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Counted Cross Stitch Basics Pt 2 Preparing the Fabric and the Basic Stitches

Updated on February 27, 2012

Now that you've finished reading Counted Cross Stitch Basics Part 1 and gathered the materials you need we can get our fabric ready to stitch on. It is important to learn how to prepare our fabric so we have a finished project that we can give as a gift, frame, hang or make into a pillow.

You will find Part 2 and 3 is rich in photographs. Words can only do so much but seeing really can make all the different in understanding how to make a stitch easily!

Preparing the Fabric

I'm sure you've noticed that the Aida Cloth you bought is much bigger than you need for one little clover. We will need to cut two pieces which are approximately 8 inches x 8 inches each. One to practice our new stitches on and one to make our clover on. Once they are cut we will do some work on their edges so they do not unravel or fray.



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Folding the Edges In

To do this we will fold each edge over approximately 1/2 an inch twice. This will ensure that the actual edge of the fabric is tucked nice and safely preventing it from fraying. At each corner I use a paperclip to hold them down so I can have both hands free as I move around the fabric folding.

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Securing the Edges

Next we will use a running stitch (illustrated below) to secure the edges of our fabric. You can use your tapestry needle for this or a sewing needle. Some people like to use masking tape to keep the edges from fraying. I DO NOT recommend this. It can, and often does, leave behind a nasty glue residue that can migrate along the threads. The whip or running stitch we will use to tack our folds down is much healthier for your fabric and the finished product.

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Step 1 of making our Finishing KnotStep 2 of making our Finishing KnotStep 3 of making our Finishing KnotStep 3 in motion of making our Finishing KnotFinialCut your excess thread.Back of fabric with Whip (or Running) Stitch completedFront of fabric with Whip (or Running) Stitch completed
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Step 1 of making our Finishing Knot
Step 1 of making our Finishing Knot
Step 2 of making our Finishing Knot
Step 2 of making our Finishing Knot
Step 3 of making our Finishing Knot
Step 3 of making our Finishing Knot
Step 3 in motion of making our Finishing Knot
Step 3 in motion of making our Finishing Knot | Source
Finial
Finial | Source
Cut your excess thread.
Cut your excess thread. | Source
Back of fabric with Whip (or Running) Stitch completed
Back of fabric with Whip (or Running) Stitch completed | Source
Front of fabric with Whip (or Running) Stitch completed
Front of fabric with Whip (or Running) Stitch completed | Source

Almost ready to Stitch

Now that we've secured the edge of our fabric we're almost ready to start stitching.

First thing we need to do is figure out where to start. Fold your 8 x 8 piece of 14 count Aida Cloth in half width wise and length wise as shown below. This will divide our fabric into four sections. Since our fabric is cut larger than we need we don't have to be exactly on center when we start. We just want to be close.

Marking your Middle

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Fold your fabric in half, using your fingers to make a mild crease.Fold your fabric in half again, using your fingers to make a mild crease.Notice we have a nice division on the fabric from the creasing we made. When we are done with our project we will clean and press the fabric which will remove these creases.
Fold your fabric in half, using your fingers to make a mild crease.
Fold your fabric in half, using your fingers to make a mild crease. | Source
Fold your fabric in half again, using your fingers to make a mild crease.
Fold your fabric in half again, using your fingers to make a mild crease. | Source
Notice we have a nice division on the fabric from the creasing we made. When we are done with our project we will clean and press the fabric which will remove these creases.
Notice we have a nice division on the fabric from the creasing we made. When we are done with our project we will clean and press the fabric which will remove these creases. | Source

Getting our Floss Ready

In order to make our first cross stitch we need to get our floss ready. Cut a piece of floss between 12 to 18 inches in length. The length of floss you are comfortable working with is very much a matter of preference. I would recommend starting with a piece around 12 inches long and then increasing the length. I don't recommend using pieces longer than 18 inches. The longer the piece the greater the chance of it magically forming a knot. You may laugh but the knots do magically appear and can be a pain to get out.

I'm sure you've noticed the floss is pretty thick. Floss is actually six (sometimes 7) strands of thin thread wound together. We are going to separate the strands from each other and then gather two strands to thread through our needle.

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Now that we've secured our edges and made our little lines it is time to put one of the pieces of fabric we prepared on the hoop so e can start practicing our stitches!

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Notice you can faintly make out the creases we made from folding our fabric.  We will use these to start our project in Counted Cross Stitch Part 3 - Stitching from a Pattern.
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Notice you can faintly make out the creases we made from folding our fabric.  We will use these to start our project in Counted Cross Stitch Part 3 - Stitching from a Pattern.
Notice you can faintly make out the creases we made from folding our fabric. We will use these to start our project in Counted Cross Stitch Part 3 - Stitching from a Pattern. | Source

Making a Cross Stitch

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Front of FabricBack of FabricFront of FabricFront of FabricBack of FabricFront of FabricFront of FabricBack of Fabric
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Front of Fabric | Source
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Front of Fabric | Source
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Back of Fabric
Back of Fabric | Source
Front of Fabric
Front of Fabric | Source
Front of Fabric
Front of Fabric | Source
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Back of Fabric | Source

Take some time making several individual cross stitches so you get comfortable with the feel of it. Once you're comfortable most on to the Running Cross Stitch.

Practicing Single Cross-Stitches

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Finishing Off

Finishing off your thread is something you will do over and over again when Cross-Stitching. Remember how we secured our thread under our stitches when we started off? We will do something very similar to finish off. It is extremely important we NEVER make knots on the back of our work. Knots will cause our work to not lay flat when we go to frame it.

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The Running Cross Stitch

A Running Cross Stitch will be used quite often when stitching. It is normal to need to make rows of the same color. The Running Cross Stitch will allow you to do so and get the most use of your floss.

The Running Cross Stitch will start out just like a regular cross stitch. All we are doing is building upon what we have already learned.

Making a Running Cross Stitch

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Now take some time to practice making several rows of Running Cross-Stitches.

Practice Running Cross-Stitches

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Making a Back Stitch

The last stitch we will learn today is the Back Stitch. The Back Stitch is often used to create detail in cross-stitching. It is extremely easy to do and really does make a difference in a finished piece.

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Keep in mind when making a Back Stitch you are always working BACK toward the previous stitch hence it's name.

Back Stitching is generally done after all of the Cross-Stitching is completed since it is worked over the stitches to create outlines and dimensions.

Congratulations!

Congratulations! You have just learned how to make the three most important stitches in order to successfully Cross-Stitch. In Part 3 we will learn how to make a Cross-Stitch project utilizing a pattern. Once you've done that you will be will on your way to making some beautiful pieces of art.

Comments

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    • BillS25 profile imageAUTHOR

      BillS25 

      6 years ago from Providence, RI

      Thank you so much for the feedback 4youreyes. I was a little nervous about utilizing so many pictures at first. So glad I did!

    • profile image

      4youreyes 

      6 years ago

      BillS25,

      I would like to welcome you to HubPages. This is a excellent hub, I wish I would have found instructions this good when I was learning to cross stitch. You have explained everything very well and the picture are a very well done.

      Have A Good Evening !

    • BillS25 profile imageAUTHOR

      BillS25 

      6 years ago from Providence, RI

      Thank you Jen! I really appreciate the feedback. I love cross-stitching and hopefully this will help others to enjoy it too.

    • jenjohnson42 profile image

      Jen Womeldorf 

      6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I've been cross-stitching for years, and always find it difficult to explain the very basics to a novice. You've done a fine job here, and the photographs are a wonderful addition. Thanks for sharing!

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