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’ . Find all of the free clip art you need for scrapbooking and other craft projects at ‘Free Baby and Kids Clip Art’

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Basic Knitting Tips for Beginners

Knitting, it’s said, is a very relaxing and satisfying craft. Knitting is a hobby that you can learn and then do while enjoying other past-times like watching television and at the same time create wonderful knitted items for yourself and others.

Multi-taskers will find that knitting works well for them. Throughout time, groups of women have been known to sit and knit while chatting with friends and family. You can watch your kids and knit at the same time as well, making knitting a great hobby for busy moms and dads.

Many people find the idea of learning to knit to be daunting. When you’re just starting out the needles feel foreign in your hands, making the process awkward and frustrating at times. Keep in mind though, that the initial awkwardness goes away and you’re left with a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Creating something with your own hands is one of the best feelings to have. Knitting can leave you with this feeling. Having the patience and correct supplies will help you achieve your goal of learning to knit.

If you’re ready to learn the simple basics of knitting, the following easy steps can help you get going.

Getting the Right Knitting Supplies

Although it may seem complicated, all that you need to start knitting are a pair of knitting needles and some yarn. Some folks start out with a pattern, so if that’s your plan you’ll need an easy knitting pattern to follow too.

Your Knitting Needles

There are many different types of knitting needles to choose from, and not all are created equal. Most knitters will agree that the easiest needles to start out with are wooden needles. The yarn seems to stay on wooden needles better, allowing you to knit easier. Plastic or metal knitting needles cause the yarn to slip off easily if you’re not advanced and know how to handle them properly. So, newbie knitters should stick with wooden knitting needles.

Start out with large wooden needles so that you can easily see your mistakes and complete your project quicker. If you drop a stitch you want to be able to see it quickly and fix the mistake easily.

Getting Your Yarn

Beginner knitters should start their first project using natural yarn such as cotton or wool. Natural fiber yarn will stay on the knitting needles better than a synthetic yarn will. Do not be lured by the fancy yarn you see in the stores. You will find working with them to be far too challenging and cause frustration at first. Start out with simple natural yarns and then go from there.

Learning Knitting Jargon

Just like almost any craft, knitting too has its own language or jargon. When you’re starting out, you’ll need to learn the jargon that goes along with knitting. Yes, at first it can seem overwhelming, but you’ll get the hang of the lingo quickly. Crafting books, knitting dictionaries and online sources will help you learn what you need to know to get started. Here are a few basics to help you out.

K = Knit, KB = Knit-in-Back, BO = Bind-Off, P = Purl, EOR = knit every other row

Knitting – Get Going!

With anything that’s worth doing, the first step is to just do it. Get your supplies, patterns, instruction books and start learning to knit. Don’t go overboard with buying supplies, because you may find that once you’ve given it a go, knitting may not be your cup of tea after all.

You’ll find once you’ve learned to knit that you may start seeking out others who share your passion and enthusiasm for the craft. You’ll be able to make new friends as well as wonderful pieces of art and family heirlooms from your knitting skills. As a beginning knitter, you’ll soon become advanced if you take care to buy the right supplies for your skill level and look for proper knitting instruction. These basic tips will help you reach your goal of learning to knit with ease. Have fun and happy knittin’!

Learn more about crafting and find free patterns for knitting and all sorts of craft projects at ‘Free Craft Ideas’ . Find all of the free clip art you need for scrapbooking and other craft projects at ‘Free Baby and Kids Clip Art’

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