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Everything You Need to Start Cross-Stitching

By: Maria Nerius, Resident Craft Expert

Check out this comprehensive list from Maria Nerius of all the craft supplies you'll need in order to start cross-stitching. Use free printable cross stitch patterns and these supplies to get going!

It is best to cross stitch in a well lighted area with comfortable seating. And always, always work with clean hands and work area as you are working with flosses, threads, and fabric that can stain or get ruined by hand oils and house dust.

  • A graph, pattern, or design: You’ll need this to help guide you and help you complete a project. Basically a graph that tells you the color of thread or floss needed and what stitched you’ll be doing. There are transfers that allow you to place the pattern directly on the fabric, but usually it is a paper graph or pattern.
  • Needle(s): A tapestry needle is recommended. Needles are sized by number and a size 24 or 26 blunt tip with large eye is best overall. Keep in mind that the bigger the needle size number the smaller the needle.
  • Fabric: For the beginner it is best to use Aida or evenweave fabric as this fabric is evenly woven allowing one to stitch easily. Cross stitch can also be done with linen, but advance skills are needed. The main difference between Aida cloth and evenweave is that Aida is stiffer and usually less expensive. You’ll find your preference as your stitching skills grow.
  • Floss, Threads, and other Fibers: Most cross stitchers start out using floss, which is several threads/fibers twisted to become one. Patterns/Designs often recommend a specific floss brand and use this brands name/number code. There are conversion charts available that let you know what color let’s say of light brown, the light brown is for each manufacturer. As your skills advance you might want to add your own touch to a pattern or design and use the variety of threads and fibers available on the market. Most stitchers like to use a length of 18”-21” of a thread or floss, but work with what is best for your skills. Keep in mind if the thread/floss length is too long, it tends to knot or get tangled.
  • Hoop, Bar, or Hand: Most beginners like to use a hoop or bar to hold the fabric evenly and firmly stretched during stitching. A hoop is round while a bar is rectangular. Both have two parts, a hoop to place the fabric across, with a second hoop to hold it in place; the bar has a top and bottom (usually wood) piece that the fabric is attached to. You can stitch while holding the fabric in your hand which is the traditional method. Find what’s most comfortable for you and go with it.
  • Scissors: You’ll need a small and sharp pair of scissors for cutting your thread/floss lengths and trimming excess threads. Smaller scissors work best giving you more scissor control for cutting the small threads.


  • Fray Stop: There are several brands of liquid used to seal or stop threads from fraying. There are ways to end one thread/floss and begin another such as back stitching or knotting, but you want to make sure you don’t have a lot of bulk on the back of your design as it will cause problems when you finish your piece for framing. A substitute for a fray stopping liquid is clear nail polish.
  • Magnifier: Cross stitch is small work and for some of us the use of a magnifier is helpful. There are many available on the market; some even include additional light to help make stitching easier. You can use a magnifier to read the chart or see the fabric!


Some great cross stitch projects:

  1. A Beautiful Peace Label uses 14-count Aida cloth with cotton embroidery floss to stitch a pretty gift:

    Cross Stitch Supplies
  2. Cherries Cross Stitch Oven Pad is an easy project to brighten the kitchen:

    Cross Stitch Supplies
  3. Pastel Easter Egg Cross Stitch Ornaments uses a variety of stitches and metallic threads for pearl-like shimmer:

    Cross Stitch Supplies


Cross stitch supplies:

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