Apart from the obvious (pattern, fabric and floss), what else do you need when you are starting out cross stitching? There are loads of tools out there, but how do you know what is essential and what you really need?
Well, my newly stitchy friend, this post is just for you! Find out what you actually need when you are cross stitching and what is just nice to have.
Sit back, grab a cuppa and start readin’
Heads Up! This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Don’t worry, you won’t pay any extra, you’ll just be helping fund my stitching habit.
Essential Cross Stitch Supplies
Embroidery scissors are small, sharp and designed with precision. The ends are long, thin and pointy which allows you to cleanly cut threads in tight areas.
Be prepared to guard these with your life to stop children and partners using them on paper lest they come to an unfortunate end (both scissors and partners/children).
A good pair of embroidery scissors are an essential in your cross stitch kit for tight, accurate and clean cutting. No more long, frayed ends messing up your backside. That’s the dream.
Shop Embroidery Scissors
You gotta have something to stitch on, right? Aida is the ideal starting place. A good rule of thumb is the larger the count (18-22), the smaller the squares, the smaller the count (11, 14), the larger the squares. Smaller count Aida is best to start on as the squares are bigger and therefore easier to work with.
As you gain more confidence, experiment with higher counts and even give linen or evenweave a go.
Aida can come in many colours so have fun with your stitching and go wild!
Now that you have something to stitch on, you need something to stitch with. There are many different types of floss about but the most popular are Anchor or DMC 6 stranded floss.
Once you start buying up patterns on Etsy you will need to start building up a supply of floss. If you are using kits, you shouldn’t have to worry about floss, Aida or needles as they should all come in the kit with the pattern. However, if you are like me, you will have a stockpile of PDF and paper patterns in your stockpile so floss is most definitely needed.
You’ll go through a needle or two as you stitch. They get worn, lost down the couch, lost outside in the grass (true story, not sure how it happened), and vacuumed up.
If you have more than one project on the go, it pays to have separate needles for each project so you can keep everything together.
As Aida fabric has small holes in it, a blunt-tipped needle is ideal as sharper needles can poke through the canvas where you don’t want it to.
While it is possible to stitch in hand, a hoop or frame allows you to stitch much more easily and evenly.
It is personal preference as to hoop, q-snap, scroll frame or floor stand, but these tools will make your stitching life much easier.
A hoop or frame will help keep your fabric taught which creates neater looking stitches. You can get hoops and frames in different sizes ranging from very small for those teeny projects to very large for those rather sizable projects (yes, I’m looking at you pandemic).
Bobbins and Bobbin Box
If you are doing lots of patterns that aren’t kits, bobbins and a bobbin storage box are fantastic for keeping your floss nice, neat and untangled. Which let’s face it, is every stitcher’s dream. There is nothing more frustrating than having to untangle bits of floss when you are on a roll.
Plus, you can arrange your bobbins by colour, project or number, how fun!
Shop bobbins and boxes
Highlighter or Pens
If you are using a paper pattern, it helps to keep track of the stitches you have completed. This will ensure that pesky frog doesn’t come visiting (having to unpick is a right pain in the you know what) and will make stitching much easier as it is one less thing you have to focus on.
Grab some fun colours or even the shopping list pen (just blame it on the kids when your partner rants about not being able to find a damn pen. Again!) and start marking now. You’ll thank me for it later.
A project bag can be anything that keeps all your supplies together. It can be as simple as an old shopping bag you have lying around from when we were allowed to use them to lovely fabric zip bags.
I have a bunch of ziploc bags but be warned, these and scissors don’t always make an ideal match. For more durability I would recommend something a little more robust such as canvas. However, I like that they are clear and I can see exactly which project is which without having to open each one individually (which when you have as many WIP’s as I do can be rather time consuming).
Shop project bags
Not So Essential Cross Stitch Supplies
A cosy blanket
A cosy blanket and your latest project makes for the best night in. Just make sure not to drop your needle in your blanket. Chances are an unsuspecting kid or partner will find it in a few days time unexpectedly.
Cup of tea
Don’t really need to elaborate on this one.
If your eyes are starting to wear out a little then a magnifier will be a lifesaver (or an eyesaver). Don’t worry, you don’t need to stitch with one hand and hold a magnifying glass in another (wouldn’t that put you in a pickle?), you can get hands free ones, which is pretty, well, handy.
Good background telly or music is a must. Not sure how many times I’ve had reruns of Friends on while I’ve been stitching but the fact that I can quote it word for word tells me it is upwards of 10 (or perhaps even double).
Like a cosy blanket, a favourite series rewatched is comforting and familiar as you lose yourself in those stitches. Perfection.
So there ya go, some essential (and not so essential but really should be essential) supplies that you need to get ASAP as you get started on your stitching journey.
If you are a seasoned stitcher, what would you add to the list?