Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Let's talk Jessicas

Jessicas are definitely a love hate kind of stitch.

They really are the coolest ever but until you really get used to stitching them they can be a torment.

There are two ways I can diagram a Jessica.  The top is how most people present a diagram for a Jessica.  It shows all the stitches.  They are numbered.  You can see that the final stitch goes under the beginning stitches so that when it is finished it is a continuous flow.  You can't easily find the stop and start points.

The bottom diagram is helpful for a lot of people as it really is just stitch by the numbers, up at 1, down at 2.  Etc.  All those busy stitch lines are gone.  It is much easier to count the number of canvas threads you are moving over if you can actually see the canvas threads.  Hey, this is why I stitch backgrounds first!

If you are faced with stitching a Jessica and it just isn't working, grab a piece of graph paper and just chart out the numbers copying from the diagram you were given.

The bigger the Jessica, the more numbers, the more counting, the more paying attention.  No Facebook alerts allowed now!

So, what if you do get interrupted?  How do you find your spot again?  Look at the diagram.  It is completely symmetrical.  In the diagram above, there are 3 active canvas holes used at the top, bottom and both sides of the Jessica.  There are four active canvas holes used on each diagonal side of the Jessica.  This is always true.  The number of active holes may change but they will always be the same on opposite edges of the Jessica.  The only time this isn't true is if you are making an irregular shaped Jessica.

Once you see the edges of your Jessica, things become clearer.  Up at 1, down at 2.  One and two are both on straight sides of the Jessica.  You need 3 active holes on each side.  So the next two stitches need to align with these.  Now, where is 7? Okay, that is on the diagonal from 5, so 8 must be on the diagonal from 6!  Now fill in the rest of the diagonal side of your Jessica.  Once you reach 4 active holes on the diagonal you are back to working the straight edges again.  You need 3 active holes there!

I know, I know, that's a lot of words for a needlepoint stitch.  But if you can "see" the logic it may make counting to 39 easier.


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