Floss coverage? What is that? Why should I care about it?
It may seem unimportant. After all, whenever I cross stitch, I use floss on fabric. Assuming that the floss color is sufficiently different from the fabric, it will be seen.
Is it the best it can be? That's up to you. Too few strands will leave a lot of fabric showing through the floss. Too many makes it difficult to stitch (not to mention using a lot more floss). It can also look bulky.
Regardless, it's a matter of personal taste. Do you like the appearance of a sampler? Do you want more coverage than that?
No hard and fast rules exist for floss coverage. I've seen a number of tables, proposing the number of strands that should be used for each thread count. All of them are different.
So, instead of giving you my interpretation of the "right" number of strands to use, we've shown some examples. Make your own judgment, and by all means, if you can't decide between 2 strands and 3, just work a few stitches in the corner of your fabric. Then choose.
How to Use this Page
The photos below are shown in the correct size relative to each other (except the one on red fabric below). Notice that we have displayed both 18 count and 9 over 18 count, over two threads, as well as 11 count and 14 count.
The number beside each stitched heart gives the number of strands used. The number itself was also stitched using the same number of threads. (Click on each photo to see an larger version. Then click the back button on your browser to return here.)
So far, you can see the affect of using a different number of strands on floss coverage. However, there is another factor that figures into the equation. Fabric color. This is the best argument for working stitches in the corner before deciding how many to use.
The photo shows the affect of coverage and fabric color on how your eye sees the color of the floss used. The more strands of yellow used, the more it looks "yellow."
This becomes more important when you make changes to a pattern. Substituting a different fabric color may make it necessary to also change some of the floss colors. Remember to make these decisions early rather than late, and you'll be okay. No impromptu visits to the fabric or craft store!
Now you know what coverage means, why it matters, and best of all, that you are the final authority.
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