What can I use to grid my fabric?

For those of you that know me, you know that I love to do full coverage designs. When I stitch I like to jump around and put in large blocks of color to feel like I have made some progress. I am not the typewriter kind of stitcher that stitches each color as she comes to it in a row. I like to grid because I use it as a double check for making sure that my stitches are in the correct place. Another bonus is that it allows you to make sure that you have ample fabric for your project. Nothing is worse than getting to the end of your project and realizing that you do not have enough fabric to finish it.

Quality to look for in a Grid Material

  • Able to see it on chosen fabric of choice.
  • Does not leave large holes in fabric when you remove it.
  • Does not disturb other stitches around it when you remove it.
  • Does not leave any traces when it is removed.

     

    Here are some gridding options if you would like to try them on your next project.

    Magic Guide

    If you have never heard of Magic Guide fabric that is probably because it is a product mainly sold in Europe. It is a DMC fabric that has been marked with a grid on it. The grid lines will disappear once you wash your piece in 40° Celsius or 104° Fahrenheit. The fabric comes in 14 count Aida, 18 count Aida and 25 count Evenweave. All counts are available in white and ecru. For the Aida fabric grid lines are marked in 10 x 10 squares, and for the 25 count Evenweave lines are marked every 20 x 20 squares.

    Comments: For someone who feels that every full coverage design should be gridded this fabric is a great time saver. I would still feel compelled to make the center lines of the chart and the page breaks however there are fewer of those lines in comparison to the 10 x 10 grid lines. The is one drawback on 25 count, if you are stitching over one you may need to grid to split your 20 x 20 squares in half to match the 10 x 10 squares on your pattern.

    Easy-Count Guideline by R&S Designs

    This is an opaque red nylon line that can be used instead of thread to grid you fabric. It reminds me of fishing line the big difference being that it is opaque. It is that quality that allows you to see it on your fabric.

    Comments: You might ask why not use colored fishing line since you can get larger quantities of it for cheaper and it has most of the same characteristics you are looking for in a gridding material. Well, because most fishing line is transparent it is difficult to see on the fabric once you have started adding thread. Easy-Count Guideline only comes in one color and does not show up real well on dark backgrounds. I would also suggest using this product on smaller counts of fabric because when you remove the grid lines the holes left behind can be large on 25 count and higher count fabrics especially if they are tightly woven.

    Sulky Sliver Metallic Thread

    This thread has a polyester core wrapped with metallic foil and comes in a wide range of colors. One of the nice properties of this thread is that it is slick and makes it extremely hard to pierce when you are stitching so you can leave it in until you are finished with the project.

    Comments: This product can be difficult at first to use because it kinks and twists easily. You do not want to use marathon lengths when using this thread to grid. Be careful in your choice of colors. Some colors have been known to rub off on the fabric and leave staining, most notably red and blue. Choosing lighter colors that still contrast with the fabric will reduce risk of noticeable transfer.

    Sewing Thread

    What can one say about sewing thread? It comes in lots of colors. It comes in different materials. It comes in different thicknesses. The quality of the thread can vary greatly. Most of us have lots of it on hand.

    Comments: This is my favorite gridding material. I like to choose a thicker thread so that it shows up better on my fabric. Some threads can be too thin. It comes in a variety of colors and I like to use a different color to mark my center lines, page breaks and 10 x 10 grids. I do have to cut the gridding out as I go because it can easily be pierced and sewn through.

    Water Soluble Marker

    Used for marking fabric it usually comes in blue. You use it to make grid lines on you fabric, stitch your project and then you wash your project with water. The lines come out because the ink dissolves in water.

    Comment: I have never used this method of gridding before but other users have commented that several years later the areas that were not stitched over showed yellowish to brownish lines. So I would only use in areas that will be covered up 100%. If you extend your grid into the borders of your stitching I would make sure that it is covered by a mat up to the stitch line when framing.

    Water Soluble Pencil

    Used for marking fabric. Each mechanical pencil will come with three lead colors, pink, white, and depending on the brand you buy a black or green. You use it to make grid lines on you fabric, stitch your project and then you wash your project with water. The lines come out because the pencil dissolves in water.

    Comment: I have never used this method of gridding before so I would test in an inconspicuous location of your fabric to see if the pencil lines do come out of your fabric. It has been noted that this method of gridding works better on certain fabrics.

    Heat Removable Marking Pen

    Used for marking fabric it comes in eight different colors. You use it to make grid lines on you fabric, stitch your project and then apply heat to the project to remove the lines.

    Comment: I have never used this method of gridding before so I would test in an inconspicuous location of your fabric to see if the pen lines do come out of your fabric. Caution lines can return if you place your project in the freezer. I would consider another option if I lived in a colder climate

by Jessica Jones