Cross stitch is, in my humble opinion, the most awesome craft out there.

I know that’s a big call, especially from someone who is as passionate as I am about so many creative pursuits. But cross stitch was my first crafty love, and it will always be dearest to my heart.


I love it because of how simple it is, and how versatile. You learn one stitch, and you can use it to make anything, from tiny little flowers, to massive samplers (like this one I made a couple of years ago). It’s magic. It’s alchemical.

And when you get good at it, it becomes this incredibly calming, meditative process. The rhythm of producing those stitches becomes so restfully absorbing, and your whole world can be reduced to just you and your needle, slowly and surely making pictures out of coloured thread.

Sounds pretty amazing, right?

I would so love to share this skill with you. Wanna give it a try?

In the video below, I’ll show you how to get started:

How to cross stitch from Essie Ruth on Vimeo.


Notes on supplies:

Aida: You’ll need some aida to stitch on. The standard size is 14 count, which means 14 stitches per inch. The rule of thumb with aida is: the larger the gauge number, the smaller your stitches will be. Aida comes in a range of colours, and beginners will find it easiest to stitch on light ones.

Needles: I use a size 8 embroidery needle when cross stitching. They tend to be appropriately sized and comparatively easy to thread.

Floss: DMC is my preferred brand of embroidery floss because most patterns use it as standard, and you don’t have to convert colours. DMC is good quality, comes in a massive range of colours and is very readily available. Cosmo is also lovely (though harder to find), and there are some beautiful hand dyed threads that you can start getting obsessed over collecting once you get addicted to stitching. I don’t particularly care for Anchor, though it is also widely used.

Bobbins: These are important for ensuring that your floss doesn’t turn into a tangled mess in your sewing bag. I wind my floss onto cardboard bobbins, and because I have an extensive collection I use number stickers to label each one – it’s just as legitimate, and probably easier, to just write the number directly onto the cardboard.. You can also get plastic bobbins if you prefer.

Hoops: Hoops are cheap, easy to come by, and certainly make sewing easier when you start to work on more flexible linens and cottons. I don’t have a preferred brand, though round edged ones feel nicest in the hand. You can get plastic ones in fun colours, but I generally buy wooden ones out of habit. The best size to start with would be 6 or 8 inches.

Scissors: It’s lovely to have a pretty pair of scissors (and I totally have my eye on these Big Ben ones, because hello, Anglophile here!), but it’s absolutely not necessary. All you really want to ensure is that the scissors you have are sharp and make a nice crisp cut, so that your floss doesn’t fray and remains easy to thread.


Now here’s a thing you might not know: I love designing cross stitch patterns, and I’m going to be sharing a bunch of free patterns here on the blog in future. I’ll be sure to link back here if you need your memory refreshed on how to begin. But in the mean time you should totally pin this post so you can find it when you need it (the picture below is especially for pinning, so have at it!).


If you have any questions shout out in a comment below, and I’ll do my best to help you out.

Stitching love for everyone! Yay!