What is cross stitch?

Cross stitch is a type of embroidery. It is a series of hand sewn X’s, which are stitched on a piece of fabric to create a finished work of art. Each individual cross-stitch is made up of two diagonal stitches – a bottom stitch and a top stitch that together form an X.

What threads do I need?

Our designs (and most others) use DMC™ six-stranded cotton. Each 8m skein comes in 6 strands, you will need 2 of these to work the X. Separate the thread into individual strands and then recombine them to prevent knotting. Use about 18” in length or 30” if you use the loop method of threading. Our designs will tell you which colour threads you will need, and the amounts you will need.

What fabric do I need?

All of our designs give fabric sizes for 14, 16 and 18 count aida fabric. The count of fabric refers to the amount of stitches per inch. A design stitched on 14 count fabric will be larger than one stitched on 18 count fabric. You can also use evenweave or linen fabrics to stitch our designs. If you are using 28 count fabric please follow the 14 count aida sizes and for 32 count fabric please follow the 16 count aida sizes.

How much fabric do I need?

It is important to leave room for framing your finished piece. Fabric sizes are calculated for you on the design, but as a rule we add 6″ to each side of the design to give you 3″ on each side for framing. A design that is fully stitched can be stitched on any colour fabric as it will not show. We recommend either white, antique white or ivory for these types of design. If your design has no background stitching then the fabric will show. For these designs you could pick a colour that will complement the design.

What type of needle will I need?

Cross-stitching requires the use of ‘blunt’ needles instead of the sharp embroidery needles in some other types of embroidery. Use size 24 Tapestry Needles for 14/28ct Fabric and size 26 Tapestry Needles for 16/32ct Fabric.

Where is the centre of my design?

All our designs are printed over multiple pages. Patterns may differ with the size or shape (portrait or landscape sized designs) Don’t worry if you see a smaller piece of grid on some pages, this is just the way the chart is printed. You will see when you lay out the pattern that the stitch count along the top & bottom matches the one given on the symbol key page. The centre of your chart is marked by black arrows on all four sides (please feel free to make 1 working single-sided photocopy of your chart for your own use only and lay your pattern out on the table or floor for ease of viewing) We also have a red line to show the centre of our designs. Just follow the arrows across and down every page and mark the centre if preferred.

Where do I start stitching?

Most stitchers start in the centre although you may find, as you get more experienced you may choose a different method. Find the centre of the fabric by folding it in half, then folding it in half the other way. Mark the centre with a pin, needle, a stitch, or some other method like a water-soluble pencil mark.

How do I start the stitch?

The Loop Method: For two strands, start with one strand twice as long as you need. Fold it in half. Thread the needle so the two ends are near the needle and the “loop” is the end farthest from the needle. Start the stitch with the loop end dangling a little bit below the cloth. When the needle comes back down to the underside, run it between the loop and the cloth, and gently pull the loop tight.

How do I make the “cross”?

Stitch the way you PREFER. Either in one block at a time, one colour at a time or all over. It doesn’t matter as long as it all comes together at the end and you feel comfortable with your method. All the stitches should go in the same direction. It doesn’t matter if the bottom half goes “/” and the top goes “\”, or vice versa. Just try to make sure that every stitch in the project is done the same way.

How do I finish the stitch?

Run the thread under four or five of the stitches on the back. You may choose to whip stitch around the second or third stitch as you are running under, this helps to keep the thread in place.

Do you offer larger symbols or colour symbols?

Yes, we do offer this service. Please email us to arrange a custom chart. We charge £3 per option per chart.