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All The 'In People' Are Doing It.
Cross Stitching in general
Member Name: DaisyDuck
Cross Stitching in general
Date: 02/09/01, updated on 30/10/01 (244 review reads)
Advantages: Inexpensive, Relaxing, Creative
Getting started.... I think that the easiest way to start is to buy a kit from a craft shop. These contain a chart,instruction leaflet, aida fabric, threads and a needle, so you can start right away. The only other item you will need is a pair of scissors. Start with a small project at first , that way you won't need a frame or hoop, and you will be more likely to finish it. Stitching does take time, on average one square inch per hour, so it's best to start small.
Skills needed... All you really need is to be able to count and sew a simple cross stitch and maybe backstitch for outlining. The easiest fabric to start on is called aida, this varies in the number of holes, most kits contain 14 count fabric which has 14 holes per inch, this is quite easy to see and work . You can get finer counts 16 or 18 for finer and more intricate designs, but remember the higher the count the longer it takes to complete.
The main thing is to read the instructions, sort your threads and label them, find the centre of the fabric and start from there, once you have the first few crosses made there will be no stopping you.
Fabrics and threads...Aida is the most popular and simple fabric to cross stitch, but you can also buy linen, evenweave, afghans, aida band to decorate towels and other fabrics to work on, in many colours.
If you want to stitch little motifs on to clothes, you can buy a product called waste canvas, which you put over the ga
rment to give you the squares to count, and then is pulled out when the design is complete.
The most used thread is a six stranded cotton or floss, the two most popular makers with many shades are DMC or Anchor. The main thing to remember is that you hardly ever use all six strands at once, mostly you will use two strands whilst cross stitching.
You can also buy metallic threads, beads and buttons to add to your projects.
Things to stitch... Pictures, wedding and birth samplers, cushions, bibs, towels, bookmarks, cards, clothes, curtains, you are only limited by your imagination. I started off with a couple of babies bibs, then moved on to pictures, a family tree sampler I designed myself, cushions and an afghan throw, and a millenium sampler, once you start its hard to stop.
Once you are hooked you will probably want to get a few extras.. A frame or hoop for holding larger pieces of work, gold plated needles which go through fabric more easily, a chart holder, a lamp and possibly a magnifyer for detailed work. I also keep a look out for antique pin cushions, sewing boxes etc. as it's nice to have special accessories when stitching.
Your own designs... This is much easier than you may think and you don't have to be a great artist to get a good result. An easy way to start is to draw or trace a simple outine onto graph paper to make your chart, you may then want to progress to a design software programme.
Design Software... You can get programmes starting at around £20 for the beginner going up to hundreds for the professional. The beginner programmes are quite good and save all the tracing, rubbing out and graph paper. They also come with motifs that you can arrange to make your own design. Some of them also have a feature for converting photographs into designs, but you need a really sharp photograph to make a useable chart, I have found this feature useful for converting simple cartoon images into charts though.
Books... The library is also a great place for cross stitchers. Here you can find books to show you basic and advanced stitches, copyright free patterns and of course inspiration.
Magazines... You will find plenty of cross stitch magazines on the newsagents shelf, these offer advice, ideas, free charts and list suppliers.They often offer a small kit as a free gift.
Supplies... You can buy cross stitch kits in needlework shops, craft shops, gift shops,garden centres, some supermarkets and even Argos and Index.
More specialist fabrics and threads from needlecraft shops, mail order and the internet.
The Internet... There are lots of sites offering charts, advice , supplies, message boards for cross stitchers.
Clubs... You can often find out about local stitchers groups from your library, needlecraft shop or national groups like the Cross Stitchers Guild from magazines. Local groups are a good way to make friends, exchange ideas, and even start a large joint project to be given to a Church or Communtiy centre.
Fund raising... Cross stitchers are popular with fetes , school fayres etc. as you produce bookmarks, pincushions, needlecases to sell from scraps of fabric and thread at little or no cost.
Think your too young or cool to cross stitch? Well Liz Hurley is reputed to relax with a little needlepoint, I just wonder why someone who can sew had to hold her dress together with safety pins.
Stitching is also sociable in that you can still chat with your family and friends, watch TV or listen to music whilst sewing. One thing you can't do is eat, so it could be an aid to slimming as well.
So it's relaxing, creative and fun, for all ages and sexes.
Have a go!