Finally Taking Up Cross-Stitching? Here Is What You Should Know
How do you start your cross-stitching journey? This is the question that puzzles most beginners who are just planning to take up this exciting craft. However, there is nothing about cross-stitching that might put you off. We would like to share some tips proving that cross-stitching is not that difficult as you might think!
- Get a cross-stitch kit rather than download a chart. The thing is that a kit already comes with all the supplies you need for your project, such as canvas, floss, a chart and a needle. If you go for downloading a chart or using one from a magazine, you’ll have to estimate how much floss and canvas you would need and purchase the materials by yourself, as well as choose a thread that would work best for this type of project.
- Avoid choosing a kit that uses many thread colors and different stitch types. Firstly, the larger the size of the project, the higher the price of the kit, and if you don’t manage to finish it, it would be just a waste of money. Secondly, you’ll complete a smaller project fast and get motivated and inspired for further cross-stitching achievements. Thirdly, when working on a small-sized project, you’ll be able to practice your stitches both on the front and the back.
- If you still chose a large project, make sure to grid the fabric to avoid losing track of your stitches. You can do that with a fabric pen or marker or just stitch in a grid with a thread, which can be pulled out once you’ve done stitching.
- It is usually recommended that you start stitching in the middle of the design. However, it’s really up to you where to start, especially if you are working with a pre-gridded canvas.
- Study the chart and key carefully. Pay attention to the types of stitches and the number of strands used.
- Make sure to create proper lighting conditions when cross-stitching. If you normally cross-stitch outside daytime hours, use additional lighting sources.
- Cross-stitching is done correctly when all the top half-stitches lie in the same direction (either \ or /). To make sure the stitches are absolutely the same, try to insert the needle into the same holes on the canvas each time.
- Before starting your project, read the instructions carefully to figure out how to make a stitch correctly. Here are some rules that will help you keep the stitches even:
- the top half-stitches of each full stitch should lie in the same direction;
- the length of the thread you are stitching with should not exceed 40-50 cm (15.7-19.7 in);
- before starting the process, separate each strand of the floss individually;
- try to keep thread tension even while cross-stitching – if you pull the thread too hard, this will result in deformed stitches. If the thread tension is not balanced and varies from low to high, this may make the front of your cross-stitch uneven and bumpy;
- remember that making knots is not acceptable in cross-stitching.
- To keep your place on the chart, you might want to mark off the areas you have already completed with a highlighter tape or a color marker. This is particularly relevant for black-and-white charts.
- Remove the canvas from the hoops when not cross-stitching. Besides, avoid pulling the fabric too tight with the hoops as this will distort its weave and deform the stitches.
- Make sure to keep at least 5-7 cm (1.9-2.8 in) of excess canvas at each side of the completed cross-stitch design. This allows putting the canvas in a hoop and later framing the finished piece.
- Try to avoid making make long jumps across the back of your fabric, especially in the areas with no stitches, and here are the reasons why:
- you waste too much thread;
- the jumps usually show through on the front;
- the excessive tension created by the jump may deform the entire stitching.
- If you got a few stitches wrong when working on the background of the design, there is no need to undo them and restart them again. Mistakes on unimportant areas won’t make any significant difference for the whole design. However, if you make an error when working, for example, on a face outline, then you would need to do that part all over again.
- Beginner cross-stitch kits usually come with light-colored or white canvas. It might get dusty or even dirty in the process, so make sure to wash your cross-stitch piece when it’s finished. After you’ve completed and washed your cross-stitch, you might also want to thoroughly iron it.
- Before starting your project, it can be a good idea to think how you would use the finished design, e.g., frame it and hang it on a wall, decorate a cushion with it or make a bookmark.
We hope our tips have been useful and inspired you to take up cross-stitching! You can choose your first project among hundreds of cross-stitch kits in our store – browse our collection here.