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Where haberdashery and geekdom combine
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!


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.
3rd-Feb-2009 04:36 am (UTC)
Hi there, thank you so much for your tutorial, you are the only one on the web to have done something on parking with actual pictures- so important! I actually just joined LJ just so I could write to you! I'm just starting parking for the first time on a new project and this is what I don't understand: the 10 stitch column thing. I want to work horizontally across the entire breadth of the piece, and I understand that I must necessarily have several working threads of the same colour in seperate sections, but surely not one in every section, right?? I understand if the colour continues then you can too, but if there's a gap, say a ten stitch gap, do you carry, or do you start another thread? This is the one area of your tutorial that I found a little vague: the whole picking up in 10 stitch blocks, but carrying on if the colour does thing. Would you be able to clarify that part of it pleeeeeease?

My particular pattern is also complicated by the fact that it uses both full and half crosses pf the same colours (using different symbols) all mixed in with one another, so I really don't know which hole I should be parking in, it's very easy to get confused.

Oh, and one more question: how do you stop all your parked threads from getting tangled? I've been leaving the needles in mine (to save time in rethreading) and it's just a diasaster! Maybe I need one of those spiral eye needles...

What is the name of your pattern by the way? It's really stunning.

Thanks so much, I can't wait to hear back from you, this parking thing is driving me bananas!!!
3rd-Feb-2009 04:53 am (UTC)
Hey, and welcome to LJ!

If you look in the fifth picture from the top, you can see that I've got a few stitching in the next column from the one I was actively working on. That's because I do carry a thread into the next section if it's relatively continuous. I just use the columns to help prevent getting lost in larger sections. If there's a gap of ten stitches as you suggested, I would make a judgment call based on the situation. If there was a single stitch ten stitches away, I would carry the thread over to get it. If there were a whole bunch of stitches ten stitches away, I probably would start another thread, so as to not be constantly carrying the thread back and forth.

Personally, I always have half stitches go in the same direction as the bottom leg of my full crosses. That way, they all still start at the same corner of the cross, which is the upper left for me. I always leave my parked threads in the upper left corner. Then, if I had a mix of half and cross stitches (which I don't in this chart) a simple glance at the pattern would tell me which I should be stitching. Consistency is the key.

I use hair clips to keep them out of the way when I'm not using them, ones like these: http://www.amazon.com/France-Luxe-Cliq-Claq-Pairs/dp/B000W05RRO/ref=sr_1_99?ie=UTF8&s=beauty&qid=1233636703&sr=1-99

The pattern is out of print, sadly. It's called Revelation, the art was designed by Sheila Wolk, and the chart was done by Heaven and Earth Designs.

Good luck!
4th-Feb-2009 02:18 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for answering me Becca! That was really helpful, it was like the final piece of the puzzle finally clicking into place and now I feel able to go off and explore parking and figure out exactly how it's going to work best for me! I also went and bought hair clips today ;-)
I just have one last stupid question: what do you do when you have two threads of the same colour working in seperate sections that meet up further down the pattern? End one and continue on with just one? Or just continue using each thread in the section it's in?

Thanks again, you're a legend!
4th-Feb-2009 02:26 am (UTC)
Happy to help!

I generally keep using them both until one is used up, and then I don't start a new one, but use the remaining one exclusively. That way I'm not wasting thread.
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