General Instructions

Lighting:
• I personally believe good lighting is essential.  And a light that gives what is known as True color is best.  There are a number of them on the market today in varying styles and prices.  I would suggest getting the best one you can afford and in a style that fits your particular method of stitching.  Whether it be table model or floor model makes no difference, the important consideration is where you stitch and the one that works best for you in that environment.
• The normal light bulb we use in our lamps give off a yellow cast which distorts colors.  Normally this isn’t noticeable, but can make a big difference in some colors of threads we use.  I recently was stitching a piece that had yucca blooms on it.  The bloom was predominately off white, but had a yellow and tanish color scattered through it for dimension and shadowing.  By table light I couldn’t see where I’d put the yellow.  Later I was working on it on the porch in the natural light of day and WOW what a difference, all of a sudden I saw all the colors.  Also, you will see a great difference when you have threads that are very close in value, and more notable in some color families, it will be hard to distinguish under our normal light one thread from another.  You will find that two look like the same color but have different numbers, move to a “day” or “true color” light and you will see the difference in color. 

Magnifier:
• For some areas of stitching a good magnifier is almost essential.  I feel that when satin stitching “say” a leaf, if the outside edge isn’t perfectly even, it will work, as many leaves don’t have absolutely even edges.
But on many other places you may be using satin stitches, it is critical to have the edge precise the stitches very close together.  Here again the supply to choose from is wide and varied.  Fluorescent lamps with a magnifying glass in the center.  Special magnifying glasses that fit over your own glasses.
A magnifier is availabe that you can wear around your neck some with light, some without.  There again it is personal choice which works best for you.

Containers for Needles
• I’m most everyone has devised a method to keep their needles separated and identified.  But this is the method I use.  I have “The Needle Nest”.  It is a small square plastic box, with a magnetized base.  The top side of the base of the box is white.  I took a permanent marker and marked the needle size across the top, starting on one side with the longest needle #18 darner, down to the shortest, #7 Milliners.  I labeled them with the initial of the thread they were used with, i.e.: B, N, L, I, G, C. Another method is Take a piece of
white (or light color) felt, mark the same and then insert needles under their respective notation.  Maybe after you’ve stitched a zillion years you can look at the needle and know which thread it works with, I’m not there yet, and you may not be either.

Light Box
• This isn’t a must have, but is a great to have item.  Don’t normally post commercials here but the only place I’ve found this one is at WalMart so here goes.  Light Boxes like every thing else for us needlework-aholics has a wide variety of styles, prices, etc available to temp us.  But WalMart has a small one that works great and is about $10.  It is a sheet of plastic bent in the shape of a slant desk with a light bulb beneath.  The top is about the size of a sheet of typing paper.  I have found it works great and is SO much better
than trying to trace my design using a window.  You can also find larger ones for sale and work great as well.

Needle Grippers (Grabber)
• For some of the stitches this is almost a “must have”.  A bullion or cast-on or other stitch that leaves little of the needle to grasp which makes the use of a needle gripper very handy.  Some of us keep small needle nosed pliers in our BE case that work for this too.

Long Needles
• You will find with some advanced stitches you will need more than 1 needle.  Some take 2 and I have a piece that takes 7 needles, plus the needle with the thread.  As you advance you may have a design that requires longer needles up to 5”.

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