The supplies that you need include:
- Yarn needles
- Yarn. I prefer the Red Heart brand but you can use whatever you're comfortable with. Please keep in mind that some yarn tend to come undone very easily, while others are difficult to use with a yarning needle. Also be wary of yarn that has glitter or tinsel because that stuff will be pulled off when you're working.
- Plastic canvas. Most plastic canvas will come in sheets. Occasionally, they will come in pre-cut shapes. I cut them down to the size I need. Make sure when you are cutting plastic canvas that you cut the sides smooth, or it will get caught on the yarn.
- A needle threader or a small piece of paper.
To get started, gather up all of your supplies. Cut your plastic canvas down to size, and cut a piece of yarn. The longer the yarn the more likely it will unravel as you get closer to finishing your project. My suggestion is to do a practice run or two. It takes a little bit to get the hang of it. Also, start with a square or rectangle piece of plastic canvas. This will help you learn how to do the cross stitch, and also can show you where mistakes are. Thread your needle. This is where the little piece of paper or needle threader comes in. I found that I always managed to lose the needle threader, and my art teacher back in junior high showed me how to thread a needle with a small piece of paper. To thread your needle with a piece of paper, simply fold the paper around the yarn and then slide the needle on it. To thread with a needle threader, put the hook through the needle, "grab" the yarn, and pull the yarn through the eye of the needle.
Now, you have your materials ready. The concept of the cross stitch is that it is a diagonal stitch. Start in the corner (once more square or rectangle piece is easier to do this with), put your needle through a hole, pull your yarn almost all the way through, keep ahold of the tail of the yarn to keep it from pulling through the canvas, and then direct your needle through the hole that is diagonal from where your needle is right now. Pull your yarn until it is tight. Now, when you go through the next hole, hold your yarn tail firmly against the plastic canvas so your next few stitches will wrap around the tail, securing it. Once you get the tail secure, you don't have to hold it anymore. The process is an up-down process. You'll go up through a hole from the back, and then go down through a hole on the front, repeating this process until your project is finished.
Ran out of yarn?
Okay, so you've been working on your project, and it is coming along, but now you've ran into the problem of you are getting close to finishing with that piece of yarn. So, when you're working, leave enough yarn to secure. On the backside of your project, run the needle under the last three or four stitches to secure it. Then cut off any excess.
Then, cut another piece of yarn, rethread your needle, and continue on.
This method is also how you'll finish the project once your square is filled.
Okay, so you've got your square filled, and it looks nice. But there's the border that is still open. To do the border, it is a slightly different technique. As you can see from the pictures, you can't do a diagonal stitch for your border. You must do what I call the "wrap around" technique. So with the diagonal stitch, you started from the back, went up through a hole, went down through a hole and repeated. With the "wrap around technique, you don't ever go down through a hole. You always go up through a hole.
Now, you've reached the end of the row and have the corner that you have to border. You'll go through the corner hole twice. Since it is a corner, and you're going to switch directions, you'll go through the corner hole twice. This will also help with even covering of the border.
Now, you've got your border finished, but you need to secure your tail. As with the diagonal stitch, you'll simply run the needle and yarn through three or four of the stitches.
You may encounter some easy to fix problems, which may include yarn unraveling, missed stitches, and knots, amongst other problems.
Yarn unraveling. Sometimes, if you've been working for a long time or the type of yarn, the yarn will start to unravel. If it's at the end of your yarn, simply, move your needle and cut off the unraveled part. If it's a long piece of your yarn and is starting to affect your project or your sanity, simply secure your yarn, cut your yarn, and start with a new piece. Once in the plastic canvas, the yarn usually doesn't unravel, because of the type of stitch.
Uh-oh, you missed a stitch, or went into the wrong hole and instead of a diagonal stitch, you now have a side to side stitch. This is an easy fix. Simply, take your needle and go backwards through the holes you just went through. You'll go down through the hole you just came up, and it will fix your missed stitch.
Knots. Sometimes, when dealing with yarn, the yarn will become knotted. Attempt to undo the knot. Most times, it isn't a hard knot to get out. If you just can't get it undone, cut it out and restart.
Now, there is one other common problem. For some reason, you don't like your project. It isn't the right color, or it doesn't look right. For whatever reason, you're unhappy with it, you can take the yarn out of the plastic canvas. You can do the above suggested if it's just a few stitches but if your yarn has already been secured, you can cut the yarn off the plastic canvas. Taking your scissors flat against the canvas, simply cut the yarn off. Your yarn will be destroyed but you will have the plastic canvas intact, and then you can continue on.
I hope this tutorial has helped you, and you are able to finish a basic cross stitch project involving plastic canvas and yarn. I'll be doing more including how to do designs on the plastic canvas, and different types of projects.