Counted Cross stitch instructions

Most cross stitch instructions advise us to start stitching on aida. This fabric makes it easier for us to see that each stitch is made up of a stitch that covers the square diagonally followed by another, crossing in the opposite direction.

The nice thing about using aida is that the squares have obviously got a hole at each of the square's corners to put your needle through. In fact when I finally accepted that I needed reading glasses it was with the further realisation that I had been stitching for the last 18 months by a sort of Braille. I couldn't actually see the holes, but my fingers knew where they were.

If you decide to progress to evenweave you will be stitching over 2 threads and in effect creating your own squares.

cross-stitch-instructions (8K)

How to work a cross stitch

For an individual cross stitch bring the needle up in one corner and diagonally carry the thread across the square before bringing the needle down through the opposite hole at the corner of the square. Then repeat the diagonal across the square.

To make stitching quicker on larger areas of colour you can work horizontal rows by stitching a row of half cross stitches and then completing the full cross-stitch on the way back. It is however important to remember to cross each stitch the same way so that your top diagonals all go in the same direction.

Fractional cross stitch instructions

If, when you look at the chart, you find the symbol is in the corner rather than in the centre of the square and the square is shown with a diagonal line across it, then this is an indication to use a three quarter stitch.

fractional-stitches (4K)The diagram on the right illustrates this technique. First bring the needle up through the fabric at corner A and then diagonally down at the opposite corner B. Next bring the needle up at C and down at D in the centre of the square B. You may find it helpful if you are using aida to use a sharper needle so that you can pierce the centre of the aida square.

Quarter Cross Stitch Instructions

Occasionally you will find that the design requires you to put two fractional stitches of differing colours in the same square. As a designer may I please apologise profusely for doing this, speaking personally, this only occurs in Catkin designs when there is no other way of getting the necessary detail in.

When this occurs please use the above method for the first half of the square and in the other half, in the contrasting colour, bring up the needle in the corner diagonally opposite C and again down at D in the centre of the square.

A three-quarter stitch uses 2 stitches and a quarter one only 1 stitch. It's up to you, which symbol you stitch in a three quarter stitch and which one is the quarter stitch. Ideally the prominent part of the design e.g a face should use the three quarter stitch while the hair framing it has the quarter stitch. I have noticed in some designs I've seen recently that rather than using fractional stitches, backstitch outlining has been used in part over a whole cross stitch to get the same effect.

However you are more likely to get away with this if the part of the design is quite pale and the outlining colour a strong one.To whoever I sent the christmas card with geese on - sorry- yes I did omit to half my stitches and that is why they were outlined in grey and I bet you didn't realise until I told you!