Cross Stitching 101: The start of a new creative journey

Last month I had two different cross stitch related posts (Cross Stitched card, and finishing the fox you see here in this post), and today I want to talk to you about my newest crafty hobby, how I got started, and some tips for you when branching out with new creative endeavors!

I have an embroidery capable sewing machine now and I will be exploring that slowly, but now that I have no major vacation to plan (Europe planning became a hobby!) I wanted to add a new creative outlet for my “evening wind down”. I stumbled onto cross stitch because I had purchased my daughter Rebecca an adorable Pusheen kit (STRONGLY recommend, FYI. You can find it on Amazon) and I was helping her get started on the first little image, showing her how you do it.

You know how new hobby goes, you want to jump in and BUY ALL THE THINGS. 

Stop. Pause. Don’t!!

Instead, I went around and gathered all the thread I have all over here and there from all my various crafty projects of past. I had some variegated orange from a Thanksgiving button project of years past, some greens from stitching on scrapbook pages – the list goes on and on. I got some additional plastic holders to keep things organized and slowly but surely found, wound, and sorted my threads into a box.

Then I headed to JoAnn Fabric (aka my local craft store for such things) and looked around and purchased 3 magazines. I should have just purchased one, I know! But I wanted them all. These came with some free small projects – projects which I took on to learn but also test what I did and did not like. After a few hours, I decided to set to work on one of the magazine’s patterns: a pair of foxes.

I decided to work on a circle hoop because that’s what I had here already. I also worked with thread colors I had vs what they suggested. Now I messed this project up plenty! There are imperfections and missed squares and all kinds of – know what?

Handcrafted does not = perfect. It equals made with love

I actually prefer my colors and I love learning and being a total rookie at something new. It stretches my brain and creativity, and inspires me!

The foxes took me about 2 weeks, maybe 3. Not too bad when you consider it’s my an hour here, half an hour there wind down kind of project usually done while watching Netflix. I’ve gotta say – I do prefer my version and colors!

What you should know getting into a new craft:

  1. Pick one specific project, and don’t purchase anything unless you absolutely must.
  2. See that project through – and make sure you don’t pick one so big you’ll just give up!
  3. Double and triple think purchases. Often we can get by with what we have and learn more and be glad we didn’t go crazy at the start!
  4. Ask the experts! Look for blog posts, ask friends, watch videos, and learn. Sometimes what we learn is what we do NOT want to do!
  5. Be OK being a beginner!

I have so much to learn – and my goal is to get into and even mix/match with hand embroidery and machine embroidery too! While my head is looking to these amazing advanced projects, I know that starting simple, learning basics, and getting there slowly is the way to go. I have learned that a lot of my personal outlooks (go ahead use what you have, make substitutions, etc) apply here – and I love it!

What I’ve learned so far about Cross Stitching:

  1. I like 14 count Aida (the special fabric great for this craft) better than 16. Currently working on 16 and its SO TINY that I am rethinking it…
  2. Be slow, neat, and never rush. Rushing makes a mess. Mess means undoing work. Means wasted time!
  3. YES! You can absolutely alter patterns and use whatever colors you want.
  4. Small is good to start with.
  5. Etsy has some great sellers of full kits threads to patterns – everything you’d need.
  6. My OTT light has never been so well loved or used! Great light is vital.

Most important? I’m really loving it, and so is my daughter Rebecca! Elizabeth made a comment that it looked like torture – and that’s ok! Each of us has different interests and things that appeal. It’s all about embracing those things we love, and having fun with the learning process!

If you do any embroidery or stitching – I’d love to know your tips, suggestions, etc! My next personal challenge is bringing more of this into my scrapbooking – wish me luck!

2 thoughts on “Cross Stitching 101: The start of a new creative journey”

  1. Love this May – the hardest part for me about starting a new craft is NOT buying it all at once!!

  2. ha haha … wait till you discover stitching over two threads of 40 count (or higher) linen. 🤪 Hand embroidery is a wonderful thing. Enjoy your new hobby.

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