Tatreez Tips & Tricks: How-To Fallahi/Cross Stitch

If you're here, you're likely already familiar with tatreez, the art of traditional Palestinian hand embroidery. However, whether you're new to the craft or looking to refresh your skills, this step-by-step guide will assist you in getting started with tatreez.

Materials Needed:

  • Fabric: 14-count Aida fabric is a common choice among tatreezers, particularly for beginners. Higher counts result in smaller Xs. Other options suitable for cross-stitching include linen and evenweave. If you wish to stitch on clothing or non-cross-stitch fabric, you can use waste canvas attached to any fabric.
  • Thread: DMC is a popular choice due to its wide color range, consistent color batches, and accessibility. DMC 6-strand embroidery floss and DMC Pearl Cotton 8 are preferred threads for stitchers.
  • Needles: A tapestry needle with a blunt tip and a large eye is recommended for easier threading. For 14-count fabric, use a size 24 tapestry needle.
  • Scissors: Sharp embroidery scissors are essential for cutting thread.
  • Embroidery Hoop/Q-Snap (optional): Helps keep fabric taut while stitching, facilitating the process.
  • Pattern: Design your own pattern, purchase a tatreez kit, or obtain a digital tatreez pattern to begin.

Step 1: Prepare Your Fabric

  • Begin by cutting your fabric to size, leaving at least 2 inches of extra fabric on each side for framing or finishing.

Step 2: Thread Your Needle

  • Select the color of embroidery floss for your first stitch.
  • Cut a length of thread equivalent to your forearm's length.For embroidery floss, separate the six individual strands and use two. For pearl cotton 8, use one strand without separation.
  • Thread your needle.

Step 3: Start Stitching

  • Refer to your pattern to determine the starting point.
  • Bring the needle up from the back of the fabric to the front at the designated starting point.
  • Follow the pattern and count carefully to ensure accuracy.
  • Take your needle through point 1 diagonally up through point 2.
  • Leave a tail of thread on the back of the fabric to stitch over.
  • Continue making diagonal stitches, ensuring to stitch over the tail of thread on the back to secure it.
  • Once a row of diagonal stitches is completed (/), go back to complete the row () to create X stitches.

Step 4: Finishing Your Stitches

  • To finish a length of floss, secure the thread on the backside of the fabric by weaving it through existing stitches.
  • Trim any excess floss close to the fabric with your scissors.

Step 5: Completing Your Project

  • Continue stitching until you've completed the entire pattern design.
  • Gently wash the fabric with lukewarm water and soap. Press out excess water with a towel and iron on the reverse side to remove wrinkles.
  • Frame your completed tatreez piece or turn it into a decorative item such as a pillow or wall hanging.

 Now that you have gathered your materials and selected a pattern, it's time to let your creativity shine through your tatreez!