DIY Culture

Things needed[]


Tips & suggestions[]

There are only 3 stitches to learn!

Fabric 14 Count Aida Cloth, have obvious squares as part of the weave

Floss Floss thread comes in 6 strands and you will note that most stitches are created in two strands. Cut a length that is comfortable for you to sew with then separate off two strands together. Thread your needle with the two strands.

Basic Cross Stitch (Always have your top stitch crossover in the same direction)

Single stitch Create your first stitch coming up from underneath your fabric in a bottom corner of a square, cross diagonally and return your needle through the opposite upper corner. Next, come back up from underneath your fabric at the opposite lower corner of the square and then again, cross diagonally and return your needle into the opposite top corner.

Continuous row cross stitch: (ideal for a smooth look) First make the bottom half stitches across in a row then go back, crossing over the first row.

Back Stitch (Usually used to outline an object in a contrasting color or used in lettering)

Come up from under, one row ahead of the start point then bring your needle back to and into the start point.

Skip a row underneath, come back up and go back through the last point you had previously come up. Continue following pattern, usually one square at a time.

French Knot (Creates periods at end of sentences or accents)

Bring the floss out of the required position, hold the floss down with the thumb and encircle the needle two times.

Still holding the thread firmly with your thumb, pull up and gently allow a knot to form to desired size at the top of your fabric. Return your needle into the fabric a ½ row, past your starting point and insert it. Pull gently as not to pull entire French knot through to the backside.

Getting Started

To determine where to start you will want to find the center of your fabric by folding in half then half again. The chart shows you center points from the top and sides so you can determine the center point there as well. Note what color block and symbol is in or near the center. Don’t worry about being exact. Another method is to determine the finished size of the project. Figure out a corner starting point instead. The chart is designed for 14 stitches per inch and is graphed for you in squares of 10 stitches.

Your floss colors have matching symbols and numbers on the chart. Find your starting color floss and separate out two strands. All your cross-stitches will be two strands. Backstitches are usually single strands unless specified, such as lettering.

Thread your needle. Experts will tell you not to knot your thread as it adds bulk to the back of your pattern and the knots can sometimes pull through. Their technique is a lot more difficult to achieve and I find that on a heavy fabric like Aida cloth, the knots won’t effect your work unless they are large. My grandmother taught me an easy way of wrapping the end of the thread around the index finger, wrap the thread around the finger twice and roll it off between your thumb and index finger forming a knot. If you want to do it the “proper” way, there are many cross-stitch sites on the internet with directions. You would want to learn this technique if you were doing finer projects on linen.

have directions at for a knotless starting stitch and illustrations.

Always be sure your hands and work area is clean and that you have adequate lighting! Enjoy! Cross-stitching is fun and relaxing.


After you have completed all your stitches, examine your piece. If the fabric is soiled, you may hand wash the piece with a mild detergent and allow to air dry flat. Iron your piece placing a damp pressing cloth (a pillowcase will work) over it. Let the steam take out any creases without flattening your work. Clip away any excessively large knots and loose threads.

Visit the Joyful Expressions web site for more inspirational designs for yourself or as thoughtful gifts to your friends.

Everything else[]

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