How to Begin Cross Stitch

Helen Bradley

3 Minute Read

How to Begin Cross Stitch

Helen Bradley

3 Minute Read

If you are just learning how to cross stitch you might be feeling a little unsure about how exactly to begin. In this article we explain how and where to begin to get you off on the right foot.

How Do You Know Where to Begin a Cross Stitch Pattern?

To some extent the order you stitch a cross stitch design is a matter of personal choice. Some people pick a favorite color or the focal point of the design, but here are a few recommended conventions.

Start in the Middle

Why should you start in the center of a cross stitch design? To make sure the design is perfectly centered on your fabric it’s a good idea to begin in the middle of the design and in the middle of your fabric.

Don’t Use Knots

Knots at the back of your cross stitch can cause unsightly lumps and get in the way when you are adding stitches in neighboring holes. It is better to use the waste knot or away knot methods to secure your thread. Read ‘Should you knot embroidery thread? Better ways to secure your thread' to find out more about these techniques.

Work in Rows

Cross stitch is usually worked in rows from left to right. Make the row of half cross stitches and then work back in the opposite direction to complete the crosses. This way, if you make a mistake in your counting it is easier to unpick your stitches.

What Order Should You Stitch a Cross Stitch Pattern?

Once you have placed a few stitches on your fabric you can count the holes to work out where all the other stitches should be placed relative to the ones you have worked.

You can choose the order you stitch the other sections, but count carefully and remember if you work sections that are close to those you have already worked you are less likely to make counting mistakes and you will spot mistakes more quickly. This can save you a lot of unpicking!

It is recommended that you work the main elements of a pattern before adding background stitches because filling in the background accurately will be much easier when all the main elements of the design are in place. It is also recommended to work darker colors first and then the lighter ones.

Avoid Threads Stretching Across the Back of Your Cross Stitch

As you move around the pattern avoid having long stretches of thread at the back of your work as these can distort the fabric, cause tangles and show through the fabric. To use the same color in a section that is any distance from where you have been stitching it is better to secure your thread, cut it and then start with a new thread.

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