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October 29, 2019
It might not always be possible to find cross stitch supplies near you, but the good news is that all the must-haves you need to get started are easily available online. We’ve put together a list of six must-haves if you’re just getting started with cross stitch, as well as the best places to find them. There’s no need to be overwhelmed if you’re just starting out - a couple of clicks and off you go!
If you’re new to cross stitch then the best fabric option is 'aida' in a light colour. With over 100 years in the trade, Zweigart manufactures the highest quality fabrics around and aida is by far the most popular. Aida comes as a choice in every Caterpillar Cross Stitch kit.
Aida fabric is essentially a gridded cotton that is categorised by its 'count.' The smaller the number is, the bigger the stitches and the fewer stitches there are in a one inch length. 6 count aida is great for children to learn on. For adults getting started, try 14 count aida to begin with. Other popular cross stitch fabrics are evenweave and linens. Read more about fabric types here.
You’ll commonly hear embroidery thread referred to as “floss” particularly in the USA. Made from 100% Egyptian cotton and with a huge colour range, one of the most well-known suppliers of floss is DMC. DMC threads are extremely lustrous and silky, making them easy to work with, strong and beautiful. The threads are totally colourfast and won’t shrink or run in the wash if you’re careful with them. DMC thread is the choice for every Caterpillar Cross Stitch kit but other established and widely-used brands include Anchor and Sublime. You can also choose from a number of independent suppliers who hand dye threads!
The most important thing about embroidery scissors is that they have a very small, sharp point that makes them ideal to undo stitches and snip threads cleanly. There are all kinds of vintage scissors and unique designs to choose from, just like our special stork scissors.
4. Embroidery Hoop
Embroidery hoops might be plastic or wood and which you choose depends on the feel you prefer. A decent quality wooden hoop is a great choice to get started and is available from a small 4” size right up to a large 18” or 19” hoop.
Starting with an average hoop, around 7” in diameter, will be versatile for most projects as you don’t need to get all of a design into the hoop at the same time. Make sure the fabric is pulled taut inside the hoop before you start so that the tension of your stitching is good. A tiny screwdriver is handy to make sure you can tighten the little brass screw and get the best tension. You’ll know you’ve done this when you tap the fabric and it sounds like a drum. Our favourite brand is Elbesee.
If you’re a beginner at cross stitch, look for simple instructions and stitches to begin with. Whole stitches are the easiest and back stitching for some is more advanced. A decent pattern will include a colour pattern and chart so that you know which colour thread to stitch with and where. Caterpillar Cross Stitch patterns are professionally printed in colour. Our digital patterns come in colour and black and white. The centre of the pattern is almost always marked with two red lines that cross in the centre.
6. Needle and Needle Minders
The best needle for a beginner is a tapestry needle which has a slightly blunter end than a normal sewing needle. Gold-plated needles are fantastic as they don’t rust to leave marks on your fabric and the threads glide nicely through the eye. Read our guide to choosing the right needle and fabric here or perhaps invest in a sweet needle minder to make sure that once you’ve got your needle, it never gets lost again!
Having cross stitch supplies to hand is the best idea for beginners to cross stitch as it makes projects easy to pick up and work on whenever you have a moment. The initial investment is very inexpensive and you’ll quickly reap the rewards of an enjoyable learning curve, lots of fun projects and of course, a huge output of gorgeous needlework!
Visit our cross stitch kits and supplies HERE.
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