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Who doesn’t love a good crafty project? And as I spend my days looking at screens the last thing I want to do at the end of it is sit in front of a larger one. I want to be hands on.

I often admire the cute embroidery on Pinterest and Instagram but not really thought about trying it for myself. But in my search for a new hobby I was taken back by the cross stitch kits at hobbycraft. You could get everything you need; needle, thread, template and cotton sheet for as little as £2!

Inspired, I thought if this works out it makes for a cheaper Christmas gift but something that’s a little more meaningful because I’d hand made it, and I’d learn a new skill and get a new hobby in one.

So I thought I’d try the cute cupcake as a starter to see how I got on and Into the Woods Born to be Wild set as something a little more advanced.

Here’s how I got on….

As I’d never tried cross-stitch before it did take me a little while to get my head around it! I found Peacock and Fig’s how to video really helpful just to get my head around the basic premise of cross stitching. But now I’ve completed the cupcake, here are some of my tips:

Reading the pattern

Cross Stitch Understanding Instructions

Cross Stitch Understanding Instructions

Firstly the pattern is telling you what colours and how many ‘lengths’ you have of each. Each length has 6 strands with it.  So if it says white 1, there are a total of 6 white strands; deep pink 2 would give you a total of 12 strands etc.

You can see symbols next to the colours- this refers to the picture diagram and what colour thread needs to go where. As you have a starting point with this design, it is relatively easy to keep track of where you are. You can find the centre by folding the cotton in half one way and in half the other way and when you open it out again, this is where you’ll start.

TIP: Get a second needle- With the cupcake design, there are two colours that are ‘mixed’ in together. Initially I was tying my thread and starting over with each bit. If the pattern is telling you to use a different colour, skip over that square and come back to it with the other colour later or just whip out your second needle and thread and have at it- though you will have that other thread around you whilst you work.

When you’re threading your needle note that it is asking you to use 2 of your strands (from one length), for each colour; only one strand is required for the backstitch (in this example it is the black).

As for the stitch itself, it is saying that you stitch only the one direction for an entire row/area and then come back and cross over that stitch the other way. It’ll make it easier for you to see your movements, make the cross stitch easier to achieve and makes it look neater overall.

When it comes to the backstitch to give it strength, you are going to feed up through the first ‘square’ wherever you decide that to be, and follow the needle straight down into the second, but for the third you are going to carry it under two squares before feeding your needle up through the hole and back into the one you just skipped under.

Although you’d assume it to be the other way round, I am actually finding the Born To Be Wild stitch set much easier to work with. Although it is my second attempt, it is easier in the sense that you are working with one colour at a time as there doesn’t seem to be this cross over of colour. The disadvantage with it, however, is there is no real central starting point so you need to pick an area to start from and go with it. But once you’ve made your start it is a little easier going forward as you always have something else to work with going forward. You simply count the squares and just keep sewing. However, I’ve not finished it so only time will tell- keep your eye out on social media, I’ll post it once it’s finished.

Born to be wild cross stitch

I am actually really enjoying cross-stitching and once you get over the second guessing aspect of it (am I doing it right?) you can really lose yourself and time in doing it. Although my cupcake looks a little dodgy, it’s not a bad first attempt. It isn’t something I’ll give away as a gift either, I quite like it and it’ll sit pride of place in my office.

As they say, practice makes perfect right?!

Do you cross-stitch? Any pointers? If you don’t is this something you’d like to try?

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