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Common Cross Stitch Mistakes + How To Fix Them

When I first learned how to cross stitch I made all of these common cross stitch mistakes. I’m sharing them in this article in hopes that it will help you easily fix them so that you can continually improve the way your cross stitch looks. The best thing about all of these are that they are all easy to fix!

Using Fabric With Incorrect Thread Count

Each cross stitch pattern normally states what thread count the design should be stitched on. Cross stitch fabrics have thread counts which are the number of threads per square inch. So using a thread count that is larger or smaller than the recommended fabric count for a particular pattern will affect the size of your cross stitch project. A helpful way to figure out fabric sizing is to use a cross stitch calculator.

cross stitches

Skipping Around The Pattern

This next common cross stitch mistake is one that I was guilty of ALOT when I first started stitching.

When you are working on a pattern, it feels natural to want to stitch all of the same colors at once. However, if the colors are scattered throughout the project, it risks you miscounting and making stitches in the wrong part of the pattern. It also makes it tempting to carry your thread along the back of the fabric to the next area you need to stitch so you don’t have to end and start a new strand of thread. This can be an issue because the thread can show through to the front and the back of your cross stitch won’t look as nice.

The best way to work through a cross stitch pattern is to stitch near other stitches and not skip around. If you prefer to skip around, gridding out the fabric before you get started will help you keep track of where you are in relation to the pattern.

Improperly Planning Where To Start

Having a plan for your cross stitch project is very important! If you don’t start your pattern in the right area of the fabric and you don’t calculate how the pattern will fit on the fabric, you risk running out of room or stitching the pattern off center.

cross stitch chart

When you start a cross stitch pattern, you’ll want to locate the very center of the fabric and also the pattern. Cross stitch patterns are usually marked on grid lines so you can easily count how many vertical and horizontal stitches there are in the pattern.

It’s a bit more challenging to have to count each square of the fabric, so an easy shortcut is to fold the fabric in half twice and mark the center crease. Then you can get started in the very center!

gridded cross stitch fabric

Losing Count In The Pattern

Large areas of patterns where the color is all the same can become hard to keep track of. A great way to help you keep track of where you need to stop is to use cross stitch counting pins. You can count out how many stitches are needed and place the pin to mark the spot!

Another way you can make it easier to keep count is by adding grid lines to the cross stitch fabric with a heat erasable or water soluble marker.

How To Fix A Mistake When You’ve Miscounted

If you miscounted and made too many or too little stitches, you have a few options to fix it:

  • Remove the stitches back up until you are at the square(s) you accidentally stitched.
  • Leave it be if it doesn’t make much of a difference to the overall design.
  • Stitch over the square(s) with the correct color.

Cross Stitching In Different Directions

This tiny detail can make a big difference. When you are making cross stitches, try to make the first stitch the same direction for each stitch. If the first half of the cross stitch you make is from left to right across the square, you should make each stitch in that direction first. It will make your cross stitches look way more uniform!

cross stitch with 6 strands of floss vs 2 strands of floss

Using Too Many Strands of Thread

Stranded embroidery floss comes with 6 strands. Cross stitch usually uses 2 strands of thread. If you use too many strands your work may not look as smooth and neat.

Knotting The Thread

Knotting the thread in the back of the cross stitch can make the back of it look messy and potentially show through to the front of the fabric. A better way to start and end stitches is by running the tail of threads underneath the stitches you made or by making a loop start.

I hope these tips help you! Check out this post to learn even more ways to make your cross stitch look neat.

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