What do I need to start a Cross Stitch?

So here is a popular question I get asked a lot.  What do I need to get started Cross Stitching? 

So lets first start with, What are you going to stitch?



You will want to choose a project that is the right level for your stitching ablility.  If you are a beginner, you would not want to start out with a huge project.  Getting a few smaller projects finished will give you that "oh look what I did!!" stitching high.  That is what keeps you motivated to try bigger and bigger projects and helps increase your stitching skills.  


 The most common fabric for cross stitching is Aida and Linen. Aida cloth is a woven fabric which leaves perfect squares for making cross-stitch X's.  Because Aida Cloth is loosely woven, the spaces where the stitches need to be made are readily apparent. Aida come in sizes ranging from 11 count up to 18 count. Most Aida Cloth is 100% cotton or a blend of cotton and linen fibers.

 Linen or Evenweave Fabric is a smooth fabric because it is made of half-natural fiber and half a man-made fiber like polyester. Cross-stitching on linen is usually stitched with two fibers/threads over two fabric threads so two over two (or in every other hole). Linen comes in sizes ranging from 18 count to 40 count. Because it has the higher counts per inch, faces and hands are often sewn one over one for greater definition.  Linen also has a bit of a more antique / hand made look to it.  


One of the most common floss for cross stitch is DMC.  They have been around for 240 years (yes, that's right, 240 years). They have over 400 colors that are tried and true in their colorfastness.  There are also many different types of specialty / hand-dyed floss available. Using hand-dyed floss brings a completely different look to your stitching.  However, no matter the brand of thread you choose, you will want to make sure you keep your supply organized and clean. Whether you choose to use bobbin & floss boxes or floss-a-way bags & rings, organization is essential. Remember your finished project is only as good as the materials you are using.






A blunt tapestry needle is best for cross-stitch. If a sharp embroidery needle is used, you can split the threads of the fabric, or prick another thread or even your fingers. Tapestry needles come in sizes 22 through 28. The bigger, the number the smaller the needle. I recommend size 24 for 14 count Aida and a size 26 or 28 for Aida or Linen smaller then 16 / 28 count.



I am such a scissoraholic.  I love Embroidery scissors, so I am always using a different pair in my ever growing collection of scissors.  However, the truth is you just need a small pair of embroidery scissors to snip your threads.  However, you will find that you will like a certain brand or style as you continue to use them.  They are all just so cute!


Hoop / Scroll Frames... (see Blog entry “What hoop or scroll frame should I use for my stitching?”)

I like to keep my fabric with a really tight tension-- I find that this keeps my stitched nice and even. There are so many options available when it comes to hooping your fabric.

The spring tension hoop is excellent for all types of needlework. The easy clamping feature keeps fabric tight (no slipping) and will not pull your fabric in the wrong direction. Just be sure to un-hoop it when you are done stitching-- you don’t want to get hoop burn.

The Q-Snap is interlocking PVC piping made especially for needlework. Q-Snap offers a sturdy but lightweight frame for embroidery. The Q-Snap frame comes apart in seconds to store or to carry in practically any tote. Four plastic C-shaped clamps hold the fabric onto the bars. Tension is easy to adjust.

And, of course, my favorite hooping option is the EZ Needlework Scroll Frames & Lap Stand. The scroll frames with the no basting system are so easy to use.  With a scroll frame, your hands hardly touch your fabric so there is low risk in getting it dirty from your hand oils.  And, best of all, there will be no hoop burn as all of the fabric is secured around the rods. My favorite thing about a scroll frame is you can stitch with both hands.


Gadgets, Extras and Nifty Notions

Scissors Keepers, Highlighter Tape, and Needle Minders to just name a few.


It doesn’t take much to get started cross stitching and you will find your own grove and what products that work for you to make it easy, comfortable and above all oh so enjoyable.

So grab a project, fabric, floss, hoop, needle and scissors and let's get stitching!!!


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