I just wanted to share a couple of tips that I use when cross stitching. I always cut a length of floss to about 36 inches, separate out one strand and fold it in half. Put the two loose ends through the eye of the needle and begin. Come up through the back at your starting point, return through the front and as you pull your floss tight, slip the tip of the needle through the floss loop on the back. This secures down your first stitch without having to stitch over loose ends. You get a neater back on your stitched piece when you have fewer threads running under stitches.
The second thing I do is railroad my stitches. When completing the individual X's, I split the doubled floss with the tip of my needle on all my stitches as I go down through the fabric. This makes each stitch lie flat against the fabric which covers the fabric better and you end up with a smoother looking piece. This does take some practice and patience; and yes, it is more time consuming than the regular jab method but I like the end result.