Sorry, but this post is not about porn-sites (XXX) or about counting the number of significant others you’ve had over your entire life. As exciting as the title is, this post is as wholesome as can be – it’s all about a very relaxing and fulfilling hobby that’s been around for many years – this post is all about counted cross-stitch.
Background of Cross-Stitch
Cross-stitch is one of the oldest forms of counted-thread embroidery in history. Folk museums in most European and Asian countries would have at least one display of an article of clothing that has been decorated with a simple cross-stitch design. Cross stitch samplers, a piece of fabric with letters of the alphabet or numbers usually stitched by a young girl who is just learning to sew, can also be found in museums. The earliest known cross-stitch sampler was created by Loara Standish (daughter of Myles Standish) in about 1653. This sampler is presently on display at the Pilgrim Hall in Plymouth Massachusetts.
Why Cross Stitch
Cross-stitch was first used to embellish household linens such as tablecloths, dishcloths, table napkins and, to some extent, doilies. Though this is still applied today, modern cross stitch patterns have become increasingly more intricate and visually appealing. It is not uncommon to find large cross-stitched projects framed and hung on walls as decorations. Smaller cross stitch patterns are often used to make greeting cards, pillow cases, coasters, placemats and trivets, and are given out as inexpensive yet personalised gifts during birthdays, Christmas and other special occasions.
Where to Start
If you want to try your hand at cross-stitching, but don’t know where to start, don’t fret; cross-stitching is very easy to do, just pick a pattern that is simple enough for you to take on and start stitching. Unlike other hobbies, cross-stitch materials (ie: colored embroidery floss, embroidery needle, and evenweave fabric such as Aida or linen, embroidery hoop is optional) are very affordable and are readily available in craft stores.
There are online tutorials on how to start cross-stitching and, if you want to learn the craft in a more interactive and personal manner, you can join hobby groups, craft clubs or cross-stitching guilds (incidentally, guilds are more popular in the United States and Europe than in other countries). You can also ask for help from your local needlework shops – their staff should be able to give you very good advice.
What’s the Time Frame
Depending on the intricacy of the pattern, a cross-stitch project can be completed in as short as a few minutes to as long as a few weeks (or even months). So if you’re planning to give out cross-stitched Christmas gifts, it would be best if you worked on simple patterns, such as the pillow below, instead of overly ornate ones.