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29 Ridiculously Helpful Tips For Anyone Who Wants To Learn How To Cross-Stitch

Including how to organize your embroidery floss, understand Aida cloth counts, and cross-stitch on other fabrics!

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1. To get started, invest in a cross-stitch pattern book with classic alphabets and symbols, simple symbols, and/or NSFW sampler patterns.,,

Get them from Amazon: 2001 Cross Stitch Designs for $15.25+, Mega Mini Cross Stitch for $9.98, and Subversive Cross Stitch: 50 F*cking Clever Designs for Your Sassy Side for $13.55.

2. Maybe get your feet wet with an easy cross-stitch kit, like this cute kitty, or go all in with an elaborate kit like this Japanese garden scene.,

Note: If you purchase a kit, skip to #8.

Get them from Amazon: Cute kitty for $3.07 and Japanese garden for $29.24

3. Consider downloading a PDF pattern from Etsy in varying difficulty, like the log lady from Twin Peaks or these friendly avocados.,

Pre-made pattern offerings vary from simple and classic to kitschy and elaborate.

Download the PDF patterns from Etsy: log lady from Pyro Dog Pins for $5.89 or avocados from MagicCrossStitch for $2.99


4. Or, just create your own pattern from a printed picture with coloring pencils, freezer paper, and graph paper!

Simply print out a design you like, print out some graph paper for free, and get to drawing! See the full tutorial on The Homesteady.

Get this downloadable PDF print from Maiden on Etsy for $2.

5. Pay attention to Aida cloth — aka cross-stitch cloth — sizing. The higher the Aida count, the smaller the stitches and overall project will appear.

For example, this 14-count fabric has 14 squares per inch and each square represents a cross-stitch or "X." Some common Aida counts include 11, 14, 16, 18, and 28. It's available in large swaths or smaller pieces.

Get a four-pack of white Aida cloth from Amazon for $8.99. / Check out some colorful options.

7. Get close and personal with embroidery floss, which comes in DMC floss, Cosmo floss, and aurifloss. But DMC floss is most commonly found and budget-friendly.

DMC cotton embroidery floss is available in craft stores, basically, everywhere. It's sold in a individual skein — which includes six strands that are easily separated — or a pack of skeins (like this one pictured). The floss comes in 454 solid colors and 18 variegated colors. Get more info on the DMC site.

Get this pack from Amazon for $17.86.


8. If you're not working from a kit, buy all your thread for one project at the same time.

Thread is colored in dye lots, which can lead to varying shades if you buy a specific color in different batches. BUT, if buying from different dye lots can't be avoided, take one strand from the old and one strand from the new to blend.

Get this elaborate kit from Amazon for $25.49.

9. Count and organize your thread colors...and if you want to stay ~super~ organized, wind them on some plastic bobbins and label them.

Set aside the amount of each color you'll need for your project. Often, cross-stitching kits will come with cardboard guides that'll help you keep track of strands and the difference between similar floss colors like beige and cream.

Get a 28-pack of these plastic bobbins from Amazon for $6.24.

10. Determine your thread coverage with this handy guide that breaks down how thread count and the amount of strands you use change your pattern's outcome.

Floss coverage from left to right: 18-count, 14-count, 11-count, and 9-count (18-count over two threads). Get the full guide on Better Cross Stitch Patterns.

11. Tape the edges of fabric or use fabric glue to keep it from fraying as you stitch.,

Get them from Amazon: .94-Inch x 30-yardsroll of masking tape for $6.59 and a two-pack of glue from Amazon for $9


18. Start off by stitching a simple guide with one strand of dark embroidery floss to mark the center of your fabric and guide you in counting stitches.

Read more on starting a cross-stitch project on Imagine Gnats.

Need some more geometric guidance for keeping your pattern on track? Check out a guide on gridding your fabric with a mechanical pencil on Peacock & Fig.


22. Don't wash your finished project! (That can lead to color bleeding.) Instead, spot clean and roll a lint roller over it. Then iron the back to remove creases.,

Just make sure to iron without steam to avoid color bleeding.

Get them from Amazon: five lint rollers with 95 sheets each for $9.54 and the 1200-watt iron for $19.99