What is Counted Cross Stitch?

Cupcake Using the chart supplied in the kit you can quickly stitch a little picture, just like the Victorians used to! But it doesn't have to be a traditional pattern, there are so many bright, cute, modern designs to choose from. You just need to count the squares on the material supplied (called 'aida') and match these to the squares on the chart. This will tell you where to put each stitch.

Cross Stitching Tips

Separating Strands You will see that the lengths of thread can be separated into 6 thin strands. For our 14 holes per inch aida use just 2 strands for the cross stitches, otherwise the finished work will look too bulky. For 11 holes per inch aida, use 3 strands. The instructions will tell you which to use in each kit. Our kits are supplied with enough thread to use the correct number of strands, so you may run out if you use more. You may need someone to hold one end of the thread taught while you separate the strands at the other end because as you pull them apart they will twist and try to tangle.

We shall assume you are using two strands in the following pictures.

Threading the Needle Thread about 5cm of the thread through the eye of the needle and fold it back. In this way you can just keep it threaded onto the needle with your fingers while you stitch. When you pick up the needle on the other side of the aida, pick it up by the eye so that you don't pull the needle off the thread each time.

If you prefer you can pull the thread all the way through so that the two ends are together and it will be easier to keep the needle threaded. If you double it back in this way, though, you will need to start with only a single strand so that you are still stitching with two strands.

Making Cross Stitches To sew the crosses it can be easier, if there is a block of the same colour, to sew all the underneath slopes first, then go back over for the top slopes.
Do all of the cross stitches with the top stitch sloping the same way, so that it looks neat.

Starting Off When you start to sew just hold about 1cm of thread behind the aida with your finger and when you pass the needle across the back of the work for the first few times you can sew over the 1cm end to hold it.

Stitching the Cupcake Pull each stitch tight enough to look neat but NOT TOO TIGHT. If you pull the stitches too tight the work will scrunch up and not lie flat. Try to keep stopping and taking a look at the whole work quite often, rather than concentrating hard on each stitch.

Finishing Off When you need to finish off stop stitching while you still have at least 6cm of thread left between the work and the needle. Then you will have enough to finish off properly. Just pass the needle through to the back on your last stitch and then push the needle along the back of the aida, underneath the back of some of the stitches. You can do this a couple of times and that should hold the end firmly enough. You can cut off any remaining tail.

Finished Cross Stitches The front of the work should start to look rather like this. See how much better it looks with all the crosses done the same way around so that they slope the same way.

Back Stitch

Many of our designs use back stitch to make an outline, which really helps to define the picture. If your kit uses back stitch then start this after you've finished all the cross stitches. This is often done using a single strand of black (not two or three strands like the crosses). Sometimes, though, a different colour might be used and sometimes two strands might be better for some things. Check the chart to make sure what to do. The result is that the picture is outlined and looks more detailed. How to do Back Stitch The example is being stitched near the edge so you can more easily see how it works. You need to come up from the back, through a hole, and go back one space on the top of the work. Then, underneath the work, go forwards two spaces, then up and back one space again.

As you sew more stitches a solid line will appear on the front like this: Finished Back Stitches

Are you planning to use one of our double fold cards to frame your work? Take a look at How to make up a card kit

Happy Stitching!