I’ve recently taken up cross stitching! In other words, I’m becoming more and more similar to my 91 year-old neighbour. I started cross stitching when I thought of the perfect birthday gift for my friend and fellow Orange is the New Black fan, Sarah: a cross stitch of Crazy Eyes’ poem to Piper from season one. I searched Etsy for an already-completed one, or at least a nice print of the poem, but all I could find was a cross stitch pattern. I figured it would be fun to give embroidery a try, so I downloaded the print and went off to the craft shop to purchase supplies. Although making the cross stitch turned out to be a much larger time commitment than I had imagined, I really enjoyed making it and it ended up being a unique and funny gift for Sarah’s 23rd. I enjoyed cross stitching so much that I’ve continued doing it, and tried out a few other patterns, both downloaded online and as part of complete cross stitch sets. One thing I have found to be a challenge though, is finding good online resources on embroidery. I’ve found some blogs that cover it, but they all feature either very basic text-based patterns or have the design of a 1999 website. Because of this, I decided to write a post on my five favourite online resources for new cross stitchers like me! I hope you’ll find it interesting – please leave a comment if you’ve got any other websites to recommend!
This page explains how to start cross stitching, and has handy illustrated tutorials explaining how to secure your embroidery thread and do a basic cross stitch. The instructions are written out very clearly and coherently – I found DMC’s instructions the most helpful out of all the ones I found online when I first got started. The guide also explains how to read and follow a cross stitch pattern, which is certainly very helpful when you first start out with a pattern and find it confusing to read!
The first cross stitch pattern I did (the Before I Met You… poem) was from Erinisexciting’s Etsy shop. Her pattern was very easy to follow and was perfect for a first-time cross stitcher like me. Her shop has a great selection of patterns for beginners, some of which only require one colour of yarn, which means you won’t have wasted too much money if you discover cross stitching isn’t for you or you lose patience [cross stitching is very time-consuming!].
Creating your own pattern is probably for slightly more advanced cross stitchers, but you may want to create something that you can’t find a pattern for even so! For example, I wanted to make a cross stitch just like Jack Donaghy’s quote pillow on 30 Rock but I wasn’t able to find a pattern for it online. I tried making a pattern in Excel but I found it very tricky, and I found Meredith’s guide very useful, especially because she shows how to make a pattern on Excel for Mac users!
This probably isn’t too much of a revelation, but Amazon is a great resource for finding embroidery materials. There’s only one craft shop where I live, and obviously it’s pretty annoying when they’re sold out of the colour of yarn that you need! Also, supplies are a lot cheaper on Amazon, and you can get good deals if you get really into cross stitching and decide to buy in bulk. They also have a wider selection than they do in craft stores.
Because I acknowledge the effort that goes into creating a cross-stitch pattern, I’ve paid for all the cross stitch patterns that I have used. However, DMC does have quite a few free cross stitch patterns on their website and they’re a great option as you can try out many different patterns and techniques without spending too much money. Some of DMC’s designs are a little granny-like though, so you may find that they don’t suit your taste.