I’m constantly amazed by the number of people who consider cross stitch to be a complicated craft. It is, in fact, incredibly easy to get started as there are only a few simple stitches involved! Find out how to cross stitch with our handy guide…
Cross stitch is so versatile: not only can you create impressive samplers and pictures, you can also use it to embellish and customise clothing, bags, accessories, and even other craft projects. Once you know how to cross stitch, you’ll be able to work with any chart you choose!
The first step before you can begin stitching is to decide how you’re going to get started! One of the neatest ways of starting is to hold the end of the thread under your fabric as you begin to work your cross stitch. Gradually the end of your thread will be securely held in place by the overlapping stitches (A). If two strands of thread are required, you could also use the loop method to get started. Take one strand of thread, fold in half and thread both ends through the needle. Pull the thread through your fabric (from back to front), then back down through the fabric (from front to back) to create the first stitch. Hold the looped end of the thread in place as you do this and thread the needle through the loop as you pull it back (B). This creates an ‘invisible’ starting point.
Cross stitch on aida:
Begin by bringing the needle up through the fabric (from back to front) in the bottom left hole of the square you’d like to stitch. Then pull the needle back down through the fabric (from front to back) in the hole diagonally to the right (1). Remember to hold the end of the thread in place and choose your starting method to secure (see above). Continue to create diagonal stitches in this way until you have the desired number in that row (2). At the end of the row, pull the needle up through the bottom right hole of the final square in the row and then down through the top left hole to create an X shape (3). Continue in this way until you reach the beginning of the row to create a line of cross stitches (4).
Cross stitch on evenweave:
Cross stitch can be worked on aida or evenweave fabrics, such as linen. Working on linen gives a more professional finish as the holes in the fabric are less visible. However, this also makes it very fiddly to work with! Cross stitch on evenweave fabric is the same as aida, only each cross is worked over three holes instead of two.
Backstitch is used for outlining shapes and adding detail to cross stitch patterns. Because of this, backstitch is usually done on top of the cross stitch once the main design has been completed.
Fractional stitches (quarter, half and three-quarter cross stitch) are used to create curves for intricate patterns. If you’re new to cross stitch, stick to basic patterns that don’t require fractional stitches. Once you’re confident with reading cross stitch charts, have a go at experimenting with larger, complicated designs!
If you’re new to cross stitch, we have some really great cross stitch kits, with everything you need to get started! Have a look at some of our cross stitch books to find a chart that you like – Home Sweet Home Cross Stitch has some great samplers.