What else can I stitch on with my Cross stitch pattern?

What else can I do with my cross-stitch pattern?

You can stitch your designs onto Plastic Canvas, or Perforated Paper, use it in conjunction with Scrap-booking, to make that special cover for a book.  Use Waste Canvas to stitch it onto shirts, hats, bags, or any other cloth you can think of.  (Waste Canvas allows you to  stitch onto other fabrics, and remove the canvas later, leaving the design on other fabrics. Cross-stitch graph patterns, are easy to follow and maps outblocks of colour for you to create an overall design.  This same process,could be used in many crafts.  Have you tried, bead weaving?, what about Colourwash Patchwork! (A kind of patchwork involving sewing together small squares of the same size of different materials .  The overall effect islike a mosaic, or one of those paintings made of geometric blocks of colour.


Tips on adding metallic threads and beads to cross stitch

Metallic Threads

Stitching with metallic threads can be more difficult than with normal stranded cottons.  But these handy hints,make the process easier.

  • Try to leave any metallic thread cross-stitches till the last.
  • Depending on your thread you choose to use, it may require anywhere between 1 and 3 strands in your length, to give proper coverage.
  • Sometimes it can work better to use one thread plain, with one thread metallic.
  • To stop the metallic thread fraying, use smaller lengths of metallic thread.
  • Try using a needle with a large hole.
  • Use this handy hint – Instead of passing the end of your thread through your needle, pass through a turned over loop, then whilst it is poking through the hole, pass the tip of the needle through the loop and ease the knot down into the eye of the needle.  What this does is stop the thread moving back and forth through the hole and causing it to fray.


The addition of beads on your cross-stitch design, can add that special other dimension, as it shimmers and catches the light.  Stitching a bead on can be done in a few different ways, depending on whether your design has large areas of beads or just highlights.  I use a plain cross-stitch to attach my beads.  Using a single thread I pass the needle through the bead each time I complete a diagonal stitch.  This makes the bead sit square on the design.

If you were to have a lot of beads in one area, depending on your Aida count, too many beads would jostle with each other for space, this is when it is good to use this second technique.  Bringing the Needle up on the Top Left hole of the square, pass it through the bead and down into the Bottom Right hole.  The beads will sit at a diagonal angle,but will nestle in behind each other well, when you have large groupings of beads.

How to applique using the Needleturn technique

Needle turn appliqué uses freezer paper to trace the pattern pieces straight off the pattern, onto the papery side of the freezer paper, you can also write the pattern piece number on the freezer paper so you know exactly which piece it is.  If you have trouble seeing through the freezer paper to see the lines on the pattern, then one idea is to tape your pattern right side up onto a window, and place your freezer paper paper side up on top and begin tracing.  Then it can be temporarily “glued” to the right side of the fabric you are using for the applique by ironing on the paper side, then cut the fabric leaving a  1/4″ allowance all the way around.  All of our own pattern pieces are numbered so that you can tell which piece will be placed down first, and may be overlapped by others of a larger number.  Iron your background fabric. Use your pattern to show you where to place the pattern pieces, and lightly mark on the fabric. Each piece is tacked or pinned down one at a time down onto the background fabric, then the edges (seam allowances) are tucked under and sewn to the background with blind hemming stitches. Some people leave the freezer paper on until this stage is complete.  As it is easy to tuck the edges under up to the edge of the paper. Once in place the freezer paper can just be peeled off. Sometimes, small snips in the turnunder allowance are required to help the edges turn under.  And on points, the tips of the points may need to be trimmed back to allow the next side to fold under neatly.  There is a picture below to illustrate this.  Where more than one piece is appliquéd, one piece maybe partially overlaid by another piece, on the bottom piece the edge that will be covered is just left, there is no need to turn its edges under as it will not show.

needleturn graphic      needleturn graphic 2


Beginners instructions in Applique


What is Appliqué?  It is the process of applying smaller pieces of other fabrics, on top of the background fabric.

There are basically two ways of doing this. One is needle-turn appliqué.  And the other is Fusible Web Appliqué.

Check the separate tutorial on Needleturn Applique as this tutorial applies to Fusible Web applique.

Fusible Web appliqué has pieces that are “Glued” down onto the fabric using fusible webbing and then sewn down later either by machine, or by hand, using blanket or button-hole stitch.  Fusible webbing is sold by the metre, it is very fine and backed by paper.  When it is heated with an iron from the paper side it will dissolve the webbing and it will glue the webbing to the wrong side of the fabric pattern piece.  Later the paper is removed, and the webbing backed piece of fabric can then be turned over and ironed once more, re-heating the glue and adhering the piece to the background fabric. To use this method.   Use the paper backed webbing to trace off your pattern pieces. The main thing to remember is to first reverse your pattern. You can do this by simply turning your pattern over and tracing the pieces off from the back, (If you can’t see through the paper, one idea is to tape it to a window right side down, so that the light from the other side can show up the lines easier for you) Place your fusible webbing, paper side up on top and begin by tracing off the pieces, numbering them as you go so you can tell which is which.

All of our patterns have easily numbered pieces so that you can tell which pieces are placed down first, and thus can be underneath later pieces. With patterns that have been designed for fusible webbing technique, it already has the lines marked in with a dotted line, which show you which pieces will be overlapped.

fusible applique graphic

Like X-ray vision the finer dotted lines on the pattern show where the extended  pieces lay underneath the top pieces. Trace these lines onto your freezer paper.  Cut out roughly, and iron onto the wrong side of your appliqué fabric.  Trim your fabric and paper back to the line at the same time. Press your background fabric for the front of the wall-hanging.  Hint: Use your pattern to show you where to place the pattern pieces, and lightly mark on the fabric (You can use the window once again, place the pattern on the window front side up this time, and then the background fabric, front side up on top, simply trace through marking the positioning of the major pieces). Remove paper backing and iron your pieces in place on your background fabric. Take care to over lap where necessary, as indicated with the pattern pieces numbering.  Once you have ironed your pieces in place.  You can start with the appliqué.  Feel free to applique using a tight satin stitch on your sewing machine, or use the graphic below for instruction in Button-hole applique, which is a hand sewing technique.  When stitching by hand, use 2 strands of embroidery cotton.

blanketstitch graphic  right.1


Beginners Instructions in Cross stitch

Beginners instructions in cross stitch

Cross stitch is really just like painting by numbers.  Only with stitches.  A good design will allow you to create your own really beautiful pictures in thread.   Following a graph, where symbols represent a particular colour thread, you can build up your design one colour at a time. New trends in X-stitch, see the addition of sparkling metallic threads, beads and small tokens to embellish.

First take a good look at your graph, understand that each square,represents one square, of whatever fabric you are using, (sometimes, Aida, Linen, Waste Canvas etc). A design size is measured in the “Count” width and height. That is how many squares there is in the design.  Cloth  is also measured in “Count”, when it is said that something is in 14 Count, that means that there are 14 little squares to an inch.  22 Count is 22 squares per inch.  This means that when you stitch your design onto the fabric, the larger the count, the smaller the overall size of the design will be.

Separate two strands from your length of embroidery cotton.  The standard is that there are 6 strands, this will give you 3 lots of double strands.  Thread your needle.  You should use a blunt ended darning needle.  It can help to mark the middle of your fabric with a pin, or to run a line of running stitch with some other thread up through the centre from top to bottom and side to side, so that you have a large cross marking your Aida into four quarters.  These threads are only a guide, and would be pulled out on completion of your design.

See where you should begin with your chosen starting colour. Do not knot your thread, simply hold the tail end of the thread so that the first few stitches stitch over the tail end.  A standard cross-stitch is performed by bring your needle up through the bottom left hole of a square and down into the top right hole, then up through the bottom right hole and down into the top left hole, thus completing a cross-stitch.  If you are doing a line of stitches, then complete all the diagonal from bottom left to top right working along the line, and then complete all the stitches by travelling back the way you have come, going from bottom right through into the top left. That’s it, it is that easy.

Some more rules of thumb, regarding ending off each thread.  Do not knot your threads underneath, simply pass them back on the underside, through several stitches next to your last stitch. This tucks the end in and stops it from coming undone.  And try not to “travel” far between groups of stitches, it stays much neater, if you end off the thread and start again at the new position.  As a guide, do not “travel” more than an inch.  Try to finish with one colour before you start on another, gradually your picture will come together.