Welcome to this month’s installment of Get Crafty.
This month we are going to learn a little bit about cross-stitching and how to make the full cross-stitch. If you can make an “X”, then you can cross-stitch. If not, there are so many tutorials online to show you how to make a full cross-stitch. I will provide some at the end of this post.
You can learn a little history about cross-stitching here and here. Cross-stitching is considered the oldest type of embroidery. It was used as early as the sixth century BC. The earliest preserved pieces of cross-stitching were found in ancient Egyptian tombs and in Medieval churches. Cross-stitching along with other forms of embroidery were used in tapestries and royal clothing in Europe and Asia. Today, many cross-stitches follow patterns instead of stitching from memory.
The above image is a historic sampler finished by Marianne Wenn about 1816.
When beginning to learn how to cross-stitch, you start much smaller and use easier fabric and threads .
What you need to start: pattern or kit, Aida material 10 or 12 count (any color), embroidery floss (thread), a needle, a needle threader, scissor. Optional: a hoop or q-snaps to hold the material tight.
A quick word about patterns you find online, please make sure the pattern is copyright free. There are people who steal other people’s work and try to sell it or offer it online for free. This is illegal and prevents the true owner from earning money on their own.
To begin, look at the pattern instructions to find out how many strands of thread are required and separate them from the skein. From personal experience, it’s important to follow the instructions.
Instructions for this pattern: Use Aida 12 count and with three strands of thread. The pattern below is a heart. You can choose what color you want.
To begin, thread the needle. If you use the threader, here is a great tutorial.
After your needle is threaded, start with the upper left corner of the pattern. Start the first stitch by coming up with the needle through one hole. Leave a tail that you will hold under the row you are going to be stitching. This will help the threads from unraveling.
The second step of the stitch, go down with the needle in the hole in the diagonal corner.
The third step is to go up the hole that is below where you went down.
The fourth step is go down in the hole diagonally to the third step. Now you have made your first X. Here is a picture to show what you need to do.
The next stitch you will start again with step 1 coming up where you came up on step 3 of the prior stitch. For this pattern, skip the next block and come up for step 1 in the next hole. Keep going until you make it to the last row. When you finish take the thread and go under the threads in the row that has 5 X’s and trim the extra threads. Congrats! You have finished your first cross-stitched piece.
The design you made is called a motif. They are small designs that can be stitched once or stitched multiple times to make a bigger design. You can search motifs on Google for what a motif looks like. For patterns, use the search terms motifs cross stitching free patterns.
For bigger patterns the following picture is useful to follow. Here you will stitch a row of /// and then go back and stitch \\\ to complete your X’s.
For great tutorials on cross-stitching, including other methods to use when you are starting your first stitches and other types of stitches used with cross-stitching, check out DMC Education.
For video tutorials check out: Yarn Tree and Ms. Dunne.
For books on how to cross-stitch and pattern books, check out these books on the the BPL catalog.
Have lots of fun with your new craft and over time you will learn about more stitches used in cross-stitching.
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*”Get Crafty” features craft projects by Mary, a Teen Librarian at Teen Central, and is posted on the third Friday of every month.