Monday, July 18, 2011

Left Handed Cross Stitch Tutorial

Hello everyone!!! Are you ready to hopefully learn to cross stitch? Now before I start I just want to say I am not a professional stitcher and what I may do is not the only way of cross stitching. The way I do it is what I've picked up along the way. My first experience with cross stitch was in 7th grade home ec. Too bad they don't do this anymore. I got a B on my project because I didn't follow directions and used different colors. Isn't that what life is about marching to the beat of a different drum? LOL. Anyway... if you are ready let's get started. If you click on any of the pictures they will enlarge so you can get a better view.

Alright my friends if you are right handed this may or may not work for you. If you'd prefer my friend Kriss of Kountry*Porch*Primitives is doing a right handed version of cross stitching please check her out.

I am posting a free pattern on the right side of my blog for you to stitch along with me. So go over click on it. It will take you to my Picturetrail. Once there right click the picture save it on your computer and then print. Or you can click here. Right click to save and then print. The supply list is here. I tried to get the legend to print on my pattern but no luck. The pattern is in color so you will be able to figure out what colors to use.

This is what our finished project will look like. Just a cute peg rack pillow hanger.

Alright do you have your pattern? Let's take a look at the pattern. At the bottom you would normally see the color legend of what each symbol corresponds with what color. With this pattern the you see color and a symbol. Now in most patterns each small square is one stitch or X. You may also see that there are a little darker lines running vertically and horizontally. Inside of each of these squares is ten small squares for ease of counting. This comes in handy when counting off borders.

For this project I am using 14 count aida cloth in beige. I didn't want to coffee stain it in the end so I choose I darker background. Remember this an 8 inch by 8 inch piece.

There are two ways to get started with any pattern. Sometimes the pattern will tell you to start in a certain place like in the upper left hand corner of the project so many inches from the top of the fabric. I personally always cross stitch from left to right. Lefties you may find this easier because you can see exactly where your stitch needs to go.

OR it won't tell you and you can start wherever you want. Depending on the pattern I will start in the middle on the stitchery for the most part. That way your stitchery is centered in the fabric.

If you are going to start in the middle take your fabric and fold it lengthwise.

Then fold it crosswise...

My pin is in the middle of the fabric or at least close enough. From there you work outward. Don't worry I will be revisiting this step a little later.

For this particular pattern I started with the border. The reason being I wanted to make sure I had told you the right amount of fabric. So I measured 1 inch down from the top and 1 inch from the side and that is where I started. In the end you will have a little fabric to cut off.

Ok in this pattern you will only use 2 strands of thread when you are cross stitching. To start on the border cut off about 18 inches of black floss. Pull two strands away from the six. Some people take one strand at a time then put the two back together to thread the needle. This will make your stitches lay flatter and better. Thread your needle...

Whenever you start you will bring your needle to the front from the back. Leave about a half inch "tail" on the back of the fabric. We do NOT tie knots in the floss. You will just stitch over them to secure the tail.

Now back to the front. This pattern was to little for me to use a hoop so I am just holding it with my hands. Anyway, Your needle was on the front. Being left handed like I say I work lower left to upper right for my first stitch.

On the back... this next stitch from back to front will tack down your tail. The next stitch you take will go in the next hole directly beside to the right where the tail is. Take you needle and push it through to the front.

Your back should now look like this. One stitch over the tail.

This is what the front will look like... the needle came up directly beside the first stitch.

The next step is up to you how you want to proceed. You can either...

A. complete the X and complete each X as you go...

So on and so forth... I find that my X's don't look good when I stitch this way. They aren't even.


B. just keep going until you come to the end of the line. There is no right or wrong way to do it. I prefer to keep going with the same stitch.

So I bet you are wondering how are we going to know how many stitches we've done without recounting them all? Well, every ten stitches I put a pin to keep my place. Remember when I told you that there are ten squares in between the heavier dark lines? Yep this is where they come in handy. And when you have 70 some stitches across I sure as heck don't want to keep recounting. LOL.

Alright my lefties.... since I can't use a hoop I have to hold it in my hand. For me this is the best way to keep the cloth a little taut and hold it at the same time with my right hand.

The top row is done stitching it from left to right. Now turn around and cross the Xs from bottom right to upper left all the way back.

If you are following me this is what the back should look like.

Darn it I'm at the end of my floss. To end it just take your needle back through you stitches to tie it off. Remember no knots!

Wait a minute did I say knot?!? Sheesh I got a knot in my thread. This does happen if every so often you don't let your threaded needle dangle to unwind. Obviously I didn't. These knots for the most part come out pretty easy.

Carefully grab the knot between your thumb and index finger and lightly pull on the knot. Most times they will pull right out. If not you may have to use your needle to get it out or sometimes tie off your thread and cut it off. YEP I've done that a few times. LOL.

I know before I told you when I go across I stitch all the way across. That is true. But when I have stitches that go straight down like a border I will make the complete X then go on to the next one. I still mark every ten stitches with my pins.

I finished all my border. See what I mean you will have a little extra to cut off in the end.

OK now what? The next step is up to you. If you want to count to get your middle or if you want refold (I choose this method) to find the middle of your borders. Fold vertically matching the borders then fold horizontally matching the borders. Mark it with a pin. Now go to your pattern. I printed mine without the center line markings, but yours has it. I use a pencil and draw a line straight down the middle and a straight line across to find my center square.

You all ready to start counting? This can get confusing, but let's try it. I decided I would start with the blue. So looking at your pattern find the blue symbol at the bottom of the pattern. Now if you look up to the figure there is a blue symbol close to our center mark. I always start at the top left of the beginning of a color. So in this case counting from the center going up is two squares. Then counting across to the symbol is two empty squares and on the third square start your stitch. I always count twice and use my needle to mark the square that I need to stitch in by putting the needle in the hole and moving it around a little to make the hole bigger. Again, you can count however you want just be consistent. Ok the first blue circle is done.

Now count either from that circle or the center point until you finish all the circles. I try to base my next circle on the previous circle when I count. Since I already had the blue out I also did the wing.

After the blue I figured the brown should be next. Not much counting around the feathers until you get to the straight parts. And then the head can be counted off the first feather.

Are you still with me???

GREAT!!!! Let's move on to the numbers. I always try to find the shortest way to count. That way I have less of a chance of counting wrong. So, I started at the bottom most feather above the 1 and started there. Once you have the first number count your next stitch from the 1 to the 8 so on and so forth until you finish.

We are almost there... The alphabet is a little more difficult to count. You could either count from the border or count from the bird. I started at the top most plume of the bird head and did the D first. Then I based everything off of that.

Woohoo you made it!!!!

You can finish it however you like. I chose not to coffee stain mine but you certainly could. I cut mine down so that there was 3/4 of an inch all the way around first. Then I cut a piece of blue fabric stitched it together stuffed it with sawdust and made a hanging pillow tuck.

I hope you had fun and maybe learned a little today. If you get stuck please email either me or Kriss and we can talk you through it. :-)
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    Well I'm not a lefty but this tut is fantastic for those that are. What a nice thing to do.
    Enjoy your day!


  2. Mary,

    Great tutorial..thank you!!


  3. Awesome tutorial..Thank you and you did a beautiful job on the stitchery..

  4. You got your pictures so nice and clear!! Anxious to stitch up your little sampler. Again it was fun to work on this with you. Next time we can do a tutorial on how to work on ONE project at a time LOL!! Guess what....can't find the PDF files I saved...what a surprise right?? ~Kriss~

  5. What a great tutorial, thank you so much for sharing! Hugs Mary


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