Basic Cross Stitch Tips for Beginners

The art or craft of cross stitch is one of the most popular hobbies in the world. Easy to learn and do, ‘cross stitch’ is simply embroidery stitched with lots of little ‘X’ stitches to create a lovely design. This fun craft is sometimes referred to as ‘counted cross-stitch’ because the pattern and fabric require the crafter to count the number spaces to know where to place the stitches.

Most often, cross stitch patterns are done using a woven fabric called Aida cloth. Some advanced stitchers create designs on other types of fabrics using a special backing to help keep the stitching uniform. The kind of fabric you use depends on your skill level and the type of design you’re creating. I’ve cross stitched designs on my children’s clothing, bedding and other items for my home and as gifts.

Skilled cross stitch crafters create beautiful projects by stitching on plastic and various different papers as well. Gift cards and scrapbook designs may be made by stitching on paper of varying thickness and fiber.

Of course you can’t cross stitch without the proper thread. The threads used in counted cross stitch range from basic cotton, to wool or silk threads. Usually very colorful, embroidery floss as it’s called, comes in all kinds of colors and textures for you to play with.

If you’re just beginning to consider learning to cross stitch, your best bet is to learn about the craft itself before you start buying supplies. Your local craft store, bookstore, or library will most likely have several books available that will teach you and provide easy patterns to start with.

Once you know what’s expected of you in the craft of cross stitching, you’ll want to find some easy projects to begin with that will allow you to learn as you go. You’ll want to start with a project that requires only a few colors of thread and a larger weave Aida cloth. By doing so, you’ll prevent a lot of unnecessary learner’s frustration.

When you sit down to start your first cross stitch project, you’ll want to have all of your materials available and easy to get to. Start out by reading through the project instructions. You’ll want to look over your pattern and make sure that you understand all of the jargon and markings that you may find on the pattern. There will be a color key that you’ll need to understand so that you use the correct thread color. Make sure to have a pencil handy to make notes or your own marks on the pattern for later reference.

Cross stitching requires you to use a six strand of floss or thread and separate it into individual threads. Your pattern will tell you how many threads you’ll use at a time. Most often, the larger the weave of your fabric, the more strands of embroidery floss you’ll need at a time. Don’t rewind your floss and by all means don’t let it get tangled or bunched up. Your end project will look flat and even if you take care of your floss.

One key factor in learning to cross stitch is remembering not to knot your thread. Knotting threads in a cross stitch project will make your end result look lumpy and uneven; not a good thing. Just pull your thread through your Aida cloth and make sure to leave a length of thread on the end in the back. You can keep the bit of tail from going completely through the fabric by holding onto it on the back of your fabric as you make your first couple of stitches; they will overlap and hold the thread in place. You may have to practice this easy technique a few times, but you’ll get the hang of it soon enough.

Another handy cross stitching tip is when you’re ready to change thread colors, just simply pull your needle through the stitches on the back of your fabric to hold your thread before you snip it off with scissors. Make sure to leave a little bit of thread so that it does not come loose and unstitched. Change your thread color and start on the next area of your project as you did before. And during the stitching process, remember to drop your needle every few stitches, meaning, just hold your project in one hand and let the attached needle and thread dangle from the fabric so that the thread unwinds and your next few stitches will be flat.

I can remember learning to cross stitch from a school librarian when I was a young girl. She eased my newbie anxiety with this phrase: ‘If you have one eye and half a brain you can cross stitch.’ Now, perhaps that may offend some avid cross stitchers, but she didn’t mean it in derogatory way. Only that cross stitching is an easy to learn and do craft that just about anyone can master. I mastered it in the 1980’s and stitched on anything I could get a needle through and even taught classes to school kids myself as an adult. The biggest problem I and most other cross stitchers have is the addiction of the craft. One thing to keep in mind is to control the number of kits you buy or you’ll find yourself with drawers of unfinished projects. Have fun and keep on stitchin’!

Learn more about crafting and find free patterns for cross stitch and all sorts of craft projects at ‘Free Craft Ideas’ http://freecraftideas.homestead.com . Find all of the free clip art you need for scrapbooking and other craft projects at ‘Free Baby and Kids Clip Art’ http://freebabyandkidsclipart.homestead.com

Article Source: ArticlesBase.com

10 Good Reasons to Take Up Cross Stitch

There are a numerous reasons for taking up the beguiling, blue-collar craft of cross stitch, ten of which are shown below. So continue reading then pay a visit to your local craft shop and start your cross stitching career today.


1. Why “blue-collar” you might ask? Well! When compared to most other pastimes, cross stitch is truly inexpensive; there’s no fancy or expensive machinery. When you have bought a kit or the thread and fabric for your own design that’s about it for outlay (well, until you buy the next one anyway). Simple kits start from a couple of dollars and you’re guaranteed something at the end of it to show for your efforts.


2. Whatever you produce, be it a tiny picture of a mere few inches in diameter, or a sampler that stretches the length of your wall, you will always have it to keep. You can even hand it down to your children, thereby creating an heirloom.


3. Even beginners can make cross stitch works that look both beautiful and professional. Starter kits don’t need any previous experience and as you develop your skills you can progress to evermore complex patterns. You will never have to scour the shops for that special gift again.


4. Everything you make will be unique and very personal; the perfect gift for every occasion.


5. Cross stitch is great for stress relief and relaxation. Just sit down with your favorite radio program or CD on and stitch away to your heart’s content.


6. Cross stitch is a truly “portable” hobby. You can stitch while sitting in your armchair watching the TV or alternatively you can take it with you on holiday or on long train journeys. Boredom will surely be a thing of the past.


7. The huge number of cross stitch designs available today means that there will always be something you like, regardless of your ability. Simple designs for beginners incorporate a small number of color threads and very basic stitches so that you don’t need to go and read a manual before you make a start. However, as you progress and learn a few more stitches and techniques you can attempt more complex patterns until you really are the professional cross stitcher.


8. There are literally hundreds of websites that offer free patterns to cross stitch. You will have to buy your own threads and fabric but that is half of the challenge! There is absolutely no way on this earth that you will ever run out of things to cross stitch; it really is a hobby for life.


9. As you become more confident and proficient, you can sell some of your creations so making a bit of pocket money while doing something that you love to do. You can even advertise your talents and design patterns for individual customers. Given a few years you could have a nice little business venture as well as a great hobby.


10. Outdoor hobbies such as hill walking and bird watching aren’t much fun in the rain or in the middle of winter, but cross stitch can be done at any time of the year regardless of the weather. In fact it’s a great feeling to sit in a nice warm, cozy house on a dull winter evening and happily stitch the hours away.


Overall, cross stitch really is a universal hobby anyone can master and if your curiosity does get the better of you, you will undoubtedly become hooked in no time. Historically, cross stitching has a rather vague stigma attached to it as being thought of by many as just a “pensioner” activity. But this couldn’t be further from the truth, people of all ages cross stitch, even teenagers and children… and yes men too! … and hey! If you don’t believe me, have a go yourself, you’ll soon find out why cross stitch really is universally popular.

John Wigham has been a professional author and editor for 20 years and is a co-founder of http://www.patternspatch.com an online cross stitch club dedicated to counted cross stitch. The website has a small team of writers who are devoted to our cross stitch club and enjoy writing about their hobby.

Article Source: ArticlesBase.com