Last week the Pacific Northwest saw record snow falls and our family was homebound for most of the week. The snowflakes were massive, the temperatures stayed in the twenties and I loved every minute of it. I’m a homebody at heart and weather that forces you to stay indoors, snuggled up by the fire makes me a happy girl.
And it’s even better when the weather provides the perfect opportunity to create this months cross-stitch pattern: Winter Wonderland Snowflakes.
I chose this design specifically to demonstrate backstitching in cross-stitch. Many patterns recommend using a backstitch to outline and/or provide definition to a design. Backstitching is also often used when adding lettering to your needlework.
This technique is super easy to execute while providing some amazing results to your stitched project.
Easy Backstitch Tutorial
- Aida Cloth – 14 count Navy
- Floss – DMC S762
- Needle, Hoop & Scissors
- Free Snowflake Patterns – Large Snowflake, Medium & Small Snowflake
Getting Ready to Backstitch
To start, cut a length of floss and pull out one ply strand from the bundle. Most floss is made up of 6 ply strands and many backstitches require only one or two strands. For this pattern we will be using two ply.
I cut my floss 30″ long, pulled out one ply and folded it in half. Then I threaded the needle.
How to Backstitch
Starting from the center and back of the Aida cloth, come up through the first hole and then down through the next hole one square up. The backside of your project will look like this:
Before pulling completely through, be sure to slip your needle through the fold in your ply to create an anchored loop.
Once you pull the needle taut through this loop, the thread will be secured to the Aida cloth with the first backstitch.
Follow the downloaded pattern and stitch in a straight line, coming up the top hole and down the bottom one.
This will create a solid line on both the front and back of your Aida cloth.
I’ve mentioned before that I prefer to keep the back of my work neat and I avoid crisscrossing on the back as much as possible. If you can get in the habit of working so that the back of your work is clean, you’ll avoid any issues when it comes to your finished piece. On a dark cloth like this navy, zigzagging threads shouldn’t show through to the front, but on lighter Aida and stitching with darker floss, you may find it to be a problem.
When backstitching, to create the neatest work possible on the back, approach your project like you would if you were trying to draw something without lifting your pencil. You would want to trace back over existing pencil marks to get to other areas. When stitching, you do this by tunneling under finished stitches.
Continue stitching until your snowflake is complete. If you come to the end of your thread before the snowflake is finished, just tunnel the end of your thread under some of the completed stitches. Then pull another ply from your strand and anchor it to the Aida cloth as I illustrated above.
One of the fun things about this project is that it is very free form and the snowflake placement doesn’t have to be exact. You can stitch as many snowflakes (big and small) wherever you like on the Aida.
If this is your first time trying out backstitch in your cross-stitch work, I’d love to hear from you. Drop your thoughts or questions in the comments section below.
**This post contains affiliate links. Many of the supplies listed can be found at your local craft or fabric store, but the links have been provide for your convenience in recreating this project.**
I like to party! This post has linked-up to the following parties: