Embellish Away! How to Cross-Stitch on Tunisian Crochet

When it comes to finishing projects, you will sometimes find yourself wanting to add a customized detail after you have completed your crocheting. Perhaps you want to add some initials or a date to a gift. Maybe you feel like your item lacks color and want to spice things up. Today, I’m here to show you how to cross-stitch on your Tunisian crochet projects.

tunisian crochet embellishments: cross stitch

Follow along with this tutorial to learn the basics of cross-stitch, including where to place the cross-stitches on your Tunisian design.

Not yet familiar with the Tunisian crochet technique? Learn this unique stitch to create projects with texture, color and intrigue in the Craftsy class Tunisian Crochet: Revolutions in Color and Style.

Already a Tunisian master? Then check out the class Custom-Fit Tunisian Crochet to make a perfectly fitted crocheted vest, ideal for adding fun embellishments, like a simple cross-stitch design of course!

Getting started: The stitch placement

Closeup of crochet tunisian for cross-stitching
First, let’s take a look at what the simple Tunisian stitch looks like, pictured above-left. The fabric has vertical bars and horizontal threads showing. When you give your fabric a little stretch, you will see the natural openings we will work our cross-stitches through. They are directly to the right of the vertical bars. Your needle will be parallel to the bars when you are stitching.

The above-right photo is a diagram of how your yarn will cross the fabric. The red lines represent the first pass of stitches, with the blue lines representing the yarn that ends up on the back of the fabric. A return pass is represented by the green lines. This is explained further in the photo tutorial below.

The How-to: Adding cross-stitching

Note, the important thing to remember when cross-stitching is that your design will look neater if all of the stitches are oriented the same. This means the top hatch of the “X” will always be the same direction. For example, in my tutorial, the bottom yarn is worked from the top left of the cross-stitch to the bottom right (it looks like “”) and the top yarn is worked from the top right to bottom left (it looks like “/”), and this is the same for ALL stitches. Other tutorials may work it the opposite way!

The easiest way to achieve this is to work half-stitches across the entire row of your design, then work a return row, completing the stitches.

Thread a length of yarn through a blunt needle. I limit myself to about a yard of thread/yarn at a time. You can determine what is more comfortable for you.

First steps of cross-stitching on tunisian

Steps 1, 2 & 3 for adding cross-stitching

1. Bring the yarn from back to front through a stitch, point a1, then work the needle through point b1 and back up through point a2 (above it).

2. Pull yarn through. Do not pull too tightly!

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2.

Cross-stitching on Tunisian
4. Continue making these stitches (half of a cross-stitch) until you reach the end of the row of your design. This may be a couple of stitches or a full row!

return row cross-stitches on Tunisian
5. The return row, which completes the cross-stitches, is usually easier because you will be stitching through spots you have already worked. The needle should go through the two spots directly to the left of where you currently are. When you pull the yarn through, you will have a nice little X and your first cross-stitch will be complete!

cross-stitching on Tunisian crochet
6. Continue working like that until you have completed all of the cross-stitches in the row. If you are working a stitch directly above the first stitch, bring your yarn up two spaces above it, so you can begin your next row. The stitches will sit directly above it, the bottom of the second row in the same spots as the top of the first row.

cross-stitching on tunisian crochet

A cross-stitch project idea

Tunisian Ruffled Apron by abigailology
Photo via abigailology

I was browsing the Craftsy collection of crochet patterns and came across this beautiful Tunisian ruffled apron. It is made with the Tunisian simple stitch, so it’s the perfect base for a cross-stitch embellishment. Imagine a little garden of flowers along the bottom edge! You could also personalize it as a house-warming gift.

Looking for more crochet information? Check out our collection of free crocheting resources to find helpful items, like yarn metric conversions and printable clothing care tags, for all your projects!

How do you embellish your crochet projects? Have you ever cross-stitched on them?

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2 Responses to “Embellish Away! How to Cross-Stitch on Tunisian Crochet”
  1. Debra Hartman
    Debra Hartman

    I would like to cross stitch on an afghan my mother started in the 70s (Tunisian stitch). When I cross stitch on the panels, do I stitch completely thru the panel? Meaning the back of the back of the panels looks messy. Thank you.

  2. Marsha Barber
    Marsha Barber

    I would like to learn the biginners cross stitch. Maybe a video on how to begin, what it looks like in the medium and ending/ finishing