LogoBasic Cross Stitch Instructions

Hints for Best Results

Cross Stitch is a very simple stitch to work. Try to keep a nice even tension for each stitch letting the floss rest upon the fabric. Do not pull the fabric threads out of shape with stitches that are pulled too tight.
Try to develop a rhythm for untwisting the thread by twisting your needle every so often as you stitch to keep both strands of floss flat.
Each stitch is indicated on the chart by a different symbol for each color of floss.
Be sure to have all of the stitches cross in the same direction. The top stitch should run from the upper left corner to the bottom right corner of the square.
When ending threads, run thread under at least 3 or 4 stitches. No knots are used in cross stitch. See the instructions for Securing Thread and Ending Thread for the various ways, that avoid the use of knots.
Try to work Quarter Stitches at the beginning and ends of rows for neatness.
Another way to begin a new thread is to run thread under several completed stitches on the back, looping  back around the last stitch gently, to secure new thread.  Do not run a new dark thread under lighter thread stitches as the new thread may show through.
Mistakes--It is important to fix mistakes so that all areas of the chart will match up. Carefully remove all incorrect stitches. If the floss is damaged, it is better to restitich with new floss.
Minor mistakes may be left in place if they will not be noticeable in the overall design.
You can avoid counting mistakes by stitching color areas right next to each other.  The tendency to miscount occurs when you try to same color areas and incorrectly count the empty spaces in between.
Most of all Enjoy your stitching!!

Center Design on Fabric

To correctly center design on fabric, FOLD the fabric in half vertically and horizontally to locate the central point on the fabric. This central square represents the central square on the chart, determined by the arrows pointing towards the center of the design. Begin stitching anywhere, counting from the central square on the chart.

Securing thread - LOOP Method

Use for small areas with only a few stitches or isolated stitches such as characters in lettering.

With a single strand of floss, thread both ends of floss through needle. Come up from back in the upper corner of a square, go down in the opposite corner at bottom of square as shown.

Pull  thread through gently.  Thread will appear on front of fabric like the first half of a Cross Stitch.
Turn fabric over to back and run needle through loop left at back. Pull snugly to secure. Bring needle up in position to continue next stitch.

Securing Thread - WASTE KNOT Method

Used for regular Cross Stitch.

Thread needle as usual, tieing a knot at thread ends. Go down from the front of fabric about an inch or so away from where you will be starting to stitch. Bring needle up in position to begin first stitch. Work several Cross Stitches, securing thread end. Carefully clip off Waste Knot from front.

Ending Thread

TO END THREAD: Weave thread still in the needle under several completed stitches on back. Clip off thread end. For isolated stitches, run thread back and forth under existing stitches to secure.


Cross Stitch
Come up at 1, down at 2, up at 3, down at 4, up at 5, down at 6, up at 7.
At end of row, return, covering previous stitches, up at 7, down at 4, up at 5, down at 2, repeating to end of row. Each stitch covers one square of the fabric. You may work either horizontal or vertical rows. NOTE: Stitches on back will be vertical.
For VERTICAL ROWS,  each stitch is worked separately. Up at 1, down at 2, up at 3, down at 4. For next stitch, Up at 5, down at 3, up at 6, down at 1, then up at 7 for next stitch.

Half Cross Stitch

This stitch is simply the first part of the Cross Stitch by itself. This stitch is mainly used for backgrounds and soft subtle shading of large areas. It is worked with 1 Strand of Floss unless noted otherwise. You may work rows of Half Cross back and forth by turning fabric upside down for alternate rows. Keep stitch tension light to avoid distorting fabric.

Quarter Stitch

Quarter Stitches are usually worked along outer edges of shapes in a design, as well as  facial areas where definition is required  Some squares on the chart will have two Quarter Stitches in the same square. These small stitches will be defined later by Back Stitch.

Work Quarter Stitches as follows: Make a tiny diagonal stitch (1/4 of a normal stitch) from the corner of the square to the center of the square. You can also come up in the center of the square, going back down into the corner hole. 



Back Stitch is indicated on the chart by the heavy solid outline in various places. Use the colors of floss indicated on the chart, using 1 strand of floss unless instructed otherwise.

Come up at 1, down at 2, up at 3, down at 1, up at 4, down at 3, etc. continuing along shape.

BACK STITCH across 2 squares: Back Stitches sometimes will go across 2 squares, for such things as grass or flower stems. Work as follows: Come up at 1 in corner of square, down at 2 between fabric squares, up at 3 in square corner, down at 2. 

Long Straight Stitches

These stitches can indicate things such as grass, sunrays, cat whiskers, etc. These stitches cover more than one square on the chart.

Whiskers example: Come up at 1, down at 2, up at 3, down at 1, up at 4, down at 3. These long stitches are worked similarly to Back Stitch. Do not pull these stitches too tightly. Let the stitches lay on top of the fabric.


Sunrays example:

Come up at 1, down at 2, up at 3, down at 4, up again at 3, down at 5.



Illustrations and text 2000, Donna Vermillion Giampa, The Vermillion Stitchery

Last Updated on 04/27/09
By Diana Vermillion Girling