It took me a shamefully long time to experience the masterpiece that is Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but once I saw it I was smitten. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to cross-stitch one of the funniest lines from a very funny movie, and mount it in a frame. This is a great gift for someone you like (or someone you want to cleverly insult!).
- Aida 18-count cross-stitch fabric, approximately 30cm x 25cm (12 x 10 inches).
- Embroidery thread in three colors (listed on chart below, or choose your own).
- Tapestry needle.
- Thick cardstock, 20cm x 25 m (8 x 10 inches).
- Picture frame.
1. Prepare Your Project for Stitching
To get started, find the center of your fabric. The easiest way to do this is to fold the fabric in half from short end to short end and then in half again from top to bottom. This will leave a crease at the approximate center of the fabric that correlates to the center point on the chart.
From there you can count squares up or down and start stitching from wherever you want. Don’t stress over it too much – as long as you have a rough idea of the center, you won’t have to worry about running out of fabric.
Measure about 45cm (18 inches) of embroidery floss and snip off the length. Gently separate the thread into two-strand segments. Thread the floss through the needle and pull the needle halfway up the length of floss.
2. Start Stitching
Using the letter you’ve chosen closest to your center point, bring the needle up from the bottom left corner of the first square. Bring needle all the way up, leaving about 2.5cm (1 inch) of a tail at the back. Bring needle back down in the top right hand corner of the square, making a diagonal stitch. Bring needle back up at bottom right hand corner and then in at top left hand corner. You’ve just made your first stitch! Bring the needle back up in the bottom left of the next square over and continue in this method, counting stitches as outlined by the pattern.
To secure your thread on the back of the piece, as you’re making your first stitches flatten down the tail you’ve left at the back and continue working your stitches over it on the front of the piece, “catching” it as you stitch. This sounds complicated, but you will get the hang of it quickly!
When you come to the end of your thread, complete your last stitch, and run it behind a few stitches on the back, then clip off thread as close to the fabric as possible. Re-thread your needle and begin again!
Continue stitching in this manner, re-threading the needle and switching colours as needed.
Here are a few cross-stitch tips I’ve picked up over the years:
Your cross-stitching will look tidiest if you stitch all your squares in the same order – i.e. from bottom left to top right, then bottom right to top left (or whatever order you want as long as it’s consistent). Once you get the hang of the stitch, you can speed things up by stitching all of the first “legs” of a stitch in that letter’s row, then work your way back by doing the cross stitches.
I think a lot of people worry about what the back of their project looks like (I know I used to) but no one’s going to see it! It really and truly doesn’t matter, and the more you stitch, the neater the back will become. The most important thing to remember is to secure your stitches as best as possible.
Double-check that you’re counting correctly as you go along – there’s nothing more frustrating than reaching the end of a word and realizing it doesn’t line up properly or was stitched incorrectly.
3. Finish Your Project
Once your stitching is finished, you need to iron out any wrinkles. Lightly spray the piece, and, with the stitches facing down, lay a tea-towel overtop and gently press, using the “low” setting on your iron.
When the piece is nice and smooth, lay it out facedown, then center your cardstock over top. Make sure the fabric is positioned evenly, then fold the edges back and tape them down.
Slide your piece into the frame, then attach the frame backing. Display your piece
and admire your work!
Congratulations, You're Done!
In this tutorial you’ve learned the basic, but versatile, cross-stitch. There are so many ways to play around with this stitch and mix the look of classic needlework and unexpected words and imagery. Use your imagination and experiment!
What are your favourite Monty Python quotes? What other types of crafts could you incorporate cross-stitch into? Let us know in the comments section below!