Cross Stitch Basics: Where To Start With Cross Stitch

If you’re looking for a new hobby to pass time, cross-stitching is perhaps the best one to choose. It is easy to learn, involves affordable materials and you can create beautiful and unique designs.

Cross-stitching has been around for quite a while and goes way back in time. It was usually taught and passed from generation to generation, isn’t that incredible?

Because we want to help you out, in this post you can find everything you need to know about cross-stitching and where to start as a beginner.

What Is Cross-Stitching? All You Need To Know About The Hobby

Cross-stitching is a wonderful hobby for all ages that can be used to pass time, ease stress and even earn some money. If you’re looking for your next favorite activity, cross-stitching is highly recommended.

In essence, cross stitch involves sewing stitches on fabric with special threads that end up forming a beautiful picture. There are different types of stitches you can do and nowadays you can create your own pattern out of a picture you select.

This hobby is wonderful and very easy to learn. You can find cross-stitching kits almost anywhere that comes with all the materials and elements you need to begin your design. You can also learn more about cross-stitching and assemble your own.

Either way, the materials are not expensive and can be found in most craft or online stores.

The hobby is easy but there are plenty of cross-stitch tips you should to make your journey even more pleasant.

In the next parts, we dive deep into the world of cross-stitching and how you can get started with it.

What Are The Cross Stitch Basics?

When learning something new, it is always recommended to break down the basics to avoid being overwhelmed by the amount of information, steps, and more to comprehend.

These are the basic things you need to know about how to cross stitch, and how to thread a needle for cross stitch.

  • Essential materials for cross stitching.
  • Understanding your pattern.
  • How to thread a cross-stitch needle.
  • Different types of cross stitches.
  • Beginning your cross stitch design.

Below, you can find detailed information about each and why they are very important in your cross-stitch adventure.

Essential Materials For Cross Stitching

Before we begin talking about how to cross-stitch, it is important to mention which materials you’re going to need for cross-stitching.


You can’t begin cross-stitching without a pattern. We have a unique free online pattern generator you can use to turn all your favorite images into quality patterns.

We wrote an article about how to easily create your own cross-stitch pattern we highly recommend you check out. In this post, you can learn how to use the generator as well as important considerations to have in mind like how complex you want your pattern to be, the type of thread you’re using, and more.

Embroidery hoop

Also known as the adjustable circle you put in your fabric to stretch it and comfortably stitch. It is a plastic or wooden circle-shaped tool that has a small screw at the top that allows you to open or close it according to what you’re needing.

There are other variations of these materials like a lap stand or a frame, and they all serve the same purpose. Choose whatever you think will be the most comfortable. Embroidery hoops can be easily found online for a very low price as well as in most craft stores.


Unlike common sewing, cross stitching needs a different type of needle that can pass through the fabric but without ripping it. You’ll need blunt-ended needles, which are thicker needles that won’t hurt your fingers if you touch them.

Further, they have a bigger eye or hole for you to pass the thread, making it easier every time you need to switch colors or accidentally lose the thread. You can use regular sewing needles too if you don’t want to buy new ones, but we recommend they are bigger in size.

Cross-stitch needles are very affordable and can be found at craft stores and online stores in just seconds.


The fabric used, commonly referred to as cloth or canvas, is generally Aida cloth, which is specifically designed for cross-stitching. You can also use other types of cloth or linen too but bear in mind that certain factors like the type of thread you choose as well as the amount of pressure you put into each stitch might alter your results.

You should know that Aida cloth is ordered based on the number of stitches per inch you’re going to make. A 14-size cloth is a basic measurement recommended for beginners, meaning that you’ll cross stitch 14 times in one inch of fabric.

The smaller the stitch count, the smaller the stitches will be. Once you’ve grown comfortable with a 14 size, you can switch to 16, 18, and up.

It is very important to align your pattern with the Aida cloth chosen because if you have a 14-size pattern and a 16 cloth, you’ll have a hard time trying to cross stitch accordingly.

Cloths come in various colors so you can choose the best one for your project.

You may choose one fabric over the other due to its texture, easy-to-count squares, price, and other factors. In general, people like to use Aida cloth since it is specifically made for cross-stitching and is affordable.

Another fabric you can use for cross-stitching is evenweave, which is very similar to Aida and only changes the count numbers. Evenweave is often a 25,28 or 32-count and it is stitched over two fabric threads. This means that essentially you’ll be having the same count as Aida. It might affect the size of your final design, which is why it is always great to have this fact in mind.

The last commonly used fabric for cross-stitching is linen. This is a natural fabric and can be hard to use by beginner stitchers due to the unevenness of the squares. Unlike other fabrics like evenweave or Aida, linen does not have super sharp lines.

Apart from this, linen usually requires smaller stitches, due to its high square count. It is great for giving your design texture and a vintage-inspired look.


For thread, you should use a special floss for embroidery. There are many brands on the market that manufacture great embroidery floss but don’t stress about it, anyone you choose will work just fine for your project. If you have doubts, simply ask for a basic floss for beginning cross-stitching.

How To Choose The Best Fabric For Your Project

After learning there are several types of fabrics for cross-stitching, it is important to talk about how to choose the best one for your project.

In essence, it all depends on your preference. We came up with useful questions you can ask yourself to determine which fabric to get:

  • Am I going to start a simple project? If yes, Aida or evenweave are great for you. If you’re looking for a real challenge, go for linen.
  • How many stitches am I planning to make per inch? For people who don’t mind spending hours cross-stitching and paying attention to detail, a higher count is preferred. You can opt for Aida, evenweave, or linen (this last one will require super detailed stitches).
  • What’s my budget? All three fabrics can be usually found in most craft stores, but linen tends to be a little more expensive than the other two.

How To Thread A Cross-Stitch Needle

You have your materials, what’s next? In this part, we’ll show you the best way to thread a needle for cross stitch too.

There are various easy ways to do it, and if you’re looking for how to thread a needle for cross stitch here’s the best way.

Simply lick the end of the floss and pass it through the needle steadily, once a small portion of the floss has come to the other side, carefully grab it with your fingers and finish pulling.

Other techniques include “folding” your floss or grabbing two sides (not the ends) and making them flat to pass through the needle. This is great if you struggle with keeping your floss’ indeed threads together.

You can also use a needle insertion tool.

Different Types of Cross Stitches

The essential part of cross stitching is stitching, and in this part, we break down the most common types and how to easily do them.

Before you begin, here’s the basic routine for preparing your materials for cross-stitching.

  1. Grab your cloth, needle, floss, and embroidery hoop.
  2. Place your embroidery hoop in the section you want to begin cross-stitching.
  3. Thread your needle.
  4. Begin cross-stitching. There are many different cross stitches you can learn, check them out below.

As the name gives away, cross stitch is all about stitching in an X shape, there are two types of cross stitch: counted and stamped.

There are a lot of cross stitch techniques and cross types, so we decided to create a Different Cross-Stitch Techniques and Types article to describe them in more details.

Beginning Your Cross-Stitch Design

It might seem scary to begin your cross-stitch design, and you perhaps feel scared of “ruining” your cloth or “wasting” your floss. But don’t worry, each stitch you make is a great opportunity to practice and make your cross stitch better.

For beginners, it is recommended that you choose a simple design that does not have many details or a complicated color palette, also it’s good to start with something small. Great options include flowers, small animals, or insects as well as still objects like a vase with flowers or fruits.

If you have a favorite picture you want to turn into a pattern, we have a free online pattern generator you can easily use. Take a look at this article to learn how to create your own cross-stitch pattern in seconds.

Pro Tips for Cross-Stitch Beginners to Set You Up for Success

After learning everything you need to begin cross stitching, including the materials used and the basic cross stitches, it is time to talk about excellent cross stitch tips for beginners.

Be mindful of the needle tension

You might believe that keeping your needle tightly in place will produce a tidy and secure cross-stitch design, but doing so can have the exact opposite effect. When returning to the top of your stitch to take care of the Aida underneath, gently draw your thread. Additionally, this will improve and soften the look of your design.

This is one of the best cross-stitch tips to have in mind when beginning your design. Also, tightening your thread can also result in damaging your cloth, which is why you’d want to be very careful with the pressure.

Remove the hoop from time to time

When you first begin stitching, it is recommended that you use an embroidery hoop, and since projects can take a lot of time, the hoop can leave a mark on the cloth.

This is why it is advisable that you remove the hoop from time to time if you don’t like the mark it leaves. But, if you plan on stitching only where your hoop is throughout the project (without moving it), feel free to keep it in place.

Stitch while daylight

This is related to using natural light when cross-stitching, which can aid in greater pattern visibility and provide your eyes with a break. Artificial illumination might sometimes strain your eyes while you're cross-stitching at night, leaving you exhausted and, in most cases, with headaches.

Stitching during the day is great for keeping your project sharp and neat, as well as keeping you away from a tedious headache.

The other option is finding daylight lamps used in video industry.

Carefully iron your project

It is advised that you iron your work to smooth out the thread height after cross-stitching the entire design. To correctly accomplish this, place your Aida right side down on your ironing board on top of a towel. By ironing the back, you can prevent your stitches from becoming completely flat.

It is one of the best cross-stitch tips of all time that sometimes gets unnoticed. If you’re planning on gifting your cross stitch project or want to display it in your home, carefully ironing it will help you achieve a professional look.

Where To Start With Cross Stitch Final Words

In this article, we talked about the cross stitch basics and where to start with cross stitch for beginners.

We included everything you need to know about starting this new hobby, including materials and where to find them, how to thread a needle for cross stitch, how to cross stitch as well as excellent cross stitch tips.

If you’re looking to create your own pattern, take a look at our free online pattern generator. We hope you find this article useful and highly encourage you to check out the rest of our blog and resources.

Happy cross-stitching!

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