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Surely, many people remember their mother or grandmother sitting in her rocking chair moving her needle in and out of the cloth for hours on end while beautiful pictures materialized. Well folks, cross-stitching isn't just for Grandma anymore.
There are several types of cross-stitch options available. The most common is a kit. It comes with everything that you need to complete a design, including floss, aida cloth, needle, and pattern. Kits are wonderful for the novice, as well as the veteran stitcher, and are available through several companies such as Dimensions, Candamar, Bucilla, Thomas Kinkade, and Teresa Wentzler.
Patterns and books are also available, although you must buy your own materials to complete the design with. Many times, the designs in this category are more specific to an occasion. Several books on wedding and baby samplers are marketed, as well as patterns for blankets and pillows. Many cartoon patterns like Winnie the Pooh and Looney Toons are available for purchase.
The final alternative is to design your own pattern. By taking a piece of graph paper and a pencil or even a craft graph (a cross-stitch blue print available in most craft stores), you can draw and then stitch a design using colors that you have selected. Some computer programs are also available to download or buy in software stores that allow the user to import pictures and turn them into patterns to print out.
There are several benefits to picking up the needle and going to work. In addition to being a quiet, relaxing activity, it's also very versatile, as it goes anywhere. It's also more time consuming than a game or television show, so the activity is there to look forward to longer.
Cross-stitching is a wonderful decorating idea for several reasons. First of all, it's inexpensive. Kits are priced between three and thirty dollars and need only time and imagination. Secondly, any number of kits or patterns can be purchased to match traditional, modern, or contemporary decor. Cross-stitching can even be more brilliant and bold than a painting or artist print because of the texture and depth created by the stitches.
In addition to being an inexpensive decorating idea, cross-stitching also makes inexpensive gifts. Because of the diversity in designs, a cross-stitched picture never goes out of style. From baby showers to weddings, birthday to housewarming, a cross-stitch design is easily individualized with names, dates, and personalized messages.
There are several levels of difficulty to consider when purchasing cross-stitch paraphernalia. As a beginning stitcher, any kits or patterns purchased or created should be relatively small and simple, not more than six to eight inches in length and width and with few difficult stitches. The primary goal of the beginner is to get a feel for how the stitches are done and how to center the design.
Once the beginner has become comfortable with the basic techniques, he or she can more easily complete a pattern in the intermediate range. The kits at this level become larger and most all stitching techniques are taught. The designs become more intricate and the intermediate stitcher is capable of completing most any pattern.
The advanced cross-stitcher is capable of any kit and often moves on to stitching household items such as towels, afghans, pillows, and baby blankets. Many times, the designs are the artist's own. Upon becoming an experienced cross-stitcher, one may choose to branch out as well and pursue similar hobbies such as needlepoint, embroidery and crewel.
Cross-stitch is a very entertaining and simple hobby to pursue. Getting started is even more simple. Most craft outlets sell both starter kits and patterns, as well as floss, aida cloth and all the other materials that could be used in many a beautiful design. Many department stores sell the same materials in their craft departments. For those people who like to do their shopping online, many online stores sell kits made by a variety of designers. With as easy as it is to make cross-stitch a hobby, what's your excuse? Go ahead and pick up that needle. Before you know it, you may just be all stitched up!