To help with following a cross stitch chart some people like to prepare the fabric by stitching a grid onto it, this is known as ‘Gridding’. Gridding makes the fabric look more similar to the chart and helps when counting to find where to place your stitches.

The fabric is divided into 10 stitch x 10 stitch sections and there is two ways to do this; you can either draw the grid onto the fabric with a water soluble pen or stitch lines to mark the sections.

Using a Water Soluble Pen

If you are going to draw the grid onto your fabric you will need a water soluble pen in a colour that stands out from the colour of fabric you are using.

1. Find the centre of your fabric either by folding in half and then half again or by using a ruler.


2. Now draw a straight line through the centre of the fabric and then turn the fabric through 90° and draw another straight line through the centre of the fabric, draw the line so that it goes OVER the holes in the fabric.

3. Starting from the centre line and working towards the left draw a line every 11th hole until you reach the edge of the fabric, now repeat on the right hand side.

4. Now turn the fabric through 90° and repeat the same process until the fabric is gridded.

5. These lines now correspond to the darker lines on the grid of your chart.

 This way of gridding is the quickest but you need to ensure your pen is water soluble unless you are stitching a full cover design where the lines will be hidden by the stitches. If you are unsure It may be worth taking a small piece of the fabric, trying out the pen and then washing it to ensure it is completely removed.

Gridding with Thread

If you are going to grid using this method I recommend you use ’Easy Count Guideline’ which is  available at most Stitching shops. It is  very similar to fishing line so doesn’t split and is easy to remove once you have finished
stitching your design. You can also use fishing line but you need to ensure that it is as thin a line as possible.

You could use thread but, depending on the thread you choose, it can be accidentally split if you put your needle through it while you are stitching your design and then it is difficult to remove when you come to remove the grid. Remember to choose a thread colour that shows up well on your colour of fabric.

To create your grid follow the instructions for the soluble pen method in the section above but replace drawing lines onto the fabric with stitches.

1. Cut enough thread to enable you to stitch 2 lines of gridding, you want to be able to do two complete rows with one piece of thread so you don’t run out of thread half way through a line.

2. Don’t knot the thread at the start but leave enough thread to ensure the thread doesn’t pull all the way through while you are stitching.

3. Create the stitches as follows:

You can choose any length of stitch to create the gridlines, in the example below I have used 10 spaces.

  • Bring your needle up at the first hole and then count 10 holes and put your needle down through the 11th.
  • Now count 10 more holes and bring your needle up the 11th hole. Continue like this until you reach the edge of the fabric.

4. Leave enough thread to turn and stitch the next line.

5. Count 10 holes and bring the needle up on the 11th hole, now repeat the stitches to create the next line of the grid.

6. Once you have created all the horizontal lines turn the fabric through 90° and repeat the process for the vertical lines. You should now have a grid of 10 x 10 which matches the grid on your chart.


Removing the Stitched Grid

Once you have finished stitching your design you should be able to remove the grid lines by gently pulling on the ‘tails’ you left when adding the grid stitches.


Easy Count Fabric

You can buy fabric that has already been pre-gridded and the grid lines wash out once you have finished stitching your design, this is not usually the type of fabric included in kits and is slightly more expensive than non-gridded fabric.