HOW TO CROSS STITCH (Basic Instructions)The thread used for stitching our cross stitch designs is a six-strand, colourfast cotton which is purchased as an 8m skein, available in a myriad of colours. First, cut a length of cotton approximately 18-24" (45 - 60cm) from the skein. Separate the strands carefully and use the correct number of strands as indicated in your chart key.
Begin your stitching with a loop stitch. For cross stitch using 2 strands of cotton take one strand of thread, fold it in half and thread the two loose ends through your needle so that the loop is at the far end. Make your first stitch and thread the needle through the loop on the underside of the fabric.
For stitching with a single thread (normally for the backstitch outline), make a slip knot at the end, work your stitch and thread the needle through this loop on the underside of your fabric.
Alternatively, using the number of strands indicated in the key, hold the end of your thread at the back of your work and secure with the first few stitches.
SINGLE CROSS STITCH - To work a single cross stitch, shown on your chart as one symbol, filling one grid square, bring your needle up through the fabric at the bottom left hand corner of your aida block, down through the fabric at the top right corner, up at the bottom right and down at the top left.
ROWS OF CROSS STITCH - Work a row of diagonal stitches from left to right and then return along the row from right to left. Always work your cross stitches with the top diagonal slanting in the same direction. This makes your finished piece of work look neater.
FRACTIONAL STITCHES - A quarter stitch (a) is shown by a small symbol in the corner of the square on the chart. It is stitched by bringing the thread up through the fabric at the corner where it is to begin and then down through the centre of an aida block.
A half stitch (b) is shown by two small symbols in the opposite corners of a square on the chart. It is stitched by bringing the thread up through the fabric at the corner where it is to begin and then down through the hole diagonally opposite, as shown.
A three-quarter stitch (c) is a combination of a half and quarter stitch.
A three-quarter stitch and a quarter stitch can be stitched in different colours to make up a full aida block (d).
BACKSTITCH - Work your backstitch once all your cross stitches and fractional stitches have been completed. It is shown on your chart by the coloured lines and is worked by bringing the needle up through your aida one square to the left of where the line of backstitch is to begin. Next, take your needle down through the hole where the stitching is to begin (one hole to the right), then up through the fabric two blocks (holes) to the left and back down one hole to the right and so on, to make a continuous line of stitches.
Backstitch can also be worked over 2 or more holes in your aida in the same way.
STRAIGHT STITCH is worked in a similar way to backstitch and is also show on your chart as coloured lines. The key will indicate the difference between the backstitch and straight stitch lines. Bring your needle up through the fabric where the line on the chart begins, and down again where the line ends.
FRENCH KNOTS - Bring your needle up through the fabric where the french knot is to be placed. Wrap the thread tightly, twice round the needle and push the needle back down through the fabric. Holding the thread taut and the knot with your finger, pull the needle through so that the knot is sitting on the surface of the fabric, and it is complete.
FASTEN OFF your stitching by threading your cotton under a few stitches on the reverse side and trim the excess thread using sharp scissors.