I think I learn something new about stitching every week (loop start anyone?), but one thing that is new to me is the concept of gridding.
First, what is gridding? Gridding is the process of physically marking your fabric in 10×10 square blocks, similar to your pattern layout.
There are a few techniques to grid your fabric: Pre-gridded fabric exists and simplifies the whole gridding process. As wonderful and time-saving as this can be, it does have some drawbacks. It can be a little more expensive than standard fabric. Also, the selection of fabrics with pre-gridding can limited, though Wichelt seems to be releasing additional counts to expand the selection. 123stitch.com has a great selection of Wichelt Easy Count fabric.
But that leads to the next method of gridding: fabric markers. If you sew, you have probably used a fabric marker on your projects. Using a non-permanent marker to grid your cross-stitch fabric is one way to go. Make sure you are using a fabric marker that either washes out or disappears when heat is applied. I cannot stress this enough. I've heard horror stories of stitchers who thoughtthey had used a non-permanent marking tool, only to find their grid is not washing out...after they have completed their project. Yikes! There are many fabric pen options, including the Pilot Frixion Erasable Ink pen, the Dritz Mark-B-Gone pen, and the DMC Embroidery Transfer pen.
If you don't want to mess with markers, you can grid using floss.
With floss gridding, you can use any floss you have on hand to weave lines in and out of your fabric to mark your grid on your fabric. It is a very loose weave of floss that some stitchers pull out as you stitch (others remove the guide floss after finishing their pattern). Friend of StitchLife, Notorious Needle has a great tutorial for the two DIY grid techniques.
Now that you know what a gridding is, how do you know if it is for you? What you choose to do depends on you!
I have never gridded my fabric but I've spoken to others who have in order to understand the projects and circumstances best suited for gridding.
Personally, I don't grid because I find the process time-consuming and I'd rather just start stitching. I'm impatient that way.
But if you can't concentrate on counting as you stitch, gridding may be for you. Some parents I know who are called away frequently choose to grid so they can get back to stitching ASAP upon returning to their project. Many people find that gridding helps them stitch faster since your gridded fabric starts to look like your pattern, you can breeze through both long stretches of the same color or long stretches of empty spaces between colors (or even the same color with breaks in between).
If you choose to grid before starting your project, be careful! If your grids are off and you realize after you start stitching, you may get a long visit from the frog to fix your mistake. If you use a fabric marker to grid, make sure that both your floss and fabric are colorfast. It would be horrible to be washing your finish only to find out that your over-dyed floss or custom fabric isn't colorfast.
What are your thoughts on gridding? Share with other StitchLifers!