If this is the first time you have attempted a cross-stitch, have a look at the basic instructions below. You might also find it helpful to do some practice stitches, to get the hang of it before you start on the design.

Single cross-stitch

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Multiple cross-stitch

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Getting started

You will need:

  • Your Purple Thread Designs kit
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Pair of embroidery scissors
  • Good lighting (natural or spot/reading light)
  • Time and patience
And this is what you do:

Secure the fabric in the embroidery hoop. Make sure it is tightly and evenly stretched – this is really important for ensuring even and successful stitching.

Find the centre of your pattern and mark it, identifying the centre stich (your starting point). Then find the approximate centre of your fabric. It is best to start here and work outwards (to avoid running out of fabric!).

Split your thread into sections of 2 strands. Each length is approximately 50 cm (20 inches) long, which I find is a manageable length – but feel free to chop it in half if you want.

Thread your needle with the 2-strand thread, leaving 25–50 mm (1–2 inches) hanging on the short side.

Starting with your centre stitch, bring the needle from the back of the fabric to the front and make your first stitch in (towards you) and then out to the back again..

Leave a small tail of thread on the wrong side of the fabric and stitch the first 5 or 6 stitches over it. You can then snip off any excess.

Decide if you are going to work either in half stitches (that is, making half of the 'cross' //// or \\\\ ) or complete stitches (making the full 'cross') each time. If you make half-stitches you must do all your //// and \\\\ in the same order, to ensure your stitches lie flat. If you do complete stitches make sure that the 'top' thread for each stitch is in the same direction for each stitch.

Work in vertical or horizontal rows in one colour and then switch to another. You may find you have lots of bits of thread dangling on the wrong side of the fabric and it's best to snip them as you go (otherwise it can get a bit tangled up!)

Finishing off

When you have finished one colour or need to start a new piece of thread, just thread the needle back through the last few stitches on the wrong side to secure the thread and chop off the extra bit.

When you have completed the whole design, first of all congratulate yourself (champagne, balloons, confetti, applause, etc) then wash the fabric in cold water with a non-bio, eco-friendly detergent. Let it dry naturally and iron gently.

I hope you enjoy the process of creating your cross-stitch just as much as displaying it; or, if you can bear to part with it, giving it as a present.