How to cross-stitch - a simple but rewarding hobby!

You peer at the carefully stitched picture hanging on the wall; wondering if you could ever create such a beautiful piece of art. The answer is: Yes, You Can!

The secret of successful cross stitch is that it’s NOT hard to do at all – with a little preparation and patience you can be churning out wonderful crafts for your family and friends, wowing them with your skill.

The first and easiest project to attempt is a greeting card – most craft stores sell entire kits for a few dollars; including the mesh, needle and the thread needed to create a small gift card for any occasion you can think of. When you open the kit itself, the threads and mesh might seem overwhelming, but stop and look at the picture for a few minutes.

You should have a series of colored threads, a needle (not too sharp!) and a square of mesh; usually quite stiff. If you look at the mesh you’ll see the crisscrossing lines of the fabric that makes up the mesh, creating a series of small squares with holes at all four corners. This will be the work area in which you will create a wonderful picture!

The secret of cross stitch is the simplicity. You thread the needle with two strands of the color you would like to stitch with; find your position on the graph that you want to start out with and simply poke the needle through the bottom left corner of that square; moving up diagonally to the upper right (/). Then come out at the bottom right and cross over the stitch to the upper left (). Tucking the loose end of the thread you’ve started with into the stitch will anchor it in place, making it secure. Then stop and look at your final product (X). There! You’ve done your first cross stitch!

This is the most basic stitch, crossing over and over again in a series of rows to create the shape and image of almost anything you can imagine. If you have a row to do, you do the first set of stitches in a row; then cross over on the way back to complete the image – (///) to (XXX).

Other stitches include the halfstitch, which is exactly what it sounds like. You only fill one half of the square allotted to the color, usually by just cutting your cross stitch short and going through the center of the square instead of the corner. Backstitching is easy and will serve to compliment your final product by outlining the specific areas within your picture that need to be highlighted to improve the image.

You can find pictures and crafts to meet almost anyone’s needs; from coffee mugs to wall hangings to bread cloths to baby bibs and huge quilts that will take you months to finish – but the satisfaction of being able to look at the image and think “I Made This” is unique to the crafters that pursue this hobby worldwide.

Cross stitch is a hobby that can take up as little time as you want or as much time as you want; from small projects like the greeting cards to major wall pictures that you will insist on having framed and will most probably become family treasures to be passed on from generation to generation.

Many stores have classes in the more intricate stitches needed for larger projects, some even with clubs that get together once a week to specifically work on projects or to exchange ideas – an extension of the quilting bee, if you wish to think of it that way. Getting together with fellow stitchers is a great way to socialize and to learn and teach as you move up in the experience level of this easy and affordable hobby.

In the end you can make as much or as little as you want; stitching only a few minutes a day or working through major pictures that will be prized for years as they hang on your wall. Cross stitch is a great hobby for anyone, from children to seniors and will reward you with countless hours of fun and satisfaction.

In the end

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