A few months ago I wrote a couple of blog articles about the techniques of parking and cross-country stitching. These articles generated a bit of feedback in some of the cross stitch groups I belong to online, so I thought I’d make a video and do a bit of a “show and tell” about the two techniques.
Of course, there are pros and cons to both. For parking, it’s easier to follow your pattern as you are usually just going straight across one row and changing out colours as needed, so it’s usually pretty easy to see exactly where you are in a pattern. On the downside, you have a lot of needles and threads hanging down, which looks messy and can be confusing. It can also take longer to stitch as you’re always referring to the pattern, picking up a needle, stitching a few stitches, switching out threads and needles, etc. I found too that since you usually use shorter lengths of floss so they don’t tangle together, you feel like you’re constantly replacing a thread every few stitches.
For cross-country stitching, one of the advantages is that you can stitch for quite a while on one thread as usually your threads are longer, and you won’t get any potential banding in solid areas of colour (like I explain in the video). You’re also not limited to sticking to the one row of stitching, you can travel across the piece as dictated by your pattern (thus the name “cross-country” stitching). On the other hand, you need to have some system to make sure you’re stitching in the right spot as you do tend to stitch in the middle of “nowhere” for the first few colours – if you screw up the placement then everything that’s around that area will be affected. You can grid your fabric, use highlighters on paper patterns or use highlighting in pdf readers if using digital patterns to keep track of where you are.
In the video I explain both techniques, and although I mainly do cross-country stitching, you’ll see I do integrate a bit of parking as well (by doing large sections of one colour then I put my floss into a stitch nearby to start the next section). I show a few samples of both techniques, and you can see how they are working out in my current piece (my big Michelangelo piece). If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to ask below. And be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you enjoy the videos!