Below you will find cross stitch information, instructions and tips to
help you complete our patterns.
- Aida cloth is
the most common fabric used for cross stitch. It can be purchased from
your local craft shops or online stores.
- It comes in various stitch counts. 14 count is the most popular. 14
count means there is 14 stitches per inch of fabric. Other popular
sizes are 16 and 18 count. One square is equal to one stitch on the
pattern. 16 or 18 count generally give a more neater finish
sometimes with using 14 count especially with dark cottons such as
black, you can see the fabric between the stitches.
patterns can be stitched on any size aida cloth. The higher the aida
count the smaller the completed pattern will be but as the stitch count
becomes higher it can make it more difficult to stitch especially if
you have poor eyesight as the holes are not as defined.
recommend to stitch on white or off white aida for all of our patterns
unless stated otherwise on the pattern. Occasionally we will suggest
black if there is alot of black background to save you stitching it but
this can be harder to stitch on, especially at night.
- You can
purchase premade aida items for bookmarks, coasters, paperweights and
many others items for our small patterns and bookmarks. If you search
in a search engine for premade cross stitch or stitchables you should
will find them.
on linens is harder for
beginners as unlike aida cloth the stitch placement is not as easily
- For even weave and linen fabric the main difference to aida is
instead of stitching over one thread you stitch over two.
- The most common evenweave sizes are 28 count (equivalent to 14 count
aida) and 32 count (equivalent to 16 count aida)
- These fabrics give a more rustic and professional look than aida
cloth and are generally more durable so are good for items which will
require alot of washing such as tablecloths, napkins etc.
canvas is a useful material
used to stitch designs onto fabric that does not have a weave. You can
stitch on any items such as towels, clothing etc.
- It is available in various different counts.
- Cut the Waste Canvas at least 2 inches (5cm) larger than the
completed design size.
- Line up the Canvas threads with the grain of the fabric.
- Tack around the edge of the waste canvas onto your fabric to hold it
- Stitch the design working each stitch individually through the waste
canvas and your fabric. Aim for the centre of the hole in each waste
canvas square to keep the stitches tidy and to help in the removal of
the waste canvas.
- When stitching is complete remove tacking stitches around the edge of
the waster canvas and trim the waste canvas to around an inch from the
- Slightly dampen the waste canvas with cold water using a damp paper
- With a pair of tweezers pull the waste canvas threads out one at a
time varying the direction from left to right and top to bottom to
avoid distortion of the fabric.
- What you are left with is your design stitched onto your garment. You
must use colourfast cottons such as DMC, Anchor and Madeira to avoid
the cottons running in the wash. Wash garment in normal wash but where
ever possible turn garment inside out to iron so you do not iron
directly over the stitching or place a tea towel or handkerchief over
the stitching to iron.
determine how much fabric you need for a design.
determine finished size, divide stitch count by Aida count or cloth you
are using for e.g.100w x 100h stitches on 14 count would be 7"wide x
7"high. Times inches by 2.5 for cm.
Also allow at
least 3inches (7.5cm) around each side of your work to assist in
framing. So if your pattern is 100w x 100h stitches and you are
stitching on 14 count your would need to measure and cut a piece of
aida 10" x 10" (25cm x 25cm) to complete your work.
It is a good
idea to purchase your cloth by the metre if you plan to do alot of
patterns than you can just cut the aida to size for your patterns at
There is a
free fabric calculator you can find on this page if you need help.
- We use
only DMC cottons in
all of our patterns as these are the most popular brand used.
- We suggest using two strands of floss for all of our patterns except
where backstitching is used, then we suggest only using one strand of
floss. Of course this depends on what count of fabric you are using and
if full coverage is important for you. If you use lower counts like 11
you will need more than two strands. I personally stitch on 18ct with 2
strands and find it gives good coverage, 14 and 16 count generally use
2 strands as well, although sometimes with 14 count the dark colours
will show the fabric through so you may wish to use 3 strands instead.
You can do a test on your fabric with black cotton to see how many
strands you prefer.
- Trying to keep your threads from getting tangled or lost can be
annoying so it is a good idea to set yourself up with a system for
organising and storing your floss. There are plenty of organiser
systems you can find in craft stores. I store my large supply of
different cottons in a pocket storage system by LoRan. However when I
start a new project I make up my own kit to store the cottons needed
for a project. To organise the cottons I will cut a piece of thick
cardboard into a rectangle shape and down one side I will use a one
hole punch to make holes down one side. I will then write the number
for the cotton next to each hole.
- I then cut the six stranded cotton into one metre lengths. I fold
this in half and insert the loop up through the hole bring the tail
around through the loop to hold onto the card.
- This makes it really easy to separate the cottons as I get my needle
and separate one strand of cotton and pull to remove from the card.
estimate how much
DMC floss you will need generally 30 stitches uses 1 metre of 1 strand
of floss. DMC stranded floss is usually sold in 8 metre lengths with 6
strands. Therefore you get approx 1440 stitches (6 x 8 x 30) from one
lot of floss. On our charts we give you a list showing how
floss you need to buy. You will have cotton left over which you can use
on other projects.
- I do have people ask if they can replace DMC cottons into another
like Anchor for my patterns. I have only created the patterns using DMC
cottons so I cannot guarantee the outcome if you use different cottons.
However below are links to where you can find conversions charts.
Also DMC have
discontinued some colours. Although we do not use any of the
discontinued colours in our patterns created after 2005, some
our very old pre 2005 patterns
may contain these colours so below are their replacements as per DMC.
These very old patterns are only found in the members area and have
never been offered for sale at the Artecy Shop.
DMC 504 is
replaced by 3813
DMC 731 is replaced by 732
DMC 776 is replaced by 3326
DMC 781 is replaced by 782
DMC 806 is replaced by 3760
DMC 971 is replaced by 740
DMC 3773 is replaced by 407
- The needles
you use for cross stitch are blunt ended tapestry needles. If you have
alot of quarter stitches it can help to switch to a sharp ended needle
for these if you have problems splitting the fabric.
- Needles are usually nickel plated and some stitchers may have
allergies to these so you can switch to gold plated needles.
- When you have finished stitching it is best to store your needle in
the very corner of your fabric in case you do not stitch on the project
for a long time as it may leave rust marks and this way they would be
hidden inside the framing.
- If you have trouble threading your cottons onto the needles you can
purchase needle threaders from a craft store to help you.
- Needles come in various sizes. Below is a grid to help you work out
the needle needed.
| Tapestry Needle size
| Evenweave count
- Frames and
Hoops are not essential to use. I prefer stitching without them
especially on larger projects. They do help to keep your fabric taut,
however if you stitch without them and your fabric becomes a little
distorted this is corrected in the finished framing process.
As I am not an expert in this area here are some links to give you more
information on frames and hoops.
- If you have difficulty reading patterns or seeing the holes in the
aida when stitching there are lamps and magnifying products available
on the market to assist you.
Here are some
links to companies which sell cross stitch accessories. You can find
others in our cross stitch links page.
- The best
way to start is to make yourself up a kit. Print the pattern you are
wanting. Look at the distribution list to see what cottons and how much
to purchase. Purchase the fabric if you do not have a stash of it and
purchase a needle if you do not have one.
- Then cut the
fabric to size (to work out the size see the fabric
section above). Cut the cottons into metre lengths and store them on a
card (described in cottons as above).
- In a plastic
zip lock bag you can then store the fabric, cottons,
needle and pattern so they are ready to use and go with you wherever
you wish to stitch.
You may need to wash the
Aida cloth to avoid it shrinking if you are wanting the design for a
cushion cover, etc. If fraying around the edges does occur you can put
masking tape on the edges or overlock them.
- To start
stitching you should always start in the middle of your
pattern and on the middle of the fabric this will make sure your
pattern in centred on your fabric.
- To find the
middle of the fabric, first fold it in half horizontally
and then in half vertically. Where the cross meets in the centre is the
centre of your fabric. If
you have stitched before or your prefer to start on page 1, from the
top left corner of your fabric, measure across 3 inches and down 3
inches and that will be your starting point, if it is a fully stitched
design. If the background is removed from the design then from this
starting point you will have to count over to the first stitch on the
Each square on
the cross stitch pattern chart represents a square on
the Aida cloth. On our
patterns to find the centre of the pattern it is just a matter of
laying out the pattern in order and locating the arrows at the top and
left hand side of the patterns, they are determined by dividing the
stitch numbers wide and high in half. Where the two points meet that is
- To put our
patterns together look in the top and bottom corners. The
page numbers in brackets () show which page number it joins up to. Page
1 always starts at the top left hand side of the pattern.
With larger patterns you do have quite a few pages. I prefer to start
on the page in the middle of the pattern and stitch that whole page
before I move onto an adjoining page. I find this easier. It is totally
up to you what you prefer in organising and stitching your
try to make our patterns as easy to read as possible. Alot
of people do
photocopy patterns at a larger size to make them easy on the eyes or
they make a photocopy just to use as a personal use only working copy,
which we are fine with. I use a lamp with a magnifier on it to see the
pattern easily, best investment I have ever made, as when I get a
chance, I mostly stitch at night.
will notice alot of colour changes with these style of patterns.
suggest to make it a little less daunting for you to just concentrate
on 1 page at a time and each 10 x 10 square at a time. Stitch all the
stitches of the same colour in that 10 x 10 square or nearby before
changing to the next colour. As the pattern is totally filled you will
not see your cotton travelling behind the fabric a small distance. If
you are stitching one stitch at a time of each colour this would be
very annoying. Note if you stitch in blocks or sections like this you
can sometimes see the lines between each section, especially if you
leave a project for awhile, so it is recommended to stitch a few
colours to the left, right up and below, just so you do not have
straight square blocks of stitches.
customers also stitch these in a cross country style so they stitch as
many stitches as they can of the one colour in the same area, before
changing colours. Some use highlighters on the pattern to mark stitches
done if you have trouble following the stitches you have completed. I
personally use a yellow highlighter on the pattern to mark the stitches
of one colour I am going to stitch on a page and then after I complete
those stitches I uses a blue highlighter to go over the yellow ones
stitched and then I know I have completed them. Then I move onto the
next symbol and colour. Just using highlighters seems to help break up
all the symbols and make them easier to see.
- Make sure your hands
are clean before you start to avoid marking the fabric.
- Thread one
floss through needle
until ends are even, do not use knots to secure. Always use two strands
of floss per stitch. Use 1 strand of floss for back stitching unless
instructions on a pattern state otherwise.
stitching by inserting needle from back of Aida cloth at
starting point (as shown below) leaving a small "tail" at the back.
Hold that "tail" in a way that your next few stitches will cross over
it to secure. End the same thread by weaving it under 3 or 4 stitches
at the back and cut excess cotton off to keep neat. Make sure all your
stitches are done in the same direction to keep the pattern even (as
below). For the next stitches you can then start and finish by weaving
it under 3 or 4 stitches at the back.
8-10 stitches you should drop your needle to let the floss
- Don't worry
about how the back of the pattern will look at the end,
it can look quite messy. One of the most annoying things about large
patterns is having to change colours often. Some people only stitch one
row at a time and change colours as they go. I find this frustrating
and too time consuming so I stitch one page at a time but if there is
alot of one colour I will start off with that and I stitch big blocks
of colours at the same time so I can change my needle less. It is ok to
run your cotton under a few stitches at the back to get to a different
area but it is best not to do this behind blank cloth which will not be
stitched on as your cottons can show through, especially dark cottons.
- Make sure you
sit in a comfortable place to stitch that is well lit
to avoid strain on your joints and eyesight. It is an addictive hobby
once you get started and you can find yourself stitching for many hours
cross stitch instructions should help you complete our
cross stitch patterns, yet if you need any further instructions or
information please contact us and we will help as best we can.
Most of our
patterns only use straight cross stitch,
especially our large patterns but some of our smaller patterns may also
use quarter stitch and back stitch so I have included pictures below.
If you are looking for information on cleaning
and framing your cross stitch once completed please click here.
Row of stitches in same colour
Blackwork - Holbein