A Beginner’s Guide to Cross Stitch

With the popularity of social media, a lot of non-stitchers have seen these reviews in their feeds and ask “How do I start this?”

I must thank Julie Dollery for the suggestion of writing this as a weekend spotlight, and it is dedicated to all the non-stitchers who have approached their friends and asked “How hard would this be for me to learn?”

If you want to learn cross stitch but don’t have any friends nearby that can show you … YouTube is your friend!

Yes I could write a long and involved article, but this is a case where a moving picture is worth more than 1000 words.  YouTube excels at showing how-to videos.

I love this video from Kate for Bothy threads because she lists and explains all the tools you may need, how to choose your materials as well as how to create an x.

This small video from Yarn Tree explains how to follow a cross stitch chart.

Then there are hints and tips that can make life easier for you, such as the loop start shown here by G. Romilly Mueller:


The more you learn about cross stitch the more you learn what suits YOU.

Do you prefer to stitch in hand, or use a hoop or a qsnap or a frame? This is something that YOU need to try to see which suits you.  If there is a local group near you, see if you can borrow a frame or hoop from another member for an hour or so to try.

Do you prefer to stitch on Aida or linen or lugana or jazlyn?  It is a good idea to buy small pieces of each type of fabric and see which ones feel nice to you; feels right for your project. There is no one right fabric for all people for all occasions.  Especially if you are stitching larger projects, use the fabric that you like the most.

Where can I buy the stuff needed?

Most of the tools and materials can be bought from your local needlework stores, online needlework stores and even big box stores. Here in Australia, Spotlight and Lincraft sell DMC threads, Aida fabric, tapestry needles and small embroidery scissors.

If you want to try some of the more interesting fabrics and floss, or tools, try looking in your local yellow pages for needlework stores in your area or contact any of the stores listed in the chart reviews.  I have personally bought from these stores and highly recommend their service and efficiency.

Further Suggestions

My usual rule to new stitchers is

thread goes through needle; needle goes through the fabric; the rest is optional.

Yes even having all the top stitches going the same way is optional.  There may be good reasons why you choose not to do this on a particular pattern.

So experienced stitchers, what hints or tips do you have for new stitchers?