Have you tried counted cross stitch? If not, you have a treat in store.
Watch those neat little stitches form into a picture on a blank piece of fabric. It's magical. And you don't need to know how to draw.
Your family won't believe you when you say "I'll just finish this petal".
Hours later you will still be stitching.
One petal looked lonely, so you did the one next to it, and then the next. Before you know it you have finished the first flower and be on to the next.
Want in on this addictive craft? Read on.
Cross stitch is a form of embroidery that uses X-shaped stitches to create a pattern or design.
Cross stitch may seem daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's really quite simple. The basic stitches are easy to learn, and with practice, you'll be able to create intricate and beautiful designs.
Plus, it's a great way to relax and unwind.
To get started, all you need is a simple cross stitch kit, which includes everything - fabric, embroidery floss, a blunt needle, and a pattern. Or you can just buy the pattern and use your supplies from other stitching projects.
All you have to do is follow the pattern and stitch one square at a time. The pattern will tell you what symbol relates to what colour. It's like painting by numbers, but with thread!
I have created a beginner's tutorial for you here. This page also offers a PDF booklet of small bird patterns that are suitable to get started.
So what makes a pattern good for beginners?
Although a larger design may not be any more complex to stitch than a small one, actually finishing something small can be motivating. With a larger design that feeling of accomplishment is delayed.
The sense of achievement when you complete a small project is what will have you eager to start the next.
Make it easy on yourself by choosing a pattern with simple areas of colour. This will reduce the number of times you need to thread your needle.
Having only a few, distinctly different hues will make it easy to ensure you thread the right one in the needle.
Some more complex patterns might have many similar shades meaning you will need good light to see the difference between them.
Patterns with more subtle shading can look very realistic, but maybe leave them until you have a little more experience.
Aida is a block weave fabric and is the easiest to learn on.
The threads are grouped together into little squares, with holes in the corners. This makes it simple to see where to insert your needle.
Plus the squares are represented on your pattern (also known as a cross stitch chart) making it clear to follow.
Beginner cross stitch kits tend to include either 11 or 14 count Aida. The numbers refer to how many stitches you will fit into an inch.
As you gain more experience you might want to pick a different count of fabric. I have a nifty cross stitch calculator that makes this conversion a doddle.
Some designers use what are known as fractional stitches to "round off" their design edges. These are best left until you have learned the basics.
They do help to make larger designs more realistic looking, but it is still possible to create attractive designs without them.
If you would like to try cross stitch I have designed some freebies for you. You will find some seasonal designs among the collection.
One of the great things about cross stitch is that you can create so many different things with it.
You can stitch beautiful pictures, personalize gifts with initials or names, make cute bookmarks, or even create your own home decor items.
Your small beginners projects make super greeting cards. Learn how to mount your cross stitch in aperture cards to give to loved ones or friends.
Framing can be expensive if you take it to a professional. However, I'll show you how to frame your cross-stitched pieces yourself, which saves a lot of money. The tutorial will walk you through the process step by step.
Trained your family to understand and respect that 5 minutes really means 2 hours? It's time for the next stage of your cross stitch mastery!
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