When selecting the fabric on which to create your masterpiece, the sky’s the limit! There are colors and sizes galore available. When you look at a pattern, you will see a stitch count. This number and a little bit of math will help you determine the size of the finished project. The “standard” size of Aida is 14 count. This means that there are 14 blocks per inch. This is a great starter size. If you take the stitch count and divide by 14, you will have the size of the finished design. As the numbers of the count increase, the size of the blocks decrease. For example, a 22-count may require a magnifying glass to see the 22 blocks per inch!
I love working on evenweave. Instead of stitching on blocks in the fabric, you stitch over two threads. I wouldn’t recommend using evenweave until you get the hang of working on Aida. The fabric is identified as 28 or 36. This is because you are working over threads. So a 28-count is equivalent to a 14-count Aida and a 36-count is equivalent to an 18-count Aida.
I am not a fan of using linen; however, I have seen some fabulous designs stitched on it. Linen follows the same identification system as the evenweave. The difference is that the strands on the linen are not even throughout the fabric. Therefore, one stitch may be smaller than another depending on how the width of the strands at any given point.
Have fun not only choosing the fabric, but also choosing the color. Even if you opt to stitch from a kit, you can forego the enclosed fabric (often white 14-count Aida) and choose whatever seems like it will be fun to stitch. Leave me a comment if you have any questions or stories to share!
For those of you who watched “The Brady Bunch”, do you remember that Carol frequently carried a canvas around with needle and yarn attached? She could start and stop her needlepoint at any time. This is because the design was printed on the canvas. All she needed to do was to stitch the color she saw. Counted cross stitch requires a little more concentration.
Counted cross stitch is done on fabric in which there are squares. There is no design printed on it. You follow a pattern which is made up of symbols. Each symbol represents one stich of a designated color. Each stitch is an X. The thread used is referred to as floss. DMC floss comes in a 6 strand skein. Typically, two strands are used for stitching.
Needlepoint is done on a stiffer canvas. The pattern is printed on the canvas. Unlike the X stitched in a counted cross stitch design, needlepoint uses only 1/2 an X. Stitches are made with yarn instead of floss.
Yay! You are going to give cross stitching a try. As a beginning cross stitcher, you really want to prevent frustration down the road. You want to make sure you have all of your stitching materials ready to go from the start.
- Pattern – You want to choose a design that will hopefully hold your interest over time. If you become disinterested, there goes the project! Also, look to see how many colors you will be using. To start with, choose a pattern in which you don’t need to be changing colors with every few stitches.
- Fabric – For a first project, I would suggest using Aida 14 count. This means that there are 14 blocks for every inch of fabric.
- Floss – DMC floss is identified by number. Follow the list on your pattern and make sure you have all you need before you begin stitching.
- Bobbins – These can be found in the same aisle as the floss. You should wind each skein of floss before you begin stitching.
- Zip lock bag – Once your floss is wound, keep the bobbins in a zip lock back while you are stitching.
- Needle – Make sure you have a supply. If you lose one in your chair, you don’t want to have to stop your momentum to search for it. I have found that a size 7 needle works best for me. It is not blunt like many choose to use for cross stitching, but I find it is easier to use.
- Loom – I like to use a plastic loom to hold my fabric tight while I work.
- Masking or Packing Tape – Tape around the perimeter of your fabric. This will prevent fraying as you are working.
- Highlighter – As you work through your pattern, you can highlight symbols of the stiches that you have done. This makes life so much easier than trying to match up the pattern and your fabric every time you look up.
Now you are ready to get started. Nothing to it! Enjoy!!
Welcome! Whether you are a beginner or an expert, it is always fun to learn new tricks. Cross stitching dates back to the Middle Ages. If you have visited historic homes or museums, you have likely seen hand stitched samplers dating back hundreds of years. Those of us who stitch as a means of relaxation are very confusing to onlookers who see our hobby as an exercise in frustration.
Learning ways to make the journey easier will help novices to get hooked and will make the experts nod at the things they are already doing and become excited at something new.
Is cross stitching really relaxing?
Yes!! I find that the more stressed I am, the more that stitching can calm me down. It hasn’t always been this way, but once I got to the point where I felt comfortable with the craft… there are days when I just can’t stop. I have my comfy chair which sits in front of my bay window. I love using the natural light whenever I can. When I can’t, I have a great lamp that provides me with all the light I need. I have all my materials within my reach. Then, watch out! My TV is a remote click away and I have been know to binge watch and stitch a day away.
I hope you find something helpful on my future posts. If you have any other tips, please share them with me.