Counted Cross Stitch for Beginners
Counted Cross Stitch - So Easy and Fun!
Counted cross stitch projects are easy enough to be a child's first sewing project, and beautiful enough to grace any home. Designs and subjects are limitless, as are styles. You can even chart your own designs on a piece of graph paper. Designs can be very simple or extremely complicated, complete with shading and embellishments. The learning curve is minimal and takes mere minutes. You can go from beginner to intermediate and even expert stitcher just as soon as you master a few extremely simple techniques.
Essential Embroidery Floss
How To Do Counted Cross Stitch
The Basis Cross Stitch
Most counted cross stitch projects are worked on evenly woven cloth called Aida cloth. Aida cloth comes in different counts, but the most common and the best for learning is 14-count.
Some people work with embroidery hoops and some people prefer to just hold their work.
A blunt needlework needle, as opposed to a sharp sewing needle, is used.
Two strands of embroidery floss is generally used for most work. Embroidery floss comes in small skeins of six strands. Cut a length of thread no longer than your forearm (to avoid tangling). Fray the end of the thread and pull two strands apart from the remaining four.
Unlike regular embroidery, work isn't anchored by knotting the thread because it would just pull through the holes in the cloth. When you draw your needle up, leave a tail of about 1/2 inch behind. Hold it with your finger to keep it from pulling through. As you make a row of stitches, position the tailing thread underneath your work so it becomes secured, thus anchoring your thread. When you are about to run out of thread, leave enough thread on your needle so that when your needle goes down to the backside of your project, you can run it underneath about 1/2 inch of stitches, again securing your work. Snip your thread and load your needle again.
Diagram A shows how to make a a single cross stitch. Diagram B shows how to work a row of cross stitch in the same color. Some people like to do each cross stitch as a single cross stitch, crossing their stitch before going on to another. It doesn't matter. What is important is that every stitch is consistently crossed in the same direction in order for the work to look even. It's so much easier than the explanation. That's it. You can add outline stitching to your work and details like knots if you wish, but it isn't necessary.
Most people start out with purchasing a kit, which has the design chart and all the thread you need. You can also purchase charts and thread separately.
Basic Stitch Diagram.
Some Free Cross Stitch Projects
#1 - Free Counted Cross Stitch Cats Project
The perfect starting project - a cat sampler! This will work up so fast, yet its simplicity is what makes it so charming. Your first project will be something to be proud of.
Photo and access to pattern: kreinik
Basic 14-count Aida Cloth for Counted Cross Stitch
#2 - Free Counted Cross Stitch Witch Hat and Pumpkin Project
This is a second beginner's project. A good one to practice outlining stitches on. It should work up fast and yet not look like a really basic learner's project.
Photo and access to pattern: craftown
#3 - Free Counted Cross Stitch Violets Project
These beautiful violets show what shading can add to a project. You don't have to worry about it, the skill of shading rests with the pattern designer. All you have to do is follow the chart and change colors as directed.
Photo and access to pattern: abc-free-cross-stitch-patterns
#4 - Free Counted Cross Stitch Sun Project
Back to basics with this happy face sun. It's composed of solid colors and simple outline stitches. A great beginner's project.
Photo and access to pattern: cross-stitch-addict
#5 - Free Daffodils Counted Cross Stitch Project
A little more involved and a larger project with more stitches. It will take a little longer to complete. But still, nothing difficult here. Once you master the simple counted cross stitch technique, you can tackle almost any pattern.
Photo and access to pattern: maurer-stroh
#6 - Free Trick or Treat Counted Cross Stitch Project
Who could resist making this happy trick or treat bag. A child would love to make this one once they master the simple stitch.
Photo and access to pattern: craftown
#7 - Free Babushka Counted Cross Stitch Project
So cute! Easy solid colors to work with. You could practice adding your own outline touches on this to really make it stand out.
Photo and access to pattern: cupcakecutie
Spanish Dancer Counted Cross Stitch Chart
#8 - Free Quilt Counted Cross Stitch Project
I love quilts! I love cross stitch! What a win/win project. Solid colors for a quick and easy project. You might be inspired to chart your own quilt designs or other geometric projects.
Photo and access to pattern: crossstitch
#9 - Free Valentine Counted Cross Stitch Project
What a sweet Valentine project. This one is a little more involved, but still a small project to work quickly. It's a good example of a project worked on colored Aida cloth.
Photo and access to project: craftown
#10 - Free Home Sweet Home Counted Cross Stitch Project
I love this simple "Home Sweet Home" project. So, so simple, but not too old fashioned or busy. This one could slip in with any decor.
Photo and access to pattern: juliesxstitch
Mary Englebreit Counted Cross Stitch Designs
Christmas Santa Counted Cross Stitch Kit
Dimensions Counted Cross Stitch Kits
Bucilla Counted Cross Stitch Kits
Photos used with permission are credited in individual modules. Every other photo on this lens resides in original form in my personal collection.