How To Cross Stitch

How To Cross Stitch

By Pete Seazle – Crass Cross

You will need aida cloth, hoop, needle, DMC floss, a pattern, scissors and masking tape (optional).

  1. (Optional) – Cut a piece of masking tape longer than one of the cloth edges.  Fold over edge and press firmly.  Cut off excess beyond the length of the cloth.  Repeat for other 4 edges creating a “frame”.  Handling the piece during stitching can cause the edges to fray.  Taping will prevent this and comes off easily when cleaning the piece.
  2. Loosen the screw on the hoop and separate. Center the cloth on top of the inner hoop.  This is an eyeball operation.  Just get close.  Place the loosened outer hoop over the cloth and inner hoop.  Pull taught as you tighten the screw.
  3. Use a ruler to find the center point of the hoop on the cloth.  You can also eyeball this too. Place a needle in the center hole to mark the spot.
  4. Note the center spot on the pattern marked by arrows along the top and left edges.  Select a floss color that is close to this center point to be your first stitch. 
  5. The DMC floss comes with 6 strands.  Cut a length of 12-18 inches of floss.  Anything longer will start to fray.  Separate two strands from the cut length and set the other 4 aside.
  6. Thread the needle with the two strands. (see note #9a.)
  7. Come up from the backside through the first hole you’ve chosen close to the center mark. 
  8. Move to a diagonal hole either up and right or down and left from where you came up.  Think “backslash” key on the keyboard.
    1. You always want to make the first stitch in this direction ( / ) and the second in the opposite direction crossing from top left to bottom right or vice versa.  The piece won’t look “sharp” if these are mixed up. 
  9. Secure the thread.
    1. Note:  Some will recommend leaving the two strands separate, making your first stitch and leaving a “tail” of about ½ inch on the underside of the cloth, and securing on the cloth by looping around the tail with your next few stitches.  I simply tie a knot in one end of the strands, make my first stitch, then secure by putting the needle through the end with the knot as it approaches the cloth.  Your choice.
  10. Now it’s just a matter of “counting stitches” and moving from one stitch to the next as it is relative to the previous stitch.  If there are several of the same color in a row, I’ll do all of the first stitches from left to right or right to left, and then reverse direction and cross them all.
  11. If the stitched area is larger than the diameter of the hoop, you can always reset it.
  12. When you come close to finishing with the first length of floss, either loop around it as you did when you secured the starting end or tie a knot.  Again, choice is yours.  I tie knots.
  13. When completed, remove from hoop and wash with a little dish soap and warm water.  Rinse thoroughly.  Dry and iron. Now it’s ready to frame.  If framing in the hoop, simply “shave” the excess cloth off the back of the frame with a utility knife or razor tool.

Please feel free to email me at with any questions.  I’ll try to respond promptly!

Happy Stitching!

Pete Seazle – Crass Cross

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