Beginner’s Guide to Cross Stitch Kits
Cross stitch is a hobby that has been around for a very long time and is still trending today among those who enjoy making handmade crafts. While some finished products may look incredibly complex, there are plenty of projects out there that are perfect for beginners. If you are looking for a new hobby and are thinking about trying a DIY cross stitch kit, our simple beginner’s guide is the perfect place for you to start!
Cross Stitch DefinedCross stitch is a type of counted thread embroidery that has existed for centuries and it is widely regarded as being one of the easiest kinds of hand embroidery for people to learn. Cross stitching is done by making X-shaped stitches on open weave fabric such as linen, and while many designs are traditional, there is growing interest in modern and pop culture styles, as well.
It’s easy to find beginner cross-stitch kits if you know where to look, and fortunately there are some to be found right here on the Collective by local artisan Craft Make Do!
Getting Started: Reading the Cross Stitch ChartThe first step in cross stitching is to take a look at the chart, which will tell you everything necessary about where the stitches go and what colour you should use. There will be a grid on the chart which will match the grid of the fabric’s weave. The charts that come in Craft Make Do’s cross stitch kits are very easy to follow.
Every coloured square you see on that grid will represent one single cross stitch. The chart will have colours, symbols, or both to let you know which colour of floss you should be using for each stitch, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the legend in order to become familiar.
It’s highly recommended that whenever you begin a new cross stitch project, you begin in the middle of the design rather than on the edges. The reason for this is that it is the easiest way to ensure that the design is centered. The chart will feature small arrows to let you know where the center points are.
Before you begin, study the chart and choose an area near the middle to start. It is usually easier to start with a large colour block rather than an area that has a lot of colour transitions.
Get the Fabric Ready
There are many different fabrics cross stitch can be done on, but usually it is either linen or Aida. Because both of these fabrics are worn, they can start fraying after they are cut. Because of this, it may be helpful to bind the edges to prevent excess fraying. This can be done by binding the edges with masking tape or by sewing them with a zig-zag stitch.
Locate the Fabric’s Middle
Once you’ve dealt with the edges, it’s time to find the middle of the fabric. You can do this by folding the length in half one way and then in half the other way. Once that’s done, use your fingers to pinch the center point, making a crease. That’s the middle point, so mark it with a pin.
Use a Frame or a Hoop
While it’s not necessary to use a frame or a hoop, beginners may find that using an embroidery hoop makes things a lot easier. Getting the hoop set up is quite simple. All you need to do is loosen the hoop’s screw, separate the halves, and lay the fabric over the half without the screw. Make sure the middle of the fabric (as marked by the pin) is in the hoop’s center. Put the other half of the hoop over the fabric and press down firmly. Before you tighten the screw, be sure to carefully pull the fabric until it is taut (however, don’t pull too much as doing so can mess with the fabric’s weave).
Get the Thread Ready
With the fabric and the hoop taken care of, it’s time to get the thread ready. Check the chart to figure out what colour of floss you will be using and then cut a length no longer than 18 inches. Any longer and you will run the risk of the thread knotting every time you make a stitch.
Typically, embroidery thread is made from six strands twisted together. When doing cross stitch, you will usually only need to make stitches with one or two strands at a time, so you will need to separate the strands carefully. Make sure to pull only one at a time, as otherwise the strands can knot together.
Get the Needle Threaded
Most cross stitch kits, such as this one by Craft Make Do, come with special cross stitch needles. The size of the needle will depend on what type of fabric is in the cross stitch kit. Always use the needle that came with the kit.
You will thread the needle the same way you would if you were going to be sewing something by hand. However, don’t put a knot in the tail, as the tail will be stitched over as you are working. It is a good idea to not use knots in general because they can leave behind unsightly lumps in the finished product.
Make Your First Row
Usually you will work a cross stitch pattern by going in rows from left to right. You will start with your needle at the back of the fabric, and you will bring it up through the fabric. Be sure to leave an inch or so of thread in the back, which will be covered by later stitches.
For the next step, bring the needles through diagonally across from your starting point to make a slanted half of a cross stitch. Secure the tail end at the back of the fabric so that you don’t accidentally pull it through.
For the second half of the cross stitch, bring the needle up through the hole that’s right below the one you just went through. Just before you pull it tight, check the back and make sure the tail end will be secured by the stitch.
Continue stitching along the row until you have a row of half cross stitches. Then work your way back across the row, completing the crosses.
Secure the Thread
Keep on going until you’ve hit the end of the thread or until there are no more stitches in the pattern. Once you’re at that point, turn the fabric over and take the needle under three or more stitches in order to end the thread. Trim the remainder, but be careful not to trim it too close!
Learning Easily With Cross Stitch Kits
Cross stitching is more easily learned through kits that come with charts and instructions, so if you’re itching to try your hand at it, consider the kits made by Craft Make Do. They come with everything you will need to get started, and the end product will look fantastic hanging on any wall!