Rita Turkowski

Silicon Valley based cross-sticher

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Learn Cross-Stitch Fast & Easy

Outline for teaching "Learn Cross-Stitch Fast & Easy"

1. Introduction

This class is an introduction on how to get started cross-stitching. I will explain the hobby a little bit, but give no historical details. I will first give an overview of what I will be teaching, a supply list including a simple beehive pattern from freecrossstitch.com and the sort of materials one needs to buy to get started. After that, I will give demonstrations of how to start cross-stitching two different ways, and the best way to finish off a length of thread.

Then I will cover all the steps necessary to make the project and how to block it & finish/frame it.

At little about me: Originally, I took to it because I can't draw or paint to save my life, but I wanted to do something artistically and visually interesting, plus I found the tactile 3D-ish look of cross-stitch really cool! I find cross-stitching both soothing and challenging enough to keep my attention, and once I get into the swing of things, I now find it deeply relaxing, especially after a long day!

Just for inspiration, I'd also like to share with you some cool finished projects, such as this framed dragon, this Coca-cola bear in a trivet, and this pillow I made to match my bedspread.

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Even my new iPhone case has been stitched!:

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2. Here are the Supplies you'll need:

To make the hanging beehive shown above in the Skillshare class image, you will need to download the pattern at Daily Cross Stitch: http://dailycrossstitch.com/product/free-hanging-beehive-cross-stitch-pattern/ and pay $2.99. I am not in any way affiliated with this site, but they do have tons of easy to start patterns, and if you register at http://dailycrossstitch.com/preregistration/ you will receive via email one free pattern a day. Almost all of their patterns are beginner-friendly. Any uncomplicated pattern however will do, and be sure to post your project progress (what I call a WIP - work-in-progress) to the Gallery.

Then, once you've chosen your pattern, choose a simple 14 count aida, or 11 count for beginners, a size 24 needle, which works for either 11 or 14 count aida, the DMC thread/floss colors specified by your pattern, a simple wooden hoop, and the embroidery scissors of your choice. And of course, the pattern.

Regarding each...

Aida cloth (show Aida image), or similar evenweave: 11 (very easy and for beginners) to 14 ct per inch cloth, both generally called "Aida", but after you have some experience, I also recommend stitching on linen or burlap.

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After you buy your Aida, you may want to wash it with like colors and dry it the way you normally would to soften it up a bit, making it easier to work with. I usually buy my Aida in a tube so I don't have to worry about washing and ironing out the folded wrinkles. I always have to iron my Aida with lots of steam to get any final wrinkles smoothed after machine washing and drying.

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If you are looking for a very soft evenweave Aida-like cloth, pick up a cross-stitch bread cloth

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at your local hobby like this one above at your local hobby shop (Michaels and Joann's usually carry these), as 14 count evenweave bread cover is very soft and easy to work with straight out of the packaging.

DMC thread - easiest to find in USA, Canada and most part of Europe, often called floss in the USA and Canada, called "stranded cotton" in the U.K. and Europe. See/show image of DMC floss:

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Needles, size 24 for 14 count, size 22 for 11 count, generally. I use 24 and even smaller, 26 (for 16 count and higher).

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 Small embroidery scissors, Gingher and many other brands, range in price from like $10 to $40.

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I particularly love the look and feel of my inexpensive stork scissors here.

Embroidery Hoop (wood is easiest to work with, but plastic is fine too). Any size from 6" diameter on up works great.

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3. Setting up:

First make sure you have good lighting. I would recommend a good light source as close as possible to bright sunlight. Threading needle: Use 2 strands of floss for most projects, 3 is okay if you are starting on 11ct.

You have two choices of threading styles, either use two strands, generally no more than about 18 inches long. Other style (which I prefer) that works great for small areas of color is to take one long strand, about 24 inches, and fold that strand in half, leaving a loop at the bottom. Take the two open ends and thread that thru your needle. If you have trouble threading your needle with the 2 or 3 strands of floss needed, I highly recommend investing a few dollars into a needle threader (see image), which you can buy at any big hobby store like Michaels, JoAnns, Beverly's, Hobby Lobby, etc.

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Then find your center of the fabric by folding your fabric in half twice, pull needle up from behind with needle pre-threaded with color floss of center stitches to the front side or the top side (generally the top side or front side is the side you will display when finished).

Unfold the fabric and place it in your hoop now, then pull the needle up thru the fabric at the bottom right of you stitch (as shown); when you push the needle down thru the fabric, pull the needle thru the loop, securing your first stitch! This is literally the hardest thing in cross-stitch! When you reach the end of your thread (before your last bit of thread falls out of the needle for being too short!), weave the thread thru a few stitches on the back side, as shown.

4. Stitching tips. Now that you have your first stitch taken, decide which style of stitching you prefer. Generally stick to the flow of stitching from bottom right to upper left, than come up thru the bottom left and sink your needle into the upper right to finish one complete cross-stitch. But if another direction feels more comfortable, go with that, but be consistent throughout your project as floss tends to have a directional sheen to it. Tip: if you see a row of stitches all the same color, you may want to go across that row all in one direction (say left to right), then come back across that row (right to left, finishing the stitches as you go).  This saves time, covers fabric quickly and helps you move to another area of your pattern where that color is used again. When moving the thread to another region, it's generally not recommeded to skip more than about 5-6 stitch boxes (I sometimes call these cells) as they might show thru to the front. But, I've cheated plenty with light floss colors, with no visible distraction on the front side.

5. Outlining your piece. Many patterns, but not all, use backstitches (or straight stitches) to add necessary details to a pattern. For instance, many cute animal cross stitch designs use a fair amount of backstitching to define body parts such as paws, the mouth, the eyes, ears, etc. Same for floral pieces, outlining houses, etc. This said, a fun watercolor-y look that is popular right now, had no backstitching or very little, which helps the piece work up faster.

6. Finishing and framing. When you are all done, you may want to lightly wash your piece to remove any wrinkles. I recommend ironing your piece on the hottest setting while your piece is still slightly damp, but cover it first with a lightweight cotton cloth. I often use an old worn hankie for this part. You may wish to keep the piece you just finished in the hoop you used or put it in a frame, a coaster, a trivet, sew into a holiday ornament, put it into a box top, a tray, etc. Finishing options are as limited as your imagination!  I recommend using glass only if the piece will be in the bathroom or kitchen, fyi.

 Some finishing ideas...  I like to paint my wooden hoops, or even nicer, wrap Washi tape around them. If your piece is very special, you may want to put it in a store-bought frame, or get it professionally framed, which I confess, I do quite often. Some folks recommend not putting glass over your piece, but I only omit glass when displaying in a hoop, or if I've used beads, which is rare.

Please show us your finished project in the project gallery!

Link to my original outline: 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ls9TczgajcmkyggaTJ_Guze2MXMJiDtpuaXQKcMpt4A/edit?usp=sharing

Link to my first video, a screencast describing which supplies you will need to create your first project: https://vimeo.com/171436545

Link to  my closing screencast video, an inspiration tour of different ways I've implemented cross-stitch: https://vimeo.com/171643411

 

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