I saw this on one of the cross stitch groups I belong to on Facebook and I thought I'd answer it here.
When starting a project in the top left corner of fabric how do you center it?
There are two ways to tackle this. One involves counting (the way I do it) and the other involves measuring.
Let's start with the measuring scenario.
Say the pattern you want to stitch is 200 stitches wide x 300 stitches high. You want to do it on 14 count fabric. The stitched area is 14.3 inches x 21.4 inches. Your fabric needs to be 20.3 inches x 27.4 inches to allow for framing. (Want to see the detailed information on these figures? Read this post.)
Once your fabric is cut to the correct size, and preferably zig-zagged you will find your starting point. The zig-zagging (or overcasting, blanket stitched, etc.) is to prevent your material from unravelling so that you don't have any problems in the future. For this example, I did it in green so it would show in the photos.
Measure 3 inches in from the left. I have a bunch of lovely counting pins that work great for this!
Then measure 3" down from the top.
This is where you will place the top, left corner stitch.
As long as you measured correctly (overall fabric size and the 3" both ways), you will end up with 3" of fabric on all sides of your finished stitching. Just like a carpenter's mantra: "Measure twice, cut once".
The main reason that I don't use this method is that I tend to round up my measurements before I cut my fabric and I usually have more than 3" but not necessarily an even amount. It might be 3.6" extra on each side and I don't want to deal with measuring 3.6".
Counting, which is the way that I prefer to do it, actually takes longer to do but is more precise.
Fold your fabric in half.
Fold it in half the other way.
Stick a pin in it...at the point where the folds meet.
Carefully unfold your fabric so that you don't disturb the pin. Voila! You have the center of your fabric.
Now you get to start counting. Since my overall example here is using Aida, we're going to assume that this will be stitched over one. Since the stitch count is supposedly 200w x 300h, we're going to need to count half of that either direction. I usually start by counting up, so that means 150. No particular reason for going up first, that's just how I've always done it.
Start counting. If you're well rested with lots of caffeine, you can go 25 at a time. This photo shows going 10 at a time.
Then count another 10. I used a third counting pin for the photo but normally, I would just pull the one from the center and leap-frog them up.
Then you would just keep going until you'd reached the 150 mark (half of your pattern height). I tend to leave a counting pin at the 150 spot and use a pair to do the counting toward the left. In this example, you would end up counting 100 holes to the left (half of your pattern width) to find your starting position.