5 simple steps to get started

Choose your project…
Make sure you choose the right level for you – you’ll find this information in the Factbox on each of our projects. Absolute beginners should choose a design without fractional stitchesA modified form of cross stitch used by designers to create more natural-looking shapes and outlines on a chart. Look out for half, three-quarter and quarter stitches. Half cross stitches are usually given a separate symbol in the key; three-quarter and quarter stitches are shown by a tiny version of the cross stitch symbol in the corner of a square.

Buy your materials…
The shopping list on each project will tell you what size and type of fabric you need, and also which needle to use. You’ll find details of the threads you need in the key.

Get ready…
We recommend always starting from the middle of the design. Follow the two heavy ‘0’ grid-lines on the chartA grid or graph of symbols or colours that represents the stranded cotton colours, metallic threads, beads etc of the design. A key lists the symbols and the thread number used, as well as a list of materials and instructions. and find a symbol near the centre. Look for this symbol on the key for the colour of thread you need, plus the number of strands. Thread your needle with this colour.

Get set…
Fold your fabric in half horizontally and vertically to find the centre of that as well. The folds will make a cross, which corresponds to the cross at the centre of your chart.

Get stitching!
To make a cross stitch, bring the needle up at the bottom left corner of a square and down at the top right corner. To finish a thread, leave a thread tail of 4cm (2in) on the back of the fabric, and catch it under your stitches to secure it. We recommend finishing all the cross stitch in your design before you work the backstitchThis is an outlining stitch that is used to add final details to a design over the top of the cross stitch. It is worked in a 'two steps forward, one step back' motion. or add any French knotsKnots can cause problems when you are stitching, suddenly appearing in your thread. In fact, they are not actually proper knots but just very tightly twisted thread. If one appears, take your needle and insert it into one of the loops of the knot and pull gently. You should find that this releases the 'knot' and you can carry on stitching..