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How to Counted Cross Stitch

Updated on July 29, 2013


Counted cross stitch is usually worked on even-weave fabrics. These fabrics are manufactured specifically for counted-thread embroidery and are woven with the same number of vertical threads per inch as horizontal threads per inch.

Number of Threads

The number of strands used per stitch varies depending on the fabric used. Generally, the rule to follow for cross-stiching is three strands on Aida 11, two strands on Aida 14, one or two strands on Aida 18, and one strand for working with linens.

When blending different colored strands, use one strand of each floss color indicated to achieve the blend.

For backstitching, use one strand on all fabrics. When completing a french knot, use two strands.

Needles for Cross Stitch

Needles should slip easily through the fabric holes without piercing fabric threads. For fabric with 11 or fewer threads per inch, use a tapestry needle, size 24. For 14 threads per inch, use a tapestry needle size 24 or 26. For 18 or more threads per inch, use a tapestry needle size 26.


For each graphed piece there is a color code. Numbers and color names represent DMC brand of floss. Use 18" lengths of floss. For best coverage, seperate strands, dampen with wet sponge and put together number of strands required.

Centering the Design

Fold fabric in hald horizontally, and then vertically. Place a pin at fold point to mark center. Locate center of design as indicated by arrows centered at left and bottom of each graph. Begin stitching at center of pattern and fabric.

Securing the Floss

Insert needle up from underside of fabric at starting point. Hold 1" of floss behind fabric and stitch over it, securing with the first few stitches. To finish thread, run under four or more stitches on back of deisgn. Never knot floss, unless working on clothing.

Cleaning Completed Work

When stitching is complete, soak fabric in cold water with a mild soal for five to 10 minutes. Rinse well and roll in a towel to remove excess water. Do not wring. Place work face down on a dry towel an diron on warm setting until fabric is dry.

Cross Stitches

Stitches are done in a row, or, if necessary, one at a time in an area. To begin stitching, come up through a hole between two woven threads at A. Then, go down diagonally at B. Come back up at C and down at D, etc. Complete the top stitches to create an "X." All top stitches should lie in the same direction. Come up at E and go down at B, come up at C and go down at F, etc.


Pull needle through at point A. Go down one opening to the right at B. Then, come back at C. Now, go down one opening to the right, this time at "A". Continue.


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    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I love to cross stitch. Godd information, it was an enjoyable read.

    • snehal welde profile image

      snehal welde 7 years ago

      I love cross stitch too.It was nice to read this hub. Very informative .