So you've just received your kit and are excited to get started but need that bit extra help to get going? Well here is a step by step guide to get you on your way, including pictures and videos (apologies for the state of my nails in these photos/vids, they're due to be freshened up tomorrow!) for those who are more visual learners. I've also tried to cover all questions that I've been asked in the past, but if you have any more questions, please let me know!
So grab your kit, grab a cuppa, get comfy and let's get started!
1. Familiarise yourself with the kit contents
So in your kit you get everything you need to complete your project, including...
An instruction leaflet
Threads on a threadholder
Collection kits include a pieces of fabric and a pattern for each design, while Christmas bauble kits include a couple of extras - felt for backing your baubles and ribbon for hanging your baubles!
2. Familiarise yourself with the pattern
The pattern is split over four pieces of A4 so that you can see the symbols easily and clearly.
The front pages (pages 1, 3, 5 and 7) show the cross stitches with each square representing one cross and each symbol representing the thread colour required, while the back pages (pages 2, 4, 6 and 8) show the position of any additional stitches required such as line stitches (straight lines), back stitching (dashed lines) and french knots (circles).
Note - You will see four arrows on the first page of the patterns pointing to the centre of the pattern. These are for stitchers who like to start stitching in the centre of a pattern, however, as all our kits are full coverage pieces, I would recommend starting your stitching at the top left corner as outlined below.
If you would rather have a colour pattern, please just request one by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org either quoting your order number, or with a photo of your paper pattern, and I can email you a PDF colour pattern for free. If you would like one printed and posted to you, this can be arranged for a fee.
3. Get your thread ready to go
Each thread has a number (this is the DMC identification number) and a symbol (for identification on the pattern). As you are going to start stitching at the top left corner of the pattern, find your first colour by
looking at the symbol in square 1:1,
checking your instruction leaflet to identify which colour this relates to, and
selecting the appropriate thread from the threadholder.
Once you've got your thread, you will see it is actually made up of 6 separate strands. You now need to separate one strand from the thread as you only use one strand at a time. The easiest way to do this is to hold the thread with one hand and pull one strand slowly straight up and out of the thread (the video below shows this far better than I can explain!).
Note - for instructional purposes I'm using a different colour thread so you can see it easier!
Once you've separated your single strand, fold it in half and thread the loop end through the eye of your needle, pulling the loop end until it is longer than the free ends. If you find threading your needle tricky, try a nifty needlethreader!
4. Find your starting position on your fabric
If it isn't done so already, fold your fabric into quarters. This will show you where the centre of the fabric is. From here, count left and then up as many holes as it says to in your kit instructions. This will bring you to where you will start the top left corner of the pattern.
5. Anchor your thread using the loop start method
For a really tidy, thread-efficient anchoring method, look no further than the loop start method! This super easy little trick blew my mind when I first started using it, genuinely revolutionised the stitching process and I've never looked back! All our kits technically require you to stitch with 2 strands of thread, however, you will note that we achieved this above by using one strand and folding it in half then threading it so you have one long loop end and the shorter free ends. So how do you do a loop start??
Bring your needle through from the back to front of the fabric in the bottom left hole of the square you want to create a stitch in.
Pull the thread through almost fully so you just have just the loop end remaining on the back of the work.
Put the needle back through the fabric in the top right hole of the square you want to create a stitch in.
Pop the needle through the loop of thread on the back and pull tight.
6. Start stitching!
Once you're anchored on you can stitch away! I would recommend doing this by completing all the 'bottom' stitches in a row first (aka the / stitches) before turning back and completing all the 'top' stitches (aka the \ stitches). There is a diagram in your kit instruction leaflet, and once completed you should end up with something that looks like this....
Note - the pattern I've completed above is completely random and just to for visualisation purposes!
I hope that has proved useful, if you have any further questions please do pop them in the comments below and I will answer them as soon as I can! You can also send a message via the contact page, but if you comment it means other people who may have the same question will benefit from it being answered here!