Cross stitch has a long history but is making a resurgence today among crafters of all ages. Everyone from kids on up are trying their hand at cross stitch. One of the biggest benefits to cross stitch is how easy it is to teach kids. They can begin with easy patterns (sometimes designing their own) and work to develop the skills that will help them take on more complicated patterns. Here is what you need to know about teaching kids how to cross stitch-
- Materials to use-For a pattern kids can use graph paper to design their own or they can check out one of the free beginner cross stitch patterns that are available on many sites online.
- Fabric to use-While expert cross stitchers can use any linen for cross stitching for those of us at a less advanced stage, the most common material used is called “Aida cloth”. Aida cloth comes in several different sizes. For example 8 count Aida cloth has 8 cross stitches per inch while 16 count has 16 cross stitches per inch and so on. You should keep in mind that a beginner should use the lowest number Aida cloth they can find (many kids start with using the 6 count Aida cloth). You should also keep in mind that the size of your finished project also depends on the count you use. If the pattern is laid out on a 50×40 grid, a 6 count Aida cloth will give you an 8.3×6.7 inch finished work while an 8 count Aida cloth will result in a 6.25×5 inch piece. In addition you will want to be sure to add two to three inches all around for framing. For younger children (under the age of 8) the plastic canvas needlepoint material is often the best option. When you use this you do not need an embroidery hoop, you can use wool instead of embroidery floss and you will find it much easier to “aim” your needle at the right spot. This plastic canvas can be a terrific starter material for cross stitch for anyone!
- Embroidery Floss-This is the thread that you will use for stitching. It comes with 6 threads that are wrapped together. You will want to cut about an 18 inch piece off and unravel the thread so that you are using 3 threads for your cross stitching or 1 thread for your backstitching (this is a good rule for all beginner projects). If you are using a higher numbered Aida cloth (18 or up) you should use 2 threads for your cross stitching instead of 3.
- Embroidery Hoop-While cross-stitch can allow you to reuse and recycle most things you can not cut out the embroidery hoop (4″ ones work well)! Trying to cross stitch without one will result in failed attempts and frustration. You can borrow from grandma, pick up at a garage sale or buy brand new but it is imperative to make sure you have one before your child (or you) starts trying to cross stitch. In addition be sure to remove projects from the hoop when you are not working on them to avoid leaving marks. Keep in mind that the smaller piece goes on the wrong side of the project with the large piece overlapping on the right side.
- Embroidery Needle-A 22 or 24 size needle will work well. The bottom line is to just find a needle that you can thread 3 pieces of embroidery floss into without too much trouble! If you child feels comfortable working with needle then it is the right one for them.