7 More Things I Wish I Knew Before I Stitching Cross Stitching | S3E102

In this episode, I share 7 more things I wish I knew before I started cross stitching. You can listen to the episode below or keep scrolling to read the post.

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

This is an extension of an original episode where I shared 7 things I wish I knew before starting to cross stitch. You can find it here. This original episode is by far my most popular episode. It went semi-viral on Pinterest a few years ago and it may even be how some of you found me.

Today I wanted to share 7 more things I wish I knew. Honestly, I could probably write 100 but I will stick with 7 for now. 

In the original episode most of the things I mention are practical tips to help you with your technique in stitching. These things below are some practical tips but also some mindset shifts I’ve had over the years. 

1. Bobbins are the best way to store floss

I don’t usually say there is the best way or better way to do something, but swapping to storing my floss on bobbins was the best decision for me. 

Not only is it easier to find a colour but they look so pretty all lined up too! I organise mine in number order, but you could also group colours for a rainbow effect. The boxes stack nicely on top of each other too.

2. Large designs aren’t as frustrating as I thought they would be

I shared about this more in the episode on small vs large designs, but I never thought I would stitch a large design. I didn’t think I would have the patience. They seemed too much and I thought I would be bored. I was wrong. 

Personally, as long as I have smaller projects on the go at the same time I can happily keep going with a larger project. 

I also love the way they look hung up, because they take up more of the wall and I enjoy that. 

I don’t regret not starting sooner because those smaller projects helped me learn how to stitch and design. I never could have jumped into designing a large project without first designing all these smaller ones. 

If you have been putting larger projects off for the same reasons as me you might find you would enjoy them more than you thought.

3. Audiobooks are the best companion when stitching

When I first started cross stitching I didn’t listen to audiobooks. It wasn’t until the first lockdown that I started listening to them regularly and I’m now obsessed.

Not only are they a great way to make your way through your to-read list, but they are perfect to listen to when cross stitching. You can do 2 hobbies at the same time! Plus I find it easier to concentrate on a pattern when I’m listening to a book instead of watching TV.


4. I don’t have to display everything

When I first started stitching I tried to display everything I stitched and I felt guilty if I didn’t do something with the design I had just worked so long on.

But, I no longer cross stitch just for the finished piece. I’ve learned to enjoy the process of stitching. So if I don’t display the finished design I don’t feel guilty because I know I enjoyed stitching it and that is the point.

5. Not everything has to go in a hoop

At the start of my cross stitch journey, I designed most of my patterns to be framed in hoops. And that is also how I framed most designs. There are so many other fun ways to finish off projects! 

Over the past 4 or 5 years, I’ve made so much from my cross stitch designs from pillow covers, to lampshades, to clocks! I rarely frame in a hoop anymore (although I still love hoop hangings).

6. The hoop being on inside out makes it easier to tie off your floss

I used to see people all over Instagram with their hoop on back to front but I never understood why they did it. Now that I’ve tried it I love it.

It keeps the front of your design clean.

And it makes tying your floss at the back off so much easier because you don’t have the ridge of the hoop stopping your needle. This is hard to explain but if you try it you will see what I mean. As you can see below, the ridge is at the front so the back is flat making it much easier to slide your needle through your stitches to tie off.

7. Backstitching is not as boring as I thought

I would avoid backstitching so much. I think it’s because one of the first projects that got me back into cross stitch had So. Much. Backstitching. And as a beginner it was annoying. Plus it was outlining which is not my favourite type of backstitch. 

After that experience, I hardly ever chose a project with backstitch or design projects with it.

Over the years though I slowly started to add more to my designs and in 2021 I designed the Wreathmas SAL which had so much backstitching. I realised I didn’t have to use it just for outlining; it can be a part of the pattern.

Now I use backstitching much more than I used to and it appears in lots of my designs. I enjoy doing it because it’s not just outlining, it’s adding something to the design that’s needed. (That’s not to say outlining isn’t needed because I know it is sometimes).

cross stitch christmas wreath

What you wish you knew before you started cross stitching

I asked inside the Cross Stitch Club what you wish you knew before you started cross stitching and these are the answers I got.


“Gridding fabric especially for complex patterns. I learned that from you. I’d never seen that done before. I always just counted which was fine until I got into more detailed patterns.”


“Agree with loop start method and gridding! Also that it’s ok to stop working on a project you don’t love. Oh and needle minders!”


“The sense of achievement when you finish a project. It’s ok to just do a few stitches a day, you don’t need to stitch for hours. It is also portable to take when travelling. Benefits to mental health, did a lot of cross stitch when I had a nervous breakdown and it helped me to relax and have something to focus on.”


“Loop method start is so much better. It’s ok to do one or many projects at a time. Cross Stitch is like reading, everyone does it differently and likes different things. There’s not so much a right and a wrong way but just different ways. Try different ways and do one that works for you. If it stresses you, stop. It should be relaxing! Or change the colours, thread or fabric type. Sometimes the soft evenweave is better to stitch with and sometimes Aida is easier (compared to stitching 2 over 2 on evenweave).”


“Didn’t realise how addictive this hobby was going to become have numerous patterns which never probably get stitched. Also didn’t realise how useful needle minders were going to be and how addictive having a collection would be. Think the main thing is how rewarding Cross Stitch can be for mental health, it’s something I can get lost in with a good audiobook. The amazing community within the Cross Stitch making life long friends.”


“The loop method! I only learned about it in the last year or two.”


“How overwhelming the hobby could become due to the amount of projects I’d have on the go at once, and how many would remain unfinished.”

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