I regularly get asked how I can cross stitch so fast, and whilst it probably has a lot to do with how many hours I stitch in, there are various ways to speed up your cross stitching. We’ll start off with some different techniques to try, before going into some tips for speeding up your cross stitch.
The Danish Technique
Traditionally there are two ways to cross stitch, the English technique and Danish technique. Generally, people use the Danish technique, where you lay down a line of stitches in one direction, and then go back with the other direction. We use this technique in our how to cross stitch guide for a reason; it makes things far faster.
If you want to find out more about the differences between both, peacockandfig has a great guide.
Two Hand Technique
The two-handed technique requires you to have a hands free frame. This means that instead of flipping the frame over to find the needle, you simply grab the needle with your other hand and push it back up through the fabric. This means that you don’t have to put the needle far to straighten the thread or take your eye off the fabric holes.
Double Sided Needle
One of the best ways to achieve the two-hand technique is to change your needle to a twin pointed or double-sided variety. Its basically a standard needle that you don’t have to swing around, cutting even more time off.
You can pick some up at 123stitch.
“In Hand” Technique
Sometimes referred to as the ‘sewing’ method, this technique requires you to not use a frame. For smaller projects, this is fine, however just not workable for larger ones. The idea is to pucker the fabric so you place an in and out hole in one go. The below video explains this process very well:
Have the right equipment
Whilst you can change your stitching style, or using fancy needles, there is always a need to have the right equipment, and regularly, without realizing it, many people don’t have what they need to stitch fast.
- Should always be the correct size for the fabric
- Consider using a petite needle or one size smaller
- Should always be a blunt embroidery needle (there are sharp ones)
- Use gold plated needles if possible (they slide through better)
- Should always be as taught as possible (unless using the “in the hand” technique)
- Should be appropriate the fabric size (no hoops on massive projects)
- Make sure they’re sharp
- Try to find the best cross stitch scissors for you
There are loads of different fabric types you can use to cross stitch on, and due to their differences, some are easier to stitch on. If you want a fast project, use aida.
In addition, the count can drastically change the speed of stitching. Try using a larger count for faster stitching.
Stick with the same color
Another great tip is stitching with one color as long as possible. Firstly, this means no awkward thread changes, but also means you have lots of nearby references for where to stitch next (so no pesky counting).
One way to help yourself when sticking with color is to prepare lots of needles. I regularly set up 8 needles with 8 threads ready to go, so I don’t have to keep start stopping to rethread. It saves far more time than you realize and makes use of all those needles you collect.
Use the correct thread length
Many new cross stitchers make the mistake of having a very large piece of thread hanging off the needle. In theory, the larger the thread, the less needle preparation. However, in reality, the larger the thread, the more tangles. Instead, you should have a smaller piece of thread. A good guide is measured from the tip of your middle finger to the tip of your elbow.
Organise, organise, organise
Finally, you have to organize. Whilst it can seem a bit tedious, this actually saves you massive amounts of time. I would suggest taking all of your skeins off and onto thread cards. By doing this your not only making it easier to grab the thread you need, but you’re untwisting the threads, making sure they don’t knot on the skein, and making selection easier. They also look super pretty.
So there you have it. Now you have everything in your disposal to cross stitch faster. However, as a final note, I would say that sometimes taking your time can have added benefits, such as curbing stress.