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Cross Stitch Tips

by Melissa Chaudhry
(Bakersfield, CA)

If you have never done cross stitch before the task may seem daunting. It is a very fun and easy craft once you get the hang of it though!

To start I would recommend buying the small kits you find at department stores or your local dollar store. They are cute and a great way to get started learning the basics.

These small little kits include everything you need to get started, including the directions.

In order to make counting easier and keep your final product relatively centered I always start at the upper left hand corner. (Guides always say to start in the middle, but I enjoy doing the border first as a starting point, it makes the counting much easier).

The next step is to try a kit that is a stamped cross stitch kit. These kits are extremely easy and require no counting!!

Once you have gotten the hang of these two simple and small projects it is time to move on to the dreaded counted cross stitch. I know it seems difficult but once you get your own method down it is easy and the results are very rewarding with a beautiful end product.

In order to keep track of where I am in a pattern I will again do the border first, after every 50 stitches I highlight the finished work on my pattern. This makes it very easy to start where you left off if you need to take a break. Once you have the border of any piece you have the framework for counting the rest of your project easily!

Don't give up!! It takes lots of practice and dedication :)

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The Challenge of Counted Cross Stitch

by Michelle
(Salem OR USA)

Counted Cross Stitch can be a rewarding craft, but it can be a little daunting at first. I suggest starting with a project from a kit. Start with a simple one that has a simple design.

Read through the instructions first and check the kit to make sure the all the supplies are there. The floss will be pre-cut and there should be enough in the kit to finish the project. Some kits come with an organizer for the floss but one can be made out of an index card with holes punched into it. There should be a needle with the kit and sometimes they also come with a frame.

Most kits contain 14 count aida cloth. This cloth is designed for counted cross stitch and has a grid of 14 spaces per inch. There may be some other embellishments with the kit that can be added when the piece is done. With the instructions there will be a diagram on a grid. It may be color coded, or symbol coded or both. It is best to start in the center and work out from there.

To find the center of the aida cloth, fold it in half and then open it again. Turn it 90 degrees and fold in half again. Sometimes I weave a contrasting piece of thread at the center but usually the fold is enough of a guide.

Use the stitch guide in the instructions. Most of the project will be in cross stitch which will look like x's. If your stitches don't look like the picture, you're probably not doing them right. I also use the picture with the project to compare progress. If something doesn't look right, I go back and compare the project to the diagram. That seems kind of tedious and that's why I recommend a simple project.

Since learning counted cross stitch, I've gone on to making my own projects which in a way is easier. I have freedom to alter the design if I put a stitch in the wrong place.

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