How to Cross Stitch

Posted by Danielle Armstrong on


How to Cross Stitch

  1. Each block on the chart represents one block on the fabric and each cross stitch is worked over one block on the fabric.
  2. Each length of stranded cotton is made up of six strands. Pull out one strand at a time and then recombine them for stitching. Use two strands for cross stitch and one strand for back stitch, unless the kit instructions state otherwise.
  3. Don't start or finish with a knot. To start, leave about 2.5cm of thread at the back of the fabric and secure this with the first few stitches. Finish by weaving the thread through the back of several stitches on the wrong side of the work. It is better to finish off and then re-start than to carry the thread across the back of the work, particularly across an unstitched area, as it will show through the fabric.
  4. To work a full cross stitch: Bring the needle up at a, down at b, up at c, down at d. For horizontal rows, stitch all the way across, then all the way back. Work vertical lines in the same manner. Ensure that the first stitch in each cross lies in the same direction.
  5. For three-quarter and quarter stitches, where two colours appear as triangles in the same block: Using first colour, bring the needle up at a, down at b, then up at c and down through the centre of the fabric block. Work the remaining quarter stitch by bringing the second colour up at e and down through the centre of the fabric block. To decide which colour is the three-quarter and which is the quarter, use whichever colour is to the front of the design for the three-quarter stitch. Where only one colour appears, use the three-quarter stitch.
  6. Once the cross stitches are complete, work the outlines using one strand of thread, in backstitch. Bring the needle up at a, down at b, up at c, and so on.
  7. French knots are marked on charts by a black spot. They are used for features on small figures. To work a French knot, using one strand of black thread, bring the needle up through the fabric a fraction of a block away from where you want the knot to be. Twist the thread around the needle twice, and push the needle into the fabric in the exact position of the finished knot. Pull the thread gently until it is snug on the needle and push the needle through to the back. To make a bigger knot, use two strands of thread.
  8. Check your position on your chart regularly. This way, if you do happen to go wrong, there will be less to unpick!

Never leave your needle in your work—it may cause rust marks.

Happy stitching,



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