Selecting Counted Cross Stitch Supplies

The time you spend now learning about counted cross stitch supplies will reward you with hours of trouble-free stitching. It is easy to select the right ones when you know what to look for.

Bobbins of Embroidery Floss

Remember that old saying, "Half the job is having the right tools?" That is just as true about counted cross stitch as it is for any other skilled pursuit. If you

  • acquire the right tools and supplies, and understand how they work
  • spend time learning various cross stitching techniques
  • then dedicate yourself to perfecting your skill

you will likely discover that cross stitching is a creative, productive and satisfying craft.

On a tight budget? We all have those times when spending money on crafts just has to wait. Familiarize yourself with the counted cross stitch supplies discussed below. Then, click for ideas on substituting items from around the house and delaying the purchase of certain others.

The basic counted cross stitch supplies

I often say that we are fortunate to have chosen a craft that can be started with a relatively small investment. That said, you will be more confident about choosing the right ones if you become familiar with what they look like and how they work. Don't worry, you'll be stitching in no time!

Please Note: To show you photograph of each counted cross stitch supply category below, I used images from Amazon. Not only do they look better, but they more accurately display what's currently available. If you click on a photo below, a new tab will open up to Amazon. There, you can read more details and reviews about individual products. This window will also stay open so that you can continue reading.

Fray Block

Speaking of beat-up supplies, you'll need Fray Block or similar product to prevent the edges of your fabric from raveling. Click to learn how to prepare your fabric for cross stitch.

Fray BlockMy supplies look like this tube of Fray Block.

Needles for Cross Stitch

You won't be able to substitute standard sewing needles you may have around the house. The one you'll use have characteristics that are specific to the cross stitch craft. Click here to learn about which needles to choose.

Needle Threaders

Even if you can usually thread a needle without help, I think it makes sense to have a needle threader in your bag. You never know when you'll be somewhere with less-than-ideal lighting or other circumstances that make a normal task tedious and frustrating. Click to see my reviews so that you can select the right needle threader for you.

Embroidery Scissors and Fabric Scissors

You will use two styles of scissors for cross stitch. One is a pair of small embroidery scissors, typically about four inches long, for clipping the floss close to your fabric.

The second pair of scissors you'll need is for cutting your fabric to size, which you'll obviously use less frequently. Click to learn about these two styles of scissors for cross stitch.

I smiled when I saw this picture of two identical pairs of scissors. Growing up, we never, on threat of life and limb, touched my mom's sewing scissors! Except for cutting fabric, they were off-limits. Scissors are so reasonably priced now that it's possible to pick up two pair for the price of one. Be sure to use a permanent marker & write "fabric" on one of them. My 92-year old mother will rest easier.      -- Katherine

Embroidery Hoops

Many cross stitchers wouldn't dream of working without an embroidery hoop and others wouldn't use one if they were free. Because I use the sewing method for much of my cross stitching, I do not personally use a hoop. But everybody is different. For some tips on how to choose the right hoop, and whether to use one at all, click How to Choose an Embroidery Hoop.

Scroll Frames

If you aren't happy with an embroidery hoop, but you still like to work with your cross stitch fabric taut, a scroll frame might work for you. To learn more about this alternative to hoops, click on Choosing a Scroll Frame for Cross Stitch.

Q-Snap Frames

Another type of frame combines the shape of the scroll frame with the convenience of a unique way of securing the fabric. It consists of a tube-like frame with pieces that clamp over the sides. Learn more about it by clicking on Is the Q-Snap Frame Better For Cross Stitch.

Fabric and Floss

The fabric and floss are the counted cross stitch supplies that are unique to the project you stitch.

When you select a design, whether it is a free cross stitch pattern you have printed from the internet or one you've purchased at your local hobby store, it will come with a set of instructions. Those instructions will tell you which fabric to use. If you are a beginner, use their recommendation (unless the fabric count is too small for you to easily stitch). If that is the case, use the same fabric type, just substitute it for a fabric count in the size you can see (our stitch-count-to-inches conversion table will help you make any size adjustments).

These same instructions will also include the floss legend, which tells you which floss brand and colors to use. Check out our easy-to-use shopping list. Use it to keep track of which floss colors you'll, need as well as any other other supplies.

Now for the fun part!

Be sure to check out our free charts and read about How to Finish Every Project You Start.

Once you have the right counted cross stitch supplies on hand, you can concentrate on finding those designs that you'll be excited to stitch. Now that's the best part of counted cross stitch!

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