How to Cross Stitch

Unlike some other types of embroidery, cross stitch is very easy to learn. Here's a quick quide to show you how.

There are 2 main ways of stitching crosses, both are just as good, which way you choose to do it is up to you.

The 'all in one' Style

In this style of stitching each cross is completed before moving on to the next stitch.

Working over one thread of the aida fabric, come up at 1, down at 2, up at 3 and down at 4. Remember to keep the stitches crossed all the same way for a neat appearance.

The 'there and back' Style

In this style of stitching you work from left to right, making the first part of the cross, then working back again from right to left crossing the stitch.

Working over one thread of the aida fabric, come up at 1, down at 2, up at 3, and down at 4 etc. until the end of the row on the pattern.

Now you go back along the row crossing the stitches you just made. Come up at 7 and go down at 8. Repeat this until all the stitches have been crossed.


Backstitching is a great way of outlining and adding detail to cross stitch. It can make a great difference to your finished work. Here's how to do it.

To start come up at 1 and go down at 2. Next, come up at 3 and then go down to the left at 4. Repeat the second stitch.


Here are some of my tips for cross stitching:

  • Never start off with a knot! It makes the back of the work bumpy and spoils the finished effect. Start off by leaving about an inch of thread behind the fabric and catch the end in your stitching so it doesn't come undone.
  • Use a hoop or a frame when stitching large pieces, it helps with the tension of the stitches, but don't pull the fabric too tight or it will stretch out of shape!
  • No matter how careful you are your work will get dirty as you stitch. When you have finished your work wash it in luke warm water with a drop of mild washing up liquid.
  • If you've spent a long time stitching a large piece, splash out and get it professionally framed, its worth it and it will last a lifetime.
  • Never leave your work where a small kitten can reach it. The threads it took you an hour to sort can be turned into spaghetti in seconds :-)