By TJ Johansen
Cross stitch is a form of embroidery that’s been around for thousands of years. It involves making hundreds of tiny cross shape stitches – hence the name cross stitch – on special fabric. Once completed, these thousands of tiny stitches, form a picture or symbol.
Cross stitch can be used to make or improve on delightful wall pictures, beautiful hand embroidered clothes, dishcloths, household linens, doilies and more. These days, it’s more often used to create decorative wall hangings.
Although many people who’ve just touched on the art of cross stitch will only know of one stitch, there’s actually several other stitches that can be used. They include the Celtic, Italian, Ukrainian, long-armed, Irish and Montenegrin cross stitches. The basic pattern though will be enough for most people to achieve the design that they’re looking for so there’s really no need to learn about the rest.
The great thing about cross stitch is not very hard to do so it’s something that almost anyone can do – young and old.
So how can you get started with it? Go down to your local craft or fabric store and ask if they have any cross stitch patterns. Just start with a small one initially – you don’t want to take a couple of weeks to finish your first project. All good cross stitch patterns have complete instructions on the back on how to complete it. While you’re there, make sure you get all the thread, needles and cloth that you’ll need.
When you get started, make sure you find the middle of the fabric first and allow at least three inches on each side for framing.
People will often try to tell you that you have to start in the middle, but this isn’t actually the case. While it is important that you take the time to locate the centre of the fabric before hand to avoid running out of room for your design, you don’t have to start sewing there. You can start at the bottom, top, right or left, it’s completely up to you.
An easy way to find the middle of the cloth, is to double it over one way, then double it over the other way. The place where the two creases that you’ve created in the fabric cross over will be the middle. It’s also a good idea to place a small pen mark in the centre so if it takes a few weeks to complete it, you still know where the centre is.
Once you’ve finished it, you might be wondering what to do with your piece of art. The obvious option that most people choose is to just frame them and hang them on the wall, but what if your walls are already covered in cross stitch hangings or you just want to do something different with this lot.
Don’t worry, there are heaps of different things you can still do with them. You could:
Turn them into napkins.
Join some together to make a lamp shade.
Put some on the coffee table as decorations.
Make place mats for the dining table.
Sew them in half and turn them into little purses or bags.
The possibilities are endless with what you can do with them, it’s all up to your imagination. So go away and brainstorm a list of ideas for your latest pieces of work – I’m sure you’ll come up with many more.
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