Sunday, August 25, 2013

Embroidery How To: Cross Stitch

This installment of the embroidery tutorial series is Cross Stitch. I really like cross stitching because you don't need to transfer your design directly to the fabric, you can follow a printed or on screen pattern that is blocked out in the different colors you are using (basically like looking at a pixelated image or 8-bit video game graphic). This tutorial shows how to make a single Cross Stitch, as well as how to do several same-colored stitches in a row.

First, cross stitch is generally done on a specific cross stitch fabric , as show above. The weave of these fabrics makes it easy to see perfect squares, and the corners of these squares, where your stitches will start and end.

Start your stitch by pulling the needle through your fabric at one of the little corner holes, back to front (as shown above). It doesn't matter of you start at the top or bottom, as long as you keep your stitches uniform (if you start in the top corner, start all of your stitches in the top corner). This helps keep the back neat and avoid extra knotting while you stitch.

Next, complete the first part of your stitch by passing your needle through the hole located diagonal from your starting corner.

This will give you the fist part of your cross stitch (a diagonal line) as shown above.

To complete your single cross stitch, you will make another diagonal stitch that crosses over the first. As most cross stitch patterns don't have a lot of floating single stitches, you will generally work in lines of stitches instead. This process is shown below.

As you can see in the photo above, when making a row of stitches, you make the first diagonal stitch of your cross all the way down the line before making the second crossed stitch. This helps for a couple of reasons: it keeps the back of your work looking neater, and it help you to be able to quickly and easily count your stitches in your pattern.

I work my stitch lines from left to right initially, so when I make the "cross" stitch going back I work right to left. This makes it so you start and end in about the same place. You can then either tie a know and cut your ends, or weave the ends into your back stitches neatly.

Above you can see the back side of my row of stitches, a nice neat row of parallel stitches with my edges ready to be tied or weaved.

Cross stitch is a great stitch for making items like this, and you can easily use patterns from Perler beads to create sewn items instead. Cross stitch is also great to use with plastic canvas to make ornaments.

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