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Cross stitching is great fun and really easy to learn. If you are a beginner, follow these tips and you will be cross stitching in no time.

To prepare fabric for cross stitching cut the fabric at least 3” larger than the finished design. This will leave room for matting and framing. Either whipstitch, use a machine to zigzag, or apply liquid ravel prevention to the edges of the fabric. This will prevent fraying of the fabric while you work.

Use a blunt tipped tapestry type needle. Do not use a regular sewing needle as it will pierce holes in the fabric and is not necessary due to the fact that cross stitch fabric has holes already. For fabric with 11 or fewer threads per inch use a size 24 needle, for 14 to 18 threads per inch use size 26. Also no not leave the needle in your work as it may rust or leave a permanent impression.

You will need a hoop or stretcher bar frame to keep your fabric tight and this will help you make stitches that are uniform. It is best if you can find a frame large enough to cover your entire design.

The graph has squares that contain a symbol that represents 1 stitch. Each symbol corresponds to a color of embroidery floss. Usually the floss is identified by name and number on a color code.

You will need to find the center of your fabric by folding it in half horizontally and then vertically. Then put your needle through the center of the fabric. Next you will need to find the center of your graph and then begin stitching from the center out to the edges.

Use about 18” of floss. This is a good length to work with. Separate all 6 strands and then combine them as per what your pattern calls for. If your floss begins to twist you should try to straighten it by suspending the needle and allowing it to unwind.

Hopefully these tips will help you get started cross stitching soon. Cross stitch is fun and also makes for great gifts.

Author: S. Armstrong http://www.crossstitchalley.com

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