If you follow me on Instagram (@TheEcoChic) then you know that I’ve taken up a new hobby this year; cross stitch! I’m pretty sure my Grandmother once taught me how to cross stitch using that hard plastic stuff with yarn but I’ve never cross stitched as an adult (until now). The only reason I decided to give it a try was because my own Instagram feed was full of friends working on these really adorable projects. I’ve always been a crafty, creative person so I figured I would give it a try.
You’d think I would have started with a “beginner” project but instead I jumped into a year long sampler pattern from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. Each month you receive a new section of the pattern to work on and at the end of the year you’ll have a completed project. The one I’m currently working on is the Once Upon A Time sampler.
When you sign up for the sampler (or any of their other projects) you’ll receive an email with a PDF document that lists all the supplies you’ll need. I swear I thought I was reading a foreign language – Doubloon, Aida, DMC, COSMO, Weeks Dye, tapestry needles, Q-snap, needle minder, thread heaven?
Let me help take the mystery out of these things for you BEFORE you go to the craft store.
What you’ll need to get started working on a cross stitch project:
Fabric – I had no idea there were so many different types of fabric for cross stitching. There are also different colors and different counts of fabric. Be sure to check and see which fabric type is recommended for your project as it may vary. This project called for a Picture This Plus 28 count Cashel Crystal “Doubloon” fabric. Since this was my very first project I didn’t really want to spend a lot of money on fabric so I started with their alternate choice, a 14 count Aida in white. I will be honest and say that the pictures of other stitchers using the crystal fabrics are beautiful and I wish I had been a bit more brave. The Aida fabric does look very clean and crisp though. Make sure you follow the directions on the pattern you use because you’ll need to make sure you have enough fabric. I found my Aida fabric at Michael’s locally or you can buy it online at Amazon.
Floss – This is the same type of embroidery floss that I used as a kid to create friendship bracelets. Just like with the fabric, there are different brands and qualities of floss. The brands recommended for this project were DMC , COSMO, and a hand dyed Weeks Dye Works. The project specifies exactly which colors you’ll need and how many skeins of floss. I started with the DMC since I’m a beginner but the Weeks Dye Works looks so bright and vivid! The DMC is really reasonable and you can find it at Michael’s or on Amazon. You’ll have to go to a specialty store for the Weeks Dye Works or order it online.
Tapestry Needles – The size needed for this project was a Size 26 tapestry needle. It was pretty easy to find at Michael’s or Amazon. Not much to know here aside from the size of needle that is recommended. Get a few…I’ve already bent 3 of them!
Q-Snap Frame or Embroidery Hoop – This project called for a Q-Snap frame and I had NO CLUE what I was looking for. It’s actually a pretty neat plastic frame that holds your fabric tight while you’re working on a project. Very similar to the old fashioned embroidery hoops but better for large projects like the one I’m working on. Available at Michael’s, Amazon or your local craft store. They come in different sizes depending on the overall size of your project and you can reuse them on the next project.
That’s really all you need to get started but there are a few optional items that I’m really fond of.
Floss Organizers and Bobbins – You’ll want to organize your floss so it doesn’t get all tangled up and so you don’t forget the color numbers. The bobbins are available in cardboard, plastic or in fancy wooden ones on Etsy. You’ll want one for each color and don’t forget to write the color number down before you toss the wrapper. You can organize your bobbins on a metal ring (see picture) or in a floss organizer storage box. I love the way they look on the rings but the storage box is much more practical. I think I’m going to save up and order a pretty floss organizer from Etsy for smaller pieces of floss that are cut from the skein. The basic ones are available at Michael’s, Amazon or your local craft store.
Needle Threader – I SERIOUSLY need to get me a needle threader! My poor eyes just can’t see to get the floss threaded through the needle. Sometimes it goes right in the hole, while other times takes forever to thread!
Needle Minder – I had no clue what this was when I got started. A dear sweet friend, Polly from Sew Fatty blog, custom made the one in the picture above for me. It is decorative but is backed with 2 magnets that attach to the fabric and give you a place to rest your needle so you don’t lose it (I sure hope no one sits on my sofa and finds the missing needle). You can get really ornate ones or make one yourself, I even found some cute needle minders on Amazon.
Thread Heaven – I think I need to get some of this too! Thread heaven is a conditioner that helps keep your floss from fraying. It will also help your floss slide easily through the fabric and needle.
Small Embroidery Scissors – I’ve been using my big bulky scissors for this project and I wish I had invested in a smaller pair of embroidery scissors. They are just easier to use when working with small pieces of floss.
Storage Bag – I have kids and pets and don’t really want my supplies to disappear! I have been using my small Thirsties wet bag (for cloth diapering) to store my floss box, scissors and pattern. It’s actually worked out really well and keeps all of my stuff in one neat and organized place. I can even take it with me if I want to stitch on the go!
I know the list makes it look like there are a lot of supplies to purchase but I only spent around $30 for everything (you’ll spend more if you go with the fancy fabric and hand dyed floss). I’ve completed both the January and February patterns and would recommend this to anyone who is slightly crafty. It’s really not as intimidating as you may think. What are your favorite supplies? Did I miss anything?
In my next Cross Stitch 101 post I’ll explain some of the basic techniques to get started on a project. Did you know that you had to ply your floss? I’ll even teach you how to stitch your first stitch!
If you are looking for a gift for a cross stitcher, check out my post on Tampa Bay Moms Blog on Valentine’s Gifts for the Cross Stitcher.
Looking for cloth diapering resources and tips? Visit my cloth diapering archives, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and on Pinterest.
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