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  • Writer's pictureRhona Norrie

Cross Stitch Beginner Pattern #3 (Cute Fox free chart)

This fox design progresses on from the free heart and tulip designs in our Beginner's Guide. Now you'll be stitching using three colours of thread and I will introduce you to "back stitch" - another stitch that’s used frequently in cross stitching. I’ll walk you through how to back stitch and you can practice this new stitch on this design…

An orange fox is cross stitched into white aida fabric.

Isn’t he cute? He’s made exactly the same way as the other two designs (he’s just a little bit bigger and has a couple of bits of back stitch for detail). You’ll need brown, black, and white threads to stitch this design. Again, if you can’t find the threads listed here, you can choose any colors you'd like. Why not get creative? Let’s get started!

Note – This post may contain affiliate links to cross stitch products I trust. This means if you make a purchase using the links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

You will need…

Fox Chart Beginner's Guide
Download PDF • 435KB

Stitch the design according to the chart just as you did with the previous designs (if you need a refresher, visit our "how to cross stitch" post). Once you have finished all the cross stitching, we will start the back stitching.

Back stitching is shown as a straight line on your chart. Refer to the key to see what colour you should use and how many strands of threads to use. In general, back stitching is done using one strand of thread, but occasionally two or three (or more!) strands can be used to give different effects. For this design we will be using one strand of red-brown thread.

So, how do you do back stitch? It’s kind of like the cha-cha of stitching… two steps forward, one step back!

Back stitching, which often looks like an "outline", is important because it can help parts of your stitching stand out. Without back stitching, the fox's tail blends into the background:

A close-up of an orange fox stitched on fabric.

How to back stitch: Thread your needle with one strand of red-brown thread (reminder: your thread is made up of multiple strands!). On the reverse side of your stitching, run your needle through three or four stitches the way you would when finishing off your threads. Then, bring your needle up one square from where your backstitching should start:

A needle sticks out of fabric next to a stitched orange fox.

Gently pull the thread up, taking care not to pull too much so that the thread you ‘caught’ stays in place. Insert your needle one square back from where the needle first appeared:

A needle pokes into white fabric right next to a cute stitched orange fox to begin the back stitch outline of the fox's tail.

Pull the thread all the way through so that you have one small "line" of back stitch between two holes. From there, your needle will then come up through the fabric, two squares from where it is now (one square away from where you started - just on the other side!). Essentially you will be moving one square backwards and two squares forward. Each time the new stitch goes backwards to meets the previous one… hence its name!

Here's how it would look on the feet:

A close up of a stitched fox's paws, where a needle pokes out to start the second backstitch.

  • The hole with the needle in it is the start of the second stitch.

  • To complete the stitch, you'll go into the hole to the right (meeting with your first stitch) and pull the thread all the way through.

  • From there, your next stitch will begin in the hole to the left of where the needle currently sits. You'll go in from the back, pull through, and then place your needle into the hole to the right (this hole is currently where the needle is pictured in the photo above).

Once you have completed all the back stitching, run your needle through the back of some stitches to catch the thread the same way you did to finish off your heart or tulip (found in our Beginner's Guide).

If you'd like to complete a project, you can turn your stitching into a card to send to a friend!

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