Cross stitch beginners notes

There are two basic types of cross stitches, counted cross stitch and stamped cross stitch.

Counted Cross Stitch

Is the most popular cross-stitch and requires the stitcher to refer to a chart, which indicates where the X's should be placed on the fabric, and what color they should be.

Stamped Cross Stitch

These have the design already printed on the fabric, indicating where the X's should be placed. 

Cross Stitch 

The cross stitch is one of the easiest and most popular embroidery stitches. Each individual cross stitch is made of 2 diagonal stitches, a bottom stitch and a top stich that together form a 'X' Working horizontally from left to right, stitch a row of bottom stitches. Form each stitch by bringing the needle up at 1 then down at 2, up at 3 then down at 4 etc... At the end of the row, complete the cross stitch by crossing the bottom stitches with a row of top stitches in the opposite direction up at 9, down at 10 (same hole as 6) up at 11, down at 12 (same hole as 4) etc ...

Half Stitch 

Half stitches are simple diagonals. Usually they are listed under a seperate heading in the color key and are indicated on the chart as a diagonal colored line.

Quarter Stitch 

To obtain rounded shapes in a design use quarter and three quarter cross stitches. On linen and evenweave fabrics, a quarter stitch cross stitch will extend from the corner to the center intersection of the threads.


Backstitches define and outline the shape of the design. For most projects backstitches require only one strand of embroidery floss.

French Knot

Bring the threaded needle throught the fabric and wrap the floss around the needle tip as shown. Gently tighten the twists as you return the needle through the fabric just next to the place where your needle went in. The floss will slide through the wrapped thread to make the knot.

Starting & Stopping

The easiest way to start a cross stitch piece is with the "waste Knot" method, it is a temporary knot that will be clipped later. To begin, tie the knot at the end of the floss on your needle. Pass the needle through the fabric from the front down about one inch away from the placement of the first cross stitch.

Bring the needle up through the fabric in the exact square you have selected as your starting point and work the first series of cross stitches over the thread to secure it on the back of the fabric. Carefully clip off the waste knot.

To continue stitching in the same area re-thread your needle and simply run the needle under several stitches on the back side to secure the floss, then resume stitching. 

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