Cross Stitch Instructions

cross stitch waste canvas marked out with pen

What’s In The Kit & How To Prepare

  1. If this is a kit, it will contain aida fabric, needle, threads, and the pattern. You will also need a small pair of scissors.
  2. If it is a kit, use the aida fabric supplied, if not, you can use any size aida, however 14 count is the most common. The higher the number, the smaller your finished project will be. The count means there are that many stitches to an inch in length.
  3. It is best to start in the middle of your project. This is marked on the pattern by small triangles along the outside. To find the center, fold the fabric, then fold it again. Once opened up, where the creases cross, is the center.
  4. To help you during stitching you can also put your fabric in a hoop. This will increase the tension, and allow a neater final product. However you shouldn’t keep your project in a hoop for a long time, as it will put heavy creases in it.

Following Your Chart

  1. One square = one cross stitch
  2. Ever symbol on the pattern refers to a specific thread. Use the color key to select the color.
  3. Backstitch is marked by solid lines. Do the cross stitches first, then the backstitch on top.
  4. Some patterns may contain 1/4, 1/2 or 3/4 stitches, refer to the key at the end of these instructions to identify these.

How To Stitch

  1. Each thread is made up of 6 individual strands. Unless stated otherwise, use two strands for the cross stitches, and one for the backstitch.
  2. Keep the length of thread short to avoid knotting. The best length is the distance between tip of your longest finger, to your elbow. If the thread starts to twist, let the needle freely dangle and wait until it stops spinning.
  3. Each cross stitch is composed of two separate stitches. The diagonal stitch going from left to right, and the diagonal stitch going from right to left.
  4. You should always do one row of stitches, doing only one diagonal of each stitch, then go back and go the top stitch.
  5. You should always have the same diagonal direction on top of the stitches, normally the top stitch goes from left to right.
  6. Stitch colors in blocks. Start with darker colors, and go lighter.
  7. You can either fix your threads with a small knot on the back, or you can anchor the thread. To anchor your thread, pass the needle from the back of the fabric to front. Make sure not to pull it completely through the fabric, but to leave an inch of thread. As you make stitches, try to ensure the end of the thread lays under them (on the back side).
  8. To end a section of thread you can either tie another small knot, or you can weave it through the backs of the cross stitches for about an inch, and then snip the rest off. You can use this principle when starting a new thread once you have already started your project.
  9. When moving from one section of cross stitches to another, when in the same color, end the thread, and start again, do not carry the thread under the fabric, as it will show.
  10. If you’re left handed, you may prefer to hold your project upside down.


After Care

  1. After finishing you should ALWAYS wash your project. This is to stop any discoloration over time. Simply place the project flat into a bowl of cold water with 2-3 drops of liquid hand wash mixed in.
  2. After washing you may iron your project. Put the design face down and iron on a low setting. If there are a lot of knots on the back of your project, you can iron through a towel.

Stitck it to the man: Heavy Metal Cross Stitch

Skulls Cross Stitch by Kate Blandford (source: kateblandford.com)

Not quite your metallic threads, there are sections of the cross stitch world that like nothing other than heavy metal. I know I’m a massive fan, often politely listening to Maiden whilst sat at my desk in my suit; sticking it to the man. Well, these heavy metal cross stitches do exactly that too!

First up is Kate Blandford’s awesome metal skulls, some of which glow in the dark. You can even pick one up from her Etsy store.

Skulls Cross Stitch by Kate Blandford (source: kateblandford.com)
Skulls Cross Stitch by Kate Blandford (source: kateblandford.com)

Kate is actually a massive heavy metal cross stitch fan, as proven by her slayer series:

Slayer Cross Stitch by Kate Blandford (source: kateblandford.com)
Slayer Cross Stitch by Kate Blandford (source: kateblandford.com)

Moving away from Kate for a moment, I’m not sure this one even needs an explanation…

Heavy Fing Metal Cross Stitch by naughty-little-stitch (source: Etsy.com)
Heavy Fing Metal Cross Stitch by naughty-little-stitch (source: Etsy.com)

Finally, another from Kate with this kick ass Beastie Boys free cross stitch pattern.

Fight for Your Right to Party Cross Stitch by Kate Blandford (source: kateblandford.com)
Fight for Your Right to Party Cross Stitch by Kate Blandford (source: kateblandford.com)

Try Our New Dimensions Cross Stitch Calculator

Yarn Tree Cross Stitch Calculator (source: yarntree.com)

Have you tried our ace new cross stitch calculator?

Pattern Size: 

Pattern Size: 

Fabric Count: 

Each stitch covers? 

Extra fabric for border? 

Extra fabric for framing? 

 stitches wide by
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 threads per inch

Stitched area will be: 

Stitched area will be: 

Fabric should be: 

Fabric should be: 

 inches wide  inches high

 CM wide  CM high

 inches wide  inches high

 CM wide  CM high

Use a size  cross stitch needle

Use  strands of floss for stitching

Use  strands of floss for backstitch

Cross stitch calculator created by LordLibidan.com 


Link to original: https://lordlibidan.com/cross-stitch-calculator/



Star Wars BB-8 Cross Stitch

Star Wars BB-8 Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Star Wars BB-8 Cross Stitch
Title: BB-8
Date Completed: November 2015
Design: John Lohman
Count: 14
Film: Star Wars
Created by my good friend John Lohman for our Star Wars cross stitch book this was one of the last patterns we made, as the movie wasn’t out yet. We were given access to some proprietary information, including images of BB8 before most of the world knew about him. It was an awesome experience (if slightly scary to sign an NDA), however we really think we’ve captured his essence.

How to cross stitch objects WITHOUT waste canvas

cross stitch waste canvas marked out with pen

I know, right; why would you ever need to know how to cross stitch something without waste canvas? Well, actually the answer is all too prevalent. Be it you’re stitching something like the works of Severija, or things that can’t get wet such as our example, my recently cross stitched Pikachu Journal.
The really great thing about this process though is that you’ll be able to pick any count aida, and use any thread type without an issue. No more trying to find 18 Count Waste Canvas.

Cross Stitch objects by Lord Libidan and Severija
Cross Stitch objects by Lord Libidan and Severija

So as guessed, you don’t need waste canvas, but you are going to need a few other things, that should already be in your cross stitch kit:

  • Pins (or a drill depending on the item you want to stitch)
  • Cardboard/Wood blocks to capture the back of the needle
  • Some type of non-staining tape
Items needed for cross stitching without waste canvas
Items needed for cross stitching without waste canvas

So the first step is to get a peice of aida and start marking out your pattern. All you need to do it mark the outside edge only. I choose to do this with both a sharpie and a ball point to really see what I’m doing in the next stage, however fabric pens work well too. I would suggest against using thread to mark it though (you’ll see why soon).

cross stitch waste canvas marked out with pen
Cross stitch area marked out with pen

Find the perfect position for your cross stitch and affix it to the piece using tape (be careful to only tape on areas that won’t pull up, such as paper). I can’t stress enough that it needs to be super tight, but DO NOT cross the area you’re going to be stitching. I did. I regret it. The needle clogs up on the glue on the tape and causes all kinds of problems.

Cross stitch aida taped down on journal
Cross stitch aida taped down on journal

Then you get to the hard bit. Pin the furthest corner down with a straight pin, using the wood/cardboard to hold it down (and save anything under it). Then start pinning each regular aida hole along one edge straight down, leaving a pin roughly every inch. You then want to go line by line doing the same thing, making a grid of stabling pins each inch until every hole is needed along the project (make sure not to pin where you aren’t going to stitch, here is where the thick outside lines come in handy).

Cross stitch aida pinned down on journal
Cross stitch aida pinned down on journal

You can then remove the aida, leaving a nicely laid out grid for you to start work on. If you’ve decided to cross stitch something like leather, which ‘heals’ itself, then the holes will be hard to identify by eye, but the needle tip will find them. If you’re still struggling, try using a sharp ended needle instead.

And you’re all done! Good luck stitching all those household objects!

So you’ve finished a pattern; but is it perfect?

Pikachu Background Recolor

We’ve made loads of guides on how to make cross stitch patterns, how to make video game cross stitch patterns and even how to make free pokemon cross stitch patterns, however we always stay away from what makes a pattern PERFECT.
Now, perfect is clearly in the eye of the beholder, and without a doubt you’ll have your own preferences, but there are a few things that will help you in making sure perfect is achievable for you.

fifth element perfect gif
More perfect that Milla Jovovich?

Story

Story. Story. Story. I can’t say it enough. Its the thing that changes the pattern the most. A standard sprite for example is a nice pattern, but to see the sprite interacting with a background, or posing the sprite in a special way; that’s what makes the difference.
The Pidgey’s below are both sprites from the first games, however the first has a custom background. Now, which looks best?

Pokemon Pidgey Cross Stitch Patterns (source: google images)
Pokemon Pidgey Cross Stitch Patterns (source: google images)

Devil In The Detail

Details are important, and are normally the first thing people see when looking at a piece. In the below Portal pixel art patterns you can see small dots by the eyes. Whilst these could all be the same, the fact that each is detailed to that point goes to show how much more different they each are, and when placed next to each other really show up those differences.
portal companion spheres pixel art

Outside Line

In video game cross stitch in particular, the sprite is likely to come with a big black border. Now, whilst this is fine, and can be used as a feature, like most of my own work, the black line can detract from the sprite itself. Instead a very dark version of the color next to it can make a nice contrast to the sprite and make it pop more.

Pikachu Sprite Recolor
Pikachu Sprite Recolor

Shading

Somewhat connected to the outside lines, shading makes a massive difference to a piece. A heavily looked over area of pattern making is the color picking. Instead of choosing the standard sprite images, which were made to go on a white background, consider darkening them when putting them in a shaded area, or on black/dark aida. Pikachu in the example below is in a dark area, with a dark aida, so has his colors changed to suit.

Pikachu Background Recolor
Pikachu Background Recolor

Top Stitch

Every good cross stitcher knows that you need to ensure the top stitch is always the same direction, so that the off stitch doesn’t stand out. Well, what if you WANT something to stand out? Now there are two ways to acheive this. The first is which orientation you want the top stitch; if you have something of interest in one corner then you want to have the top stitch oriented to point towards it (your eye naturally follows the top stitch).
The second way to utilize this is to change the orientation of the item of interest, and thus bring your eyes to it.
What I will say is this works so much better in person that through images, but its definitely something to consider.

Signature

Last of all, theres the signature. You may not sign your works, but if you do, consider its placement.
You see a lot of people adding the signture to the bottom right just outside of the peice, however every other kind of artist does it *inside* the corner. Why not follow suit?
Alternatively there is the Japanese approach of signing on the top corner, bringing attention to the well thought out signature of the artist.
Or what about an inverse colored name seal?

These are just a few ideas to help you make a pattern, a superb pattern.
Big thanks to our Pokemon & Portal friends for a helping hand.