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  • Writer's pictureRhona Norrie

How to Cross Stitch

In this post, you'll learn how to cross stitch. If you already know how to cross stitch, keep on reading and you can access our free beginner charts! 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!


So you’ve been to the craft store (or getting spendy online!) and bought your fabric and threads, you’re high on enthusiasm dreaming of the wonderful things you’re going to produce. You get home and realize that you’ve no idea how to even start! Sound familiar? Let me help.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Threading Your Needle

Grab that thread and cut a length of about 30 inches - just eyeball it as it doesn’t need to be exact. Pull out one single strand of thread (you'll see your thread is actually made up of multiple strands - this is much too thick to use!). Fold it in half the put the two ends through the eye of the needle. It should look like this:

A needle threaded with purple DMC floss sits on a square piece of white aida cloth.

Making Your First Stitch

Take your fabric and start from the underside/back of the fabric. Bring your needle up through one of the holes. Then, pull your needle through along with MOST of the thread - but not all of it! This should leave a small loop on the underside of your fabric.

Rhona puts her needle into aida fabric to begin her first stitch.

Take the needle across to the hole that is to the top right diagonally (think about the holes making a square). Put your needle through this hole, careful to keep the loop you've left on the underside where it is. If you accidentally pull the loop all the way through - not a problem! Just start again.

Rhona pulls her purple thread through the aida cloth.

Next, turn your fabric over and put your needle through the loop of thread - ‘catching’ it so that your thread is now secured to the fabric.

Rhona shows the back side of her cross stitch, where her needle is going through a purple loop of thread.

Pull it all the way through so that you no longer have a loop. Now, your thread is secured to your fabric:

Rhona holds a piece of aida cloth in one hand. In the other hand, she holds her needle taught, which is attached to the cloth with a purple strand of DMC floss.

If you look at the front of the fabric, you’ll see that you have made the first part of your cross stitch… easy, wasn’t it? Now you need to make the top part of the X. Place your needle in the hole to the right of where you originally started:

Rhona finishes a cross stitch on a blank piece of aida fabric.

And now you'll cross over to the top left of the "square" the holes make, completing your X by pulling your thread all the way through.

Rhona begins the second half of making a stitch with purple thread on aida fabric.

Yayyy, you made your first stitch, but it’s not quite time to celebrate… you’ve got lots more to make!

An easy way to make many stitches

If you have several stitches of the same colour, the easiest way to make a line of stitches is to make all the first half of the stitches from left to right like this…

Rhona holds up a piece of aida fabric against a white background. She is stitching with purple thread.

Until you have a line of "first halves":

A line of half-done purple cross stitches are on a square aida fabric.

Then come back doing the top part of the stitches to complete the Xs…

Rhona works to finish a line of purple cross stitches on square aida fabric.

And now you can celebrate because you are now, officially, doing cross stitch! Make sure to take a look at the rest of the posts in our Beginner's Guide - it includes free charts for you to follow so that you can practice your stitching!

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