How to cross stitch. This is a simple tutorial on the basic stitches used in cross stitch. To begin a
cross stitch; bring your threaded needle up through the backside of your
fabric, leaving a short tail of floss out the back. Work your first few
stitches over this tail to secure it. You can also use what is
called a loop knot. A
loop not is a good choice if you are using two strands of floss (which
you do in most cross stitch) or when your design calls for just a few
stitches like a flower, star, eye, etc. Fold your threads in half
and insert the cut ends in the eye of this needle, leaving a loop at the
bottom or tail. Bring the needle up through the back side of the
fabric in step one, then down through the fabric in step two and then go
through the loop on the back side, thus anchoring your thread down. There are no knots in cross
stitch. To finish your row of stitches, run your floss under 3 or 4
stitches on the back.
Work each square by bringing your needle and floss up through hole 1 and
down through hole 2, up through 3 and down through 4 to make an X.
Work from left to
right first and then right to left. Work in rows when ever possible.
Go up through hole 1, down through 2, up through 3, down 4, and so on.
of your fabric should be almost as neat as the front. Try not to make
jumps of more than 3 stitches of the same color thread on the back. It
wastes thread, may show through, and looks tacky. Remember, the
back of your cross stitch should be almost as neat as the front if you
are a good stitcher. When working a new
area, secure the thread behind a few stitches, cut and start a new set
of stitches in the new area.
Video above is on basic cross stitch
softer look, your project may call for areas of half stitches. Half
stitches of one strand of floss are often used for the sky or mountains
and tress in the back ground. A half stitch is half a cross stitch. Up
through hole 1, down hole 2, and so on. This is the
same stitch used for petipoint and needlepoint, except that peti and
needlepoint are worked on canvas. Petipoint is worked on
canvas with 16 or more count (or meshes) per inch, which makes it a
smaller more delicate stitch.
Video above is on half stitch
stitch is used to outline the design once you are done with all the
cross stitches. Outlining will define your design and make it more
“finished” looking. You generally use one strand of floss for this.
Bring your needle up through hole 1, down through 2, up through 3, and
Video above is on back stitch
stitches are used for contours in your design. For a ¼ stitch, bring
your thread up through hole 1 and then down through the center of the
square you are working on. This is a little harder when using Aida
because you must push the needle through the center of the square.
When working with Linen, Jobelan, Lugana, and other fabrics there is a
hole in the center of the square of the X, which makes quarter stitches
much easier to do.
stitches are also used for contours in your design. It is a 1/4
stitch and a 1/2 stitch combined.
Video above is on 3/4 stitch
French Knots are occasionally used in cross stitch, usually for things
like flowers, buttons, etc. They can give your piece a textured
look. First, bring you needle and thread up through hole 1.
Hold your needle with your right hand, take the thread with your left
hand and wrap it around your needle twice while keeping the tension
tight. Keep holding the thread tightly and put the needle back
down through the fabric at hole 2. Pull on the loop so it stays
wrapped tightly around the needle and pull the needle from the back to
make your French Knot.
Stitching on Linen or and
Stitching over two
stitching on linen you generally stitch over two threads of fabric.
The basic stitch on linen is done from left to right, bottom to top.
Each square of fabric for each stitch (cross) is like
working in a tic-tac-toe grid. Slant over two threads of fabric
and up two threads of fabric. Once you have work about three
stitches, the eye will begin to see the pattern and it should make
stitching easier. Do your first row of stitches from left to right
and then cross back from right to left. The back side of your
fabric will show vertical stitches (up and down).
Video above is on Stitching over two threads.
It is not necessary to use a hoop when stitching on
Linen. Instead, hold you hand in a relaxed position with the thumb
and forefinger grasping the cloth and the little finger anchoring it.
Use a sewing motion rather than a stab stitch. A sewing stitch is
one scooping movement in and out. Be sure not to do the stitches
too tight as to distort the fabric or too loose.
Remember, there are no
knots in cross stitch. Knots can either pull through the fabric,
or leave bumps. This makes your work sloppy and tacky.
Hardanger is a
embroidery or needlework method that began in Hardanger, Norway.
It was originally done on white or off white Linen fabric with a
similar color of thread. Today there is a special 22 count fabric
made just for doing Hardanger work called Hardanger fabric. It
comes mostly in neutral colors, but there are some colors like purple
starting to come out. Most of the stitching is done with either a
size 5 Pearl Cotton floss and a size 8 floss for the finer work.
Hardanger can be combined with cross stitch to make a beautiful piece of
work. Hardanger is easier than it looks. I just
recently taught myself how to do Hardanger. Many of my
ancestors were from Norway, so I found it interesting and fun. It
is so easy that I have already started to create my own patterns for
Hardanger. Once you learn the basic stitches, it is fun and easy
to create your own patterns.
The most basic and
easiest stitch used to create a Hardanger design is called the Satin
Blackwork is a traditional method of cross stitch that is worked on
a white linen fabric with a black thread. Originally it was worked
using black sheeps wool. No other color was added to the design.
For a more modern twist on blackwork, you can us a colored floss to
replace the black. This type of design is also
referred to as a silhouette. If you like to carry your work
with you and don't want to bring a lot of supplies with you, this is a
great compromise. You only have to carry one type of floss, your
fabric, a needle and scissors (a hoop if you use one).
Weaving or Huck Weaving, Huck Embroidery. Swedish
weaving is stitched on ONE side of the fabric only. This is
accomplished by inserting the needle just under the float or vertical
threads in the cloth you are working with. The needle never
penetrates the cloth. This type of embroidery was very popular in
the 1930's and 1040's. I recently found a towel that my
Grandmother stitched (pictured below) many years ago. Swedish
weaving can be done on any even weave fabric, but Huck fabric and Monks
cloth are preferred by stitchers because they lend themselves well to
the technique. The type of floss or yarn you use will depend on
the size and type of fabric you use for your design. Pearl cotton
thread or yarn is typically used to stitch Swedish Weaving.
Tips for Working a Large
Some cross stitch pattern designers make some very
intricate designs. They are often very large designs as well.
Designers like Heaven and Earth, Kustom Krafts, Cross Stitch
Collectibles, and a few others, split their patterns into several pages.
The patterns are to be worked in 10 x 10 grids starting in the left hand
corner of the fabric. The best way to figure out where to start a
gridded design is to take the stitch count of your pattern and divide it
by the stitch count of your fabric. Example: Say the pattern
is 240 x 240 stitches and the fabric is 16 count Aida. Divide each
side by 16. In this case 240 divide by 16. That means your
design will be 15 inches square or 15x15 inches. Find the
center of your fabric by folding it in half lengthwise, then in half
again by the width. Get a tape measure. From the center you
will measure from the middle to the top of the fabric, half
of the design height (in this case, half of 15 would be 7.5 inches).
Then measure from that point (center/top) again to the left,
half of the width of your design. (in this case also
15/2=7.5 inches) That is where you should start the first
block of 10 x 10 stitches. Measure from the center up first, then
from that point to the left side to figure out where to start your first
grid of stitches, starting in the upper left hand corner of your