Cross Stitching Blog

Easy Ways to Track Your Cross Stitch Progress

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As someone who enjoys cross stitch, have you ever wondered how other cross stitchers keep track of their progress? Only time will tell when your project will be finished, but in the meantime the desire to keep track of your stitching progress is a necessity if you want to be able to complete your project in a timely manner and stay on track. Through the years I have come across a number of methods used to keep track of progress, and there are nine major methods we all use. Some of them are better than others as far as efficiency goes. You might want to scrap your method and try another, but whatever method suits you best, stick with it as it is important that you are using a method you are comfortable with.

Ways to track CS progress:

  1. Use of highlighters to mark off either 10 x 10 blocks or line by line sections: (This is the one I use and it's a fairly simple method). Some people who stitch 10 x 10 blocks are able to use highlighters to mark off by blocks. Since I do not stitch by 10 x 10 blocks anymore (because you run the risk of getting the dreaded checkerboard effect), I instead stitch using the Parking Method and mark off with highlighter line by line across the entire page treating the entire page as a large column and will even let my stitches carry over onto the next page. I start with one color of highlighters, and when that dries up, then I move onto a different color to mark off lines of stitches straight across. I personally use a brand I am quite fond of because they do not bleed, do not dry out fast, and I have no problems seeing the symbols when I highlight them. The colors are bright, have a close top lid and are dependable. My favorite markers are Stabilo Swing Cool Highlighter, Multi Color, 8 Pack on Amazon. These markers have an anti-drying ingredient which prevents them from drying up if you happen to leave the cap off momentarily. They do not smear or smudge. If you want top quality, these are the markers to use.

  1. Some people, believe it or not, color in each symbol using a different color of marker every time there is a color change:  (which can be very tedious). This takes up a lot of time, but is helpful if you want to stitch by color (stitching all of one color for the project) and then when that is done, moving onto the next color, etc.

  2. The Parking Method:  The parking Method alone is an easy method to track your stitching, even though it can look very intimidating with all of those threads hanging down your fabric. The basic concept is that you are simply parking your thread where the next stitch for that color begins. Once learned and mastered, this method becomes engrained in your brain, and you will find it easy the more you do it, especially with a pattern where there are frequent color changes and confetti stitching. See my instructions on how to perform The Parking Method at

  1. Stitching grids onto fabric using red thread called Easy Count Guideline With this method you are actually marking off with red thread marks that form a grid on your fabric which helps to alleviate the need to count. It is something that would have to be performed before you get started with cross stitching your project, but most of the time I do not want to fool around using this method because I am always too excited to get started with my new project, so if you're like me and can't wait to get started, doing all of this preparation prolongs the joy of diving into your project head first.

  1. Picture Taking: Some stitchers like to take multiple pictures of their progress either daily, weekly, or for whatever interval they choose. On small projects that move fast, this can be appealing because the viewer can see progress rather quickly. However, for large projects where it's hard to see any immediate progress, pictures are not that effective. 

  2. Stitch Counting: Some people simply count up their stitches from start to finish at the end of a stitching sessions using the grids on the pattern. At the end of the session they are able to total up the number of stitches stitched for that session and keep it neatly cataloged in a log including hours spent, etc. I will admit that I sometimes do a rough count of the stitches I've stitched for the day, but I don't write it down. I just make a mental note of it because I don't want to spend so much time cataloging and want to spend more time stitching.

  3. Transparent Colored Tape:  Yarn Tree Static cling transparent colored tape is used on top of the pattern to highlight where you currently are or where you've left off. The fact that it's a static cling product makes it easy to lift off the pattern without fear of tearing it and can easily be stuck back on the pattern and will not slide off. Symbols are clearly visible through the tape. Another good brand sold by Amazon is Lee Products Highlighter Tape.
  1. Sticky Notes to Mark Line by Line:  Other stitchers simply use different colored sticky notes to mark off where they left off either by stitch or line by line. The drawback with this method is that the pattern itself can become so bogged down and congested with the number of sticky notes which might make it hard to read.

  2. Phone Apps: If you're phone savvy and prefer to use technology, there are various apps you can use in conjunction with your phone or ipad to help track your stitching progress. Many of them are free and if some of them do have a price, it is minimal.

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