Free Cross-Stitch Patterns Perfect for Halloween
Halloween Little Witch Cross-Stitch Potholder
It's that time of year. You know, when we need to start coming up with some terrific ideas for Halloween crafts.
Halloween happens to be my middle daughter's favorite holiday. Her love for Halloween has kept me busy for years coming up with crafts and decor. I can remember how much she loved it and how worked up she'd get around that time of year. She would become so excited that she couldn't sleep the night before, and the day of trick-or-treating she would make herself sick with excitement. She has managed to pass this excitement on to her own children.
This particular article will walk you through how to use a free online cross-stitch pattern to make an adorable Halloween potholder. Don't worry; I'll be taking you through the process step-by-step.
Hold onto your hat; we're about to begin.
Supplies for the Little Witch Pattern
- Aida Cloth: I use 14-count Aida cloth. It is easy to see the holes and is still small enough to show details nicely. I find this to be a good size for beginners. Besides, you won't strain your eyes as much as you would if you used linen or a 24-count Aida cloth. I don't want you to go blind. I think Charles Crafts makes the best Aida, at least for my purposes. I cross-stitch without using a hoop, and it holds its shape beautifully.
- Tapestry Needle: I like to use a size 26 tapestry needle. It works nicely on a wide range of Aida cloth sizes. What I really like about tapestry needles is that the tip is blunt instead of sharp. I love the blunt tips because I don't like to prick my finger. It tends to get messy when you have a spot of blood on your project that's difficult to remove.
- Embroidery Floss: I like using DMC floss, so the chart below shows the color numbers I used for this project. I used two strands of floss for this project. Don't panic, Anchor and J&P Coats lovers, I included a mini floss conversion chart for the colors being used on this pattern at the bottom of the article.
- Trim: I used 3/8 " wide grosgrain ribbon. You can use anything you want—the sky's the limit.
- A Potholder: I chose a black potholder in honor of Halloween. The pot holder I used measures 6 1/4" x 8".
Embroidery Floss Colors Needed
Whites of the Eyes
Eyes and Outlining
Beth and Hat Band
Dark Delft Blue
Dress and Hat
Face and Hand
Starting the Project
- Figure out the size of the stitched project and cut your Aida cloth. You do this by counting the stitches on the pattern. Our little witch riding her broom is 42 stitches wide and 45 stitches tall.
- Add two to three inches all the way around the design area. I added two inches to my measurements so I cut my Aida cloth to be 3" x 3 1/4". If you are just beginning to learn to cross-stitch, I advise that you add three inches.
- Tape the edges of the cut piece of Aida cloth. I use 3/4" wide masking tape. This helps to keep the Aida from unraveling or stretching. When taping the edges place half the width of the tape on the front side, and the other half on the back. Alternatively, you can machine-zigzag or whip-stitch the edges or use a product called Liquid Fray Preventer. If you are a beginner, it might be a good idea to use a hoop. If you do use a hoop make sure you add 3" instead of 2" when you cut the cloth.
- Find the middle of the cloth by folding the fabric in half horizontally, then fold it vertically. The point where they meet is the center. I do this because I find it is easier to start in the middle of the pattern.
Needle and Tread Basics
Thread Your Needle
It's time for you to start stitching. Well, not quite yet. First, you need to get your needle and thread ready.
As I said before, I used two strands of floss for this project.
- Cut about 18" of floss.
- Separate it strand by strand. Separating helps keep it from tangling as much when you stitch.
- Pick two stands.
- Thread your needle.
How to Secure the Thread Without a Knot
Now that you have found the center of your pattern, and your needle and thread is ready, you can begin stitching.
Wait. You didn't put a knot at the end of your thread, did you? If you did, cut it off. Knots are a no-no when cross-stitching. Unless, of course, you are making a French knot. Pardon me, I digress. We'll discuss French knots at a different place and time.
You need to keep the thread from coming out, so what do you do if you can't use a knot? You stitch over the end of the thread. Remember, you know where your center is and where you need to start.
- Insert your needle, coming up through the back, and leave about a 2 inch tail in the back.
- Hold it in place as you push the needle back down through the front.
- Continue stitch across making sure the stitches go over the end of your floss, holding it in place.
Stitching the Dress
I decided to show you step by step how your cross-stitch will look. This first picture is what it looks like when the little witch's dress is complete. It doesn't look like much, does it?
Wait until you see it later. Right now it looks like we made a mistake and didn't start in the center. Have no fear—we didn't.
I started with the dress because part of it is the center square. That means we start with 798, dark Delft blue.
Yeah! We're off to a great start.
Stitching the Hair, Face, and Hands
The next area that we will stitch is the hair. So thread your needle with 869, hazelnut brown, and get stitching.
Now for the face and hand. Look at the cute little thumb resting on the broomstick. For these, you will be using 948, very light peach. Pretty, isn't it?
Poor little witch, she doesn't look like much yet, but you wait, you won't believe the transformation.
Stitching the Hat Band and Belt
Finally, it's starting to look like a cute little witch, but we're not there yet. Start stitching the hat. It is the same color as the dress—that pretty dark Delft blue, number 798.
Next is the belt and hat band and I love the color! Don't you? It's medium coral, number 350. It adds a bright, little splash of color.
Now get stitching, We're getting closer.
Stitching the Shoes, Buckle, Mouth, Eyes, and Broom
I can't believe we are already at this final stage of the stitching. We need to finish up all of the details except for the outlining in this stage.
- Stitch the shoes first. They're a pretty light brown, number 434.
- Stitch the buckle next. I wanted to see the medium-light topaz, number 725, next to the coral hat band. I was right they are terrific together.
- Stitch the mouth next. It's only two little stitches of cranberry, number 603.
- Stitch the eyes next, which are, of course, black and white, or in floss terms, 310 and blanc.
- Stitch the broom. Finally, that poor little witch will be perched on her broom—she must be tired. Her broom is old gold, number 729.
Wait till you see it stitched. We're almost finished.
Finishing the Cross-Stitch
Isn't She Adorable? To finish we need to use black, number 310, and stitch away. For this pattern, create a border around all the little details with black thread.
I love this little witch. Now for our Halloween potholder project. Don't worry. The hard part is over.
Finishing the Potholder
What a great job you've done, we are almost done. As I said, the hard part is over. Now let's get busy making our Halloween potholder.
I used a black potholder, but you can use whatever color you wish. This project would also be adorable on a potholder mitt. Imagine you could do two of them, one mitt and one plain potholder. What a cute pair it would make.
- Trim the Aida cloth around the stitched pattern. Make sure there is plenty of blank Aida cloth to place the 3/8" grosgrain ribbon border on without crowding the stitching.
- Center the Aida on the potholder.
- Pin it in place with straight pins, so it doesn't move.
- Use a loose running stitch around the outside edges of the Aida cloth to hold it in place.
- Measure your trim around the outside edges of the aida. I wanted to stitch the trim on top of the Aida to cover the raw edges.
- Cut each ribbon of each side separately and used Liquid Fray Preventer on the cut edges of the ribbon, so they don't fray or unravel.
- Stitch the ribbon to the top of the aida and potholder. I sewed everything on rather than using a fabric adhesive because the temperature of the pots would melt the adhesive.
Floss Brand Conversion Chart
Cross-Stitching for the Beginner
We all have to start somewhere. I think that a book made especially for the beginner is the perfect place. There are also kits that are perfect for beginners.
Watch this video before you begin trying to cross-stitch. It has all of the basics you need to teach you how to stitch. You'll be glad you watched it.
Important Things to Remember
- Always wash your hands before working on your project. Your hands may look clean, but the natural oils in your skin will make ugly smudges on your project.
- Try to keep your thread length to 18" or shorter. If you make it too long, it will tangle more easily.
- Remember to separate each strand of floss and then put the of stands you will be using together. Your thread will lie flatter and look denser.
- Never knot your thread. It will make your work look lumpy.
- Be careful not to pull the stitches too tightly. If you do your project will get wavy and look puckery.
- Make sure all of your top stitches are in the same direction. For example: top left to bottom right.
- Drop your needle every so often to take the twist out of your thread. To do this, hold your Aida in the air, drop your threaded needle, and watch it spin. You'll be glad you did.
- Finishing the stitch is quite easy. Just run the thread under a few stitches on the back side of your work.
- If by chance, your project gets a smudge or two don't despair. Simply soak it in cold water with a mild soap for 5–10 minutes. Rinse it well and roll it in a clean white towel to remove the excess water. Never wring it. It will cause creases that you will have a heck of a time getting rid of. Then place it face down on a dry clean towel and iron on a warm setting until it is dry.
Free Halloween Cross-Stitch Patterns
- You will love the patterns on Bev's Country Cottage. There are five adorable patterns for pumpkins, cats, and ghosts.
- Cyberstitchers is where I found the little witch pattern, and it is a terrific place to find the perfect Halloween pattern. There are 84 bewitching projects. You'll be sure to find the perfect one for you.
- The Spruce Crafts has loads of Halloween cross-stitch patterns, including a trick or treat banner, an adorable ghost, bats, black cats, and more.
- Kreinik has a wonderful collection of patterns.
Questions & Answers
© 2013 Susan Hazelton