Cross stitch is one of the most popular forms of embroidery today. Cross stitch is embroidery which is stitched using small X stitches to form a design.
Generally cross stitch is done on weaved fabric which has small, even holes, for your needle and thread to go through. This weaved cloth is called Aida cloth. Some cross stitch is done on silks and other fabrics as well. What fabric is used depends entirely on the stitcher themselves and the desired end results.
Some cross stitch embroidery today is also done on plastic and paper canvases. These other mediums produce their own unique results. Plastic and paper are stiffer than traditional cross stitich fabrics and can be molded into interesting shapes and used for projects where fabric simply isnt practical.
The threads used for cross stitch vary from cottons, wools, silks and metallic. The threads are usually very colorful and come in a complete myriad of colors and textures for any need.
If you are new to cross stitch it is always a good idea to learn a bit about the craft before you begin on your first project. There are tons of books and websites which are dedicated solely to cross stitch techniques and instructions. Before you purchase your first project you should take the time to read about cross stitch and understand how it is done. This will save you a lot of frustration on your first project.
The next thing you should do is to choose a simple cross stitch project to learn on. Find a project which is not too complicated, doesnt have too many colors, and which uses a larger weave Aida fabric. The combination of these three factors will ensure you the best results for your first cross stitch project.
When you understand the basics of cross stitch then it is time to start on your first project. Start by reading all of the instructions which came with your first project kit. Read and understand how many threads to use and about any special markings on the pattern.
When cross stitching you will take a traditional six strand embroidery thread and separate it into individual threads. You will then cross stitch using one to three of the threads at a time. Generally the larger the weave of your Aida cloth, the more strands of thread you will work with at a time. The best thing you can do for your end product is to separate each strand and then use the recommended number of threads together. Do not rewind them together, keep them separated. This helps for your thread to better cover the canvas and look flat and even.
When you start your first stitch, do not knot your thread. You never want to knot thread on any stitchery project because it will make lumps on the finished project. Simply pull the thread through your fabric and leave a small tail of thread at the back. Hold on to the small tail at the back of your project and make your next few stitches so that they overlap that thread and secure it in place. This takes a bit of practice but makes your projects look great.
When you are done stitching with one color and need to start a new one the process is simple. You should take your needle and gently pull your thread through the existing stitches on the back-side of your project. This will secure your thread. Once you have done this then clip the thread off close to your project surface but leave a bit extra, maybe a centimeter, so it does not come undone. To start with a new thread color simply re-thread your needle and start again just like before.
The biggest problem with cross stitch is that it is simply addictive. As soon as you learn how to do it you start finding projects everywhere that you want to complete. This is a good thing in moderation but try to keep to buying projects only one or two ahead of the one you are currently working on. Cross stitch projects can take up a lot of time and you should make sure that you dont purchase projects which you will never actually complete.
Best of luck with your new craft!