How to Finish the Back of an Afghan
The problem with an afghan is that it can be seen from both sides and -will be,- while in use. What do you do to keep the back of it at least presentable?
- The back is the back, ok? It's not another front. By definition, then, the back is not going to be as pretty as the front.
- As with any other type of stitchery, if you do your stitches in a consistent manner, the back will be nicer-looking.
- Weave ending threads under the same color. Usually this is not a problem because an afghan is a large-scale project, and the detail is not as finely-honed as on a pillow or a picture. You should not have trouble finding other stitches the same color or at least a related color.
- Don't carry your threads at all. End them and restart. This is a standard piece of advice for keeping your backs nice.
- Use a loop start. I wouldn't advise this on a smaller-scale piece, but I think loop starts are ok on an afghan.
- Cover the back with another piece of similar fabric, a piece of coordinating calico, a piece of unbleached muslin or similar plain fabric, etc.
- Stitch it in one of the reversible cross stitches. Here's one way to do this stitch.
- On a piece of paper, mark the compass points N, S, E, and W. Now designate NE, SE, SW, and NW, one at each corner. Erase N, S, E, W so you're left with only NE, SE, SW, and NW. (These four represent the four corners of a cross stitch.)
- Come up at SW and down at NE. This is the normal first leg of a cross stitch. Leave it a little loose.
- Come up at SW again and go down in the center (where the legs cross). This is a partial leg. Before pulling the needle all the way through, check on the back of your work that you have not pierced any threads. Send needle through to the back and snug up both stitches.
- Come up at SE and go down at NW. This is the normal second leg of the cross stitch.
- Work L to R. SE of the first stitch becomes the SW of the second one.
- Use the beginning and ending tails as necessary to complete the pattern on the back.
And of course, always fold up the afghan and put it away with the right side out so you can remind yourself how good the front side looks! It's going to be folded up 90% of its life by the time you count warm weather when it's not in use, sleep time, shopping time for new needlework materials and chocolate, and so on.
copyright 1998, Martha Beth Lewis
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