Ready to Cross Stitch
Now you are ready to start stitching! Make sure you have clean
hands that are free of lotion or oil. Look for the center of
your fabric by folding it in half sideways and then again
lengthwise. Mark the center with a small pencil mark. Look for
the center of your cross stitch pattern (generally marked by
arrows) and count up from the center of the pattern to the top
of the design for an efficient starting point and another way
to check that you have cut your fabric to the correct size
before you stitch for weeks and find out you miscalculated.
Each grid on the pattern is 10 stitches for easy counting.
I prefer to start my cross stitch projects at the top of the
fabric and work my way down. Some people like to start their
cross stitch in the middle, which can be easily located on the
pattern because it is marked. Did you know that you can even
start your cross stitch by turning your pattern upside down
(180 degrees) and stitching your pattern from the bottom. Try
it. Make a cross stitch on your fabric and then turn it upside
down and look at it. It looks exactly the same as it does
right side up.
Most patterns call for 2 strands of floss for most cross
stitches. For a softer effect, one strand is used. One strand
floss is normally used for outlining with back stitches or
fabric with a very high stitch count like 22 count Lugana or
Hardanger. When using a 22 count, it is generally stitched
with one strand of floss.
For shading on a piece, blends or tweeding is often used. This
is the use of two or more colors of thread at a time. You can
also use one strand of floss and one strand of a metallic
blending filament for a shine to your work. You must stitch
carefully when using blending filaments because they can break
Use even tension when making stitches. Do not pull the thread
too tight so as to distort the fabric and make the stitches
uneven. Work from left to right and right to left when making
rows of cross stitches.
Hold the hoop with your left hand and stitch with your right.
I usually put the hoop on my fabric with the screw off to the
left side towards the top. That way I don't catch my floss on
the screw when I am sewing and it doesn't get in the way. Some
people prefer to stitch without a hoop. Especially stitchers
who use Linen rather than Aida. Linen can get distorted in a
hoop where as Aida is a stronger fabric that doesn't distort