It is probably time to post here again. A couple months ago I found a couple of tutorials on YouTube that showed how to park threads. I decided to take their advice and give it a try. I have found that parking has helped my cross stitching quite a bit.
There are several reasons why I like working this way.
First of all, it cuts down on the decision making. Before, a lot of my time was spent deciding which color to stitch with next. This included a lot of staring at the chart trying to decide what had already been stitched and what would be the best color to stitch with. Now that decision has been made for me.
Once I started stitching with a color I had a hard time knowing how far to go with it. If the color was widely dispersed throughout the chart, I had to decide what was the best way to travel and also decide how many stitches to skip. I would frequently miss a square and then need to go back and stitch that missing square, which was a pain.
Parking essentially divides the chart up into smaller pieces. I can certainly understand a block of one hundred stitches and stitch it in about an hour. I get a small sense of accomplishment when one block is completed that helps propel me along.
Finally, I can easily tell how much of the chart is completed and how much is left to do. I have been measuring the amount of time that it takes to stitch each block of one hundred and I have been entering those values in a spreadsheet. Some easy calculations allow me to make an estimate of how much time is left on a design, or how much time it will take to stitch a design. This makes things really fun.
There are a couple of disadvantages. The back of my work is quite messy, but with something like the design that I am working on, which has a ton of confetti, the difference is not terribly noticeable to me. I do seem to be going through floss a little more quickly as well. Finally, it is kind of a pain to have all these loose threads hanging all over the place. I think that on the next design I work with I will work horizontally and confine myself to one row of blocks at a time. This will minimize my hanging threads and make it so that I can scroll down over a complete complete section of the design.
I have seen a lot of people that work in straight blocks, but I found that this was putting faint lines in my stitching at the boundaries of the blocks. Now I shift back and forth to create a zig-zag edge, which eliminates the possibility of lines.
My progress has been amazing to me. I thought that it would take years to finish this, but now I know that if I keep working at the same rate as I am now I will be finished sometime at the beginning of next year.