HOW TO CROSS STITCH
Here's a little quick-start guide to get you going with your first project! To skip straight to the instructions, click here.
Never stitched before? Here's a list of things you'll need:
Cloth: the fancy cross-stitch cloth called 'Aida' is your best bet as it has nice big holes, evenly spaced for perfect little crosses. There are different sizes, called 'counts' - the bigger the number, the more squares per inch, the smaller the gap between holes, and the more fiddly it is to work with. For most of my patterns I recommend 14ct, but children might find 11ct easier to work with. It also comes in a load of funky colours, if plain white isn't your bag. It looks like this, check out those holes:
Needle: you don't want a sharp pointy one! Tapestry / cross stitch needles have nice blunt ends. For 14 ct aida you'll want a size 24, for 11ct a size 22, although it doesn't make much of a difference
Thread: you can, of course, use any thread you like, but embroidery thread (or 'floss') is best suited for this sort of project. There are many brands to choose from; the colour codes I use in my patterns are from the brand 'DMC', but you don't have to stick with them. It usually comes in little skeins like this:
Each of those threads is made up of 6 strands. You usually only use 1, 2, or 3 of those strands to actually stitch with; your pattern will tell you how many.
1. Scissors. You'll also need something to cut with (you can get embroidery scissors if you're feeling fancy), but any scissors will do.
2. A hoop. Something you don't need, but might find useful, is an embroidery hoop to help hold your fabric taut while you work. They look like this:
3. A pattern! Of course you can freehand it, but it's probably best to follow a simple pattern first until you get the hang of it. Don't be intimidated! Cross stitch is basically a grid system; you're making pixel art! We've got loads of free patterns available, or you can visit our Etsy store and buy some others. There are even kits if you don't fancy assembling all this stuff yourself.
All these items can be ordered online from a whole range of different craft shops, so there's no need to leave the house.
Now you're ready to start! Here's how to create each of the stitches you might need: