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A Beginner’s Guide to Selecting Your First Needlecraft Kit

When venturing into a new craft, whether you’re a child learning for the first time or an adult seeking a new hobby, there are several factors to consider when choosing your very first kit. Starting with simplicity is crucial to build confidence—overreaching can result in less-than-perfect outcomes or even failure, causing the craft to be abandoned. Remember, none of us are experts right from the start! We all begin somewhere, and it’s perfectly acceptable to take your time mastering the basics.”

Selecting Your Ideal Craft Type

There are many different needlecraft kits available, requiring slightly different skills and materials. Each will give their own finished look and style, so start by looking at finished works in Embroidery, tapestry, long stitch, cross stitch and bead work to decide which is the best fit for your taste and needs. Each craft will have different things to look for in a basic starter design, a brief guide is below:

Cross Stitch

Beginner Cross Stitch Kit

Within cross stitch there are two main styles, counted cross stitch - where blank fabric is stitched on working from a design on a chart. Cross stitch which is printed on the fabric is called stamped, printed or no count. For the most part this is blue crosses printed onto white cotton fabric, with a chart showing which colour thread to use for each area. More recently with printing technology advances, there are aida (square weave) fabrics with a bright coloured chart printed directly onto the fabric. This is like a paint by numbers using stitches instead of a brush.

Counted cross stitch is best started with a large hole fabric, such as a 10 count or less. This refers to the number of stitches you will make per inch of fabric. Smaller numbers mean bigger stitches, making it easier to see what you are doing as you learn the craft. Another good tip is to look for designs using fewer colours. The less colour changes you make the less chance for an error and the dreaded un-picking that goes with it!

Printed cross stitch ease will be determined again by the number of colours used and the general size of the design - it is much better to start small and have a finished result quickly, than try and tackle a larger project first and become frustrated, put it down and never finish.


Beginner Embroidery Kit

Embroidery is a collective name for many sewing stitches, often used in combination to create stunning effects. The most simple of these are back stitch - stitching in a continuous line, or satin stitch, where back and forth stitches are laid together to fill a space in solid colour. Looking for a small design in one or two colours using only these stitches will be the best starting point. Embroidery kits come with fabrics which have outlines printed on them for you to follow as you stitch, making these a quick to learn and complete project for beginners.


Beginner Long Stitch Kit

Longstitch is very similar to satin stitch in embroidery, except we would cover the entire area of the design and usually sew on a larger hole canvas. Longstitch can be sewn in cottons or wool, which will be larger scale than cotton and best for beginners. Good starter kits will have simple chunky designs, with not a lot of small detail. 


Beginner Tapestry Kit

Tapestry is a traditional pastime with pictures built up using a half stitch, also called tent stitch. This makes them quicker to complete than cross stitch or a similar size, as only half as many pulls of the needle are required. Tapestry is often sold as canvases and you select the thread you prefer to stitch with, cotton or wool. As a beginner it is advisable to select a full kit so everything you need is included, and look for fewer colours and larger areas of colour.

Bead work

Beginner Beading Kit

Bead embroidery is a simple technique to pick up, which can produce stunning sparkling results after very little practice. Fabric has small printed dots to show where to place the needle, and coloured squares which refer to different coloured beads which are picked up with each stitch. The same cotton thread is used for all colours of beads, so designs can be built up a row at a time, changing bead colour with each stitch as required. There are often elements of printed background, and finding a design with a low weight of beads (meaning less beads) and a smaller beaded area will be the best starter kits.

Whichever craft you decide to try, we wish you the best of luck and remember - the Stitcher team is just a phone call away if you get stuck!