been filled in, and I only stitch in
one direction at a time.

Eventually, I finish up all the parked threads. I'm left with a section
that is mostly filled in, except for the occasional white space where I
need to start new threads. Note: This does not mean new colors. I've
been known to have upwards of a dozen threads of the same color started
at the same time. As long as they're separate sections, it doesn't

Finally! I've added in all the new threads, which are similarly parked
in the 8th row, and my threads have been straightened and lay out
nicely below.

After all of this, all that is left to do is curl up my threads and put them to rest while I work on the other 4 pages!

If you've made it all the way through, congratulations! There is no
prize. I hope you haven't run screaming. Please feel free to ask me any
questions you like - I will do my best to answer coherently.

Happy stitching!


3rd-Dec-2005 10:16 pm (UTC)
Wow! Thank you for taking the time to post this... I havent read every word yet, for now I just looked at the pics. I am ever so amazed at how fast your project is moving along.

When I start on my chinese goddess of mercy piece, I will be using this method for sure! Its only 8 pages, but I have no doubt your method will really help me get through them!
3rd-Dec-2005 10:22 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed! It takes me half a LOTR movie, or about 2 1/2 hours, to get through one of these sections. The chart is 5 pages (and 12 stitches, but whatever) wide, so it's about 12 1/2 hours to get through 2000 stitches. Or about 160 stitches an hour. I suspect it's not so much that I'm fast, but that I spend an inordinate amount of time stitching!
3rd-Dec-2005 10:57 pm (UTC)
I saw the link to the other tutorial you posted, and all of a sudden the process made sense to me :)

I'm curious though, how long is your floss? Also, I'm sure I've done it at some point or another, but I can't visualize what a tent stitch is.

I can't wait to see this finished. It's going to be gorgeous :)
3rd-Dec-2005 11:02 pm (UTC)
If you're referring to the gridding tutorial, I didn't post that, but I can't quite remember who did. The link's in the comments to my earlier post.

I cut my floss to about 36, 40 inches, but I loop start, so it ends up being half that. A tent stitch is simply half a cross stitch. Technically, it's a tent stitch if you stitch right to left, and a half stitch if you stitch left to right. I stitch both ways, so I just refer to it as a tent stitch all the time.
4th-Dec-2005 12:28 am (UTC)
While it was very informative, I am still sending over someone to take your temperature.
4th-Dec-2005 12:35 am (UTC)
Oh, good. Will they be wearing white coats?
4th-Dec-2005 01:32 am (UTC)
Becca, you're nuts! But I'm going to read it and if I understand it (I am but a simple woman) I'll give it a shot with my next piece!!! Good work!
4th-Dec-2005 01:46 am (UTC)
Note that I've never denied my lack of marbles. *cackles madly*

Do give it a shot, it's much easier to understand once you try it. My method has evolved over the course of stitching Rev, and it took a while to get to an ideal balance. And I reserve the right to tweak it some more!
4th-Dec-2005 01:54 am (UTC) - Question
I know I have tons of them. =D But first this post is AWESOME!

Is this a technique that is easy to use on a pattern that is out in the middle of the fabric? Not an actual block of wall to wall stitches that is. I have only seen it shown on solid block patterns so I was wondering.
4th-Dec-2005 02:04 am (UTC) - Re: Question

Regarding your question: I haven't done it myself, but I don't see why not. I'm planning on starting a piece next July that's like that, so I've been pondering the matter myself. For one thing, much of the pattern can be treated just like a block pattern, just with uneven edges. I think I'll just start with the very stop row of stitches, even if there are only two, then slowly work my way down row by row, adding threads as new ones appear. Once I got to a section that was filled out decently, I'd switch over to doing 5 rows at once. Or that's what I'm thinking now. Once I do it, I'll probably have to adapt it slightly. But that's why it's so fun!
(Deleted comment)
4th-Dec-2005 02:14 am (UTC)
Thank you! I think I finally understand parking. However, we will see when I actually try it. :P
4th-Dec-2005 09:12 am (UTC)
I'm glad it helped! It really will make more sense once you actually try it.
4th-Dec-2005 08:12 am (UTC)
I tried a much much much smaller version of this on my current project without the guiding lines and it worked beautifully. WOW. I think I will be working this way from now on (that is until I get into stuff as BIG as yours then I will have to learn how to do what you do). :) Thanks for the tutorial, 50% of that I know will not make sense as much until I am actually trying it then suddenly a light-bulb with shoot on and I will be back here nodding my head. LOL
4th-Dec-2005 09:13 am (UTC)
Sounds like a plan! I use the gridlines because otherwise I'd get hopelessly lost, but some people don't need them.
4th-Dec-2005 01:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks a bunch for this. :) I really get what you're saying now. :)
4th-Dec-2005 02:46 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it!
5th-Dec-2005 02:16 pm (UTC)
I love parking :) It's so helpful when trying to keep track of where you are! Especially if you can run out for a billion needles and put one on every thread.

I still don't understand tent stitching, in the end isn't it basically a 1/2 cross stitch?
5th-Dec-2005 04:16 pm (UTC)
Given that I have probably about 300-400 threads going at any one time, I'd never stop stabbing myself with all those needles!

The difference between a 1/2 cross and a tent stitch isn't how is looks on the front, it's how it looks in the back. With half cross, you get vertical lines, with tent you get diagonals. I actually use a combination of both because I stitch in both directions, but I generally just refer to it as tent stitching rather than "tent and 1/2 cross" because that's a mouthful, even when typing.
19th-Jul-2006 08:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for this information!
19th-Jul-2006 08:06 pm (UTC)
Glad to help!
30th-Oct-2006 09:44 pm (UTC)
Curious...how many strands do you use, and what is the thread count on the fabric?
30th-Oct-2006 09:45 pm (UTC)
I use two strands, over 1, and it's 25 count Lugana. I start using the loop method, since I'm lazy, and that pretty much requires 2 strands. I'm pretty happy with the coverage.
(Deleted comment)
9th-Jan-2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
I don't stitch in strict column like that. The 10 stitch gridded columns are more just so I don't miss a stitch. I will use a color of thread in as wide or as narrow an area as makes sense according to the chart. I will, however, often have multiple strands of the same color running around when there are distinct areas where the color is used.
13th-Feb-2011 10:25 pm (UTC)
parking makes more sense now, bu i still think this is clinically insane! i can barely use one thread without getting it tangled. how do you not get all those threads knotted up or tangled in amongst the stitches you're doing?
13th-Feb-2011 10:37 pm (UTC)
I've never claimed sanity!

I just combed through the threads with my fingers as I stitched. It only took a few seconds here or there, and became habit. I clipped them together when I wasn't stitching, so they didn't get jumbled up, either.
17th-May-2011 05:02 pm (UTC) - Question on ending threads

First, I would like to thank you for taking the time to help us to understand parking. I think that you have helped me immensely and I am excited to start with my next project.

Second, I have a question regarding ending a thread. Do you run your thread under three or four completed stitches like most people do or do you let it get caught under your stitches while the thread is parked (knowing that you are going to need to end the thread). I hope that this question makes sense.

Thank you again, and I don't think that you or your technique is insane (lol!).

17th-May-2011 11:22 pm (UTC) - Re: Question on ending threads
You can certainly end your threads by running them under a few stitches on the back. Except for the very bottom of the design, I took advance of the strict vertical progression that parking provides and ended my threads a different way.

When I was working on this project, I parked in rows of 5 stitches. When I ended my threads, I would count 7 rows down from the bottom of the 5 row section, bring the thread up, bring it down one hole up, and bring it back up the original hole. I wouldn't tug too much - the point is to have a loose loop. When I completed my next five row section, the thread was covered with the backs of the new stitches. Then I used my needle to unpick the loop and carefully cut the threads.

It's a lazy way to finish, basically. I got to avoid flipping the piece over, and I dealt with all the finishing threads at the same time, rather than lose my rhythm.
1st-Jan-2012 11:20 am (UTC)
Ohh! This is nice. So, let me summarize for you to make certain I understand what you're explaining here. It's just after 4am so please excuse my muddled brain. XD

To make it easier, let's just take one box (10x10.) You look to see what colors you need in that box and thread them, pull them through one hole, than stitch from one side to the other? And, once you've either done all that thread color in the box (or if the color runs out), you go to the next one over. That way you know which colors are which?

Did I grasp this correctly? You just do the stitches in whatever box you're working in currently to make things easier to remember, right?

Can I also ask you how you grid? I haven't gridded before (well, on my current project I sort did just to the extent of where the pattern started as the first page is only 1/4 full and that's in the lower right corner.) Can I grid now, over my existing stitches? It seems gridding would help with this.

Thanks! =) Sorry for all the questions.
2nd-Jan-2012 03:10 am (UTC)
It's always tricky to put this into words. Say in this row I'm stitching from left to right. In the box that's 10 stitches wide (I did 5 stitches long, but you can do 10, too) I pick up the floss, put in whatever stitches it's used for, and leave it in the top row it's needed in below my current stitching section, to the right.

Which is to say, if I'm stitching rows 1-5, I look to leave the stitch in row 6. If there's no stitches of that color in row 6, I check row 7, and so on. This way, I know if there's a spot in the top-most row that doesn't have a floss already in it, I need to start a new one.

I leave it to the right because the next row I stitch will be right to left. I alternate directions because I found it was easier to stitch in one direction, rather than having to stitch in more of a circle to end up where I started.

I know what colors are which because I can match where the thread is to the pattern, and that tells me what color it is.

Gridding, as the name implies, is the process of using thread to mark squares on the fabric. I actually gridded in columns, because knowing how many I was across was much more important than knowing how far down I was. If I was being thorough, I'd have made squares, but as I was working row by row (in 5s) it was very easy to keep track of rows.

It might be a bit tricky to grid over a stitched area, simply because the holes will be fairly tight with all the floss. I would grid in advance (using a rayon thread aimed at showing, because it was fluorescent and slippery) and then carefully stitch around the grid lines. Once I finished a page I'd pull out the gridding over that page. It usually took a little patience, but it all came out.

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