The reason for setting up Hints and Things in the first place was to provide basic information on many different subjects as I felt this was often overlooked and was extremely hard to find elsewhere.
When embarking on something for the first time, whether it be a new hobby, setting-up home, or buying a secondhand car, you need to know how to get started.
Cross stitch is no exception. You decide to give it a try so you find a simple kit or a chart – now that is your first dilemma – what is the difference between a kit and a chart?
Cross stitch kits contain everything you need to make the picture or item in question i.e. fabric, threads, chart and even the needle whereas a chart just provides the stitching instructions: the fabric, threads etc., have to be purchased separately.
Right, you have acquired the kit so you are ready to go – open up the chart and you are faced with little squares all containing funny little signs or blocks of different colours – now what do you do? Well help is at hand, the following explains each step clearly and concisely and even have helpful diagrams alongside.
CROSS STITCH INSTRUCTIONS
Some Cross Stitch Guidelines
Cross stitch is fun, and the range of kits available is now huge. It is best to follow the instructions in the kit, as the designer will know best how to work it, to do justice to his or her original concept. It is helpful however to have some general guidelines on the basics, and that is what we are hoping to provide for you here.
With stamped cross stitch the design is printed on the fabric for you to follow. However the vast majority of cross stitch is “counted” cross stitch. Here the fabric is blank, and you work the design by following a chart which shows you where to put the stitches.
The chart is normally divided up into a grid of squares. Each colour is represented by a symbol, and there is a “colour key” which shows you which symbol represents each colour.
Let us assume that the symbol for black is ‘x’ and the symbol for green is ‘o’. If you see a line of 7 squares on the chart containing the symbols ‘xxxxooo’, you should make 4 stitches in black and 3 stitches in green.
It is best to centre the cross stitch design by starting in the middle so that your stitching fits onto the piece of fabric without going off to one side. An easy way to do this is to lightly fold the fabric in four to find the centre point. This point should coincide with the centre of the chart, which is normally marked with arrows at the top, bottom and sides. The centre of the design is normally the best place to start stitching.
Most stranded cotton threads (floss) are made up of six strands. Separate these out into the correct number of strands (as indicated on the chart instructions) for stitching. The colour key shows which shade of cotton to use for each symbol on the chart.
To begin the cross stitch, thread your needle and bring it up through the fabric, leaving a short end of cotton at the back, and work over this with your first few stitches to secure it. When there are enough stitches in place you can start off a new colour by first running it through the back of the existing stitches. To finish a colour, run your cotton under several stitches at the back to secure it.
Half Cross Stitch
Many projects now have areas worked in half cross stitch, for example to give a “soft focus” background. This stitch is literally half of a cross stitch (up through 1 and down through 2 etc.), as shown on the top half of the illustration above.
Now you are ready to get started – but be warned it is addictive! There is nothing like the feeling of starting with a blank piece of fabric and watching a picture come alive in front of you. It must be similar for artists and even authors but, as you have no doubt realised, cross stitch is my particular passion.