by Hope Prince
Hobbies: Cross Stitch
The importance of participating in a hobby in your daily life cannot be understated. The benefits of hobbies are numerous; they provide a mental break from our demanding lives, can be used as a form of stress relief, and can provide the feeling of a job well done, especially after a challenging project. Even though I know and have felt the benefits of my favorite hobbies, sometimes I find it challenging to motivate myself to get started on a project. Sometimes it feels too time-consuming and sometimes it seems like a lot of money to invest when I could just watch Netflix. I would like to share the art of cross stitching as an inexpensive, approachable, and convenient hobby.
Cross stitching kits can be found at craft stores, big retailers and even dollar stores at affordable prices. I have even found entire cross stitch collections of thread and clothes at thrift stores. The kits contain all the equipment you need to get started and can be reused for later projects. Most cross stitching projects are completed on special fabric called Aida that has holes for the thread to be pulled through. The thread resembles an X (hence why it is called cross-stitching) and the Xs can be grouped together to create an image. The toughest thing about cross stitching is counting, I promise!
Like it says in the title of the book, this is the bible of cross stitching. Good for beginners and advanced stitchers, this book covers every single stitch or technique you can think of, as well as many tips to keep you organized. I have been cross stitching for over 5 years now and I was able to find some tips that have improved the overall look of my projects. This book is printed in full color and each page contains a photo or diagram to illustrate the technique being discussed. There are also a few patterns printed throughout the book and in the last section that can be experimented with.
Once you have some practice on basic techniques and simple patterns, you will be looking for more patterns to expand your collection. This beautiful volume collects 70 motifs and 20 patterns that range from beginner to advanced. Many of the projects use more advanced techniques such as using multiple shades of thread to create shadowing, as well as raised stitches to create dimension. These patterns can also be combined with previously learned techniques, such as borders, to make your project unique.
Did you ever wish that cross stitching was just a little bit cooler? In 2008, Jamie Chalmers (Mr X Stitch) started his website Mr X Stitch to challenge perceptions of cross stitching as a boring and stuffy hobby. Throughout the years, he has refreshed and modernized the idea of cross stitching through his website, this book, and the X Stitch magazine. While this book may not be a replacement for some of the more comprehensive manuals, the patterns featured in this book are amazing. You can stitch a UFO, Mona Lisa, and many other interesting patterns. What makes this book special is the attention that Mr X Stitch pays to designing your own patterns that look just as good as his.