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A form of counted-thread embroidery, cross stitch is the art of creating designs in specialist fabrics by forming a series of simple x-shaped stitches with a needle.
The earliest evidence of the use of cross stitch in needlework dates back to Egypt in the 6th and 7th centuries, however at this time they didn't have the luxury of using patterns! The cross stitch we know today has certainly evolved over time, boasting higher quality materials to allow for greater design options.
This guide is aimed at those looking to extend their needlecraft skills and branch out into cross stitch, or even for those new to any form of stitching. Throughout the next few pages, we define common cross stitch terminology whilst describing every element you'll need to know about. From fabrics and needles to stranded cottons, embroidery scissors and hoops, we explain why each material is used, look at the different variations available, and recommend what's best for beginners.
Aside from tools and materials, understanding the cross stitch process itself is critical for those new to the craft – so to clear things up, we'll break down each section within a cross stitch chart and explain what specific markings and symbols mean. Not only this, but we also guide you step-by-step through the different stitches and knots you should expect to perform, and explain the different ways in which you can begin your stitches and end your threads.
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