Sunday, July 17, 2011

~*Cross Stitch Tutorial & Free Sampler Pattern*~

Welcome to the wonderful world of cross stitch!!
This tutorial is to help any of you that have ever wanted to stitch but has never had the opportunity to be shown how.
Mary at Gettysburg Homestead is responsible for bringing you this tutorial. She's a lefty and I'm a righty so she asked if I could help all you other right handers out there.Click on her name and it will take you to her blog.
She has a previous post for all the basic information you will need and did a wonderful job breaking it all down. Now I'll add my own spin to it.
***Have to tell you I had MANY problems loading my pictures so you might have to go back and forth a little but they should still make sense to you.***

Let's get started!!
First you will need your basic supplies. Cross stitching is fairly inexpensive depending on the supplies you use. Below is a list of what you will need to begin.
There are many types to choose from with linen being the most expensive to osnaburg being the most economical. The most common are:

Aida Cloth~ This comes in different "counts" with the higher the count the smaller the weave and the smaller your stitches will be. This is my least favorite fabric to stitch on as I feel it doesn't have the "old" look that we all love in our finished designs. It is however probably the easiest to use if you are a beginner stitcher. Consider using this to help you get a feel for counting your stitches and then play with other fabrics once you are more comfortable.

Linen~Linen is the most expensive but the most beautiful and authentic looking fabric to stitch on when working an old looking sampler or design. It comes in various shades.

Osnaburg~ This is my number one choice to stitch on. This has close to the same look and feel of linen and stains up beautifully. It's also very inexpensive at under $4.00 a yard.

I personally don't prewash my fabric before stitching.Some people have mentioned having problems with shrinking when they stain their piece but I always use fabric at least 4" larger than my finished design area and have never had a problem. It is completely up to you. If you do wash it don't use any fabric could affect you staining process.

2. Floss~ There are a few different types of floss. I can only tell you about DMC floss as that's all I've ever used. It's readily available at most craft/fabric stores. Each pack of floss is called a skein.

You can choose plastic or wood. I use plastic as I feel it keeps my fabric tighter during stitching. They come in many different sizes. If you buy just one hoop I would recommend an 8" or 10". This will give you plenty of stitching area to see alot of the design you are working.

4.Scissors & Needle~
Any sharp scissors will do but if you plan on doing a lot of needle work I would suggest buying a pair of embroidery scissors. They're small and easy to pack with your supplies and are nice & sharp. I have had mine for years and they're still like new.
Your needle should be nice and sharp. Stay away from the blunt end styles as they can be hard to pull thru your fabric and are usually thick.

5. Pattern~
There are so many to choose from that you could stitch one a day and never run out! Though my own personal taste I enjoy patterns by Notforgotten Farm, The Goode Huswife, Stacey Nash,Country Rustic Primitives,Pineberry Lane and Primitive Bettys to name a few. Remember to check the patterns by Mary and myself too!! I'll be listing mine on here and Patternmart in the near future!!

Now it's time to start stitching!!

The first thing you need to do is find the center of your pattern design and the center of your fabric.
Most patterns have the center marked with arrows on the top and sides that you follow together to reach the center. If not marked simply count the rows from top to bottom and side to side and mark where they meet. I usually lightly mark this spot with pencil.
There may not be a stitch right in this spot, if not you will just count over and start at the closest stitch to the center for your starting point.

To find the center of your fabric fold it in 1/2 and press the fold with your fingers to make a crease then fold in 1/2 again. Press the point where the fabric folds meets in the center with your fingers to make a crease. Carefully unfold and you will see the center, this is where you will begin your stitches.

Thread your needle referring to your pattern for how many threads and what color to use.

**You will make your first stitch without your fabric being in your hoop**

Each stitch is done in a "square". There will be 4 holes you will work that will form a "box". Top left, top right, bottom left and bottom right with one thread in between.

Bring your needle thru the top left hole of your "square" from underneath your fabric. Pull thru leaving a 1-2" "tail" of thread hanging free. You will not make a knot in your thread to hold it but catch this tail under other stitches to hold in place.

Now bring your needle thru the bottom right hole from the front. You will count over two threads from where you came out and down two threads from there...this is your bottom right hole. Be sure to hold your tail underneath and pull your thread thru gently on top so you don't pull out your first stitch.

Now bring your needle out thru the bottom left hole, this will be two threads over to the left from where you just went in at the right. As you pull this stitch thru check underneath and catch your "tail" under this thread.

Now put your needle in the top right hole, this will be two threads over from where you started initally. Pull should now have an "X".

Now it's time to put your fabric into your hoop. Your hoop will have a This Side Up mark. Open your hoop by twisting the screw at the top. You don't need to take it all the way off but loosen it enough so that it comes apart and your fabric will fit when you lay the top part of the hoop over it.

Lay your fabric on the top of the hoop with the lip on top (this will hold the fabric in place when you tighten the hoop) center your started stitch being sure that your X is facing the right way that you stitched it and puddle your thread underneath so it doesn't get caught. Put your needle in the fabric from underneath a little to keep it in place.

Now lay the other part of the hoop with the screw on top and push down to fit together. The little lip will come up and over a bit. Adjust the opening as needed. Once together begin tightening the hoop and pulling your fabric taut all the way around as you go. Tighten it all the way. You want the part with the screw at the top to be centered over your design. You want a nice flat, taut surface to stitch on. Make sure you don't catch the thread underneath between the hoop & fabric.

You are now ready to begin your design!!
Carefully look at your pattern to see where the next stitch will go. Be sure to catch the "tail" from your thread under a few more stitches to secure and then snip it off close to the stitches underneath.

I usually work from right to left to start. Just try to keep your stitches all going in the same direction with your last stitch going from top right to bottom left. This will make your design look neater than a bunch of stitches going all different directions.

When your thread gets 2-3 inches long you will need to start on another strand...or if it is time to change color. To end your thread do not knot it simply put your needle under a few stitches underneath and pull thru. Snip off close to the stitches, this will keep it secure.

**I cannot stress enough how important it is to count, count, count, your stitches as you go! Double check your pattern & stitches. There is nothing worse than having to pull stiches out after a lot of work is done because you are one stitch off! It happens to the best of us but the more careful you are the better.**

~Finishing Your Work~

You can either keep your finished piece as is or you can age it to make it look old by staining it.

I prefer to use a coffee stain on my pieces and place them in a distressed frame. Below are directions for each process.

Staining & Aging:
My chosen method for staining is a coffee based stain. Use 2-3 tablespoons of instant coffee and 1 tablespoon of vanilla for each cup of hot water. I like to soak my pieces in hot staining solution as I feel it stains quicker and gives a deeper color. Check your piece every 5 minutes os so until it reaches your desired level of darkness.
Remove from stain with a slotted spoon or tongs and squeeze out when cool.
Smooth out on a towel to air dry. You may also dry in the sun or in your oven on a towel lined cookie sheet set on the lowest temperature. Be sure to check every few minutes so you don't burn it. Drying in the oven can leave marks on your fabric so watch closely. I truly prefer air drying.

You will need a wooden frame to fit your work, black acrylic craft paint, Folkart Antiquing Medium#811, disposable sponge brush, soft rag, sandpaper and adhesive craft spray.
Take your frame apart and paint  with 2 coats black paint. Once dry sand lightly to remove some of the paint paying attention to where normal wear would occur...corners, edges etc.
Remove sanding dust and lightly paint on antiquing medium wiping off as you go. This will stain the wood exposed underneath from sanding and give it a nice finish. Let dry.
Iron your stained sampler and center the glass from the frame on top of the design. Trace around the edge with pencil and cut out.
Spray the cardboard backing of your frame with the adhesive spray and lay your design on top smoothing it out.
Place the glass back in the frame, put your design in and secure the back.
I cannot get the file to print out the DMC colors for you so let me explain what to use:

The flowers are 3858
The stems are 3051
The basket is 3781
The name, age & date are 3021
The little motifs are 869

You will use one strand of floss over two threads...just like I explained in the tutorial.

There you go!! I really hope this has been helpful to you. It was challenging to try and explain in words and pictures. If you have any questions you can contact either myself or Mary...we would be more than happy to help!!
Cross stitching to me is a relaxing and rewarding experience. I love to design and stitch, there's nothing else quite like it to me!!

Happy stitching my friends!!

A BIG thanks to Mary for trying to help me figure out all of the computer was so nice talking to you on the phone!! My phone never did get charged up enough to use!


  1. Whew!!! So glad to learn after all these years of cross stitching that I'm doing it right!! ;o) Seriously....guys....This is awesome what you've done....So wish there was something out there like this when I began. I sorta learned as I went and taught myself....and worked out the bugs as I went. It is truly a pleasurable craft (harder to work on my beloved linen the older I get) - and I hope many will value from the joy of it and the lessons you've shared. Have a wonderful week....Smiles & Hugs ~ Robin

  2. Hi Robin, we both really hope that it does help teach someone! As a seasoned stitcher hope you enjoy our free patterns!! ~Kriss~

  3. Kriss,

    How wonderful for you to have taken this time and created this tutorial and I love the pattern! I've done some stitching on Osnaburg and I think it turns out wonderfully prim, I'm going to have to try it some more. I'll be looking for your patterns..

  4. Hi Kriss,
    I had seen this on Mary's blog...thanks for sharing your SPIN on stitching.

  5. Hey Girlie!!!! It was so awesome to talk to you too! We will have to do it again to "chat" lol. Like you say we were busy trying to get the bugs worked out.

    Thanks so much my friend for helping me out!!!


  6. Mary...right back at ya girl!! It was nice to talk, I'll be getting in touch with you soon again to find whre my PDF files went now LOL :o) ~Kriss~

  7. Wonderful tutorial & sweet pattern. :) Thank you

  8. Great tutorial!
    Thanks for the little free stitchery!
    Prim Blessings


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