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How to change colours for cross-stitch projects

Updated March 18, 2017

Cross-stitch projects typically follow a pattern printed on paper that you use as a reference to create the design on the cross-stitch fabric. Most of these patterns incorporate numerous colours of thread to create the picture represented by the pattern. Therefore, as you make your way through the project, you will need to change colours. For some projects, you will need to change colours frequently, while for others, you may only change colours a few times.

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  1. Thread your first colour onto the needle and use the pattern to determine where on the Aida cloth you must start. It is easiest to start in the middle of the fabric and the middle of the pattern.

  2. Start the stitching by pulling the needle and thread through the front of the Aida cloth, leaving a short tail in the back. Hold the tail securely with your finger and create your first 'x.' As you make the next couple of stitches, watch the back so the tail is secured beneath these first couple of stitches.

  3. Complete the stitching for the first colour that you chose. This may involve completing one row of stitches or a specific area of stitches based on the pattern you are using.

  4. Slide the needle underneath the stitches at the back of the Aida cloth to secure it. Cut the thread to finish using that colour.

  5. Thread the needle with thread of the next colour you need.

  6. Begin the stitching in the new colour by leaving a short tail at the back and ensuring that tail is secured beneath the first couple of stitches.

  7. Finish the stitching in that colour by sliding the needle through the back of the stitching and cutting the thread at the end.

  8. Repeat for all of the colours needed for your project.

  9. Tip

    Always make sure all of your stitches are created the same way, starting in the same direction. Thread different needles with each colour to avoid having to rethread the needle multiple times. This works best when you are using many colours in many different areas on the project.

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Things You'll Need

  • Aida cloth
  • Cross-stitch pattern
  • Needle
  • Thread

About the Author

Kimberly Turtenwald began writing professionally in 2000. She has written content for various websites, including Lights 2 You, Online Consultation, Corpus Personal Injury and more. Turtenwald studied editing and publishing at Wisconsin Lutheran College.

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