Learn to Cross Stitch: Part 3 The First Stitch and Beyond


Looking for the previous posts? 1 and 2.

You’ve purchased your supplies and you’ve prepared your work. Now, it is time to actually stitch. The great thing about cross stitch is will begin to see what you are working on in a relatively short amount of time. This project can be completed in less than hour, so you’ll see progress very quickly.

X-Men Symbol pixelatedDownload or print the pixellated X-Men symbol. You will want to have it readily available. In most designs, if not all, the designer will mark the center of the design in some way. In my example, I have marked it with the arrows. If you follow the arrows, you will see that the center of the X is the actual center of the work. This is where we will want to start. However, we also want to make sure that where we start makes our life easiest. In this case, we should start one from the left of center. This way, we complete the entire line at one time.


As I said before, you want to avoid knots in embroidery if possible. Some stitchers swear by the “waste” or “away” knot, I do not, but I will show you how to do it in another post. When I sew my first stitch, I always pull my thread from the top left corner to the bottom right corner. As you are learning, flip your Aida over so that you can see the back. You will want to capture your loose thread between your stitches on the back. To do this, make sure you arrange the excess thread to lie flat and underneath your next stitch. If you continue to think about your stitches in squares, you are going to take your next stitch through the top right corner of this square. Flip your Aida back over and start another section of the cross. At the end of the row, you will have three red \\\ on the front and the back will have captured your excess thread and three |||. Then you go back to complete your crosses, the same way you did the first three stitches, but in reverse.

You’ve completed your first row of cross stitches!

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In this pattern, I would complete all of the work in red before switching to the yellow. To start a new row, I would move my needle to the next row up and work that direction. However, you may find it easier to work downward and around. The important thing is to keep to a direction that is comfortable to you. There are a few tips though:

  •    Ideally your new stitching line should begin adjacent to one of your previous stitches to avoid crossing too many threads and squares.
  • Keep the same direction going on your cross stitches. While, it isn’t always noticeable. Your work will look nicer if all of your stitches are in the same direction. In my example, my bottom stitch moves from left-to-right and the top stitch moves from right-to-left.
  • Every five-to-six stitches, you will need to let your needle and thread dangle so that the thread unwinds. When stitching, beginners have a tendency to turn their needle slightly as they sew. As you become a more experienced stitcher, you will learn to hold control your stitches so this does not happen.

Eventually, you will come to a point where you either run out of thread or need to change location. To do this simply run your needle under three-to-four stitches and snip your thread. I also snip the excess threads as I go. Then you are ready to begin at another location that makes sense to you.

Before you know it, you are ready to switch from your red floss to your yellow floss. Continuing to stitch exactly as you have been and following the chart, you will be done in no time.

This design took me about an hour. I used six 18 inch strands of red floss and two 18 inch strands of yellow floss.

4 thoughts on “Learn to Cross Stitch: Part 3 The First Stitch and Beyond

  1. I appreciate the follow! My project is daunting but it has been fun so far. I can’t wait to learn about the whole history of the X-Men and hopefully inform some people on the way!

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