Bad Cross Stitch: 7 Habits to Avoid

It’s so easy to get into bad habits, isn’t it? Very often, impatience or laziness or time constraints can cause us to cut corners or to be sloppy with our work. Not surprisingly, if bad cross stitch habits are not corrected, they soon become cross stitching “sins”.

Sins that rarely save us any time at all, and the results of which can be oh-so-clearly seen in finished projects. This is a real shame, especially when we have worked hard to produce something of intended beauty. So! Let me tell you what these seven bad habits are and how we can eliminate them.

Our seven cross stitching bad habits

We can resolve to kick out the bad cross stitch habits now; if you are guilty of any of the habits below, I’ll show you how to get rid of them – for good:

1. Making the top stitches lie in different directions.

As you know, the cross of a cross stitch is made with one stitch being partly covered by another stitch pointing in a different direction. Always start your stitches in the same direction. Otherwise, your finished work will not look smooth and consistent.

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bad cross stitch backside
My goodness! Does your backside look anything like this?

2. Working with unclean hands.

Always wash your hands before stitching. Even perfumed hand cream can be greasy, and can leave a stale odour on your work. Eating is a definite no-no. As for drinking, keep cups or glasses well away from your stitching.

3. Leaving a steel needle parked in your work, or an embroidery hoop still fixed to your project.

The needle may leave a rust mark (unless it’s gold-plated), and the hoop may pull the threads or fabric too. Roll your work up between stitching sessions; this will avoid stubborn creases.

You can get gold-plated tapestry needles for your cross stitching at Amazon

4. Using knots to start or finish a thread.

(I bet you just knew this habit would be on the list.) Instead, use a loose end start, a loop start or a waste knot start. If you do not know what these are, or need reminding, we’ll be revisiting this in patternspatch soon.

5. Working in a poor light.

This can happen when the light is getting duller throughout the evening. Not only can this cause eye strain, but the chances of you making mistakes increase. Invest in a daylight lamp if you haven’t already done so.

6. Allowing the edge of your work to fray.

It only takes a couple of minutes to oversew the edges of your fabric before you begin your project. Remember that evenweave frays more easily than Aida.

untidy cross stitch
Hmm! Where would you start?

7. Trailing threads across the back of bare fabric.

We are all tempted to do this. Perhaps you only need to work a couple of stitches a few inches away from the area you have been working on.

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The trail could well be visible from the front of the project, and may also produce a bumpy effect. Convention says you should always finish off – and then start again in a new area of the design.

I actually believe that newbie stitchers shouldn’t worry too much about this. If you wish, you can become more conscientious about the neatness of the back of your fabric as you gain experience.

Final Thoughts

Here’s an interesting YouTube video (10 minutes) from a young Australian –
Emily – with her take on bad cross stitch habits leading to avoidable mistakes:

I thought Emily and her cat did a great job on their first video. They gave us some good, sound tips.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful. I’d love to hear from you, if you have any other ideas for busting bad habits. Do share them with us!

In the comments section below, why not tell us of your own experiences on how bad habits have let your stitching down. And how you overcame them. I always reply to any comments made.

Happy Stitching!

Scarlet, In the UK.

2 thoughts on “Bad Cross Stitch: 7 Habits to Avoid”

    • That’s so kind of you Cassy, thank you. I’ve loved stitching, well – forever! Have you completed your first piece yet? What did you really like about stitching it? Do please let me know. Scarlet

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