As I’ve mentioned before, when I learned to sew, my mom taught me that the front was the back and the back was the front. Why? Because she cross-stitched on the back with the back or bottom facing her, and this was the side she saw the most. By cross-stitching on the back, you protect the front of the piece from getting dirty and overworked.
Just to be clear, for this post I will be referring to the ‘front’ as the front or top of a piece and the ‘back’ as the back or bottom of a piece. Not the other way around, which is what I would normally do.
Although the backside of any cross-stitch piece will never be seen by anyone other than the individual making it, it is still important that it looks just as clean as the front.
What do I mean by ‘clean’?
Just because it’s the back doesn’t mean that it’s okay for it to be a mess. Good stitch work means the front and back look great. Just as a pattern is created on the front, one is created on the back. This can be done by minimizing and hiding knots, and not skipping from one stitch to another too much, especially if it’s quite a long skip.
Sometimes it is difficult to decide whether to tie a knot or to skip cross-stitches, I know it is for me. Whether it’s a knot or a skip, I try to stick to whatever my decision is so that every time I come to the same spot in the pattern the stitch is the same or similar. By doing this, I am essentially creating a pattern on the back.
Think of any piece of clothing you have ever worn. The seams of a blouse, the hem of a skirt, a beautifully lined jacket. The inside looks just as great as the outside and if it doesn’t, you probably just purchased yourself some cheaply made clothes that won’t hold up long. The same idea applies to Hmong cross-stitching.