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How To Cross Stitch Letters And Numbers

Using cross-stitching to come up with creations for friends and loved ones can provide your designs with a great personal touch. This is especially the case when it comes to adding letters and numbers to your designs. 

Our post below includes all of the steps to follow to help you feel more assured of creating awesome cross-stitched designs with letters and numbers. 

How To Cross Stitch Letters And Numbers?

First of all, you’ll want to make sure that you have the following items ready to use:

  • Tape 
  • Scissors
  • Pencils
  • Colored markers/pencils 
  • Graph paper
  • Tapestry needle
  • Embroidery floss
  • Pins 

Once you’ve got the above items collected, you can start cross-stitching letters and numbers to start feeling more confident about making personalized pieces for people that look great. 

Steps To Cross Stitch Letters And Numbers

Preparing Your Fabric

There are several fabrics that you can use when it comes to cross stitching letters and numbers. Linen and Aida are among the most popular pieces of fabric to use. However, these fabrics can be prone to fraying when you start cutting them.

Therefore, we recommend that you bind the edges of the materials before you begin stitching. This is especially the case if you’re about to start larger projects that will require the fabric to be handled a lot. 

Use a zig-zag stitching design along the edges to prevent them from fraying. Alternatively, you could also place some tape around the edges to prevent them from fraying. 

After you’ve secured the edges in whichever way you find preferable, you’ll want to locate where the center of the fabric is. This can be achieved by folding the material in half in one direction before folding it one more time in the opposite direction. 

Crease the point in the middle by pinching it lightly and placing a pin to mark the area. Some people like to make a small stitch in the middle to make it clearer when the center of their fabric is too.

Threading Your Needle

Now it’s time to thread your needle. Start by selecting what color floss you want to use and cut it so that it’s approximately 18” long. We recommend not going too much longer than 18” because it can lead to the thread becoming knotted and causing bumps in your letters and numbers. 

There are usually six strands of thread among embroidery floss that are twisted together. However, it’s likely that you’ll only be using one or two of these strands at once while stitching. 

To remove the strands from one another, pinch one side of one of the strands until it separates. Be sure to be gentle and focus on removing one strand at a time if you wanted to use multiple colors to prevent making a knot. Thread the needle as though you’re threading a regular needle for sewing by hand. 

When threading your needle like this, be sure that you stitch over the tail instead of creating a knot at the end. When it comes to cross-stitching, it’s best to avoid making knots where possible because it can cause bumps to be visible in your final design. So, stitch over the tail while you progress with your numbers or letters without using knots. 

Adding Letters And Numbers To Your Cross Stitch

Now that you have everything in place to start cross stitching numbers and letters, you can get started. Use a piece of graph paper and use a pencil to create the font of your desired numbers and letters. Be sure to leave one grid cell empty between every letter or number in a single word. 

When it comes to separating words or numbers, leave 3 grid cells empty in between. You can also leave 3 grid cells empty above or below words/letters to have your words or letters positions above or below each other. 

Find the center of the number and letters design that you’ve made by counting the number of cells that you’ve used for the numbers and letters that you’ve penciled in. 

Use two embroidery floss threads while cross-stitching your letters and numbers. It’s also best to use a needle that has a sharp point as it’s easier to stitch letters and numbers.

When you’re adding multiple colors to your design, slide the needle with the embroidery floss in the section that’s between the floss and the back of the material. This will secure the ends of the floss so that you can move onto using a new color. 

The Different Alphabet Styles

When you’re cross-stitching letters, there are several styles that you can choose from. The picture letters style is one of the more complex options that involves making letters out of images. Once you get more confident with your cross stitching abilities, this style can make for some awesome letter and number designs that are super creative. 

The line letter method enables you to have clear letters and numbers. It involves backstitching to make each of the lines. You can also block lettering which is best for shorter words or 1-2 digit numbers that take up more space and look blockier. 

You have the freedom to cross stitch numbers and letters that are vertical or slanted. Making them slanted gives them the appearance of italics that can look great. 

How Do I Make Cross Stitch Easier?

One of the main tips to keep in mind while cross-stitching letters and numbers is to have fun with it! Cross stitching can be an incredibly rewarding, therapeutic, and exciting project. 

Therefore, be sure not to feel too overwhelmed in the beginning because the more you practice, the more confident you’ll become in your abilities. 

Some of the other handy tips to follow while cross-stitching numbers and letters include the following:

  • Make sure that you don’t pull your stitches too tight. Stitches that are too tight will cause your material to warp and bunch up. At the same time, you want to have enough tension to ensure that there aren’t large gaps. Your stitches should lay flat on your materials without pulling it. 
  • While cross-stitching along the back of the material, try to avoid making long stitches as they’re more likely to show up on the front of your design. Cut the thread and start in a new area instead of pulling the thread across longer distances. 
  • If your thread gets twisted (which it’s very likely to) make sure that you leave your thread and needle to hangle and gently unravel itself. 

What’s The Best Way To Finish Your Cross Stitch?

When you’ve finished cross-stitching your letters and numbers, you can complete it by adding a border. To add a border, cross stitch along the edges of the fabric with a thickness to your desire. Once you’ve finished the optional border, tie the thread off underneath the design and tie a small finishing knot underneath before cutting off excess thread. 

Can You Wash A Cross Stitch Design?

If you find that your cross stitch design has become dirty, you can wash it easily by simply using soap and water. When washing the design, make sure that you’re very gentle. You can then leave it to air dry by hanging it up. 

Your hands may have oil and dirt that can make their way into your design as you’re cross-stitching. Therefore, we recommend that you thoroughly wash your hands with water and soap before you being cross-stitching. This is an easy preventative method that will reduce the chances of your design becoming dirty. 

Does The Background Design Need To Be Stitched?

Cross stitching the background of the letters and numbers that you’ve stitched isn’t necessary. One of the biggest reasons that many cross stitch designs don’t include backgrounds is because it can be an extremely long process. 

Leaving the empty gap in the background can also help to accentuate the design that you’ve created. This is especially the case if you’ve implemented lots of colors.

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