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Cross Stitch Stitches
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Cross Stitch Stitches

Cross stitch is a simple stitch that is the key to counted embroidery. Cross stitches can be worked singly or in two journeys but you should always keep the top stitch facing the same direction. It does not matter which way it faces but it should be the same for the whole project.

When stitching large areas of one colour, such as a background, it is easiest to work in horizontal rows. Working from right to left, complete the first row of evenly spaced diagonal stitches over the number of threads specified in the project instructions. Then, working from left to right, repeat the process. Continue in this way to fill the area, making sure each stitch crosses in the same direction.

When stitching diagonal lines, work downwards, completing each stitch beofre moving to the next. Make sure all the crosses look the same, with the top of the cross going in the same direction. Begin to embroider at the centre of the design and work outwards.

Three Quarter Cross Stitch

Three quarter cross stitch is a fractional stitch which produces the illusion of curves when working cross stitch designs. The stiotch can be formed on either Aida or evenweave fabric but is more successful on evenweave, as the formation of the cross stitch leaves a vacane hole for the fractional stitch.

1. To work a three quarter cross stitch, work the first half of the cross stitch as usual, sloping the stitch in the direction shown on the chart you are using. Always work the second qurter stitch over the top and down into the central hole to anchor the first half of the stitch. If using Aid fabric, push the needle through the centre of a block of the fabric. You may prefer to use a sharp needle for this exercise.

2. Where two three quarter stitches lie back to back in the space of a full cross stitch, work both of the respective quarter stitches into the central hole.

Double Cross Stitch

Double cross stitch can be worked over two or four threads of an evenweave fabric or over one or two blocks of Aida, to create a series of bold crosses or 'stars'. Tiny double stitches may be formed over two threads of evenweave but they are difficult to work on one block of Aida. To keep all double stitches uniform, make sure that the direction of the stitches within them is the same.

To work, start to the left of a vertical thread and work a diagonal cross stitch and then add a vertical cross on top. The second vertical cross may be worked in a different colour to add interest, in which case work the stitch in two stages - all lower crosses first, followed by the top crosses.

French Knots

French knots are small but important stitches though they can cause frustration as they are apt to disappear to the back of the work or end up as a row of tiny knots on the thread in the needle. Follow the steps below for perfect knots.

Step 1. Bring the needle through to the front of the cross stitch fabric and wind the thread around the needle twice. Begin to 'post' the needle partly through to the back, one thread or part of a block away from the entry point. This will stop the stitch being pulled to the wrong side.

Step 2. Gently pull the thread you have wound so that it sits snugly at the point where the needle enters the fabric. Pull the cross stitch needle through to the back and you should have a perfect knot in position. If you want bigger knots, add more thread to the needle as this gives a better result than winding more times around the needle.


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