I've reached Grandma Status: Maximum Grandma-locity. Cross-stitching, it's my new thing. I'm not ashamed to admit that I've tried my hand at several hobbies, many of which never stuck. Knitting, jewelry-making, clay sculpting (that lasted literally one day), knitting again, and various painting projects. I think maybe I get bored or antsy pretty easily (especially in the winter months when I'm cooped up indoors) and I tend to majorly overestimate my artistic abilities.
But when I heard that cross-stitching was a great hobby for the elderly and children, it seemed right up my alley. I need THE BASICS people!
After doing a few projects, I can really see myself returning to cross-stitching as my go-to hobby. It's mostly inexpensive (once you've acquired the basics) and I find it relaxing and fun. Plus, there are some badass patterns out there to suit ALL tastes. I'm hooked.
In light of my newfound hobby, I thought it would be helpful to compile a list of the Beginner's Tools if you're interested in getting started. You just need a few basics and you're on your way. Here are my suggested tools:
- Hoop- You'll certainly need one of these to get started. They hold the fabric taut so stitching is easy. There are wooden and plastic versions at my local Michael's. Wooden are generally cheaper and I tend to go for those because I like keeping the finished piece in the hoop to hang on the wall. It's like buying an inexpensive frame that you can snazz up by painting with inexpensive acrylic paint before hanging on the wall.
- Thread- There are so many colors to choose from at Michael's and at 39 cents apiece, I went a little thread crazy. Rather than making a trip to the store every time I get a new pattern, I just dig through my stash and find what I need.
- Needles- duh. Cross-stitching uses a blunt needle so no need to worry when you inevitably drop some on the ground.
- Fabric- Cross-stitching uses what's called Aida fabric that displays the tiny grid pattern you need to make your stitches. I started with the 14 count fabric and I think it's great for beginners. It's easiest to find the fabric in white but it's often sold in other shades as well.
- Bobbins- At first I thought getting bobbins were a waste but I can certainly attest to some MAJOR thread knots that bobbins have since helped me to avoid. You've got to wind the thread onto the bobbin (the same way you need to wind yarn into a ball) to keep things neat. I found a super cheap set that came with a metal ring to keep things organized.
- Needle Treader- I didn't realize just how many times I'd need to thread a new color onto a needle and spent my first project threading needles constantly. I finally spent the $2 on a threader and haven't looked back.
- Scissors- I had a tiny pair of scissors on hand at home but craft stores sell tiny scissors along with other sewing supplies. Mostly importantly, you want a pair that's sharp and precise so you don't fray the thread when you snip it
- Book light- I quickly found that the overhead light in my living room just wasn't enough to really allow me to see the details. I grabbed a book light, clipped it on the side of the hoop and it's been perfect. Concentrated light right where I need it.
- Glasses- Finally I'm actually using my reading glasses! Even a cheap pair of magnifying glasses from the drugstore will do. It helps tremendously to see those itty bitty stitches.
- Patterns- The fun part! I've found free patterns online but I think the good stuff is on Etsy. A pattern usually costs about $2-$5 and it's available immediately. There's something for every taste out there!
- YouTube- Naturally, I went to YouTube when I was learning the ins and outs. There are a ton of video tutorials that helped to get me started.
Have you tried cross-stitching? What are your winter hobbies?