If you are new to cross-stitch, welcome to the wonderful world we inhabit!
Cross Stitch is fun, creative and gives you something no one else has. It is a great hobby and there are a lot of experts out there to help you along the way, ourselves included. The range of kits available for you to choose from is huge (just check out the range we sell over atwww.stitched-with-love.co.uk - cheeky plug!).
All kits will come with instructions to help you get started. However it is also helpful to have some basic guidelines to follow – hopefully you will find these below!
The majority of cross stitch that you can buy is "counted". Personally here at Stitched With Love we only do counted cross stitch (and the trickier the better! - but thats for another blog post)
With Counted Cross Stitch the fabric is blank and you work by following a chart which shows you where to put the stitches and then counting across your aida.
Your chart should be divided into grids (normally 5 - 10 stitches apart) to make it easier for you to follow.
Each colour will be represented by a symbol (or in some cases a symbol and a coloured box), and there will be a colour key which shows you which symbol represents each colour.
So (as we are talking basics).... If the symbol colour for black is '\' and the symbol colour for Yellow is 'o' and the pattern is:
Then your finished section will look like this:
We would recommend beginning by ironing your fabric to remove any creases. Once you have done this you will need to find your centre, each of our Stitched With Love patterns have the centre clearly marked for you on the pattern. The best way to do this on your fabric is by folding the fabric into 4 quarters.
As a beginner we would recommend you begin in the centre of your aida to ensure your finished piece is central. However the more confident and experienced you get, you many begin counting out to the corner or side and begin there - where ever you feel most comfortable beginning is fine, remember this is meant to be fun!
Your thread is made up of 6 strands, loosely twisted together, usually your pattern will require you to separate 2 strands of the colour needed and thread through your needle. Do check your instructions though as it may be different for different patterns.
Using an embroidery hoop is down to personal preference, these can be great for maintaining an even tension in your fabric while you work.
To begin your piece thread your needle and bring it up through the fabric, leaving a short end of cotton at the back, and work over this with your first few stitches to secure it. (alternatively you can knot it to secure it but this will not give you as clean a finish).
We would recommend working with one colour at a time, you can begin with any colour you feel happiest with!
Once you are happy with your finished cross stitch iron the pattern to get out any creases – make sure your pattern is face down or covered by a cloth.
Carefully trim your fabric to the size you want (if your frame is bigger than the picture, make sure you leave enough of the fabric to fill your frame. Keep your picture centred!)
Add it to your collection and begin your next piece (hopefully from Stitched With Love, but there are many great patterns out there for you to choose from).
Wash your hands before you begin (there is nothing worse than a grubby cross stitch!)
You are free to stitch as you like, and are most comfortable with, but to give you a better finished piece we would suggest stitching your bottom crosses the same way and then your top crosses the opposite way. So, for example, your bottom stitch always goes / and your top stitch always goes \.