If you prefer to have a PDF file emailed to you, simply add this product to your cart and use the promo code "Ansuz" to purchase it for free.
Instructions and Tips
Counted cross-stitch is one of the simplest forms of embroidery. It consists of a series of cross-stitches embroidered on an evenweave fabric over the intersection of the horizontal and vertical threads. The stitches are worked into the fabric by following a pattern in the form of a grid. Each stitch is indicated by a symbol for a different thread color, backstitching, half stitches, or three-quarter stitches.
For this pattern, the fabric color and thread color are at your discretion and preferences. The example finished piece is on black, 14-count Aida fabric with white thread.
The size of your final piece depends on the size of fabric used – the smaller the count of the fabric, the less stitches per inch, creating a larger piece. For example: 14-count fabric contains 14 stitches per inch and an 11-count fabric would have 11 stitches per inch.
You can use any evenweave fabric made from cotton, linen, wool or synthetic blends. Cotton and linen fabrics are the most wisely used. Counted-thread fabrics specially woven for cross stitch, such as Aida or Hardanger, are available in a variety of colors and counts and can be found in many craft stores or online.
Threads and Yarns
Six-strand cotton embroidery floss is ideal for counted cross-stitch because the floss can be separated into the exact number of strands that provide the correct amount of coverage. For flatter designs, separate the strands of floss and work with two strands in your needle. If you wish to create a more textured effect, use more stands. You can also use silk or metallic threads, Danish mohair, pearl cotton. You can also combine a strand of metallic thread with two strands of embroidery floss for added effect.
Take your skein of embroidery thread, cut the length to about 18 inches, and then separate your threads into at least 2 strands before threading your needle to begin.
Use a small, blunt tapestry needle size 24 or 26 to avoid splitting the fabric threads.
You can work with a small, round embroidery hoop, which consists of an inner ring and an adjustable outer ring that tightens by turning a screw. This is optional, as some stitchers prefer to hold the fabric in their hands as they work.
You must have a pair of small, sharp embroidery scissors for cutting threads and a pair of sharp fabric sheers for cutting out the fabric.
- First, begin by cutting your fabric into the finished size plus one inch around each of the edges. To protect the fabric from fraying or unraveling while you stitch, you can sew around the edges with a hem or zigzag stitch on a sewing machine.
- Thread your needle.
- Find the center of your fabric by folding it in half length-wise and crosswise, and then mark the center of the fabric with a stitch. The dashed markers on the pattern indicate the center, and the red x indicates the suggested center stitch.
- If you are using a hoop, place the fabric in the hoop and pull the fabric taut. As you are stitching, you may notice that the fabric loosens. When this happens, adjust your fabric so the proper tension is maintained.
- Do not begin your piece in the center, but count the pattern from the center to the top of the pattern. With this pattern, the first stitch would be 20 boxes up, and 9 to the left (first stitch will also be a half stitch from bottom left to upper right of the box on your fabric).
- Begin stitching by bringing the thread up through the bottom left hole of your starting “box” on the Aida fabric, and leave a length of “waste” thread on the back side. Hold the waste thread with a finger on the hand you are not using to stitch in the direction you will be stitching while you finish the half stitch going down with your needle and thread through the top right hole of that same box.
- Proceed in the same fashion with the same bottom left, top right stitching technique across the first row on the pattern (the last box will be bottom right to top left), securing the waste thread on the back side with these stitches.
- When you have finished the last half stitch, go back over the middle three stitches from bottom right to top left to complete the cross-stitches, as indicated on the pattern.
- Continue this for each row, noting where a stitch should be a half stitch and where it should be a full cross-stitch, until the pattern is complete.
- As you come to the end of your length of thread, finish a stitch, keep the needle and thread on the wrong side of the fabric. Wiggle the needle beneath a few threads on the wrong side and pull the thread through. Make sure not to stick the needle through the fabric so the thread does not show up on the front side of your piece. Cut the excess thread off with your embroidery scissors, rethread your needle, and pick up where you left off.
- Backstitching is a common technique used to outline, delineate features, emphasize a portion of design, or create lettering on a piece.
- Backstitching is usually reserved as the last step on an embroidery piece.
- Work the backstitch from one hole (as indicated on the pattern), and work up to the next hole in a horizontal or vertical direction (where indicated).
- Do not come back up the same hole you went down on when backstitching to prevent the stitch from coming out. Skip to the next hole and work back to the last
If you have any questions or want to send us a photo of your final piece, send them to email@example.com.