Cross-Stitch 101: The Basics

If you’ve ever looked at a finished cross-stitch project, you may be amazed at the amount of details. From the different colors and stitches type to the image and the finishing, it may seem like a very complicated thing to do! Now look closely, it is simply made up of a series of squares covered with stitches in the shape of an X.

The basis of cross-stitching is in its name: stitching cross shapes. Yes, it’s that simple! In this Cross-Stitch 101 lesson, we will learn how to do a very simple and basic stitch.

After having all the supplies you need at hand and preparing your fabric, you will need to prepare your floss. If you’re using a 6-strand type of thread, you have to separate it into threads of two strands. Cut about 10 inches of your thread and gently separate the strands.

Now, take your fabric and look closely. Do you see all the small squares? Each of these squares will be covered by a cross shaped stitch. Your needle will go through the holes making up the corners of these squares.
Let’s start by learning how to do a full cross stitch. Once you are comfortable with this basic stitch, you will be ready to complete a beginner level cross-stitch project.

 

Step 1

From the back of the cloth, insert your needle at the bottom left corner of the square you want to stitch on.

Leave a couple of inches of loose thread outside. Don’t make a knot or twist your thread. Just hold it firmly in place for now.

 

 

Step 2

Next, go into the top right corner in order to complete the first half of the stitch.

 

Step 3

The needle is now at the back side of your fabric again. In order to close the stitch, bring it back in from the bottom right corner.

 

 

Remember that loose thread we left in step 1? Make sure to go over it while doing step 3. The reason we do that is to avoid the stitches from going loose.

Avoid doing a knot instead. Can you imagine a large project full of bulges due to all the knots on the backside? Instead, you will end up with a nice even cross-stitched piece.

 

 

Step 4

There is one thing left to do and that is closing the stitch. Just go through the top left corner and you are done! You just completed your first stitch!

 

Now keep practicing a few more. Just repeat the same steps over the next square. Keep stitching until you are comfortable with the steps.

It’s important to keep in mind that you should always follow the same order of steps so you don’t end up with mismatched stitches. You can also try changing colors or going vertically.

 

Step 5

After you are done with the thread, don’t cut it straight away or your stitches won’t hold. Instead, look at the back of your fabric. Just pass your needle carefully under four or five stitches at the back and cut. Again, no need for knots!

 

All you have to do now is find a pattern and start stitching!

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