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So you just learned a friend or relative cross stitches and you want to give it a go, but you want to make sure you cut through the fluff to know how to start out right. Here is 3 things I wish I knew when I started cross stitching that I think would be helpful for a new stitcher to know! Well, maybe there is more than 3 things, but here it is.
Cross stitching takes very little supplies to get going on your first project: (1) a pattern or idea, (2) fabric, (3) various colors of embroidery thread, and (4) cross stitch needles.
If you are new to cross stitch like me when I stitched my first pattern, you probably noticed there are different supplies to choose from at the store. I bought my first supplies at Joann Fabrics because their selection of embroidery thread is vast, but I wish I knew about all the different supply stores and options that were available.
Did you know you can purchase cross stitch patterns online and in PDF download format? Maybe you found a cross stitch pattern at your local hobby store, but you may not know there are many patterns you can purchase online that are physical patterns or even PDF download patterns. While there are many great patterns at hobby stores, you may like some of the designer patterns found online and in magazines! Etsy has online needlework shops that offer patterns in PDF format.
Some of my favorite designers, for example, are easy enough patterns that you will not find in a hobby store. For example, Brenda Gervais’ “Bluebird Out My Window” is a great pattern for beginners. While this pattern is a physical copy that will ship to your home, other shops such as Cherry Hill Stitcher on Etsy have a great number of “beginner” worthy patterns that are available for PDF download.
I just recently purchased “Berry Sweet” by Cherry Hill Stitchery with a stitch count of 77 wide by 62 high. These numbers represent how many stitches are in a pattern. The smaller the number the faster the stitch! For a beginner stitcher, I would reccomend staying below 100 wide by 100 high stitch count.
Although, a pattern stitch count may be low, you may want to make sure the pattern does not have specialty stitches unless you are up for the new experience. Most specialty stitches are not difficult and you can easily find youtube videos on how to stitch them. If you find a pattern online such as an Etsy shop, you can message the shop owner and ask if the pattern has specialty stitches, and if they do not know they can probably direct you to who does know.
Did you know you can stitch on Aida even when a pattern suggest linen? Maybe your pattern purchase recommends a higher count linen or evenweave fabric. You can stitch any pattern on Aida fabric. Just remember that for the stitch count of the pattern that ends up a certain design finish size will end up larger on a lower count fabric. For example, my “Berry Sweet” pattern is 77 wide by 62 high and the finish design measures 4 3/4”w x 3 7/8”h stitched on 32 count evenweave.
The lower the fabric count the larger the distance between the holes in the fabric. For example, 14 count Aida holes are further apart than say and 18 count Aida. So, the same pattern stitched on 14 count Aida will be a larger finished product than when stitched on 18 count. You can find linen with a 56 count. Aida fabric is made of cotton while linen cross stitch fabric is made of the flax plant.
There is also a fabric many stitchers LOVE called evenweave which is made of mostly cotton mixed with rayon. What makes the difference with the choice a stitcher makes? Some love the evenness of the holes in Aida and evenweave. Why they choose evenweave over Aida is probably the finish design size and maybe even the fact you can find a broader selection of colors in evenweave than Aida.
Did you know you can color you fabric any color you want? I will do another post of coloring fabric with RIT dye. Others may choose line because many stitchers enjoy stitching in hand instead of using a frame or hoop. At least, this is the reason I like to stitch on linen rather than Aida…
…..more to come!