The other day, I suggested cross-stitch as an activity to princess Fluffybutt. She asked how to do that, and when I went to respond, I was having a hard time describing everything with words, so I started taking photos, and then I realized it was getting out of hand for a reply to a comment, so I figured I'd make it it's own post.
So this is how I cross-stitch. I can't guarantee that this is the "correct" way of doing things, but it's how I do them, and it usually works out well for me.
These are the supplies you'll need! A ring, a needle, some embroidery floss, and cross-stitch fabric.
Here's a closeup of the fabric. It comes in different sizes of square, and I think the smaller looks nicer, but it needs to have a distinct square weave.
Place the inner ring on a hard, flat surface, then place the fabric over it. Put the outer ring on top, loosened all the way. Press down until the inner and outer rings are lined up.
Tighten the outer ring with the little screw so that the fabric is completely taut inside of the ring.
Now, the thread! Embroidery floss is composed of 6 small threads, twisted together.
Separate out two of the 6 threads, and split them off from the rest of the thread.
Thread the separated out floss through your needle. Line up the two ends, so that it's divided in half
Push the needle up through the bottom of the fabric, through one of the holes in the fabric, on the corner of a square.
Pull the thread almost all the way through, but leave a little tail in the end. I don't like to tie it in a knot, because the fabric won't lay flat as nicely. Once you've put in a couple of stitches, you can't pull hard enough for the thread to get pulled out of the fabric.
Put the needle back through on a corner diagonal from the corner you came up through.
Now do the same thing on the alternating corners.
If you have a whole row of the same color, you should do all the stitches in one direction
Then go back and do all the opposing diagonals.
This is how your back should now look
It's important that your first diagonal stitch ALWAYS be in the same direction through out the piece. If you start out going bottom right to top left, that should always be your first line in the X. The bottom row is this picture has alternating starting stitches with \ and / as the starting diagonal. You can see how messy it looks.
Well, it's hard to tell in this picture, but I swear it looks messy in person.
Now you're ready to go out and get a pattern, and start cross stitching! Subversive Cross Stitch has some cool patterns. Etsy also has some great ones. There's traditional ones at a lot of craft stores. I also like to take 8-bit art, like you can find here, and use that as a pattern, which is how I made the Beatles pattern above.
If you have any questions, let me know!