Introduction to Counted Cross Stitching

Starting to Cross-stitch

So, you have decided to do a cross stitch embroidery yourself. What do you need to get started? Is it easy to learn how to cross stitch? What to get started with?

Just anyone can learn the basics of cross stitching. Once the first simple design is finished and takes a place on the wall in a nice frame, you'll have cross stitching among your favorite hobbies. The more you practice, the better your technique will become and more complex designs you will be able to cross stitch.

For the first experience with cross stitching you can get yourself a ready cross-stitch embroidery kit. These kits usually have all necessary materials included: cross-stitch pattern, canvas, floss, needle and tambour. The only disadvantage of ready cross stitching kits is their price – they might be quite expensive depending on the manufacturer. Well, if embroidery kit is not your option, lets go further.

The Cross-Stitching Pattern

Some free cross stitching patterns are available on this site in the patterns section. The selection is quite large, so for your convenience cross stitching patterns were sorted by topic. Depending on your personal mastery level, you may narrow your search of patterns based on the number of colors, or size of the embroidery.

Embroidery designs may be bought in a store. Famous cross stitching patterns are designed by professional artists working for well known compnaies such as Lanarte (Holland), Dimensions (USA), Heritage(England), Candamar (USA), Anchor(England). However, this is possible to develop your own stitching pattern to do the design that you personally favor a lot, or which will become very personal present to someone you love. Just imagine how wonderful that will be to have a cross stitched portrait of your child! Or how much appreciated will be the present in the form of embroidery of some special place, like a native town view or favorite flowers.

In order to convert the image you like into a ready cross stitch pattern, you must get yourself one of the cross stitching applications specially developed for this purpose. PCStitch Pro or Pattern Maker for cross stitch are quite good. Remember though, that the process of converting an image into an embroidery design is a complex task and requires some knowledge of Photoshop and artistic skills. Poorly converted images may become a real pain to cross stitch and the finished embroidery may become a disappointment. If you doubt that you can convert an image into a cross stitch design yourself, ordering it at our site may be a good solution.

Choosing the Canvas

The color of the cloth and its type are generally based on the cross stitch pattern you use. Let's say, Aida 7 (the number means flosses per inch) is perfect for a Bulgarian cross stitch. Petite embroideries are done on Aida 18 or linen.

Aida 14 is a canvas with 14 threads per inch and this is probably the most popular cloth for counted sross stitching. This canvas is usually embroidered with two threads, sometimes three threads using 24th needle. Such popular manufacturers as Dimensions, Janlynn, Permin, and Kustom Krafts use Aida 14 in their cross stitch kits.

Aida 16 has 16 threads per inch and using this canvas you can get more detailed embroidery. The cross stitching is done with two threads using a 24th needle. In this case the canvas does not appear through the embroidery. Aida 16 is commonly used in Dimensions and Derwentwater Design cross stitching kits.

Aida 18 is a canvas with 18 threads per inch. Many skilled embroideress consider it ideal for cross stitching as it is perfect to use for large well designed patterns. It is usually embroided with one thread using 25–26th needles. Dimensions and Thea Gouverneur design companies use this cloth in their embroidery kits.

Linda 27 is a 100% cotton cloth with 27 threads per inch. This cloth is easy to work with and may be used for sewing the clothes, tablecloth, serviette. 2×2 cells of Linda correspond to Aida 14. However, unlike Aida where the cell in unbreakable, Linda allows making two narrow crosses in vertical or horizontal direction instead of one large cross. This technique is often used in Heritage kits. Linda cloth is also used in Lanarte embroidery kits.

Lugana 25 is a mixed cotton cloth (52% cotton and 48% viscosa). This is one of the most popular clothes of Zweigart manufacturer. This is an elegant cloth for table-cloths, pillows, and other decorative handicrafts. It is perfect for cross stitching purposes. It is used in Janlynn embroidery kits.

Hardanger 22 is a 100% cotton canvas of a very good quality. It looks like a usual cloth but this is the fines of all canvas where cells are seen clearly, except for single-thread canvas. It is usually cross-stitched with one thread on using half-stitch technique with two threads.

Davosa 18 is a 100% cotton canvas with 18 threads per inch. This is an exceptional cloth of a high quality. Its soft and the needle easily goes through the canvas. It is often used for various handicraft works. It is also good for large and detailed canvas cross stitching.

When getting yourself some canvas for cross stitching consider that you'll need to leave inch or two blank from each side in order to get your embroidery framed.


Cross stitching needles are peculiar: thin, blunt and with a large eye.

Cross Stitching Floss

Choosing the right flosses is an important step. Such popular flosses are available for cross stitch embroideries as DMC(France), Anchor (England), Madeira (Germany), Ariadna (Paland), Mayflower(Denmark). The quality is the most important factor when choosing the right flosses for cross stitching as no one wants the result of couple months work to be spoiled by faded or run flosses. Besides this, poor quality flosses are difficult to work with. When creating designs and cross stitching patterns, this is important to choose the floss with rich palette. DMC, Madeira and Anchor are the best from this angle.

This is interesting to know that there are specially developed tables that allow to match colors of different floss manufacturers. So even if the cross stitching pattern you liked is using DMC palette, you will still be able to do the embroidery using Anchor floss with the help of these tables.

In order to find out how many floss you'll need for embroidery, take 10 inches of thread and cross stitch the row of crosses on your canvas. Count how many stitches you've got. 10 inches divide by the number you've got and multiply by the number of crosses of this color in the pattern. You now know how much of this floss you'll need for this exact pattern.

Useful tips

Start working with matching the center of canvas with the center of embroidery. You can mark the canvas with gridlines using a pencil or washable marker. This will significantly help you to work with large patterns.

When the work is finished you'll need to wash your embroidery. Do not do that in a washing machine. Handwash it in a warm water using either liquid detergent or even a shampoo. Rinse with cold water, do not wring and let it dry on the towel. When the embroidery is little wet, iron it on the inner side.


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