How to Cross Stitch

If you are new to cross stitch or need a re­fresher, here are some ba­sics you should know. Note: Th­ese in­struc­tions ap­ply if you are stitch­ing on Aida cloth. If you are stitch­ing on linen or even­weave, you will cross over two threads, or as di­rected on pa

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Get Ready …

It is help­ful to be­gin a project in the cen­ter of the de­sign. Here are the two steps: 1 Thread a nee­dle with a strand of floss. Fold your fab­ric in half length­wise, then fold cross­wise to find the cen­ter of the fab­ric. Pierce the point cre­ated by the folds with the threaded nee­dle and pull through one Aida square. Un­fold the fab­ric, then com­plete the cross stitch that you started by pierc­ing the fold. This will be your “mark­ing thread.” 2 Look at the chart and find the ar­rows in the mid­dle of the ver­ti­cal and hor­i­zon­tal sides. Fol­low both ar­rows with your fin­gers and you will find the cen­ter of the de­sign. Be­gin stitch­ing next to the cross stitch that you used to mark the cen­ter. Re­move the mark­ing cross stitch and con­tinue. If the cen­ter of your de­sign is in an area that does not have sym­bols, find the clos­est area of the de­sign and count over from your mark­ing thread to be­gin.

Get Set …

There are two ways you may thread your nee­dle and se­cure your floss. Most cross-stitch de­signs rec­om­mend us­ing two strands of floss, and th­ese two op­tions ap­ply in this case. 1 Thread your nee­dle with two strands of floss. ( This is eas­i­est if you use a nee­dle threader.) When you make your first stitch, leave about an inch of thread be­neath your fab­ric as a small “tail.” Hold the tail un­der your first few stitches to se­cure the end of your floss. Clip the end of the tail. 2 An­other way to be­gin stitch­ing is with the “loop” method. Fold one strand of floss in half. Thread the folded piece of floss through the eye of your nee­dle. Leave the loop be­low your fab­ric when you be­gin Part 1 of your stitch. Af­ter you do Part 2, in­sert the nee­dle in the loop and pull gen­tly. Your floss is now se­cure be­neath your fab­ric.


A cross stitch is ex­e­cuted in two steps. 1 Pull the thread up in the lower left cor­ner of an Aida square. In­sert the nee­dle in the up­per right cor­ner and pull down. 2 Pull the thread up in the lower right cor­ner. Pull the thread down through the up­per left cor­ner. You have now cre­ated one cross stitch. Note: You can be­gin from right to left or top to bot­tom if you pre­fer. If you are stitch­ing sev­eral crosses in a row, you may stitch step 1 across the ad­ja­cent threads, then re­turn with step 2. (See di­a­gram be­low.)

Cross­ing the Fin­ish Line

When you have com­pleted an area with one color of floss, pull the nee­dle gen­tly un­der four or five stitches on the back side of your stitch­ing. Clip the end of the thread.

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