cross stitch is the new knitting


So the name of this post is fairly tongue-in-cheek, but I am seriously finding myself getting right into cross stitching at the ripe old age of 24. I've picked up cute cross stitch pictures at op shops and markets before, but never tried my hand at the popular pass time until recently.

Let's just say it's far easier and much more frustrating than I originally thought. There are so many starter kits out there and that's what I used for my first attempt. I felt far too novice to freestyle it. All you really need to get going is:

  • fabric scissors
  • an embroidery hoop (go for a small one to start, they're easier to manouvre)
  • tapestry needle (available at Spotlight or the like)
  • Aida cloth (I thought this was a brand at first, but it's actually a type of cotton with an open weave, perfect for cross stitching)
  • colored cross stitch thread

The hoop, material, needle and thread should come in a starter kit, but it's a good idea to invest in a good range of colors and a quality needle as well.

To start with, you place the fabric in the hoop - keep in mind where you want the final picture to appear on the material and place the hoop appropriately. If you're a real rookie like me, here's a visual reference.

From here, all you really need to know (and something I embarrassingly didn't realise until I started) is whatever image you decide to create will be made up of a series of Xs.. hence the name 'cross stitch'... Thread your needle with two strands of same colored thread and you're ready to start. My starter kit told me which color to start with, but if you are winging it, start with the most prevalent color in the image.

Because the fabric is made up of tiny squares, choose one in the middle of the hoop and thread the needle through. Don't pull it all the way through though - leave maybe 3-5cm hanging out the back. I actually tied a knot on my first attempt because I didn't trust myself not to pull it all the way through.

Then take the thread across the material diagonally, for as long as needed according to your pattern or picture. Imagine you're creating a tiny X and this is the first line. It's called a half stitch for obvious reasons. Thread it through to the back and make sure it's not too tight as this will cause the material to bunch. That's the real basics of it - I'm still in the early learning stages so I don't have anything super impressive to share, but it's addictive and so easy to do while sitting in front of the TV. Get creating ....

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