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.