This will be my first post and it won’t even be about knitting. I’m going to explain in this post how to start a cross stitch project and give you some tips on how I like to keep my projects neat looking.
So the things you will need to start your project is a pattern, Aide cloth, your colored thread, a fine point needle and a scissors. The one I am doing (see pictures) came in a package from Micheals at a very reasonable price with all of this included. If you are just starting out I would suggest getting one of these to try it. As you get better and love it more you can get your own thread containers and buy aide cloth in bulk and do any pattern you like. More on that in another post.
Look at you pattern (or chart) and you will see each square has a symbol in it, these correspond to the colors and type of stitch you will make in that corresponding square on your aide cloth. You should also see faint lines that make up boxes of ten stitches throughout the pattern. These will make it easier to count out your stitches and find where you are in relation to any single stitch in the pattern.
Now find the center of your Pattern (or chart), it’s usually marked by a bold pointer, like this > on the left, right, top, and bottom. Follow all four to the center of you pattern and thats the beginning stitch you will make. Find the color that corresponds to the symbol of that center stitch and prepare it according to the pattern instructions. Most cross stitch projects are worked with two strands so you will have to split them from the natural six strands in each thread.
To do this you will take the end of the thread (cut a length of about 12inches) and separate two of the strands from the other six. But before pulling on them to separate them make sure to secure the OTHER end of the thread, get someone to hold it firm for you or I usually hold it in my mouth :-). Now you should have two strands in your left hand four in your right and all six from the other end in your mouth or secured some other way. Make the string taunt and pull your left and right hand away from each other. It should look like a Y. The reason you should secure the end is because if you don’t the thread tends to spin and turn and you will get a big knot in your thread. As soon as you have them split to about and inch left release the end that was secured and they should just pull apart easily. Thread your needle with the two strands and your ready to start.
Now take your cloth that is pre cut to size (if it hasn’t you would have to count it out and cut it with an extra 10 or 15 stitches past the edge of your pattern size), fold it in half (top to bottom) and in half again (left to right) and the twice folded corner is the center of your cloth. This is where you stitch your first stitch. Pull your thread through leaving a tail of about 2 inches which you will secure later. Stitch that first stitch (be sure to notice the angle of your cross (top stitch) since each stitch following this first one has to have that same angle on the top cross, this gives your project the look of conformity) and continue to stitch all the symbols for that colour till your thread is about 2 inches long. Then go through to the back flip your project over and carefully tuck that thread away in the back of your stitches. Tuck away at least one needle length of thread (1 Inch) and cut off the excess. Now go back and thread the beginning of you thread back into you needle so you can get rid of that first tail. Tuck it away as well and trim. You should try to make the back of you project as smooth and neat as the front. Now continue in this color or a color thats directly beside this first color tucking in your thread at the beginning instead of leaving a tail (you only need to do that with your very first thread). Just follow your pattern now and make sure you do the colors closest to the ones you already have done since skipping a bunch of stitches and counting things out works, but increases your chances of making a mistake and being off of you initial mark.
Some project have half stitches like the one I’m doing where you just stitch once in the direction of your top stitch and it gives the project a sense of dimension.
Well thats all for now come back next week for instructions on how to finish what you’ve started. We’ll go over top stitching, adding trinkets, washing and framing.
Take care and have fun!!