In this episode, I am sharing 10 tools to make cross stitch easier and help you along your cross stitch journey.
Cross stitch is a pretty easy craft all round, but you can make things even easier using these 10 tools!
You can listen to the episode below or keep scrolling to read the blog post instead.
10 Tools to Make Cross Stitch Easier
Some of these tools you may have heard me mention before but some you may not have. But hopefully, there is a little nugget of information in here that will help you either way.
Most of these tools help make everything about cross stitch (apart from the actual stitching) a bit quicker so you have more time to actually stitch.
1 Thread Conditioner/Beeswax
Sometimes I think everyone knows what thread conditioner is but I still have people comment on my videos that they’re so thankful I mentioned this exists, so if you don’t know what it is…
Thread conditioner does exactly what it says and conditions your threads.
I love the brand Thread Magic*. You can also get beeswax which does the same thing but is made a little differently. I recommend this Milward Beeswax*.
Conditioning your thread helps keep it from knotting or tangling or fraying as it’s rubbing against your Aida as you are stitching. Now I don’t condition ALL of my threads, usually just light effects thread. If you’re struggling with metallic/light effects I highly recommend conditioning it and listening to my episodes about it or watching my videos.
But I discovered something when I was updating my How to Cross Stitch Courseback in April and basically I don’t recommend conditioning statin thread. For me, I found it made it more difficult to stitch with and instead of making it more smooth going through the Aida it sort of dragged against it and made the fraying worse.
But generally, thread conditioner is a great tool to have in your stash to make cross stitch easier, especially if you are stitching with light effects thread.
2. A Reading Light
I love a reading light for cross stitch especially if you are stitching on a high count or a darker colour. And it’s perfect for if you’re travelling such as in the car on a winter evening or on an overnight flight. Or just for some cosy stitching like we mentioned in the last episode.
I highly recommend the Omeril Reading Light*; its rechargeable, so light, has 3 different settings and lots of different angles and actually stays where you put it. The clip is quite big too so it will clip onto hoops and frames and I even use it to clip my aida out of the way. I did a video review of this light that you can watch below.
You could also get a head torch if you don’t like the idea of adding extra weight to your design as we are usally holding them.
3. A Magnifying Glass
This is not something I really use yet, but it can come in handy if you print your patterns and need to zoom on on the symbols a little or for zooming in on your actual aida.
If you are interested in the idea of both a magnifying glass and a reading light I actually found some desk lamps with a magnifying glass built into them. Now I don’t have one of these so I can’t pesonally recommnd but they do look pretty good. You can find one here.
4. A Lanyard
Elisa, in the community left this tip on my blog and I LOVE it. It’s to put your scissors on a lanyard around your kneck so you don’t lose them.
I always do this now. Not only does it make it really easy to just pick them up when some thread needs snipping off but it makes it so much easier to find your scissors in your project bag. Plus I feel so professional when I wear mine when I’m working.
No more wasting precious stitching time looking for your scissors! Get a lanyard to make your cross stitch life easier. These are the ones that I have from Amazon*.
5. A Stand for Your Hoop or Frame
A stand to hold your hoop or frame or a frame that already comes on a stand can make cross stitch so much easier, especially on your hands.
I was actually forced to get a lap stand a couple of years ago because of a pain that developed in my hand and it still flares up now.
The lap stand you sort of sit on the bottom of it and the top holds your hoop. They defintely take some practice to get used to but they’re great for holding small projects. For larger ones I think a floor stand would work better though.
I have this Elbessee Lap Stand* and I use this brand a lot so I’m sure their floor ones are good too.
6. A Needle Minder
I stitched without a minder for at least 2 years and I don’t know how! I can’t stitch without one now.
They keep your needle safe and actually allow you a little more stitching time because you can just pop your needle on and off so quickly when you need to re-thread.
And you can just get such pretty designs too! This is a must-have tool to make cross stitch easier for you.
7. A Seam Ripper
A seam ripper is great for frogging, especially if it’s a large area. (If you don’t know what frogging is, it’s basically when you need to unpick your stitches because you “rip it, rip it”. I have a huge glossery of cross stitch terms like this here).
It’s so sad when you have to unpick stitches and it can be annoying especially when it takes longer to unpick than it did to stitch them in the first place. Thais happens to me a lot but a seam ripper definitely helps speed it up so you can get back to stitching quicker.
8. A Bobbin Winder
Something I don’t use myself a lot, because I don’t wrap my threads on bobbins but if you do I highly recommend a bobbin winder to make this process fasster.
Some of you will wrap because you enjoy doing it so you may want to carry on doing it yourself but I know most of you just want nice, organisd threads so this will help make that happen much more quickly.
You can get the Hemline Bobbin Winder here*.
9. Binder Clips
I hate extra fabric hanging down when I’m stitching. Usually I try and use a hoop that matches the size of the fabric to hold it while im stitching but sometimes that’s not always possible.
In those instances I roll the excess aida up at the edges and use binder clips to keep it secure. I find any more than 3 makes the hoop a little heavy to hold but that’s where the lap stand can come in handy again. Or you can use the clip on your reading light for the same thing.
This is just a quick and easy way to get that excess aida/evenweave out of your way.
10. A Planner/Planning System
Keeping track of all the things you want to stitch and what to stitch when and what you need for each design can be overwhelming. So I designed some planning sheets that you can download below. And I have a free tutorial sharing how to make the sheets in to a planning pad you can keep with your stash.
I do also have a full printable planner you can get and I’m considering doing another run of the physical planners this year and would love to know your thoughts on this. If you would like to see the planner back before the end of the year just email me firstname.lastname@example.org. I will only do itif there is enough interest.
I hope this episode helped you and made your cross stitch life a little easier, helped you do some things a little more quickly so you have more time for the actual cross stitch which is what we all want, right?
Links and Resources
- Thread Magic*
- Milward Beeswax*
- Light Effects Tutorial
- How to Cross Stitch Course
- Getting Cosy With Cross Stitch Episode
- OMERIL Reading Light*
- Amazon Lanyards*
- Elbessee Lap Stand*
- 88 Cross Stitch Terms
- Hemline Bobbin Winder*
- Planning Pad Tutorial