Sourcing and procuring essential supplies for your cross-stitch projects can be quite challenging and frustrating especially if you’re a beginner. One is spoilt for choice given the sheer variety of materials and products available in brick-and-mortar outlets and across e-commerce sites. However to stay on the safe side and keep things easy and simple you can begin with a readymade kit.
Most pre-made kits usually contain almost everything you need to start cross- stitching. Nevertheless as you gradually develop and fine-tune your embroidery skills, you’ll increasingly feel the need to add to your collection. Once you gain some experience through regular and consistent practice, you’ll automatically have a fair idea about the cross-stitch supplies.
You can make the most of the following tips on how to choose the appropriate products for your jobs while you learn the ropes.
Go for Rolled Aida Fabric
Learners and trainees by and large opt for Aida fabric as the textile is designed and created especially for cross-stitch patterns. Buy Aida cloth that comes in rolls rather than fabric which is folded flat may have wrinkles that you’ll struggle to smoothen. As a beginner you’ll be better off opting for lighter shades of fabric since even expert stitchers find dark colors tough to handle.
Aida cloth as a fabric tends to be firm and rigid. If you view a piece of Aida fabric with a magnifying lens you’ll notice the cloth has evenly spaced out microscopic pores. The minute holes scattered evenly throughout the fabric form fine lattices. The junctions or intersections of your cross-stitches will overlap the pores or holes on the cloth.
One striking benefit of doing cross stitches on Aida cloth is that you don’t need to create new holes. You’ll come across Aida fabric with different counts. You might be wondering what count means-count implies the total number of stitches in every inch of a fabric piece.
That in essence entails the smaller the count more the stitches per inch and vice versa. Both beginner and seasoned cross stitchers normally use Aida cloth of 14-count. A 14-count Aida fabric takes 14 stitches for every inch of material and is by far the most frequently used size.
You’ll have to keep one important aspect in your mind while scissoring Aida fabric for your cross-stitch projects. Ensure that you scissor a little larger cloth section so that you’re left with adequate material while framing the project. Place your hoop or Q-snap over the fabric and measure out 2 extra inches horizontally and vertically.
While you take measurements make sure you keep the hoop frame steady. After all you’d want to avoid the embarrassment of discovering that your cross-stitch project doesn’t fit inside the frame. Hence it is extremely crucial that you hold the hoop very firmly when you take measurements.
Once you have taken the measurements (across the fabric’s length and breadth), mark the dimensions with a pencil. You should also exercise extreme caution while using scissors for cutting the cloth; make sure you cut exactly along the penciled path.
Choose High-Quality Floss Based on Your Needs and Availability
Embroiderers and cross stitchers use embroidery floss or stranded cotton in which every yarn is made up of 6 individual strands. The embroidery floss generally contains cotton threads but sometimes has rayon, linen or silk fibers as well. Majority of cross stitchers use embroidery floss containing cotton strands for their projects.
If you’re a budding embroiderer looking to master a wide variety of cross-stitch patterns choose hand-spun or machined floss packets. Embroidery floss in bunches or packs come with strands of yarns in a range of colors and so buying packets offers you the leeway to make your projects colorful. To achieve best results you should always go for individual floss skeins (each having a distinct color) of one brand.
Of course you can mix-and-match flosses of multiple brands (with closely matching shades) but the results may not please you. On the other hand it is highly recommended to keep extra skeins of floss handy at all times. You never know when you may run out of yarn that’d put your project on hold till you replenish supplies.
At the same time you can put the spare to good use for your subsequent projects. For blending different colors of embroidery flosses for producing a range of cross-stitch patterns, you can consult conversion charts. Every cross stitch model is compatible with DMC color chart; there is a particular DMC color for every pattern indicated by the pattern’s number.
All DMC branded floss packs readily available across needlecraft outlets and large embroidery supplies’ stores, contain the standard 6-strand yarn. Before you starts working on your projects, do not forget to take apart the floss so that you have individual threads. The best way to break up the floss is to slash a certain extent of it and thereafter separate individual threads as per your requirement.
The fabric count determines the total number of individual threads you should be using at any time. As far as your 14-count Aida fabric is concerned, it is better to use 2 strands or filaments each time. Apart from DMC, you can also check out Anchor brand flosses for your initial cross-stitch projects.
You’ll find Anchor embroidery floss packs in an assortment of colors. Visit your neighborhood craft store occasionally to keep track of promotional offers and if you’re lucky you can get a bargain.
Keep at Least Two Pairs of Scissors Accessible
Strictly speaking you can do without scissors for cross stitching especially when you’ve just started out. But keeping a pair or two at hand may stand you in good stead because there’s no telling when you might need them. Keep the first pair of scissors aside exclusively for snipping and clipping fabrics.
You can purchase a high-quality and durable pair of scissors online or offline by spending only $20-$25. You should keep another pair close-by which you’ll use for cutting threads and yarns. Make sure the scissors have just the right level of sharpness for slicing floss perfectly so that it doesn’t become frayed or tattered.
You can easily find quality scissors in your local embroidery store or across discount outlets and retails at pocket-friendly prices.
Once you sharpen your cross stitching skills to a considerable extent, you can go for more expensive scissors.
Keep a Q-Snap or a Hoop Frame Handy
You’ll need to frame your project before you can start working and that calls for using a hoop or Q-Snap. Talking about hoop frames, these are available in a wide range of sizes. It is better to use a large or medium-sized hoop frame, especially if you’re starting out as a cross stitcher.
Using a sizable or medium size hoop as a beginner will enable you to figure out first-hand how effectively you can work with this tool. A good number of learners start with a Q-Snap which is a square-shaped frame for holding fabrics. Q-Snaps unlike circular hoops come with a broader frame which keeps your hand from cramping particularly when you stitch at-a-stretch.
However you may experience some difficulty in finding the appropriate size of Q-Snap that you require for your projects. This is so because Q-Snaps are available in a limited size range in comparison to hoop frames. Circular hoop frames and Q-Snaps are usually made of wood and plastic. Hoops constructed out of plastic keep your fabric piece more secure compared to frames shaped out of wood.
A Set of Tapestry Needles
It does not bear emphasis that you’ll inevitably needles (and a variety of them) for cross stitch projects. When you go shopping for needles you’ll come across easy-thread needles, twin-tipped needles, and needles having special varnishes. No wonder you will have a trying time making up your mind on selecting the ones appropriate for your projects.
When it comes to cross-stitching always opt for tapestry needles as they feature a large eye and a blunt end. The prominent eye of a tapestry needle ensures that you can thread in multiple strands of yarns and filaments while the rounded end facilitates easy passage through the Aida fabric’s holes. Novice cross stitchers generally use a 26-size tapestry needle for 14-count Aida cloth and for 11-count Aida fabric they choose a 24-size tapestry needle.
As you continue to master the different cross-stitch patterns and amass experience, you can experiment with various kinds of needles. While you try to achieve a specific pattern pay close attention to the manner in which the needle drags the cloth or fabric piece. As you develop your stitching skills, you may strongly feel that you can work efficiently with any type of needle. However you should never lose sight of the fact that good quality needles aid in maintaining the fabric’s natural texture.
The count of the fabric as well as the thread count (i.e. 6-strands or 4-strands) that you intend to use by and large determines your needle’s size. Bear in mind that stitching with a large needle on a smaller-sized fabric will cause the cloth to stretch unduly. And if your fabric becomes unnecessarily stretched, you’ll struggle to continue with your project and complete it effectively.
Practice These Cross-Stitch Patterns to Learn the Ropes
Beginner cross-stitchers will always find more patterns than they actually need to start practicing in order to learn the ropes. Take a look at the following cross stitch patterns for getting started with:-
- Rainbow Mini Cross Stitch Pattern
- Love Letter Alphabet Cross Pattern
- Mini Strawberry Cross Stitch Pattern
- A-Frame Cross Stitch Pattern
- Air Symbol Cross Stitch
- Anniversary Cross Stitch Pattern
- Astrological Alphabet Pattern
- Be My Valentine Heart Pattern
- Celtic Cross Pattern
- Church Silhouette Pattern
- Cross Stitch Card Patterns
- Daisy Diamond Pattern
- Diwali Pattern
- Easter Greetings Egg Pattern
- Falling Snowflakes Pattern
- Floral Diamond Collection
- Greek Cross Pattern
- Happy Birthday Pattern
- Happy New Year Patterns
- Happy Thanksgiving Pattern