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A Christmas Cross-stitch Project

In this blog post, Savandhi breaks down the steps for a beautiful cross-stitch project. Happy crafting!


DIY gifts are often fun and beautiful, but also eco-friendly as they produce minimal waste. For instance, compared to online ordered gifts, which come with large quantities of unnecessary packaging material.

Cross-stitch is an easy and simple way to craft the most beautiful gift for a loved one. It's a form of embroidery that anyone could learn instantly and doubles up as a great de-stresser. Indeed, you could have your little cross-stitch project by your desk and work on it whenever you feel the need for a break.

I learnt cross-stitch when I was about 13 years old from an old aunt who lived in a nearby lane. We'd drive to her house in the evenings and she'd make me tea and teach me how to sew a cross- stitch pattern.

Over the years, I've made many little gifts for family friends using cross-stitch (mostly bookmarks and wall-hangings). And now since I've gotten myself some cross-stitch material and thread, I'm going to make a bookmark - and you can join me!


How to Make a Bookmark using Cross-stitch

What You'll Need:

- Cross-stitch fabric (Aida)

- Thread (Embroidery thread or 'cotton floss' is generally used, but other types of thread work too. To keep it eco-friendly, opt for biodegradable types such as cotton and silk thread)

- A Needle (Any needle that would support the thread)

- Pair of scissors

- A piece of cardboard, similar to the size of the bookmark (You could use throwaway grocery boxes for this)

1. Do a cross-stitch pattern hunt. Spend a little time browsing through cross-stitch patterns to find a pattern you like. My favorite place for this is Pinterest.

The pattern I chose for the bookmark is the one on the right in the above image.

2. Cut out 2 equally-sized stretches of the fabric for the bookmark.

Use your chosen pattern to count the number of squares on either side to find the length and breadth of the bookmark. When you cut, add about 2 more rows to both the length and breadth to leave room for the border.

3. Thread your needle. When I use embroidery thread, I split the 6 six strands into 2 or 3 sections and use just one of these sections at a time.

4. Time to get stitching! Choose where you'd like to begin and count the number of squares on the fabric leading to this point. Once you're on the right square, bring in the needle to the front side of your fabric through one of the corners in the square. Then, slide the needle to the backside of the fabric through the diagonal corner of the square. This makes the first leg of the cross stitch. To make the second leg, bring in the needle to the frontside again through one of the remaining corners and take it to the backside through the diagonal corner.

5. Go on stitching the entire pattern in this way, following the squares on the pattern as well as you can.

6. Next, get the other piece of fabric and the piece of cardboard. Cut the piece of cardboard to be slightly smaller than the bookmark.

7. With the piece of cardboard placed in between the 2 pieces of fabric, tack the 2 pieces of fabric together with a light colored thread (I used one strand of off-white. Try to spot it in the picture!)

8. Finally, cross-stitch the borders of the bookmark with a color of your choice.

Tip: You don't have to follow the pattern exactly as it is. Feel free to pick your own colors and if you make a mistake, you can even alter the pattern slightly to adjust. You can also change the number of strands of thread used around the pattern as you wish!

So, you've made a bookmark! Now, whom would you gift it to?

(I haven't decided whom to gift mine to - might even gift it to myself!)

Happy Christmas Everybody! Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you need further help!


Savandhi is a 3rd year Environmental Studies student at York University. She's currently at home in Sri Lanka, completing her studies online while volunteering at IUCN. When she's not studying, she likes to read, write poetry and music, and research about more sustainable ways of living.

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