What is cross stitch?

If you’re looking for a new hobby, a new skill to master or a new way to make art, cross stitch could be the perfect answer. Before you start, it’s worthwhile doing your research to make sure you know exactly what you need to start with cross stitch: the tools, the skills, the basic materials – and most importantly, exactly what cross stitch is!

The basics

Cross stitch is a form of embroidery – specifically, counted thread embroidery in which you follow a pattern to sew a picture or design into fabric. It uses needle and thread, and a base fabric, as well as the pattern that tells you where and when to sew.

The tools

When you’re working with cross stitch and other kinds of counted thread embroidery you don’t sew into the fabric itself, puncturing the threads of the weave. You sew between the warp and weft, using the gaps as a grid to make very precise stitches. This means you need a special needle for this very particular kind of sewing. A tapestry needle has a large eye, to make it easier to thread the relatively thick thread used for embroidery. It also has a blunt point, so you can sew more easily between the threads, rather than piercing through them.

There are several different options for thread when you’re picking embroidery materials, from standard two-ply embroidery thread, most often made of wool, to multi-strand embroidery floss which can be made of cotton, silk or linen, among other materials. Most embroidery threads are thicker than other sewing threads, because embroidery is a decorative craft, so they are meant to be on display. In other forms of sewing, the threads are as thin as possible, to remain discreet.

You also need the right fabric to sew onto. Cross stitch, as a form of counted thread embroidery relies on a regular base fabric, where the weave forms a uniform grid so you can follow the instructions in the pattern and produce the intended result. You have different options to choose from, but they are all known as ‘even weave’ – a fabric where the weave is even grid with the same number of threads in warp and weft per square inch.

Fabrics with a high number of threads per inch will produce smaller results, as the weave is finer. Low thread counts produce bigger projects when following the same pattern because the grid is bigger.

What can you make?

There are lots of different options for projects you can make with cross stitch. Most are purely decorative: patterns allow you to make stitched artworks that can serve as decorations for your home, commemorations of personal and public events, or gifts for friends. A cross stitched present is personal and unique, and a handmade gift is a great thing to show how much you value a friend or family member.

If you choose a cross stitch box from MakeBox+Co, you’ll receive everything you need – needles, thread, even weave fabric, and an embroidery to hold it all in place and display afterwards. You also receive clear instructions to guide you through from setting up your fabric to the final, finishing touches.

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