Cross stitch has been a much loved past time for countless years, providing people with hours of enjoyment and something which most people find therapeutic, and an escape from the stresses of everyday life. Cross stitch designs are made by following a grid or a chart where a stitch is formed of two stitches crossing each other. Cross stitch can be learned from a very young age and upwards with ease, there are varying levels of skill within cross stitch which you can quickly work your way up towards once you have mastered the basic skills.
Choose your fabric
Most cross stitch designs are completed on Aida fabric that is loosely woven into a grid pattern so lining up your stitches is much easier. There are different options of aida fabric that you can purchase. As a beginner it is easiest to start with the an aida cloth which uses 11 or 14 stitch count, this provides much larger holes to complete your cross stitch. We would recommend purchasing our Cream Aida Cross Stitch Fabric Pack in 14 count which gives you a perfect base to work from with ease, this also comes in a few different colours, but a cream or white background is the easiest to work from if you are a beginner.
Choose your design
Once you've chosen your fabric it's time to find yourself a design that is easy to work from, ensuring that it fits onto your desired piece of fabric. As a beginner it is best to start with a simple kit that is a small design and doesn't involve intricate details. We sell a wide range of kits for children and beginners to suit your ability accordingly. This Forever Friends I Love You starter kit, is a great one to start with. It only uses 6 different colours of thread and an easy chart and instructions to follow. This kit comes with the required aida cloth, thread and needle so everything is pre-cut and easy for you to get started with.
How to do a basic cross stitch and getting started
Once you have found your chosen design and fabric it's time to get stitching! Kits all come with precut material but if you've purchased it separately it's important to cut it down to size, each square represents a small stitch and this can be counted across on the design to get the exact size required. Once your fabric is ready it's time to thread your needle, take the colour appropriate thread and loop the strand through the tiny needle hole. If you struggle to see doing this, a Clip-On Magnifying Lamp would be incredibly beneficial. One you pull the thread through the hole you should have two ends of thread, let one side hang short whilst the other is much longer and will be passing through the fabric each time.
To get started with your design count on the graph which is the centermost stitch, as a general rule of thumb always start at the centre and work your way out. Count this stitch onto where it should start on the fabric and insert your needle in from the bottom side of the fabric through to the front. When you pass the needle back through ensure that you stitch a loop over the thread on the other side to secure the thread to the fabric. Once you've made this anchor stitch, you can begin making criss cross stitches across each square and following the pattern accordingly. As long as you start at the middle of your design you can work your way out onto the fabric whichever way suits you best. Ensure that you cross off the stitches on the graph once completed so you know how much you have done, by doing this you will never drop a stitch. By continuing to do this same cross stitch over every square and changing the colour of the thread to match the design you will eventually complete your design.
So there we have it a basic guide to cross stitch for beginners. When you have all the supplies to hand everything will fall into place and once you've got the hang of doing a stitch there's no stopping you! With summer holidays also fast approaching teaching your children to do cross stitch is a great hobby to get them interested in, and one that doesn't cost a fortune. Once they know how to do it you can leave them to it and watch what amazing designs they can create! As always practice makes perfect and the more time you employ into it the faster you will be doing advanced designs! You can browse our range of starter cross stitch kits here. Do you fancy giving cross stitch a go? Let us know on the Past Impressions Facebook page, Twitter and Google+!