If you’ve got a big cross stitch pattern to complete, you’re probably looking for ways to make your life easier. Is it possible to increase the speed in which you complete a pattern, make the process easier, and even reduce the amount of mistakes you’ll have to fix? Indeed it is! These cross stitch tips for large projects will provide you with a more efficient and easy way to complete your next big project!
How To Cross Stitch Large Patterns
Select The Appropriate Size Scroll Frame or Hoop
Before you even get started stitching, it is helpful to select an appropriately sized scroll frame or hoop for larger projects.
Scroll frames are nice because they come in a large variety of sizes. They can be table top or hook onto an embroidery stand. Compared to holding a large hoop in your hand, the scroll frame is a much nicer way to cross stitch a large pattern.
The other option would be to use an embroidery hoop.
- If you don’t plan on framing the finished piece in the hoop and the cross stitch is relatively large, you can select a hoop that is smaller than the design and move it around on the fabric according to where you are on the pattern.
- Or you can use a hoop that fits the entire design in it.
One tip that will avoid a lot of pain and strain on your hands is to use an embroidery stand while you are working!
Q-snap frames also come in a variety of different sizes and are great to use for cross stitch.
Keeping Thread Organized
You’ll most likely have ALOT of different colors to use in a large cross stitch pattern. It will be helpful to organize your thread in a way that it is easily accessible.
Embroidery floss bobbins and embroidery floss cards are two ways to keep everything easy to find and use.
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Keep Your Work Clean
Big cross stitch patterns require a lot of time. More time equals more handling, which means there are more chances of something staining your work (dirt, oil from your hands, etc.). One way to alleviate this problem is to use a grime guard. There are plenty of options on Etsy for scroll frames, q-snap frames, and hoops.
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Keeping Track of Your Stitches
Imagine nearing the end of your project when you realize it won’t fit on the piece of fabric. Or you miscount some stitches only to realize your mistake many hours later!
Planning out your approach for stitching a pattern is very important, and this next section will go over a couple of methods that will help you keep track of your stitches, catch mistakes early, and sometimes completely avoid them.
Ultimately, all of these methods are suggestions; there is no right or wrong way to go about them. But I’m sure one of them is sure to be useful.
Cross Stitch Gridding
Cross stitch gridding is the process of marking the cross stitch fabric with a marker or thread.
Here’s how gridding out your fabric helps with large projects:
- Makes it easier to keep track of where you are in the pattern.
- It ensures you have enough fabric and you are laying out the pattern correctly on it.
- Helps you avoid miscounting stitches.
- When mistakes do happen (and they will!) it allows you to catch them earlier.
I recommend gridding out the fabric similar to the way the pattern is gridded out. (For example, if your cross stitch pattern has bold lines / numbers marked out for every 10 stitches, grid and mark your fabric the same way!)
If you grid out your fabric similar to the example I just mentioned, you’ll be able to tell quickly whether or not you have correctly stitched a 10 x 10 square, allowing you to stay on top of and fix mistakes fast!
If this sounds interesting to you, check out this tutorial to learn a few different ways to do this using marker or thread.
Another way to keep track of groups of stitches is with counting pins. These handy tools are like little cross stitch markers that help you keep track of where to start and end clusters of counted stitches.
You can also use them to mark your spot in a pattern to come back to later.
In addition to their usefulness, it can be fun to find and collect different varieties of designs from places like Etsy.
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Efficient Ways To Complete The Pattern
Listed below are a few recommendations for systematically working through large patterns. How you approach a cross stitch design is ultimately up to you! I suggest trying a few different ways. Then stick with the system that works for you!
Work Groups of Color Together
Working cross stitches of same color at the same time helps you reduce the amount of times you’ll have to start and end stitches. While it doesn’t take a ton of time to do this, the time it takes to switch colors, thread your needle, and start/end a stitch adds up in a big project!
Here are times when it’s ideal to work stitches of the same color at once:
- If stitches are relatively close to one another (around 1-3 squares away)
- If stitches are directly beside one another / in rows or columns
Make Rows Of Half Stitches First
This piggybacks off of the first tip and it works well for stitching groups of stitches of the same color that are next to or close to one another. Work rows of half stitches first, and then go back the opposite way to complete each cross stitch.
This method makes it easier in my opinion to quickly count out stitches and it also makes it easier to take out half stitches when you miscount. It also ensures you are making each stitch in the same direction and order, which allows for neater looking cross stitches.
You can work this method row by row or with multiple rows of stitches at a time.
Breaking Up The Pattern
If the pattern is super large, it may be helpful to break the pattern up into quadrants and focus on completing one quadrant at a time.
Naturally, large scale projects can take a long time. This can become tedious and discouraging at times if you can’t clearly see a lot of progress.
I personally find breaking projects into smaller pieces helps to keep me motivated. It will be exciting to see an entire section completed vs having to wait until the very end to see progress!
This method is almost the complete opposite of the first few ways we just went over. This way allows you to alternate through many colors instead of stitching one color at a time and “park” the threads on the front of the fabric to mark out the next place that colors is used.
If you’re interested in trying it, Peacock And Fig has a great tutorial on it.
I wish you luck and lots of patience on your next large cross stitch project! You’ll be so proud once you’ve completed it, and I hope some of these tips help make the process smoother and more enjoyable.
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Amanda is a hand embroidery artist and teacher. With over 15 years of experience in the craft industry and embroidery, she owns and runs Crewel Ghoul, sharing tutorials and patterns to help inspire fellow crafters to get inspired and creative. In addition to running this website, she teaches on Skillshare and Youtube.