Learn to Cross Stitch: Part 4 Finishing Touches


xmensymbolLooking for the first three parts? 1, 2, and 3.

When you’ve finished stitching, you aren’t quite finished.

You need to wash your cloth to remove any dirt or oil that has gone from your fingers¬† into your cloth. Trust me, you don’t want to see your fingerprints six months from finishing your work. A little bit of light detergent or dish washing soap and a sink full of water will do the trick. Get the Aida good and wet, gently scrub it with soap, and then rinse until the water is clear. You’ll want to lay your design flat to dry.

Once the design has dried, iron your embroidery as well. You never want to iron the front of your work though. Instead lay it face down and use a pressing cloth or thin fabric. Ironing your stitches make them bond with the fabric and sets them nicely. This also makes the embroidery pop from the surface giving the entire design as crisp and neat appearance.

You’ll probably want to display your design some how as well. Be creative, there is no wrong thing to do here. Many people frame their stitches in some way. Typically, I finish the edges of my designs with lace or ribbon at the very least. The X-Men symbol would make a good button or necklace pendant if you’ve got the tools for that or a decal for a shoe, bracelet, or a collar. I stitched a couple of extras on scrap Aida to use as collar decals for my Gambit and Rogue – cats. I washed and ironed the emblem, then I used fusible interfacing to hold everything together and bind the edges. Then, I sewed a strip of elastic so that I could slide the symbol onto their collars. Finally, I might add a layer of iron-on vinyl, but I am going to let Gambit run around a few days with it the design as is and see what happens.The vinyl doesn’t always bond the way I want it to, and Rogue has pica so she just might eat the vinyl if given the chance.

Gambit and Rogue like to “play a game” where they take each others collars as trophies, and apparently Rogue lost the last battle. At the time of publication, I haven’t found hers, so you only get a picture of Gambit wearing his.

As for the original that I used for the demonstration, I put onto the bookmark, I am going to fill the space with more X-symbols in the various colors of the team throughout the years.

Click me for a larger version.

And now that you’ve finished your first design, you’ll want to do another. Try this “Batman” symbol.

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.