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Railroading makes surface of work flatter, improves floss coverage, and some say it maximizes light reflected by floss.
A short cut is to railroad only half of stitch that lies on top, as this is one that is seen most clearly, although some stitchers say that they can see bottom leg of stitch clearly, too.
If you are unsure whether or not to do it, try an experiment. Do a row or two of "unrailroaded" and some of "full railroaded." You'll see a definite difference. Now do a row of "half railroaded." What do you think? Is there enough of a difference to merit extra time?
If you are using blended floss (2 colors) I donít think it matters what side of needle either of color is on, and it doesnít need to be consistent. It only matters that itís flat.
And if you're doing satin stitch or bargello or some other stitch which has long stitches, your work will definiately be better if you railroad.
Katrina Renouf is the founder and owner of the cross stitch website www.matkailuxstitch.com.