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Choosing a Cross Stitch Project

Updated on October 26, 2011

Just Stitch

I love to do cross stitch. I only do counted. I taught myself how to do it. It takes time and a lot of work. I think that is what discourages people from doing it. But when you are done with a project there is such a sense of satisfaction. Patience is something you should have or something you will learn along the way. I want to show more people that they can do cross stitch and love it. I hope this will help you to get started or to get started again. If you are just getting started my best advise is to start small and with something you love so you will finish and have that feeling of satisfaction when your done and every time you see your completed piece. That way you will start your next slightly larger piece. Happy Stitching!!

10 Steps

Always choose your Counted Cross Stitch project wisely. If it is to challenging for you, chances are you won't finish it. Or worse you'll stop stitching all together. Here are a few things to consider when you pick out that new project. When looking at a kit read what is inside carefully. Ask yourself these simple questions.

1. What is the count? (9,11,14,16,18, these stitches are worked over one thread usually on a Aida fabric. For these counts the larger the number the smaller the stitches and the size of the project. 22,24,28,32,36, these stitches are worked over 2 threads and are a little more challenging. For these counts the larger the number the smaller stitch and the size of the project, but their size will be equal to an Aida fabric with 1/2 the number. 14 count is the same size as 28 count, 16 count is the same size as 36 count. The fabrics are usually an Evenweave or linen. If your are a beginner I would stay away from this type of fabric until you as some experience. Aida are much better for beginners.

2. Are there any 1/4 stitches? Usually 1/4 stitches are used on a 22 count or higher fabric. You can do it on an Aida, but if there are a lot of 1/4 stitches it can be difficult.

3. What is the "Finished" size of the project. Is this a size you want to do? If the finished size is not the size you want, you can always buy fabric in the correct count and save the fabric in the kit for something else. For example if the fabric is a 14 count Aida and you would like a smaller finished size you can buy a 16 count fabric.

4. What color fabric and floss is used? If you really don't like the fabric color you can buy the color you would like and save the fabric in the kit for something else.

5. Look carefully at the picture of the kit. Is almost or all of the fabric stitched or does the design use the color of the fabric as a background? More stitches mean a longer time to finish the project. If you have the time and love the project, do it. If your not sure, will you finish it if it takes a lot of stitching?

6. Are there a lot of specialty stitches? For example French knots. I can't do French knots. So if there are a lot of them I don't do the project or if I love the project I ask my friend to do them for me. If you don't know how to do a stitch, do not give up yet. Either learn before you buy, to make sure you can do it, or if you are confident it is something you can learn, just buy it. The directions in the kit should show you how to do the stitch. You can also go on-line to find directions.

7. Is the pattern printed in color? They usually will say "full color chart" or "color enhanced chart" If it does not say and you cannot see it through the package assume it is a black and white chart. These are a little harder to read, but by no means impossible. If you have two similar projects you want to do and can't decide, this question may help you. I'd get the color chart.

8. What is included in the kit? Are there any additional materials you may need to buy to finish the project? Such as, charms or beads. Are these materials easy to get? Do you want to substitute something else?

9. Is the floss pre-sorted. This is not a good reason for skipping a project, but having pre-sorted floss is very helpful. Sometimes each color is sorted on a card and other times you may have bundles of floss with instructions on what colors are in each bundle so it is easier to sort. You may be able to look through the package to see if the floss is sorted. If you cannot and it does not say on the contains list of the package, assume it is not sorted. ALWAYS sort floss in well light area and sort all of it before you do even one stitch. It is much easier to see the difference, for example, between, medium pale blue and pale blue.

10. If you are looking at just a pattern and not a kit here are the questions you should ask:

a. Can you get all the materials needed or can you make substitutions?

b. Is there anything you would like to change about the project? (Different color fabric? Most patterns will give you a choice of counts and sometimes types of fabric)

c. How difficult and expensive will it be to find the materials needed?

d. Can you make substitutions for materials you may not be able to find or are expensive?

e. What kind of floss is used? Is that company available to you (DMC or Anchor) If not, can you convert the color numbers to a company you can get?

Final Thoughts

  • Always try to find projects you really love. Cross Stitch takes time to do. You are less likely to get bored with a project you really love. Wanting to see a project done can also push you to work on it more often.
  • Make sure you have everything you need before stating any project.
  • If you get stuck or find there is something in a project you can't do, find someone who can show you how.


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