How to Create a Cross Stitch for Free


New and experienced embroiderers can find and print free patterns for cross stitch projects online. Most of the instructions include information about acquiring necessities like embroidery floss, cross stitch fabrics, embroidery hoops and needles. The same sources provide instructions for stitching, cleaning and finishing the project in a variety of forms.

Things You'll Need

  • Pattern
  • Fabric
  • Colors of floss
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Embroidery needles, several
  • Pincushion
  • Clear lighting

Plan the Project

  • Get a free pattern from a cross stitch website. There are some listed in the reference section. You may choose from among hundreds of patterns depicting a range of items from houses to flowers to animals to elaborate landscapes. The sites often make suggestions for colors to use. If possible, print the pattern in color and in a large size to make the design easier to follow.

  • Choose a fabric. Cross stitch works by counting threads, and cross stitch fabrics are labeled by the number of threads per inch. Fabrics with low numbers, like 11 threads per inch, are much easier to work with than fabrics with higher numbers like 24 threads per inch. Aida cloth is a special fabric that is used for cross stitch because the spaces between threads are easy to count. Beginners should choose Aida cloth at 11 threads per inch for the best results.

  • Plan colors for the project. Either by using the colors suggested on the pattern or by selecting the colors from a chart, assign a color to each of the symbols on the pattern. Major embroidery floss manufacturers and stores provide free charts so you can choose appropriate colors.

  • Cross stitch, like most forms of embroidery, is more easily and accurately worked if the fabric is taut. Most cross stitchers use a round or oval embroidery hoop. Acquire an embroidery hoop in the appropriate size. A very small hoop will have to be moved frequently if used for a large project, but a large hoop is inconvenient for a small project. The tension of the fabric in the hoop is controlled with a screw located on the edge. It can be adjusted to work well with more than one kind of fabric.

  • Get embroidery needles. Because cross stitch is nearly always worked with multiple strands of floss, the needle will have an elongated eye so that the floss will move easily. More than one needle is recommended because several can be threaded with different colors in order to move easily from one color to another without stopping to thread a new needle.

  • Make sure your work space is properly lit and equipped. Steady, clear and bright light is vital because you will have to count threads in order to place stitches properly. The kind of bulb that provides light equivalent to daylight is the best choice, though expensive. Keep a firm pincushion handy for holding the needles.

  • Find the center by folding the cloth in quarters, carefully aligning the corners and marking the center with a light pencil mark or a dot of disappearing ink. The center of most patterns is marked with arrows, but if it is not, find it by folding it the same way.

  • Thread a needle with the first color. Do not knot the end of the floss. Begin stitching holding the loose end of floss under the fabric until it can be secured with additional stitches. Always begin at the center of the cloth and the pattern with the color indicated by the symbol.

  • Following the directions provided with the pattern, continue to cross stitch in the first color until a section or row has been completed. Change colors and needles when indicated by the chart. Do not carry thread across more than a few stitches on the back of the work. You may sew with a stabbing motion or by sliding the needle from one side of the cross to the other. Either will work as long as you use one consistently.

  • When the stitching is complete, wash and block the project according to the directions. You may frame the fabric with its cross stitch embellishment, sew it into a pillow, or incorporate it into a handbag, vest, jacket or other garment.

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