Cross-Stitch for Beginners: Create a Mini Monogram | Esther Ní Dhonnacha | Skillshare

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Cross-Stitch for Beginners: Create a Mini Monogram

teacher avatar Esther Ní Dhonnacha, Crafter, photographer, dabbler in all things shiny

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (26m)
    • 1. Trailer

    • 2. Introduction

    • 3. Gathering Your Materials

    • 4. Creating Your Chart

    • 5. Preparing Your Materials

    • 6. Starting To Stitch

    • 7. Finishing

    • 8. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Learn the basics of cross-stitch with Esther Ní Dhonnacha! Esther is a self-taught crafter who sells her work online and in her home city of Dublin.

Cross-stitch is a fun and easy introduction to needlework. There's just one basic stitch to learn, and you can use it to create designs that are as simple or as complex as you like. Work with traditional colour palettes and motifs, or create something up-to-the-minute using on-trend colours and letterforms.

Working from reference images or from your own hand sketches, you'll create your own charted cross-stitch pattern with the letterform of your choice, then work from the chart to create one-of-a-kind textile art. We'll discuss all the materials and techniques required, as well as how to mount your finished work for display.

Meet Your Teacher

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Esther Ní Dhonnacha

Crafter, photographer, dabbler in all things shiny


Self-taught everything, trying to make it in the mean suburbs.

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1. Trailer: Hi. My name is Esther Ní Dhonnacha I'm a crafter and artist and I live in Dublin. Needlework is one of my big creative passions, and for my first Skillshare class, I'm teaching the basics of cross stitch. In this class you'll learn how to design your own pattern, you'll learn how to work it up into a beautiful finished piece, and how to frame your piece for a polished professional appearance. Cross stitch is a classic technique that's a lot easier than it looks, which makes it a really good place for beginners to get started. So join the class, and I can't wait to see what you make. 2. Introduction: First of all, I want to tell you a little bit about My background. I am not someone who has any, any sort of formal education or training in anything art-related. Um, I taught myself photography when I was in my twenties, but I didn't really think that I would have an interest in making my own art by hand in any way I didn't think I could draw. I didn't particularly think I'd be good at sewing or embroidery or anything like that on . Then, a few years ago, a friend of mine was getting married and we all got together at her house to make bunting for the wedding. And we all hung out for the afternoon. We So we So we. So we read through loads of craft magazines. We cut out more fabric and sewed so more on. At the end of the day, I realized it was the most fun I'd had in ages. It just made me really happy. I thought, maybe this is something I should spend more time on, so I took out an old cross stitch project that I had started when I was eight or nine and abandoned about 1/3 of the way through. I took it on holiday with me and I finished it over the course of two mornings and I was so proud of myself. I think there's just something so satisfying about making something physical with your own two hands. And from then on, I was totally hooked. I did more cross stitch. I learned embroidery, and I started selling my work on. And now it's just a big part of what I do. And I love it. So I want to help other people learn these skills. I'm hoping this will be the first of many, many projects for you today. What we're gonna do is we're gonna first choose a letter. You're gonna think about how you want it to look, what kind of visual style gonna learn how to make that letter into a charted pattern on graph paper, and then you're gonna learn how to sew from that pattern to make a beautiful finish letter on. Then finally we're gonna finish and frame it so it looks really nice and professional, and hopefully this will be the first of a lot of projects for you. So let's get started! 3. Gathering Your Materials: First of all, let's quickly go over what materials you need for your project. You're gonna need a few pieces of graph paper. The same kind. You probably used it. School. Are you like this kind, where every 10th line is printed a little heavier. That makes it much easier to keep your place on the charters. Your sewing. You're gonna need unordinary pencil for drawing and a pen that makes a fine line. It's handy to have a ruler or just anything with a straight edge For drawing straight lines , you're gonna need some basic tools. Need little scissors with a sharp point for undoing Any mistakes that you might make on just for cutting your threat to length doesn't have to be very fancy. It doesn't have to be a special embroidery, scissors or anything like that. I got mine free with a selling magazine. You could use the nail scissors if you need it to, and I need some needles. I have a couple of different brands here. The best kind for cross stitch is what's called a tapestry needle. They have a big guy, which makes them nice and easy to thread, and they have a blunt point, which is fine. It's not suitable for every sort of fabric, but it's fine for it we're using for this project. And I know some beginner's convey a little nervous about hurting themselves with the needle but tapestry needles and nice and blood so you don't have to worry too much. Bet that any brand of needless fine on as you get a bit more experience. You get a feel for whether you like a longer, shorter, needle heavy refiner needle that's really down to what you're most comfortable with. And Joe needed embroidery hoop for this project. Reusing at foreign shoot. That's 10 centimeter hoop. They come in a few different kinds. There's wooden, bamboo, plastic, rubber. They'll will work fine for this. They just hold your fabric stable. They keep the fabric of the right sort of tension so that it doesn't sag, and it will help to make your stitches more even. These are pretty easy to find at craft stores if you're having any trouble finding them locally, there's tons of people on Etsy Hill. Someone Teoh, those your tools, your obviously gonna need some fabric. What we're using here is called Aida fabric it has this very regular. We've with rows of holes running in both directions, those holes or what you're actually gonna be bringing a needle through. So it helps to keep your stitches very, very regular and even eight, if I break comes in different weaves, where it has more or fewer holes to the inch. This is called 14 count, which is a good size for when you're just starting it. So that's 14 holes to the inch on again. This is easy enough to find it craft stores, but if you have any trouble, it's easy to find online as well. Of course, you're gonna need some threat, which is the fun part. So I may see you have your own ideas about what sort of color palette you want. What we're gonna look at today are two kinds. First is flus, which comes in a little Hankwitz cheek and then wind onto a little card before you start. I recommend that because otherwise it'll get tangled. Flus is made of multiple trends twisted together, uh, usually six. Sometimes for this kind test for, and what you do with plus is usually separate out. A number of threads for cross stitch is usually to you. Cut these two length and so its two strands at a time. For heavier line, you console with more stones on. For a very fine line, you consult with just one at a time. Floss is probably the easiest one to find and craft stores, and it has a very, very large range of colors available. You've probably seen in selling shops these big carry cells of embroidery floss with millions of different shades. So this is one of the options. It's a little softer and flow fear, then our next kind of threat. Andi. It's down to personal preference, which you prefer. Your other option is to use what's called Pearl Koppel Pearl. A couple, Um, this comes in a heavier weight. It's just one strand, so there's no separating before you start work. It's a little bit more glossy than flus. I don't know if it shows at this stage, but compare when you compare a piece of finish work, they'll be a little more of a shine to a piece worked in pro cotton on I really, really liked the feel and appearance of it. Like the the shine of it, and I like not having too fast around with little strands and wake your work, stand it from the fabric a little more so that could be, in effect, you like or not. So, again, it's really down to personal preference. Although Plus is easier to find at craft stores. A lot more places, we'll sell it. Then we'll sell protocols. But again, we have the Internet, So if you really want to try this, it's easy to find online. 4. Creating Your Chart: next you need to choose. What better you're gonna cross stitch, and you need to think of how you want it to look. Do you want a hand drawn look or more of a print? Look, do you want to Sarah for Sand Saref letter? Do you want something that looks modern or something retro and cellar. You don't want to choose something really, really complicated for your first attempt, but there are lots of different simple styles to choose from. So take your time. I pick something you really like. If you really stuck, you can also print it a letter from a Fonte like and use that as your starting put. OK, now it's time to create our actual chart. So there's a couple of ways you can do this. I'm gonna show you. First of all, the simplest way is just to actually draw your letter freehand straight onto the page. So for ah, for inch diameter project, I recommend keeping near letter within an area of about 40 by 40 squares on the page. And so I'm just gonna draw my headline here onto the page to make sure I don't go over that . You don't need to fill the entire area, though. So drawing Freehand is best for a very regular letter like L or an H. So I'm just going to use the ruler to keep my lines. Nixon straight. Andi, this is really about a simple is you can get. So I'm gonna do this, my chunky up and there you go. Method number two is gonna work better if you have curves in your letter. So again, we're going to draw straight onto the page. You're really lightning. What? The pencil. This time it will be very difficult to draw your curves correctly if you're trying to follow the lines of the graph paper the first time. So at first we're not gonna worry about that. We're just gonna right loosely sketch a letter. And when you're happy with shape, you don't take your pen as in your finalize your lines. So I really here for the straight lines. That'll just sitting me a little time then I very carefully start to go round. Thea owns my curves. We're like a little pixelated. But don't worry. Too much party. That is in the nature of cross stitch. It does look a little Pixley. Sometimes also, it always looks more fixated on paper. Then it will in the finished piece. So don't worry too much. If it looks like you have some very jagged edges, it's well look smoother when you actually stitch it up. No, this is really more of an art than a science on. And you may realize as you're going along that you want to make a few little tweaks here at lines, and that's totally fine. So there is a out of shape, and that would just go in this inner area here. It's the same principle on. Obviously, your life is gonna cut through a lot of squares. So the rule of thumb is that is, more than half off. Your of own individual box falls inside. You're better than that Cancer is. Part of the letter may find that their place is where you want to break that rule on. I encourage you to use your own judgment there because sometimes it won't look so good if you follow it, too precisely. So here's a letter on and almost the Angus Little drive. We're gonna carefully robotic these pencil eyes. It's to make a little easier to meet on There's your church. Our third method for creating a church is really good. If you want your letter to look like a specific front, or if you've done a more elaborate hand lettered letter that you really want to, you transfer into cross stitch. So here I have printed at this Helvetica capital G from my computer. So I'm just gonna pop it under a sheet of graph paper, and I'm just gonna trace very carefully. Now, if you're lucky enough to have a like bucks, you can go ahead and use that. But you can also just go slowly or you can take it to a window and traces that way as well . So as before, if it looks like more than half of the square is filled in by your printed letter, we're gonna put that inside the outline of the letter way we can go over this pen, eating it up a little bit way, have our final trip on. I've erased the last pencil lines and we're ready to start sewing 5. Preparing Your Materials: okay? No, it's almost time to actually start, so you just need to prepare your materials first. The first thing you need to do is cut your fabric. So it's a couple inches bigger all around, then the hoop. I've cut it a little bit close on these sites. Eso feel free to leave a little more space than that on yours. Next, we're gonna mark the center of the fabric and the center of your church. This will show you where to start sewing. It'll give you a reference point in case you lose your place while you're so so to mark your fabric, you just fold it in half and then folded in quarters and just lightly crease it along the fold. And when you unfold it, you'll have this cross marked into it. And the center of the cross is where you're going to start stitching next. You need to mark your chart. So take your ruler and pencil. Andi, just take your time on this. Um, very carefully draw a line down the center of the church on a horizontal line across the middle where the lines meet. That's your center. So I'm going to start stitching here, and you want to stitch as close as possible to where the lines meet on your own trip. Next, take the pieces of the hoop part and you're gonna place your fabric on top of the inner hoop like this. You want the cross was close to the center is you can comfortably get it. Then you put the outer part of the hoop on top, slide it down over the fabric and just the screw is you need to so the cross is pretty faint now, once you've tightened fabric, but it's still visible. Tighten your screw because you want the hoop to hold together pretty firmly. It's gonna keep your fabric in place for you while you're sewing on. There you go. Next, you need to thread your needle. So take your plus, which you should have learned out to a piece of card like this, or even a clothespin on online about 12 inches of it. When you're a little more experience, you can cut it a little longer, but in my experience, when you're starting out, the foot is a bit more manageable. So we have your length now, teased the end apart until you can see the individual strands and take hold of two of them on. We're gonna slowly and carefully pull it apart like this. You don't want to just yank on these two strands and try to pull them out in a straight line from the end because you will get a horrible, horrible tangle. So just go gently like this. Don't try to Russia on. Obviously, if you're using Perle cotton instead, you just cut off about a foot of it. And you don't now whichever thread you're using. First of all, tie a double or even a triple, not in the thread about a centimeter from one end. This is just gonna anchor your thread in the fabric so that it doesn't slip through one of the holes when you start stitching with it, then you take the other end and thread it through the eye of the needle. Do you have any trouble with that? If you find that the ends air to fluffy to go in through the eye easily, you can just stick the end of the threat in your mouth for a couple of seconds. It sounds gross, but I swear everybody does it sometimes just pull a couple inches through the eye so that they thread doesn't fall straight back out again, and you are finally ready to do your first stitch. 6. Starting To Stitch: so the basic unit and cross stitching is a little X, which is just two straight stitches layered, one on top of the other. Each X corresponds to one square on your chart, and it covers the square space between four holes in your fabric. So to make a start, you push your needle through from the back, pull it all the way through until the not bumps up against the back of the fabric, then push it through at a hole diagonally opposite. Pull the thread all the way through to the back, so that's the first stroke of your ex. Then push the needle through from the back again. You made seconds joke of your ex, and that is one cross stitch. So that's how we make one stitch up. So but very often and cross stitch were not working or stitches one by one who want to make bigger areas and blocks of solid color. And in those cases, working each stitch individually isn't the most efficient way to do it. The stitching was still look OK, but it will take you longer. It will be more work, and you'll also use a pure thread faster so it's much more efficient to work groups of stitches and rows or columns. So here's how to do that. Do your first neft right, slanted stitch that instead of completing the second stroke of the X, you work your next slanted stitch in the same direction. Continue to make row of slanted stitches as many as you need, forming the first stroke of Egypt's. Then, once you get to the end of your rope, stitches. Make all the right to left strokes one after the other until you're back where you started . Similarly, if you want to make a column of stitches, make first stroke of one stitch and work upwards to the top of your column and then work your way back down to where you started. You'll probably find that your project involves a combination of individual stitches and longer rows and columns. Don't worry too much about whether you're stitching as efficiently as possible is you get the hang of the techniques. You'll find a rhythm that you're comfortable with after your stitch. For a while, you'll start to run out of thread. Don't leave it to the last possible stitch to finish your threat is that we'll get awkward when you have a couple inches left. Bring your needle to the back, then we even in under the backs of the earlier stitches, pull the thread through and snip it off close to the fabric. This will keep it in place so it doesn't unravel. Then take another length threat and start again. Now it's time to take your chart on started as close to the center is possible. Stitch your whole outperform onto your fabric. Find yourself a comfortable seat with lots of light to see by. Take your time and enjoy your stitching. 7. Finishing: Okay, now finished stitching your monogram and it's time to get ready for framing. So first of all, just take it out over to give a little shake out smoother. A lot of people will tell you to wash your project at this stage personally. Other usually do that because once or twice when I have washed to peace, the colors of room and it's really heartbreaking if you worked long and heard on something to have a room like that at the last stage. So I think if you've been careful while you work to make sure that your hands working you should be fine with that Washington If you do need to wash the piece, just hand wash it in cold water with a general detergent, don't twist it a ring it anywhere, Then you cannot help on and to dry it, just wrap it in a soft hell. Leave it somewhere warm, but not somewhere hot, like the top of a radiator, because again that can make the colors room. And you really don't want to do that. Your next step is to take an iron and press release. So he there to meet him, uh, put your fabric on an ironing board, but they are on on stitch area of your fabric. Give it a good press down that lifted, move it to another unstitched area and precedent again. This is a bit different from iron in your toes and that you don't want to just push the iron back and forth over the fabric because that could distort the fabric. You definitely don't want to put the iron onto any of your stitches, because what that'll do is it'll flatten them it, and they won't look as nice after that. So if you do have creases on this dictionaries, just turn the fabric over, put it face down onto a soft tell and then gently press the back of the fabric. And that should get rid of your creases without flattening anything. All right, now that everything's looking nice and neat, it's time to frame your monogram. So first of all, put it back into its embroidery hip position it just like it was before. Make sure that the fabric isn't stretched or distorted in any way. Again, make sure that it's taught Andi tighten the screw of the murder. You as tight as you can get. There are a few different methods for finishing off a piece, but today we're just gonna keep it simple and look at the easiest method. First of all, trim your fabric so you have a nice even merge in with about an inch and 1/2 all around the outside edge. Next, thread your needle one last time. You can use double length of ordinary salad threat or would like Procopio just great for this because it's really strong and, you know world snack when you pull it tight. Tired in the end of the trip, as usual, tragi needle with it. Next. One. Work big straight stitches in a circle. Odorant. They don't need to be perfectly tidy as they won't be visible from the front. As you go around. You can pull on this. Read a little bit to tighten it. Once you've completed your circle, hold the tread as tight as you can so that it forms into a ruffle. Secure it with a double or triple stitch. Press everything down nice and neat inside the freight. Hi, good tight. Not a threat to make sure it's nice and secure. Now just snip off the threat and you're done 8. Final Thoughts: so well done you. You've created your very own pattern from scratch. Use that to make a beautiful finish piece, and now you can take the skills and use them to make more advanced patents. And of course, there are also millions of patterns available online. So give yourself a big pat on the back and start finding your next piece.