Want to add color and design to your crochet without learning how to change colors for colorwork crochet? Try cross stitching on crochet. With this easy technique, you can embellish any piece worked in single crochet. Choose a design and stitch it on your work.
You can plan a cross-stitched single crochet project from the beginning, or grab something you already made and add your stitching. This tutorial starts with a swatch so you can practice.
Choosing Your Cross Stitch Patterns
Because cross stitches on crochet are much larger than typical cross stitch on Aida cloth or linen, it's best to choose a small, simple design. Alphabet patterns work well for stitching monograms, words, or hashtags. Geometric designs are easy enough to create on your own by working on graph paper. You can even choose a motif from a larger pattern.
The most important thing is to count your single crochet stitches. Each cross stitch on the design goes on one single crochet, so the size of the crochet determines how large your pattern can be.
- Choose light to bulky-weight standard yarns and avoid specialty texture yarns.
- Your yarns should all be a similar weight, but you can also hold yarn double if needed.
- Choose a main color and one or more colors for the cross-stitching. Mini skeins or tapestry wool work great.
- It helps if the single crochet is on the tight side, so if possible, use a crochet hook that is a size smaller than what is recommended for your yarn. If you find that the single crochet curls too much, use the recommended size.
- For the cross stitching, use the same tapestry needle you typically use for weaving in the ends of your crochet.
Equipment / Tools
- Crochet hook
- Tapestry needle
- Cross-stitch design
- Light- to bulky-weight standard yarn
Make a Single Crochet Swatch
Make a swatch with all single crochet. For this example, the swatch is 20 stitches wide.
This technique works on flat crochet or pieces worked in the round.
Stitch Over One Single Crochet
Cut a length of yarn for your first cross stitches and thread your tapestry needle. Double the yarn if needed so the weight matches and the stitches look full enough.
Every single crochet represents a square on the cross-stitch grid. It's important to notice that the front and back of the stitches look different, so when you work single crochet flat, every other row is different. You should still use each stitch as its own square on the grid, otherwise, you'll end up with elongated stitches.
Come up from the back of the crochet, leaving a tail. You should come up at the bottom left of the first single crochet.
Next, go down at the top right of the single crochet and back up at the top left. It's easiest to see these holes and stay on track if you go down and back up in a single motion and then pull the yarn through.
This makes the first half of your first cross stitch. You can complete the X, or continue making the first halves of many stitches.
Complete the Cross Stitches
After working a line of the first half of your cross stitches, follow the same process to complete the stitches.
You can work the lines and rows of stitches in any direction you want, changing which corner you bring the yarn through.
Keep your tension even throughout the stitching. It shouldn't be so loose that it looks messy or so tight that it pulls at the crochet. For a consistent look, always try to work the stitches so they cross in the same direction.
Weave the Ends to Secure the Stitches
When you finish a section or reach the end of your yarn, weave the ends through the back of the stitches.
To save on half of the weaving you can stitch over the starting ends as you cross stitch. This takes a little practice at first, but it's worth doing.
Avoid jumping from one area to another. Instead, end off the yarn and start again in the new section. This keeps your work neat on the back if it shows, but also prevents pulling at the work.
Check the Stitches for Coverage
If the cross stitches look a little uneven or the stitches aren't quite in the right place, you can usually move them around a little so they sit well on the crochet. It's more likely you'll need to do this if you work with doubled yarn.
Add More Colors and Designs
Continue stitching and adding to your design or trying out fun patterns on your swatch.
This technique works well for pieces of crochet where the back doesn't show, such as hats, pillows, sweaters, and more. But as long as you keep the stitches neat on the back, it's also fun for scarves and blankets.