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Hand Embroidery: Make a Cross Stitch

Cross stitches resemble the laces on a football. Laces out!

Cross stitches resemble the laces on a football. Laces out!

A cross stitch is a fun an easy stitch to make in embroidery. This stitch is so popular that it spawned an entire form of embroidery called cross stitching! Cross stitching is a counted-thread form of embroidery where x-shaped stitches are used to fill tiled patterns called samplers in order to form a picture.

Here I will show you how to make a cross stitch. The difference here is that you won't be required to stay within the confines of counted squares as you would in cross-stitching. While the stitches in cross-stitching are tighter and tidy looking, the stitches you will learn to make today will be less perfect (but more fun to make.)

Your First Cross Stitch

In order to make a cross stitch, you will first have to make a straight/running stitch. If you don't know how to make a running stitch, you can check out my handy dandy article on how to make a straight stitch.

Instead of making a straight stitch from left to right, makes your stitch diagonally from top left to bottom right. (If you've already skipped ahead made your straight stitch, just turn your hoop to make it look like you meant to make a diagonal one all along. You weren't skipping ahead, you were innovating!)

After making your diagonal stitch, make a stitch on the bottom side so that your needle comes out at the top right. From the top right make a diagonal stitch to the bottom left. (Check out the photos to the right if you need help.) If you've done everything correctly, you'll see that you've made a little "x." Congratulations! You've just finished making your first cross stitch!

To get the hang of it, go ahead and make a line of these stitches. Note how you can easily accidentally make one X bigger than another. If you would like to make perfect Xs every time, you may want to consider drawing a grid pattern on your fabric. This way you can easily see where to pull your needle through.

Quick Cross Stitch Tips

You can start from any corner of the stitch you want, but it's important that you plan your stitches ahead of time. If you finish your last stitch close to where your next stitch will be, you won't have a long piece of floss stretching from point A to point B on the underside of your project.

The neater you keep the underside of your project, the easier it will be to make stitches. When the underside of my project isn't tidy, I find that I'm pulling up loose ends (of odd colors) into new stitches.

If you're making a new stitch on an area far away from your last stitch, tie off your last stitch. This is a great way to keep everything nice. It also saves on floss.

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