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How To Choose Your First Cross Stitch Supplies


Essential Cross Stitch Scissors

Essential Scissors

Photo: © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Many beginning stitchers choose kits, but as stitching skills improve, may decide to try small Cross Stitch pattern. With a kit, a beginner only needs scissors and, maybe, a hoop. For a Cross Stitch pattern, supplies like Aida fabric, floss, and needles must be purchased. Choosing these supplies does not have to be complicated.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Varies

Here's How:

  1. When choosing basic cross stitch fabric, stick with light colored 11-count or 14-count Aida fabric.
    Since you are still developing your Cross Stitch skills, stay away from dark colors – many experienced stitchers have difficulty with them. Choose rolled Aida fabric instead of fabric that is folded flat which may have developed difficult-to-remove creases. See How to care for Aida fabric for more information about Aida fabric.
  2. Choose floss based on the quality, how much you need, and availability.
    Floss packets are a good first choice because they contain a selection of commonly used colors. If you choose to start building your floss collection by purchasing individual skeins of floss, stick to one brand. Conversion charts are available, but mixing subtle shades from different brands of floss may not produce the best results.
  3. A pack of needles is necessary.
    Obviously, you can't stitch without a needle. There are so many different types of needles - needles with special coatings, twin-tipped needles, easy-thread needles.... When you begin stitching, use a size 24 tapestry needle for 11-count Aida fabric and a size 26 needle for 14-count Aida fabric. As you become an accomplished stitcher, you can try out the many different types of needles. See How to Choose a Tapestry Needle for more information.
  4. Two pairs of scissors are essential.
    The first pair is dedicated to cutting fabric. Hide them from the rest of the family! Check the quilting section of your local craft store. You can get a good pair for less than $20. The second pair is a smaller pair for cutting floss. These scissors should be sharp enough to cut the floss without fraying it. Dollar stores are a great source of inexpensive, sharp scissors.
  5. Start out with a small wooden or plastic hoop, for your first projects.
    Be sure to keep it clean. When you start stitching larger designs, make the transition to a larger hoop or one of the frames. A wide variety of wooden or plastic hoops and needlepoint-style frames are available. Some stitchers even use lap-quilting snap frames. Some stitchers do not use a hoop at all when stitching on medium count fabrics.


  1. Shop around for the best price for Cross Stitch Supplies. Watch for sales and clearance specials.

  2. Choose the best quality product you can afford, especially fabric and floss.
  3. Need help? Get it in the About.com Cross Stitch Forum. Become a part of a world-wide stitching community.
  4. Stay up-to-date with when new tutorials, articles, and patterns are added to About.com Cross Stitch. Sign up for the free newsletter today.

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