DIY Cross Stitching with a Pattern

I've recently committed myself to a cross stitching project and there's honestly no turning back now. The idea is to sit and stitch just one flower a day, using Carolyn Manning's Stitch Along pattern. Despite getting over the intimidation of beginning a project of this extent and making a handful of mistakes to start, I'm totally hooked. It's amazing to see how much joy this has brought me over the last few weeks. Before I dive into my computer in the  mornings, I pick up my hoop and stitch a single flower, usually while drinking coffee and listening to my favorite podcasts. It's calming and meditative, I highly recommend it. And while I'm far from finished, I thought I'd share some tips that I've learned along the way in hopes that maybe you'll stitch along with me!

You'll Need:

  • Carolyn Manning Flower A Day pattern (PDF and pamphlet - I prefer the paper copy versus digital as I find it easier to count grids and carry with me if I want to stitch on the go!)
  • assorted embroidery floss (here, here and here)
  • cross stitch needle
  • 19" x 28" 14 count cotton cross stitch cloth
  • embroidery hoop (I prefer a larger hoop but any hoop size works. THIS is also a great deal as most all your supplies are bundled into one purchase)
  • scissors

A cross stitch pattern is your guide and will tell you everything you need to know about where to stitch and what colors to use. The grid on the pattern corresponds to the weave of the fabric - in this case, I'm using a standard, 14 count aida cross stitch fabric. As far as colors are concerned, the pattern provides the exact floss colors to use and you can differentiate colors by the symbols or number coded in each colored grid. I simply used it as guidance and have been using whatever colors I have on hand.

 

 

Most embroidery floss is made up of six strands of thread that are twisted together. With a 14 count fabric, it's best to split the threads in half or thirds (i.e. 3 or 2 strands) at a time. I made the mistake of not doing this when I first started this project and decided to start over. It was an absolute pain but I'm so glad I did - it looks crisper and cleaner!! To separate the strands, just divide them and pull them apart. Next, you'll thread your needle and there's no need to double knot the end. I'll explain more later. Also, be sure to use a tapestry or cross stitch needle - they have blunt ends, which makes stitching a lot easier than a pointed end sewing needle.

To start, you'll reference the pattern. I started at the upper left corner - which is where the pattern began. Here, I've already started the pattern so I'm using the closest flower as my next reference point. Count the grids between flowers to guide you. I always like finding the next closet grid as it helps avoid any mistakes. If you miscount, it can cause issues with the rest of the pattern so accuracy is key!! And if you accidentally miscount a grid or two, you can always make it up later on.

Once you've found your entry point, bring the needle up from one of the grid corners. I like to stay consistent so for me, I usually start at the upper right corner. Be sure to hold the tail behind the fabric while passing the needle through the hole diagonally from your starting corner (i.e. the lower left corner).

 

Bring the needle back up through the opposite hole (i.e. the upper left corner) and then back down diagonally to finish your first cross stitch. Meanwhile, you should be trapping the tail in the first few stitches. This prevents you from having to double knot your floss each time.

 

 

Continue adding stitches according to the pattern.

When you finish one color, pass the needle under at least three completed stitches to hide the tail end of the floss. Trim any remaining floss and start your next color.

With stitches that are in a row, I like to create a row of half cross stitches and then go back the opposite direction to finish them.

Don't worry about having to cross the floss on the backside to go from grid to grid. As long as the distance is pretty short, there's no need to cut the floss off and start again.

Some patterns will include line stitches which requires the use of a back stitch. I like to use 2 strands versus 3 strands for this kind of stitch. To back stitch, bring the needle up one grid ahead and bring it back down one grid behind.

 

 

Continue that pattern. Bring it up one grid ahead and then back down one grid behind.

Believe it or not, I'm less than a quarter of the way through. The finished piece will measure 16" x 16". Many people have asked me what I plan on doing with this piece once it's finally done. I'm not quite sure yet. I'm thinking of turning it into a pillow or maybe even framing it? If you guys decide to take this one, I'd love for you to share your own version of a Flower a Day!! Happy stitching!

images & tutorial by HonestlyWTF

Leave a Comment

39 Comments

  1. Sara Blasingame wrote:

    I love to cross stitch and this was fabulous.

    8.10.20
    Reply
    • Frances Koekoekemoer wrote:

      Would love to know where you bought your material and cottons/floss. I cant find find any in the area where I am staying. Lost without my cross stitching.

      8.12.20
    • I’ve just watched you on Pinterest. Amazing creativity! Looked up your website and was delighted to see that you are cross-stitching. Your descriptions and instructions were perfect. I would very much like to have a chat with you about my business. We manufacture “square” embroidery hoops and cross-stitch kits for beginners. On Pinterest we are Pinterest.com/EasyStreetCrafts

      10.15.20
  2. Susan Hays wrote:

    Doing counted cross stitch projects is so relaxing and rewarding. I’ve been doing projects for the last 25 years and am always looking forward to the next one!! Enjoy!!!

    8.10.20
    Reply
  3. Debbie wrote:

    Beautiful and colorful! Do you have a pdf pattern you can share?

    8.10.20
    Reply
    • Cindy Capek wrote:

      Looking forward to pattern of A flower a day to com available again. Your finished piece is stunning.

      8.11.20
  4. Bi wrote:

    I have a question – what do you with ready work?

    8.10.20
    Reply
  5. Sandy Norris wrote:

    I’m doing a 15 page pattern bird of paradise crossstitch. trying to do a page a week or so. I’m on page 7

    8.10.20
    Reply
  6. Janet Soar wrote:

    I have another way of casting on. Draw out a single strand of required colour, fold in half and thread two “ends” through needle. Go down hole, do not pull through, but make sure needle goes through the loop created by folding the thread in two. Neat, no waste, hope u can follow this and I am not “teaching my grandma to suck eggs….”

    8.10.20
    Reply
  7. Marilyn Peterson wrote:

    I too enjoy cross stitching. The time goes
    by so quickly and an hour just flys by. There is great joy in the finished product and I display them around the house.

    8.10.20
    Reply
  8. Janet wrote:

    I don’t think this is your first piece. It’s too good. Having kidded you a bit, I am happy you enjoy a hobby that has been a friend, a comfort and a joy for 34 plus years. Everyone needs a creative outlet. The only problem with the backs, if you get a piece of of white and decide to frame your piece, your dragging floss may show thru. It’s your call, and your piece is very nice. Keep on keeping on

    8.10.20
    Reply
  9. Kaelen wrote:

    I love the idea of this cross-stitch. Sewing one flower a day is such a good idea – like a kind of meditation practice! I might have to try this – it seems like a good thing to incorporate into my life for some sanity during this endless quarantine. 🙂

    xoKaelen | Darling Marcelle

    8.10.20
    Reply
  10. Jude wrote:

    I was taught to draw a line in the middle of the pattern sheet, from north to south and east to west. (on most patterns u will c a head of an arrow at each mid point). U then also take a colour that is not in ur floss & make a running stitch up the middle- north to south & the same with east to west, on ur material. Then start doing ur work from that centre point out. Far less apt to make errors when counting this way.
    I generally make a photocopy of my pattern & use it to draw the lines on, keeping the original nice.
    After u r all done the cross stitching, make sure u use a gentle soap with cold water only, as some colours of floss may bleed. Then I turn it with the back side up, on a thick towel & iron it dry, squaring it up as u go with a dry iron… no steam. This makes ur work have like a 3D affect- pushes the stitching forward.

    8.10.20
    Reply
    • Cindy wrote:

      Yes I always start I the middle as well
      I also put a T at the top of my work just to make sure I don’t turn my work around when t first start out.

      8.11.20
    • Erica wrote:

      Oh interesting!! Thanks for the tip!!

      8.11.20
    • Holly wrote:

      Help please. U said this was for beginners but I don’t think u meant real beginners. I hvnt been on you tube yet … but how do I start? I’m very intimidated by the pattern that I don’t understand. How do u measure off the “fabric” to start.? I hv all the materials needed but homely wtf am I doing?? :))

      8.25.20
    • Maryanne EGGERS wrote:

      Same here, except I was taught to fold it into quarters to find my center. Also, to tape around the edges while working so the aida doesn’t fray or wear as you work. Blocking …exactly the same.
      I have been embroidering lately, but seeing rhis makes me want to hurry, finish up, and start a cross stitch project instead.

      10.25.20
  11. This is beautiful & I can’t wait to stitch this!

    8.10.20
    Reply
  12. Vicky Burman wrote:

    You could always take one strand of thread and do the loop start with it (plenty of videos on YouTube to help you)

    8.10.20
    Reply
  13. Karen wrote:

    You shouldn’t carry your thread so far on the back. When you go to frame or maybe finish it as a pillow, those carried threads will show on the front. Carry a thread no more than two stitches’ distance. I’ve been cross stitching since I was 10 so I have a little experience. LOL

    8.10.20
    Reply
  14. Gladys wrote:

    I started doing cross stitch when I was home with my daughter. I did a birth announcement when she was born and I have been doing them since and she is 34 yrs old. I just did one for my grandson who is into Pokémon 149 characters

    8.10.20
    Reply
    • Erica wrote:

      Aww, how sweet and sentimental!! Thanks for sharing!

      8.11.20
  15. Deirdre O’Hagan wrote:

    I haven’t cross stitch for long time

    8.10.20
    Reply
  16. Gloria wrote:

    Beautiful pattern I like to X stitch but not done it for years, have started one recently but to be honest do t think I can do it.
    The pattern is so bitty it changes colours every one or two stitches, so don’t know how to do this! Do I cut the silk each time or carry on with one colour at a time
    I may bin it

    8.11.20
    Reply
    • Erica wrote:

      Hey Gloria, I’ve been carrying on with one color at time, crossing over in the back. As long as my thread doesn’t have to travel too far – I just go with it!! And then when I’m totally done with one color, I go back and do the other color.

      8.11.20
  17. Kim Holmes wrote:

    I’ve done cross stitch samplers for a long time now but the ones I like to do are known as printed cross stitch sampler, with sayings, birth, new home printed on material so you can do it all in one stitch and you don’t have to count the spaces, these are very nice to give as a gift but I am now looking for them as the shop closed in the Vic mkt, nottm

    8.11.20
    Reply
  18. Anna Dillon wrote:

    I love your pattern so colorful and refreshing..
    I wish I could get your pattern I don’t have Printer these piece is very inspiring

    8.11.20
    Reply
  19. Wendy lodge wrote:

    I started about 4 years ago and I just love to cross stitch. I have star wars pattern and I am about two thirds completed. It is Huge it has taken me almost two and a half years to get this far.

    8.11.20
    Reply
  20. Amy Hampson wrote:

    I love to cross stitch. I am currently doing one of my biggest projects yet, a renaissance lady. I find it calming and relaxing (until I make mistake of course!). Thank you for sharing, your flowers look amazing!

    8.11.20
    Reply
  21. Lori wrote:

    I thought this was a great tutorial to have on hand for cross-stitching! I shared with friends and family! Thank you!

    8.11.20
    Reply
  22. Lori Baumgarten wrote:

    I am an avid cross-stitcher and this is a beautiful pattern. Do you sell the pattern? I would love to have it!

    8.11.20
    Reply
  23. Frances Koekemoer wrote:

    I would like to know where you got your material and cotton/floss. The area in which I live has not got any suppliers qhere I can buy anything. I am lost without my cross stitching. Yourcross stitch pattern is beautiful.

    8.12.20
    Reply
  24. no makeup wrote:

    This is beautiful & I can’t wait to stitch this!

    8.15.20
    Reply
  25. Nancy wrote:

    Good tutorial. Learned something new!

    8.16.20
    Reply
  26. Holly wrote:

    Help please. U said this was for beginners but I don’t think u meant real beginners. I hvnt been on you tube yet ..… but how do I start? I’m very intimidated by the pattern that I don’t understand. How do u measure off the “fabric” to start.? I hv all the materials needed but homely wtf am I doing?? :))

    8.25.20
    Reply
  27. Karen wrote:

    I tried this cross stitch some years ago and it’s pretty fun. This pattern is very pretty.
    http://hotmail-email-login.email

    10.15.20
    Reply
  28. I’ve just watched you on Pinterest. Amazing creativity! Looked up your website and was delighted to see that you are cross-stitching. Your descriptions and instructions were perfect. I would very much like to have a chat with you about my business. We manufacture “square” embroidery hoops and cross-stitch kits for beginners. On Pinterest we are Pinterest.com/EasyStreetCrafts

    10.15.20
    Reply
  29. Wendy hale wrote:

    I would like a printed copy of this pattern on paper.

    10.18.20
    Reply
  30. Staci L Brailsford wrote:

    Do you make cross stitch patterns. Like if I told you what I wanted could u make it as a PDF and I will pay you for it?

    11.23.20
    Reply