From Start to Finish: Breaking the Rules

It’s been said that the only rule in needlework is that the thread goes in the needle, and the needle goes in the canvas. But there are a few other “rules”, whether written or unwritten, that make our stitching nicer, or easier, or more perfect.

For instance, most of us know that when the needle comes up in an empty hole and goes down in a shared hole, the stitching is nicer. The threads that are already in the hole are less disturbed, less likely to pop out of place, when the needle goes down in the shared hole.

And most of us know that knots to end and begin a thread are generally a no-no, because it leaves lumpy places on the canvas, that may show through to the front and disrupt the pleasing appearance of the finished stitchery. Same with long carry threads, especially when there is open canvas – if the thread shows through to the front, it’s best to end it off and start again.

How many of us have learned, in class especially, that Rhodes stitches must ALWAYS end the same? I know I’ve heard it, and mostly practiced it. But like most rules, there are exceptions, and for Diamond Delight 10 I decided to break the rule, at least a little.

Take a look at the Rhodes stitches in this closeup:

Rhodes close-ups

The Rhodes squares are all finished the same way, with the vertical stitch being the last stitch in all of them. But if you look closely at the Rhodes diamonds, you’ll see that the last stitch is not the same. This is a deliberate choice, and here are the reasons why.

1. Remember the general stitching rule about coming up in an empty hole and down in a shared hole? For these Rhodes diamonds, I would have had to ignore that advice, or done some really convoluted counting for the stitches surrounding the Rhodes diamonds. I don’t like complicated counting because I’m basically a lazy stitcher, and prefer the easiest, most logical counting possible.

2. The 1/8″ metallic ribbon I used for the Rhodes diamonds is just on the edge of being unusable for 18 ct. canvas. It can be used, obviously, because I used it. But it was a struggle, and I didn’t want to complicate the struggle by coming up in a shared hole. I was particularly committed to this 1/8″ ribbon because I loved the color, I had it in my stash, and I didn’t want to wait until Kreinik could send me some 1/16″ ribbon since the local shop didn’t have any. I will recommend in the finished chart that those who wish to do so can swap it out for 1/16″ ribbon, but hardy stitchers like myself can stick with the 1/8″ ribbon.

So there you have it – rules are made to be mostly observed because they make sense and are logical. But on occasion, when warranted, they can be broken.

Rhodes decisions

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