Monday, January 25, 2016

Cross Stitch Lesson 3: First Stitch

Good morning! I hope you are enjoying your cross stitch lessons. We will place our first stitch today.

IMPORTANT: Start your first stitch from the center of your fabric. Sometimes, the center may actually be empty space so you will just have to count to the nearest first stitch to begin stitching.

ALSO: Counted cross stitch is named so because you have to count stitches and empty spaces in order to cross stitch the intended pattern. The 10 x 10 grids between the dark lines on the chart will help you keep your place better. I like to mark off what stitch with a pencil as well.

TIPS to avoid knotting: Remember, we don't want knots in the back and especially not in the front. Here are a few tips to help avoid those unwanted knots.

  • Pull floss through slowly as you stitch to avoid knotting. 
  • Cutting your strands to 18", which is about the length from the tip of your middle finger to your elbow, will also help you avoid knotting of the floss. 
  • The floss will naturally wind as you stitch and can cause knotting. From time to time, let your floss hang freely with the needle still attached to let it unwind.

1. Cross Stitch Lesson 2 explains how to find the center of your fabric. The center of your chart is found by finding the arrows on the top, bottom and both sides of the chart. Simply follow the center lines they are located on to the center of the chart.

I circled the left and bottom arrows for this photo. Since this is a purchased pattern, I blacked out this large section of the chart.

The top and right arrows are not circled in this photo so you can better see what they look like.

Here, I placed a dot in the center of the cross stitch chart. The center is also marked by one of the dark lines. Sorry, it's a little blurry. But I think you will get the idea.

For reference, my needle is inserted into the middle of the fabric. We found the center last week by folding the fabric in half twice. 

2. My first stitch on this particular pattern is a cross stitch that uses two strands of floss. This is the typical stitch and the typical number of strands. Separate the floss one strand at a time to prevent tangling and knotting as you pull it from the six-strand grouping.

3. Thread your needle with your floss.

4. Pull the threaded needle from the back of the fabric to the front. Leave about a 1 inch tail in the back.
This is the back of the fabric.

5. Now, with the front of the fabric facing you, hold the tail of the floss in place. This can be tricky but patience helps. Half cross stitch your first row of stitches across.
Front view of half cross stitched row

Back view. As you can see, the stitches are now holding the tail in place.

6. Cross over those half stitches to finish the cross stitch.
Front view of cross stitch

Back view. The full cross stitch securely holds the tail in place. I leave the tail if there will be more stitches to go over it. The length adds to the security of the hold.

7. When you are finished cross stitching with this floss color, pull the needle and floss under the cross stitching to secure the stitches without knotting. Most of the time you will have many stitches you can make with one floss color before it is time to secure it. For demonstration purposes, I did only one row so you can get the general idea about how to begin and end your cross stitches.

Next week, we will finish our series of cross stitch lessons with a color change lesson and a lesson about how to begin and end the back stitch and French knot. 

Leave me a message below if you have any questions!

Have a nice day!

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