Dyed and Gone to Heaven – An Online Magazine and Needlework Resource  

"Alien Creature with Flower Eye Stalks"
(Including "How to Cross Stitch" instructions and diagrams for beginners)

Presenting our kids project this month is David Huber, one of our contest entries and at 10 years old certainly the youngest. Seeing the wonderful things his mother was doing in needlework inspired him to try his own "hands" at it. He started by trying out needlepoint on plastic canvas and beading on perforated paper, but for his own first design attempt he chose cross stitch. David has other artistic accomplishments to his credit: he sings in the school choir (they just completed their season with a performance at a rehabilitation hospital), and he recently acted the lead character of Teddy Roosevelt in a school play. He plans to continue all three pursuits.

David's original design entry is entitled "Alien Creature with Flower Eye Stalks". The name is quite as original as the finished piece. The pattern is combination of his active imagination and his interest in the concept of aliens from outer space. That he lives in Houston, Texas near the Johnson Space Center may have been a factor in his choice of subject matter. With uncharacteristic real world savvy uncommon for a fifth grader, David thought doing an alien critter in cross stitch would be a novel design theme which might help his piece stand out and be picked as a winning entry. Well he was right! We think David will definitely "go far" and do it on his own terms.

His future aspirations include working as a zoo keeper or veterinarian (with more familiar earthbound creatures!). He currently cares for 3 pets: a dog named Jesse and two gerbils: Midnight and Fidget. Davids's friends and classmates think his needlework hobby is "pretty cool" and were suitably amazed at the display of his contest entry on this website.




1 piece of perforated paper about 4" square. This comes in white, but you might also want to try something a little more colorful like red, black, gold or silver. This month's alien creature is stitched on silver paper.

1 skein each of the following Caron Collection threads:

  • 068, Mediterranean
  • 057, Buttercup
  • 045, Flame

1 tapestry needle, size 22

NOTE: This design requires very little thread, so if you or your Mom have bits and pieces leftover from another project, it's OK to use those. Just be sure that the thread isn't too thick because it will tear the perforated paper if you force it through the holes.


(We also have a special section under Tips and Guides which illustrates how to do cross stitch if you would like further instruction.)

1. Begin by knotting your thread at one end. Thread your needle and bring the thread from the front of the perforated paper to the back about 2 inches away from the place you want to start stitching. Be sure that the thread on the back will be covered by the stitches you are going to make. See Diagram 1.

2. Rows of cross stitch are worked in two trips. Begin at the left side of your design and work one half of the cross stitch all the way across to the right side of the row. As you stitch you will be securing the thread on the back so when you get to the knot on the front of your work, you can carefully cut it off. All of the stitches on the front of your work will be slanted, but on the back they will stand straight up and down. See Diagram 2.


3. Now go back and cross each of the stitches in the opposite direction. See Diagram 3. Your stitches will still be straight up and down on the back of your work.

4. When you are stitching from a chart, each square represents one cross stitch and the symbol in the square represents the color of thread which should be used for that stitch. A cross stitch can be made over one intersection of threads, as you will do for this design. This is the way you would make a cross stitch on Aida cloth, too. (Diagram 5).

On some fabrics, though, cross stitches are made over two threads, so always read the directions when you begin a new design.

5. TIP - You must be very careful to count the number of stitches accurately. Sometimes it helps to color in the squares as you go so you can keep your place more easily.

6.TIP - When you come to a place where another color is needed, end your thread by sliding it under the completed stitches on the back. Start the new color by sliding the tail of the thread under already completed stitches of the first color. If the space where the new color belongs is very small, you will need to end the new color the same way, but always try to keep the back of your work just as neat as the front.

7. After you have finished all of your stitching, carefully cut away the extra paper from the around the design. Be sure the leave at least one paper "thread" all around. When shapes become complicated, such as the area around the eye stalks, simplify the shape and leave a little extra perforated paper around the narrow areas of the design to give it more strength.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: No part of these instructions/project nor the included diagrams/illustrations can be reproduced or distributed in any form (including electronic) or used as a teaching tool without the prior written permission of the CARON Collection Ltd. One time reproduction privileges provided to our web site visitors for and limited to personal use only.


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CARON email: mail@caron-net.com