Cross-stitch... I have the pattern, now what?


I bought some rad Halloween cross stitch patterns, but I don’t know what to do next. I’d like to learn, but do I use regular embroidery floss or is there special cross stitch floss? I’m guessing there are special needles… and special fabric…
I know how to embroider, but I’d like to learn a new craft.

Thank you!


You use regular embroidery floss. For a beginner, I would definitely recommend using Aida because the squares are very clearly defined. You always want to start from the center of the design, and the center of the fabric. That way you don’t have to worry about running out of room in some awkward place. The pattern should show the finished size of the product depending on the count size of the fabric. The count indicates how many stitches per inch, so the larger the number the smaller the squares. For a beginner, I would probably start with a 14 count, it’s kind of middle of the road. Just make sure that you get a piece of fabric that is large enough to accommodate the pattern. That’s why you want to check the finished size. Most people use a hoop just like you would for any other embroidery project. I happen to be fortunate enough to have a frame, but that is unusual. I know you can purchase embroidery needles that have a blunter tip, but as long as you have a sturdy needle you should be fine. I tend to use regular sewing needles.

Also, you want to make sure that your stitches all go in the same direction. When I first started cross stitching I wasn’t very careful about that and some of my finished projects looked a little off as a result. Like, do the / first and lay the \ on top. Or vice versa, whatever you’re comfortable with. Just make sure that all the stitches are the same.


Awesome! So excited for you!

You can use regular embroidery floss (dmc stuff) and usually I use a blunt needle but really, I am a firm believer in using what you feel comfortable with.

I agree, Aida cloth is the best for just starting out. Actually I still use it because I just like the way it works for me.

14 count is the usual and most typical count of aida used for patterns. I would also invest in a Qsnap frame. It is much easier on the hands and wrist and for the fabric.

When you stitch have your stitches go the same way (although I am bad at always doing this) Your row should look like this:
Then you will come back and it will look like this:

Does that make sense?

Some people also grid their cloth to make it easier to stitch. Some start in the middle. I don’t, my brain doesn’t work that way so I start on the left side and work over.

Honestly, I just tell people do to what feels good for them. Know a few basics and then make it work for you.


@Bunny1kenobi @kittykill

Thank you! I have embroidery floss already, but they no longer have their wrappers, so I may have to buy some new floss, no big deal. When I started embroidering I had bought the wrong needle, so I was embroidering with a small tapestry needle for the longest time. Then I bought embroidery needles and right around that time I took a break from it.
I’ll look for the Aida fabric and the snapping holders. I bought a snapping holder for my mom from Sublime Stitching, I’ll look up the Q-Snap.
And thanks for the tip about the stitching because I totally would have wonked that up.


I’d suggest finding a small chart to practice with. In addition to the helpful advice given, you’ll want to separate out two or three strands of the floss to stitch with. If you get 14 count aida, I’d use two strands of floss (embroidery floss comes with 6 in the strand.

As for colors… on some projects, colors don’t matter much. On others, they matter a great deal. You can definitely use what you have for a practice piece. :slight_smile:


Oh okay, I didn’t know about separating strands. I’m going to my local needle store (which I’ve never been to, despite frequenting the mom and pop bakery just a few stores down) to see what they have in stock.

I usually use a single strand and double it up, putting both cut ends through the needle’s eye. Then I don’t quite quite complete my first stitch, so I can put my needle through the loop on the end then pull it snug.
Much easier and less bulky than tying a knot.

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Almost everyone I know uses 2 strand on 14 count, most of the time I use three cause I like it too look a little heavier and solid.

This smaller pattern I have is 34 Hx 22W with a finished size of 2 1/4 by 1 3/8 inch. Do you think that’s too big to start on?

I could probably split the pattern in half and just do the JOL or just do the cat standing on it.

What pattern is it? Did you get in online? I’m curious now. :smiley:

They are almost all the Prairie Schooler Halloween ones. I’m looking on the back of Book No. 156 “Boo to You”


I would recommend if you’re cutting fabric from a large piece of Aida, make sure you cut it 3-4 inches larger than the finished design so you have extra for framing.


That’s probably the perfect size.
I also found this getting started guide helpful

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Oooh, thank you. Hey, and welcome back!

The supplies have been purchased from my local needlework store. And, bonus, they do one-on-one teaching there! Also sewing machine servicing! Dang, I should have asked if they do scissor sharpening.

What’s really crazy is that QSnap comes from Ames, IA. I grew up further south of there, but my husband-then-boyfriend-at-the-time went to school in Ames for a year before making the sensible decision to move to Iowa City when I started a year later.


Awesome! Those prairie schooler patterns are easy and so awesome! Can’t wait to see what you stitch up.


I have finished! The pattern isn’t exactly correct since I made some errors, but I still like it.


It turned out great!

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Thank you! I’m working on a bit bigger one now.

Nice job!

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