Cross-stitching has been around for a very long time and cross-stitch kits offer crafters an affordable way to enjoy this form of embroidery. Cross-stitch patterns can be used on pillows, blankets, wall hangings and make unique and special holiday ornaments. Whether you are creating a gift for someone else or want to design a family heirloom, you will find that creating a cross-stitch project is both satisfying and relaxing.
The history of cross-stitch is reported to have begun when Catherine of Aragon brought a Spanish embroidery technique known as black work to England in the 16th century. This coincided with the emergence of cross-stitch patterns in the folk art of Eastern Europe, where the floral and geometric patterns that are still used today are said to have originated. This then led to the invention of the “samplers,” works that showcased various stitches and were then passed from embroiderer to embroiderer. The invention of printing has led to the modern cross-stitch kits with printed patterns and instructions. Interest in embroidery and cross stitch declined during World War I and World War II and then increased again in the 1960s.
Most of cross stitch today is done using a kit. Cross-stitch kits give crafters an easy way to design a piece of embroidery that uses the cross-stitch technique. The main stitch that is used in this technique is the cross-stitch, which involves creating an “x” shape using embroidery floss. However, cross-stitch designs typically use a variety of stitches, which can include: the half-cross stitch, French knots, backstitches and various floral stitches to complete the design. Cross-stitch kits typically come with a pattern; even weave embroidery fabric, a needle and the necessary embroidery floss making them economical and easy to use.
There are basically two main types of cross-stitch kits that are currently available. Counted cross-stitch kits come with a paper design pattern and a blank even weave fabric that helps the crafter lay out the design. The embroiderer uses the pattern and floss to create the design on the face of the fabric. The other type is known as a preprinted cross-stitch kit, which has the pattern already stamped on the fabric. All the embroiderer does is cover the preprinted design with floss using the basic cross-stitch stitches. Many beginners prefer the stamped cross-stitch kits mainly because they do not require counting.
It is important to realize that you can create a cross-stitch piece without buying a cross-stitch kit. There are many free patterns that can be found online, or you can purchase a pattern book with many similar patterns in it. The main benefit of using a cross-stitch kit is the fact that you have everything you need to begin the project, including the correct colors of embroidery floss. By buying everything separately, you can run the risk of not having access to a color that you may need to complete the design.
You should keep in mind that if you purchase a cross-stitch kit, you will need a few other items before you can begin your design. An embroidery hoop is an essential, as it allows you to draw the embroidery fabric taut while you work the thread to create the design. You will also need a small pair of sharp scissors for clipping your work. Experts advise that when the project is complete take it to a framing store, because they can stretch it and frame it correctly to ensure that it does not sag.
Those who are experienced with cross stitch suggest that if you are just starting with cross-stitching, look for a kit that has a preprinted pattern. This will make your first attempt much more enjoyable, because you will eliminate the need to count, which can often lead to mistakes. This way you can focus on learning the basic stitches with less frustration. You should remember that cross-stitch is fairly flexible as an embroidery style. Just work on keeping your stitches facing the same direction, follow the pattern and you will be able to create a beautiful piece of artwork.