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★ Free Cross Stitch Charts & Patterns | Beginner's Techniques, Tips & Tutorials ★

Updated on September 27, 2015

Learn How To Cross Stitch & Find Great Project Ideas

Cross-stitch is a type of needlework that consists of an X stitch repeated to make up a pattern. Because of the square nature of the stitches, the end designs have a pixelated look about them, which has therefore made it more accessible to young people currently as a way to create 'geeky' art depicting gaming characters like Super Mario, and as an ode to retro tech.

This craft may be regarded as old fashioned still by many, but as well as a great wealth of traditional patterns, there are now a large number of modern patterns so that it appeals to younger people and hopefully will help to stop this versatile technique from dying out.

On this page I have compiled brilliant beginner guides for starting cross stitch, plus links to many inspiring blogs and interesting projects for you to try. There are links to my favorite free patterns and charts too.

I hope it provides a good resource for you :)

Cross Stitch On Paper


Best Cross-Stitch Kits & Supplies

Aida cloth, embroidery floss, an embroidery hoop and a needle are the must-haves for this craft, and all-inclusive kits are a brilliant way for beginners to start.

So What Is Cross Stitch?

Cross stitch is where simple 'X' stitches are applied to fabric in an even and ordered fashion. The design can be small or only consist of few, spaced-out stitches, or an entire piece of fabric can be covered with cross stitches with no gaps in between.

Usually the fabric will be an 'evenweave' mesh made of cotton, which is perfect for cross stitch because it consists of evenly spaced holes, and you simply thread your stitches through these holes to ensure they are all of equal size. When buying this kind of fabric, it will be labelled with how many holes are present per square inch e.g. '14 count' means that there are 14 holes per inch.

The most popular evenweave fabric is 'Aida' cloth which has a woven mesh.

Fabric can have a design pre-printed onto it to give you a guide for your stitching, or you can transfer the design from a separate cross-stitch chart (the 'counted cross stitch' technique), or you can go freestyle!

Embroidery floss is usually the type of thread used for the stitches, with floss being a thread made up of 6 separate cotton strands. If you're using a cross-stitch chart or kit it will tell you how many strands to use. The higher the count of fabric you are using, the more holes there will be per inch and therefore less strands of thread will be used because the stitches will need to be finer (there will not be enough space for many strands to go through the holes). Anchor and DMC are the most popular brands of floss.

Cross stitch is one of the oldest types of embroidery and has a lot in common with other forms of needlework. Cross stitch traditionally was used to decorate plain household items like dishcloths, but now it is used for a wider range of decorative objects and is often used in modern designs now rather than 'old-fashioned' images. A type of cross-stitch popular with younger generations is pop culture cross-stitch, which includes fan art for TV shows and video games, and the more daring 'subversive' cross-stitching which can be more than a bit cheeky!

Cross Stitch Tutorial Videos

Cherry Blossom Hoops


The 'X' Stitch

The cross stitch itself is so simple, and all you need to do is:

- Push your needle up from the back of the fabric (e.g. Aida cloth) through one of the holes. You usually start in the center of the fabric and work outwards, but it's not compulsory.

- Pull the needle through to the top, leaving a tail of thread about 2 inches long at the back.

- Push the needle back down through the hole diagonal to the one you've just used. I always use the order shown in the diagram, so I go right one hole and up on hole.

- Pull the needle through to the back, making sure you don't pull hard enough to drag the thread tail through the fabric.

- You have now completed a half stitch.

- Now you push the needle up through the fabric one space above where you started.

- Push the needle back through to the back, going through the hole to the right of where you started.

- In conclusion, you go up through hole A, down through hole B, up through hole C and down through hole D.

I have seen instructions for different orders, such as ABDC and BACD. It doesn't really matter as long as you use a consistent technique across your whole project, so just do the order that you prefer :)

Colorful Handmade Hairband

Note how the design has been planned beforehand by coloring in squares on a piece of graph paper.
Note how the design has been planned beforehand by coloring in squares on a piece of graph paper. | Source

Pop Culture Designs

To see the shop that sells this awesome Breakfast Club cross stitch pattern, click here.

Photo by Wee Little Stitches.

Snow Globe Ornament


Abraham Lincoln Portrait


Estonian Patterned Pincushion


Wall Hanging Sampler

A sampler is a traditional way of learning cross stitch as well as a way of recording and displaying how to stitch the alphabet plus other patterns and shapes which may be referred to later.
A sampler is a traditional way of learning cross stitch as well as a way of recording and displaying how to stitch the alphabet plus other patterns and shapes which may be referred to later. | Source

Have you done cross stitch before?

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