There are lots of different styles of embroidery hoops and frames available. Whether you use one or not is up to you. Beginning stitchers may find it easier to put their fabric in an embroidery hoop.
To use a hoop, first loosen the screw and separate the two rounds. Place the round without the screw flat on a table or work surface. Lay the fabric over the hoop making sure the center of the fabric is in the center of the hoop. Place the other round over the fabric and press it down so the fabric is sandwiched between the two hoops. Gently pull the fabric taut as you tighten the screw on the hoop. Don’t pull the fabric too tight or it will distort the weave of the fabric.
Plastic / fabric canvas – This is another medium on which cross stitching is done.
This is used for doing beautiful cross stitch designs on homedecor and accessories. The canvas used here is an open mesh. Fabric canvas is more finer than the plastic canvas. You may need to apply interfacing to the back of fabric canvas to use it for anything functional.
Cross stitch is typically done using a round-end tapestry needle. The size you use depends on your fabric. If you are stitching a kit, use the needle that came with it. If not, see this article on choosing a needle for cross stitch.
Thread your needle just as you would a needle for hand sewing. Don’t make a knot in the tail end. You will stitch over the tail as you work to secure it without needing a knot. As a general rule, you want to avoid using knots when cross stitching because they can leave lumps in the final piece.
Cross stitch is a fairly flexible embroidery style. There are not a lot of hard and fast rules. It is imperative, however, that all stitches face the same direction unless otherwise specified in the instructions for the project. Choose a direction for the first leg of the cross stitch and stick with it.
Use a sharp pair of small scissors to avoid frayed ends on your floss. There are many embroidery scissors or thread clippers to choose from. The most useful size of embroidery scissor for cross stitch is probably 3/12 inch or 4 inch. It is a convenient size for snipping ends of floss while you stitch. Clip the floss with a small tail or with no tail at all. It’s a matter of choice. Beware of ends showing through the fabric. We have many fancy designer scissors and several more plain scissors to choose from. Some of my favorites are by Gingher and they are truly collectors items. They come in a variety of colorful handles and there are new ones every season. Right now the newest one is called Tessa. Store your scissors in the sheath that they come with or in a scissor block if you collect scissors. A scissor block is similar to a knife block.
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