Last week’s blog had a look at what to do before you start any cross stitch kit, as good preparation will ensure that your work goes nice and smoothly. This week, we’re continuing with our tips for cross stitch novices with a step-by-step guide on how to complete your cross-stitch kit.
So, at this point you should have an embroidery hoop and be sat somewhere that’s well lit, either by natural light or a lamp. What you first need to do is find the middle of your fabric. You can do this by folding it in half and pinching. Then, fold it in half the other way, and pinch again. Where the two fold intersect will be your centre, and your fabric will be left with a small crease at this point. Doing this gives you a point of reference as many stitchers like to start from the centre of each chart, and this is recommended for newcomers to the hobby. Once you have your centre, pop your fabric on to your hoop with the centre in the middle of the hoop.
Now, take a look at your chart. Each square on the chart corresponds to a single cross stitch, and the different symbols represent different colours. There will be a key next to the chart which will show you what colour is which. Have a quick look to familiarise yourself with the design.
Now you will need to prepare your thread. Each ‘piece’ is known as floss, which is made up of six strands. You will need to separate the floss into the individual strands, and have a look at your chart to see whether it uses two strands or just one. Thread your needle with the required colour, but don’t tie any knots in your thread. This is because they will show through the design if you frame it, and will make it look uneven.
Now it’s time to stitch. Starting from the middle of the design, you’ll see that the fabric has small holes evenly spaced apart that create squares. You can stitch in either of two ways, but be sure to not pull your thread too tight and make sure that all the crosses go in the same direction. The most common method is to stitch a row of half stitches, and then go back and do the other direction. For example, you’ll do all of the ////// stitches, and then the \\\ ones. The other method is to push your needle up through the bottom left, down through the top right, then up through the bottom right and down in the top left.
When it comes to changing thread, you can either cut the thread or ‘jump’ it to another section of the same colour. If you cut it, tuck it under other threads as you stitch them to keep it in place. This is better to do if the next section of that colour is a long way away. Otherwise, if the distance is short, just rethread your needle with that thread and keep on going.
Continue in this way until your design is complete, paying careful attention to ensure that your stitches all run in the same direction and that you’re accurately counting how many of each stitch you need to do. Then, trim the threads on the back of your design if needed, as well as any excess material but be sure not to cut it too close to the design.
Cross stitch kits may seem complicated at first, but hopefully our handy guides have shown you just how easy they can be. If you have any needlecraft tips of your own, and would like us to share them with other Past Impressions fans, let us know! As always, you can leave a comment below, send them to us on Facebook, or tweet them to us; just be sure to mention @PastImp in your tweet!