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How To Cross Stitch Guide For Beginners

Step 1: What do you need to begin cross stitch? 

Cross stitching is a type of embroidery that uses an x-shaped thread. While some people might prefer using kits, this tutorial will focus on making your patterns. You can buy fabric in "fabric stores". If you'd like, get at least 6" by 6" of it. This doesn't have to be expensive, but make sure your fabric is thick enough not to tear easily. You will also need a "hoop" or a "frame". A hoop is a handle with a piece of plastic in the centre that you can stretch the fabric over and hold in place while you stitch it. If this is confusing, look for one of these at your fabric store. Also, pick up some embroidery "floss" (it comes in six strands). If you want to use a colour other than plain white, there are lots of options. 

Cross Stitching

Step 2: Transferring your pattern to the fabric 

Many patterns will be on a page-sized grid consisting of tiny little boxes with numbers in each one that describes which colour thread to use and how many strands. Each one of these squares (or "stitches") is called a stitch. There should be a key on the side of your pattern that tells you what colour each number means and whether or not that square's number should be done in two strands of three. 

Step 3: Preparing to cross stitch 

  • Pull the fabric taut over the hoop. 
  • Find a corner of your pattern and make sure it is right side up in relation to how you are holding the fabric taut. 
  • Place the pins where you want to start stitching. 
  • Cut about 18" or so off one end of your embroidery floss, untwist it, and use an "anchor knot" to tie the two ends together and keep them from coming undone. 
  • Thread your needle with one strand of floss and start stitching on the corner of the pattern 
  • Pull the thread through as you would a shoelace. 

Step 4: Stitch! 

  • Follow along with the pattern, stitching from box to box as indicated. 
  • If you come to an intersection with three colour squares, do the centre one with two strands of thread by picking up both ends and looping them onto your needle. Then pull it through and continue. 
  • When you get to where you started, run the needle under a couple of stitches on the back to give your thread a smoother finish.
  • Tie off another knot with the two ends of the floss and cut it. 

Step 5: Congrats! 

You now know how to cross-stitch. You can follow patterns or make your own - either way is fun!

You can also try cross stitching onto other things, like sweaters, pillows, or bags. The world of cross stitching is vast and full of colour. You can try different stitches (there are several), or use different types of fabric (even clothes you no longer want), to make the outcome look very different. Also, you may try picking cross-stitch projects that revolve around occasions like Christmas cross stitch or Halloween cross stitch or valentine cross stitch.

The finished product of cross stitching makes a beautiful gift for any occasion. It is also cost-effective. There are many ways to make this hobby even more affordable, like finding patterns online or reusing old fabric. However, you choose to do it, make sure it's something you can enjoy for a long time to come. Happy stitching!


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