cross-stitch-supplies

How To Cross Stitch Guide For Beginners

This guide is filled with instructions on how to cross stitch, including some extra resources. Each title is a link that will take you to the relevant video if you need the extra visual along with this post. So, before you start stitching…

You Will Need:

cross-stitch-supplies
  • Aida (the stuff you stitch on)
  • Embroidery thread
  • A needle (usually called tapestry or a cross stitch needle)
  • A pattern to follow
  • A hoop or frame to hold your fabric while you’re stitching
  • Scissors
  • A pen or pencil
  • A comfy spot to sit and stitch (preferably with good light).

Optional Extras:

  • A needle minder
  • A bag or box to keep your supplies in
  • A warm drink and yummy snack.

I have another blog post about the materials I use in my cross stitch kits if you would like to know more about them.

Starting your hoop

You always start stitching in the centre of your fabric and you can find the centre by folding your fabric/aida in half lengthways and width ways. Where they meet is your centre square and you can find the centre of your pattern by following the arrows. Then pop your aida in the hoop, trying to keep it centre. Pull the aida as tight as you can get it; this will make it much easier to stitch on.

Your thread is already cut and ready to use in my kits; take two strands and separate it carefully and thread your needle with the two ends. If you don’t have a kit from me, you can use this trick to snip your skein of thread to get 24 equal strands. Just snip through all the loops are the bottom!

embroidery-scissors-cutting-thread

For your first stitch come up the top left hole of the square you are starting on and leave and hold about an inch of thread out at the back. Then go diagonally across into the bottom right hole.

needle-making-a-cross-stitch

Next, come back up the top right hole and back down into the bottom left and repeat. (For more details on how to do a cross stitch see below). As you are stitching make sure your stitches are going over the inch of thread at the back to secure it.

Thread your needle with a needle threader

If you are struggling to thread your needle by hand then you can use your needle threader. Put the threader through the hole in your needle. Next, take your 2 strands of thread and put them through the hole of the threader. Then pull the threader back through the hole and this should take the thread through too. Take the threader off the thread and you have a threaded needle!

Alternative way to start

The way I have taught you start above is just one of many ways. One of my other favourites is the knot-less loop method. This method works particularly well for light effects thread, but I would avoid using it with any variation or variegated thread (the thread that has many colours in it).

Take 1 strand of thread instead of 2 and fold it in half. Thread your needle where the 2 ends meet and you should have a loop at the bottom. Again, come up the top left hole of the square you are starting on and leave the loop sticking out of the back.

Then go diagonally across into the bottom right hole and put your needle in the loop. Pull your thread gently and you should have made a knot. Then continue your stitching.

needle-going-through-loop-of-thread

Making your “X”

Each square on your aida is one full X stitch from your pattern. You always start stitching in the centre of your pattern, which you can find by folding your aida in half lengthways and width ways.

centre-of-aida

As I said above, for your first stitch come up the top left hole of the square you are starting on, then go diagonally across into the bottom right square.

Next, come back up the top right hole and back down into the bottom left. Repeat this until you come to the end of the thread or colour you are using.

making-a-cross-stitch

There are of course other ways to do this. Some people prefer to start from the right hole first and down into the bottom left. And some people do lots of half cross stitches one way and come back over them the other way, which I show you in the video.

If you find a different way to stitch then go with whatever you find easiest; the important bit is to be consistent and do each stitch the same.

Tying off your thread

When you come to the end of your thread or you need to swap colours then you need to securely tie off your thread. To do this, you just simply take your needle and thread it under some of the stitches on the back of your hoop.

tying-off-thread

If you have quite a bit of thread left when you come to the end then you can snip it off and keep it to use again or “park it” (slip it through an unused part of your fabric) to use later.

Backing your hoop

First, you need to cut your felt out. Take your inner hoop, and draw around the outside of it and cut your felt circle out. 

For backing your hoop you will need to use 2 strands of thread. Start by doing a running stitch around the edge of your fabric. This is simply a normal stitch going in and out of your fabric. When you have gone all the way around pull gently and your fabric should bunch together.

a-running-stitch-how-to-back-your-hoop

Next, come up through the edge of the fabric next to your hoop and place your felt at the back. Your felt may have pencil lines on from when you cut it. If this is the case then place the side with the pencil lines down so they are hidden.

felt-on-back-of-hoop

Now you do the blanket stitch. Put your needle in the felt about an inch away from the edge of the hoop. Come out right next to where you first came out and make sure your needle is in front of the thread. Pull gently and you will have made your first stitch.

blanket-stitch

For your second stitch put your needle in about an inch away from your first and an inch away from the edge again. Come straight up by the edge of your fabric and again make sure the thread is behind your needle. Pull gently and you will have made your second stitch. Repeat until you reach the end.

blanket-stitch

I hope you found this how to cross stitch guide helpful, but if there is anything else you would like to know please just get in touch.

And if this has inspired you to start cross stitching (which I hope it has!) then check out our cross stitch kits for beginners and make sure you sign up to the newsletter for free planning sheets and patterns.

Extra Resources:

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This guide is filled with instructions on how to cross stitch, including some extra resources. Each title is a link that will take you to a relevant video tutorial if you need the extra visual. #howtocrossstitch #crossstitch #hannahhandmakes #diycrafts

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