Today, we're going to learn how to cross stitch on Aida cloth. Aida cloth is the easiest fabric to use for cross stitching, as the wide warp and weft fibers make a very obvious grid of holes for stitching. Yesterday, we talked about supplies for cross stitch, including how to count and measure your Aida cloth for sizing (check it out here.)
Before you begin
If your Aida cloth is wrinkled or creased, iron it before you start. For really stubbon creases, use a spritz of water, Flatter, or Best Press. Underneath the fabric, lay the plain hoop ring (the one without the screw) or the Q-Snap frame, and then on top attach the upper hoop and tighten the screw. For Q-Snap frames, snap on the 4 cylindrical holders. Make sure the fabric is taut, but not tight to the extreme, as this can distort the weave and makes stitching difficult.
Thread your needle with the specified number of floss strands (typically 2.) Knot one end so the thread will be secured when you start stitching.
1. Look at your Aida cloth and note that it is a grid with well-defined "squares" with 4 holes, one at each corner. Starting from the wrong side, push the needle up through the lower left corner hole. Pull thread all the way through until you feel the knot snug on the wrong side. Now push the needle down through the upper right hole and pull thread snugly. See that you've made a diagonal stitch across one of the Aida "squares," and the needle is hanging from the wrong side of the fabric.
|2. Bring the needle up through the lower right hold and pull thread snug. Then bring the needle down into the upper left hole and pull it snug. You've now completed a cross stitch! The thread is again hanging on the wrong side of the fabric, ready to make more stitches.|
3. For the subsequent stitches, make them exactly the same as steps 1 & 2, but the corner holes are shared with the previous stitch.
Tips and Tricks
- Make sure all your "X's" are identical, crossing over each other the same way. This ensures your stitches look smooth and consistent.
- Don't cut too long of a length of thread to reduce tangling, knots, and waste.
- Stitch all the parts of the same color in the same area, skipping over the areas that need another color. You'll save time and thread by going back later to fill in those gaps with their specified color.
- Don't knot your thread at the end of your work-- instead, weave it in a few stitches, then clip it close to the fabric. More likely than not your piece is going to be framed and not worn/washed over and over, so weaving in the ends should be sufficient to secure.
- If you have a serger or overlocking stitch on your standard sewing machine, it can be nice to finish the edges of your piece before you start stitching to avoid fraying.
- Winding your floss on plastic floss bobbins helps to avoid tangles and allows you to write the thread color number in permanent marker on the bobbin (test for ink adhesion first by marking one, let dry for a few minutes, then try to rub it off to make sure it doesn't smudge or smear.)
- If you own a mix of brands like Cosmo, Aurifil and DMC, mark that somewhere on the bobbin as well. Most patterns will specify a brand, and there are conversion charts available to match colors across brands.
Other cross stitch posts you may enjoy: