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The Happy Stitcher
Hints and Tips (Beginners)

The Basics


Specialist fabrics for cross-stitch are available in a range of colours and types.  Evenweave fabrics are the most popular choice for cross-stitch.  They have an equal number of horizontal and vertical threads to every inch (2.5cm).  This number is called "the count" - the higher the count, the finer the fabric.  The threads are easy to see so they can be counted to ensure even stitching.

Adia fabrics are a special type of evenweave with threads fused together in blocks of various sizes, or counts.  Each stitch is worked (generally) over one thread block.

Choose a fabric that suits the project you are working on.  Specialist needlecraft shops are the best souce of fabrics and advice.  Then again, post a query in the forum and hopefully someone will be able to help you.



Cross-stitch forms a diagonal cross on the front of the fabric.  Each cross is composed of two diagonal stitches worked one on top of the other in opposite directions.  You can use rows of cross-stitches to form blocks of colour or you can work individual stitches.  For a neat finish, always make sure that you make the top diagonal of each cross slant in the same direction.

Fractional stitches are variations of normal cross-stitch and they are used to create smoother outlines and to add details to designs.  Fractional stitches include half cross-stitches (single diagonal stitches) and three-quarter stitches (which are made up of a full diagonal and a half diagonal).




The favourite thread for cross-stitch is stranded cotton (or embroidery floss).  It has an attractive sheen and comes in a wide range of colours.  Once you are a little more confident with your stitching there are other threads to experiment with.  Glitter and metallic thread, are interesting to work with, as are the high gloss finish of Anchor Marlitt and DMC Rayon threads.

Before you use a new thread type, make sure that it is the right thickness.  Divisible threads can be separated or combined to make thinner or thicker threads.

For a smooth finish to your work, always divide stranded threads into seperate strands before you start stitching (even if you are using two, four or six strands), then recombine the number of strands you need.

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Happy Stitching!