We almost called this page "Quick Start" instead of Getting Started because it would get the information you need to you in the least amount of time.
There is something about that phrase, though, that implies skipping over information you may need. Truth is, everyone who reads this page will get something different from it.
If you have been cross stitching for years, you might even skip this page, or glean from it the few tips you need in order to understand the charts for our designs.
On the other hand, you may be new cross stitch. If so, you might click on every link here.
Someone else's journey might be somewhere in between, just visiting those pages if they need some brush-up or to learn a technique they haven't mastered.
Getting Started is something that everyone does at the beginning of every project.
Whatever the case, we guarantee that in addition to liking the finished item, you will also enjoy the journey.
The best way to proceed from here is to click on any link you want to follow. To get back here, just use the back button in your browser, or, if you have followed a few additional links, just click on the "Getting Started" button on the menu at the left on any page.
You can eliminate most surprises by reading the pattern instructions and reviewing the chart thoroughly before you begin stitching. I know. This part may not be especially exciting, but it still beats the alternative. Look at it as an investigation, a way to look forward to doing the actual stitching.
Identify any unfamiliar stitches listed in the pattern heading "Stitch Complexity," and see the how-to page that explains that stitch. Whether this is review for you or a first look at a particular stitch, each page has tips that you may not have seen before.
If you want to stitch the design exactly as it is shown in the photograph, simply use the materials described in the pattern.
But if you have a favorite fabric type and thread count, or if you have a specific size in mind for the finished piece, translate thread count to inches to determine your initial fabric size. (See our handy Stitch Counts table to quickly figure the size you want.)
Next, decide how you'll display the finished design and add enough inches to the length and width before cutting the fabric. Be generous.
My secret to always having enough: Start with the size of the pattern. On all sides, add the extra I think I'll need to frame it, sew with, or whatever. Then I add some more.
Then, do what carpenters do: Measure twice, cut once.
Treat the outside edges of your fabric to prevent fraying. Find and mark the center. Baste in gridlines to match the gridlines on the pattern. (Basting the gridlines is optional on very small patterns.)
See our how-to page on preparing fabric for cross stitch for tips on gridlines and ways you can prevent fraying.