The 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Cross Stitching | S2E4

In this episode of The Cross Stitch Podcast, I’m talking about the things I wish I knew before I started cross stitching. Some of them might seem quite obvious but if you are a beginner they may be quite new to you.

You can listen to the episode or scroll down to read the show notes/blog post. And if you’re short on time then scroll to the bottom and pin the image for later!

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Listen to the Episode:

This months comments from you:

Ttrufflemoo via Instagram commented; “I’m an accountant by day and a cross stitcher by night. It’s a great way to unwind. I love using my creative side to make new designs and in the process of opening up an Etsy shop to see if other people like them too!”

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7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Cross Stitching:

1. Don’t pull so hard when making/stitching your “X”

On some of my old projects you can see the pre-made holes on the aida even more prominently because I have pulled my needle so hard when I have been stitching (like the photo below). This is something I did when I was younger, but also when I found stitching again in later life. The trick is to pull it just tight enough so the “X” sits flat on the aida.

tatty-teddy-cross-stitch-close-up

2. That there are different counts of aida, and what this means

Holes per inch is the count, so on 14 count aida there are 14 holes per inch of the aida which means 13 stitches per inch. And on 16 count there are 16 holes and so 15 stitches per inch of the aida. (The most typical count is 14 and is what I worked with when I started designing my own patterns).

Again, this not something I knew when I was younger. When I learned, I just learned for the kit I had; I didn’t need to know what the different counts meant.

But, if you want the same design to fit in a smaller space, you can stitch it on a higher count of aida. For example, one of my first designs was a rainbow in an 8 inch hoop. If I wanted to make this finished piece smaller and therefore cheaper, I could have stitched it on 16 or 18 count aida.

3. To stitch contrasting colours of aida and thread on 16 count or higher aida

For example, I had a Halloween kit that was black aida and glow in the dark thread (which is basically white). When I stitched this hoop, I used 14 count aida and you could see lots of the black aida through the white stitches.

This also happened when I stitched some animals in all black thread on white, 14 count aida. You could see the white aida through the black stitches.

At first, I considered using more than the usual 2 strands of thread to stitch it. But I don’t think stitches look quite as neat when using more than 2 strands, so I didn’t really want to do this.

It took me a while to figure out that if I just stitched it on a higher count aida (16 count was fine) it eliminated this problem. This is because the stitches are more compact and closer together on higher counts so less aida shows through.

4. That you can buy cross stitch pattern software

When I started designing my own patterns, to stitch commissions, I would use graph paper and Microsoft Excel. This worked quite well because it was just for me. My commissions were usually announcements, new baby, weddings etc. so they were just names and dates and I would only really use excel so I could see the colours. I would make all the squares the same size (12px x 12px), then use the fill button to fill the squares with colour.

When I started selling kits this wasn’t ideal any more as it wasn’t professional; the colours weren’t true to the DMC ones and there were no symbols.

I went onto the Etsy forums and found out about PC Stitch (there is also MacStitch too for Mac users) and it was around £36 when I bought it. It has just recently updated so it has the new 35 colours and some variations. 

There are other software’s out there that tend to be more expensive, but PCStitch works great for what I need it to do.

There are so many features that I don’t actually use too such as:

  • Importing photos and changing them into patterns.
  • Make fonts
  • Access a library of patterns
  • Use speciality stitches
  • Blend colours.

5. That thread conditioner exists

I first found out about thread conditioner through Cloud Craft and it makes stitching with light effects thread so much easier. I love light effects and use it in quite a lot of my designs, but it was a bit of a pain to stitch with before I started coating it in conditioner.

I use Thread Magic* now, and you can read more about stitching with Light Effects thread in my blog post How To Cross Stitch With Light Effects Thread.

6. That needle minders were actually a valuable addition to my supplies (and a pretty one too!)

I don’t know how I cross stitched for so long without a needle minder and I don’t stitch without one now.

It’s so useful when you pick up and put down your stitching a lot, which I do as I have 2 kids to run around after. You can buy needle minders in many craft stores, including mine!

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I have a friend, who runs Koru Clay Studio, who makes exclusive, heart shaped needle minders for Hannah Hand Makes. I will also say, that if are a knitter or crocheter you totally need to check Koru Clay Studio out; she makes the most amazing hooks and accessories. I don’t knit or crochet and I still want to buy all the things.

These needle minders are now currently out of stock, but I have new Little Llama ones which are a minder and cross stitch pattern in one!

little-llama-needle-minder

7. You can use a trick to cut your thread into even lengths

Take all the loops at the bottom of your skein and snip them. You should now be able to pull the loops out at the top and they will the perfect length of thread.

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Pattern of the month

This month’s pattern is from Country Magic Stitch on Etsy and is 2 patterns in 1 download; “But First Coffee” and “But First Tea”.

It is a huge, black coffee cup with a bunch of flowers in and it has those 2 quotes on the mug. it uses 29 DMC colours and if stitched on 14 count aida it measures 10 x 10.4 inches. This pattern gives me a Gilmore Girls feeling, and is one I want to stitch myself for the kitchen.

Key Links From the Episode:

Extra Cross Stitch Resources:

Pin For Later!

7-things-i-wish-i-knew-before-i-started-cross-stitching-pinterest-graphic

Music by:

Carefree Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

2 thoughts on “The 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Cross Stitching | S2E4”

  1. Now that you have learned these lessons about cross stitching, try using linen, your projects will look so much nicer and once you get the hang is using linen you will love it.

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