If you’ve ever seen a picture of what looks like thread running in a grid on a cross stitch project, it’s likely that the stitcher did their gridding with fishing line or something similar. Using fishing line is great as it won’t leave permanent marks on your fabric, it’s inexpensive, and it’s reusable! This video tutorial will show you how to grid your fabric with fishing line, and the featured pattern in it is also a free cross stitch pattern available to Peacock Lounge members.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality, and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. I would never recommend something I wouldn’t use myself. 🙂
To use this gridding method, one type of thread you can use is Easy Count Guideline. It’s is designed specifically for needlework, and it’s a fine red nylon thread (that you can reuse). Not all needlework shops carry it, but many do. If you’re having a hard time finding it or it’s too expensive in the store you found it in, you can use fishing line instead. In the video below I’m using 8 pound test dark blue fishing line (it’s strong enough to catch a fish 8lbs or less, but basically it’s a fine gauge fishing line).
Gridding is great because you can “mimic” the darker gridlines in your pattern (usually every tenth row or column) onto your fabric. By having the same grid on your fabric as on your pattern, you can lessen the chance of making mistakes. You can also actually end up stitching faster (as you can find where your next stitch needs to go more easily). Both gridding using fishing line and by drawing the lines on (as in this gridding video) take time, but this method saves time later from unpicking mistakes. Fishing line or Easy Count Guideline is preferable to sewing thread as it can’t be punctured by your needle, and your floss slips easily around it. You can also just pull out the line when you’re finished, meaning it’s reusable for next time. Some stitchers also love using Sulky® Sliver metallic thread to grid their fabric with as well, so there are lots of options. Fabric markers can leave permanent marks on fabric if left on for too long, so if you have a large project it’s preferable to stitch your grid lines than it is to draw grid lines. Fabric markers can also leave lines on your fabric that show up again (after washing them out) if the fabric gets too cold — I’ve heard of stitchers mailing their pieces for exhibitions or competitions only to have the grid lines return because the stitching got cold in the mail system. Stitching your grid lines is also perfect for linen and evenweave fabric, which can be harder to draw lines on as they are very fine fabrics.
To stitch your fishing line into your fabric, use a fine sewing needle to thread your fishing line onto. Don’t use a tapestry needle, or the needle might make the holes in your fabric slightly wider — you could end up with a little grid of holes all over your fabric when you remove the line. It’s not a big deal if that happens as usually washing and ironing your finished cross stitch piece will take care of that, but it’s easier to prevent it in the first place.
In the video you’ll see I come up in the first hole, count over 1-4 holes, and then go back under on the fifth. Then I count 6-9, and come up on the tenth hole. In this manner I’m going over five, under five, over five, etc. You can go over ten and under ten, or over 2 and under eight, whatever you like. Just make sure to be careful when counting during gridding, as you don’t want to throw the rest of your grid off by accident.
Enjoy the video below, and if you’d like the free cross stitch pattern “Let Them Eat Cupcakes” featured in this video, please click here to join the Peacock Lounge and get your free pattern! 🙂
Gridding with fishing line
Links mentioned in the video: