Learn How to Cross Stitch: Part 1 – Supplies

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Have you wanted to learn how to cross stitch, but have never known where to get started? Then you’ve come to the right place! In this blog series, Learn How to Cross Stitch, I will be walking you through a step by step tutorial on how to cross stitch including: supplies needed, English and danish cross stitch methods, backstitching, and other tips and tricks I have picked up along the way.

I always encourage people to learn how to cross stitch because it is such an easy craft to learn. You use one stitching technique in a variety of ways to create beautiful pictures out of thread. Since you use one main stitch, it is a craft that is very meditative and relaxing. I’ve found cross stitching has helped reduce my anxiety, because I am able to have something to focus on and it produces wonderful results. It also is fun to see a picture emerge as you make each stitch, and it a great creative outlet! Whether you want to learn to help reduce stress or you just want to do something fun, no matter what your reasons for wanting to learn how to cross stitch, you are about to embark on a rewarding creative journey. Now let’s get started!


No cross stitch would be possible without the proper supplies, since they are the backbone of every cross stitch you do. Supplies can range from thread to fabric, or the type of needle you use. What’s great is that these are all fairly inexpensive, so you won’t have to break your bank to get the things you need to start cross stitching! The main supplies you use are:

1. Aida Cloth – This cloth is the main fabric you will use to sew your cross stitch pattern on, and is what I use in all of my cross stitch designs. It is a specially designed mesh fabric that has a grid of holes which form tiny squares to make it easy for cross stitching. The grid sizes have a variety of different sizes depending on what count the fabric is. Count in this case refers to the number of stitches that you can do per inch (ex. 14 count Aida cloth means that there will be 14 cross stitches per 1 inch). The larger the count number, the smaller the designs will be, since there are more stitches per inch. I usually use 14 count Aida cloth for each of my cross stitch designs. However, you can use any Aida cloth count for any cross stitch design, but you will have to keep in mind that a different count will change the size. Aida cloth is reasonably priced, and you can get some here.


2. Needles – For cross stitching you will be using embroidery needles for making the stitches. The needles  pictured above are one size of embroidery needle you can get that is specifically used for cross stitching or tapestry needlepoint. These are fairly inexpensive to get and can be found at any craft store. You can find some inexpensive needles that work great here.


3. Embroidery floss – This is what all cross stitch designs are made from. DMC is the biggest supplier of embroidery floss, and is my favorite brand to use. Their floss comes in an endless variety of colors in any shade you might imagine. The large number that is on the label with the barcode, tells you which color the embroidery floss is. Patterns will list these numbers as a part of the color list, and will then match it with a symbol that represents the color in the pattern.


4. Scissors – You will use scissors in a variety of ways ranging from cutting thread to cutting your fabric. There are scissors specifically designed for embroidery that can make very small cuts. I use EK Success Cutter Bee Precision Scissors, which are great for precision cutting such as cutting embroidery floss. They aren’t designed for embroidery, but do the job just as well.


5. Embroidery Hoop – This tool is used for keeping the fabric taught, so that there aren’t any creases in your fabric when cross stitching. It is composed of two hoops where one is placed underneath the fabric, and the other is placed on top of it. You then push the top one down on the fabric over the one underneath, and tighten the screw at the top to hold it in place. These hoops can also be used to frame your completed cross stitch. I often won’t cross stitch with a hoop, because I’ve found it to be harder on my wrists. Usually I put it on once I’m done, and just use it as a frame. Hoops usually don’t run more than $2 or $3 individually, and you can find a great deal on a set here.

6. DMC color chart – This is a just for fun tool that I love having! DMC created a color card that has every thread color that they have made. For people who are designing cross stitch patterns, this comes in handy because you don’t have to go to the store or buy each thread color to know what shade it is. Sometimes I like to open it up just so I can look at all of the colors.


Now that you know the supplies needed for cross stitching you’re ready to learn how to do it! The next part in the series will teach you how to prepare your fabric for stitching, which you can find here.

Happy stitching!