How To Choose Your First Cross Stitch Supplies

New to Cross Stitch? How and why to choose supplies for your first project

Essential Cross Stitch Scissors
Essential Scissors. Photo: © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to, Inc.

Many beginning stitchers choose kits, but as stitching skills improve, may decide to try small Cross Stitch pattern. With a kit, a beginner only needs scissors and, maybe, a hoop. For a Cross Stitch pattern, supplies like Aida fabric, floss, and needles must be purchased. Choosing these supplies does not have to be complicated. Even though a kit may have many of the things that a beginner needs, it is good to have supplies ready to go and in a basket in case you need something.

One thing that is recommended for beginners is to get more floss than you need, especially for a first project. If you don't need it, you can always use it for other projects. Let's see what other tips and supplies you need for a project. 

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: Varies

Here's How:

  1. When choosing basic cross stitch fabric, stick with light colored 11-count or 14-count Aida fabric.
    Since you are still developing your Cross Stitch skills, stay away from dark colors – many experienced stitchers have difficulty with them. Choose rolled Aida fabric instead of fabric that is folded flat which may have developed difficult-to-remove creases. See How to care for Aida fabric for more information about Aida fabric.14 count is a very common size fabric. It is used for many projects. If you feel comfortable using it, you can always adjust the pattern for the fabric, 
  2. Choose floss based on the quality, how much you need, and availability.
    Floss packets are a good first choice because they contain a selection of commonly used colors. If you choose to start building your floss collection by purchasing individual skeins of floss, stick to one brand. Conversion charts are available, but mixing subtle shades from different brands of floss may not produce the best results.Again, having more floss is better than coming up short. You can always use the leftovers for another project. Do not buy cheap floss! It is not worth the bargain! DMC and Anchor are great flosses to start with. 
  1. A pack of needles is necessary.
    Obviously, you can't stitch without a needle. There are so many different types of needles - needles with special coatings, twin-tipped needles, easy-thread needles.... When you begin stitching, use a size 24 tapestry needle for 11-count Aida fabric and a size 26 needle for 14-count Aida fabric. As you become an accomplished stitcher, you can try out the many different types of needles. See How to Choose a Tapestry Needle for more information.You may not think that a good needle is necessary. It helps keep the fabric in shape. A bigger needle with smaller fabric will stretch and distort your project. 
  1. Two pairs of scissors are essential.
    The first pair is dedicated to cutting fabric. Hide them from the rest of the family! Check the quilting section of your local craft store. You can get a good pair for less than $20. The second pair is a smaller pair for cutting floss. These scissors should be sharp enough to cut the floss without fraying it. Dollar stores are a great source of inexpensive, sharp scissors.
  2. Start out with a small wooden or plastic hoop, for your first projects.
    Be sure to keep it clean. When you start stitching larger designs, make the transition to a larger hoop or one of the frames. A wide variety of wooden or plastic hoops and needlepoint-style frames are available. Some stitchers even use lap-quilting snap frames. Some stitchers do not use a hoop at all when stitching on medium count fabrics.


  1. Shop around for the best price for Cross Stitch Supplies. Watch for sales and clearance specials.
  2. Choose the best quality product you can afford, especially fabric and floss.

What You Need: