Learn How to Cross Stitch - Equipment You Need

Equipment for Cross stitch is very simple and not very costly to start. Here are a few basic items that you will need to get yourself on the way.

Basic Equipment - Cross Stitch Needles - Frames and Hoops - Threads

Basic Equipment

The equipment needed for cross stitch is very simple. You need some cross stitch fabric, a selection of embroidery thread , some tapestry needles, a hoop and a nice little sharp pair of scissors.

This is the basic equipment you will need. Many veteran cross stitches have several other pieces of equipment we will talk about but are not necessary for the beginner.

A good light that swings over your work, bobbin winders, fancy bobbin holders or boxes, extensive collection of patterns, tape measures, cross stitchers ruler, fancy needle holders and hundreds of more items and tools made exclusively for the cross stitcher are available but not necessary when you are first beginning.

My suggestion is to start simple, do a few projects and see if you like the hobby, if you do then you can upgrade your equipment at that time. I started out with 3 little baggies full of embroidery thread , a hoop, one pattern and a pair of old scissors, the equipment I have now ...well let's just say you can upgrade as you go along.

Cross Stitch Needles

Let's have a look at the tapestry needle we will use for cross stitch. It has a blunt end and a large eye. It comes in many different sizes and is made out of different materials, even gold plated as the one in the picture. Many people (including myself) are allergic to metal and find that the gold needles eliminates the itching from metal needles.

When working counted cross stitch you will need to use a blunt tapestry needle. The size you need depends on the type of material you are working with. A blunt needle is an absolute necessity when cross stitching, you want to part the threads of your material, not pierce, You want to avoid splitting the fibres as you stitch.

Them most commonly used tapestry needle for cross stitch are sizes 24 and 26, although needles are available is sizes 13 to 28.

When using the higher number such as 26 and 29 the eye of the needle becomes a little smaller and more delicate and as you are pulling the thread through many times the needle eye will weaken more easily and break.

Try this handy cross stitch calculator, if you type in your material size , floss you are using it will offer you a suggestion to what size needle you should be using.

Cross Stitch Calculator

If you are not sure what size needle to use, try a test on the fabric you are using for your project, the needle should pass through the fabric hole and not enlarge the hole but it should not just drop through the hole either.

Never leave your needle in your work when you are finished for the day. This may leave a mark in your fabric. The exception if you use gold-plated needles it is safe to leave them in your work but still not a good idea. Get in the habit of protecting your project to avoid disappointment.

If you lose your needle, and you will. Have a little magnet in your sewing box to find it, this method works much better than finding it when you sit or step on it.

When your pattern calls for beading, a specially designed blunt cross stitch beading needle has been developed, check your suppliers

.Store your needles in a needle case, or a plastic film canister works well too.

Frames and Hoops

Frames and hoops are not needed for cross stitch and many people prefer to work without one. I work with a hoop just because I find that it is easier to keep your work even and it makes for easier slipping of the needle in and out of the holes if the fabric is taunt. It is a personal preference, work with or without the hoop depending on what feels most comfortable for you.

If you choose to work with a hoop or frame, please choose one that covers your design area and you don't have to keep moving it. To put a hoop on finished work is not a good idea at all.

Remove your hoop when you are done for the day. Do not leave the hoop on your work. This forms marks that are not easily removed.

If you are using a metal hoop like the ones pictured above, make sure you thoroughly clean and dry the hoop before each project , to assure that the hoop will not leave dirty marks on your fabric.

There are many different types of hoops and frames available for cross stitchers. The hand held hoop is what it is the picture and what I prefer to use. It is light and easy to carry with you. These come in wooden or plastic and plastic outer ring and metal inner ring as you see above.

There are standing hoop that have a base, fanny hoops, stretcher frames, scroll frames, Hoops with clamps that will clamp onto a table. Pick a hook that is comfortable for you to use. Start with a little hand held hoop or a scroll frame and you can move up to more elaborate methods later if you desire.

How to Use An Embroidery Hoop Tutorial


The most commonly used thread for counted embroidery is stranded cotton floss but you will see a wide variety of cotton and silk embroidery threads, flower threads, metallic threads and many more. Your pattern will usually dictate to you what thread you need to use.

Cross stitch is generally worked using two strands of stranded cotton when working on Aida cloth.

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