Cross stitch instructions


Cross stitch is easy! With just a few basic instructions, you’ll be able to get going on your new kit.

Cross stitch is just that - two stitches which cross in the middle to produce an X shape (full cross stitch). 

Half cross stitches are where one of the stitches does not fully ‘cross’ but goes from one corner of the square and ends in the middle.

Back stitches are running stitches which give an outline.

French knots are little circular stitches, which look a little like a thread bead.

Your kit may also include beads. These are stitched on with a single thread, through the middle of the bead.


Embroidery thread is made up of six strands that should be separated before stitching. 

  • Use 2 strands for cross stitches, half cross stitches and French knots.
  • Use 1 strand for back stitches or beads. 


Separate the two halves of the hoop and lay the fabric over the smaller hoop. Push the larger hoop over, and tighten screw (if there is one) whilst making sure the fabric is taut as you do it. The edges are pulled round the back when finished to neaten them off.

Cross stitch patterns

The printed pattern has either a coloured box or a symbol which represents a colour, for each stitch. To help keep your place, the pattern also has a thicker line every 10 stitches, and a red cross to indicate the middle of the pattern.

Getting started

  • Start by finding the middle of the fabric by folding in half and then half again. You can mark the middle with a thread if it helps. 
  • Find the middle of the pattern and start stitching from the middle outwards. 
  • Do not tie knots in the thread - when you start a stitch, leave 2 cm at the back (hold with your finger so you don’t pull it through) and then as you stitch, make sure the thread is caught underneath. 
  • Stitch in rows going either left to right or vice versa - but whichever way you start, keep to it, so that your ‘under’ stitches are all in the same direction, and your ‘over’ ones are, also. 
  • When you need to end your thread, run the needle under a few stitches and cut off the thread.