I would suggest that a
beginner start with a very basic simple pattern. Start with a
pair of pants or shorts with an elastic waist. All pattern
companies have a section on easy patterns. Pick one of these and
follow the step-by-step instructions that come with the pattern.
My most important tip,
whether it be for someone beginning to sew or any of these
crafts, is don't get discouraged. Keep trying and remember --
practice makes perfect.
I recommend that anyone
wanting to learn to crochet start with a worsted yarn (the kind
used for making afghans). It is much easier to work with than the
cotton crochet thread that is used for doilies and tablecloths.
Most crochet patterns
indicate if they are easy or for more advanced crocheters. Pick
one that is easy. An afghan using the "Granny Square"
pattern would be a good choice.
If you tend to crochet tighter on
the foundation row of an afghan making that end narrower, try crocheting the
foundation row with a hook that is one size larger, then switch to the next
size lower to finish the project.
to keep from having holes in a project border: When your pattern tells
you to work into the ends of the rows for a border, place the indicated
stitches into the threads of the stitches at the row ends, not around the
post of each stitch. Working around the post of the stitches leaves holes
and working into the threads of the stitches doesn't. This makes the edge
When a pattern tells you
to work stitches in "ch-1 sp", you should work the indicated stitches into
the hole beneath the chain instead of directly into the chain stitch.
This is how I finish
off. Once you complete the last stitch, you will have one loop on your
hook. Cut the yarn leaving about 4-6". This will be weaved in.
Yarn over, draw yarn tail completely through the loop and pull tight.
This should secure the yarn so the project doesn't unravel. If
however, you want to make sure it doesn't ravel out, draw the yarn up
through the loop one more time. Then weave the end of the yarn in the
back of stitches on the back side of the project.
In order to keep your
cross stitch fabric from raveling, either serge or zig-zag around
the outside edge. I have used masking tape to encase the outer
edge. This works nicely, too, but will need to be removed when
you have finished your work.
Be sure and wash your
cross stitched piece before framing it. If you are not planning
to framing the piece right away, it needs to be washed before you
store it away. With working on your project, natural oils from
your fingers will get on your needlework and needs to be removed
to prevent your work of art from being ruined by a stain.
I like to keep my skeins of
embroidery thread in a plastic box. I purchase the cardboard pieces that
are designed to roll the skein of thread on. I write the number of the
thread on it and store them in numerical order. This makes it easy
to find the particular color of thread when I need it. You can
purchase either of these items at any store that sells needlecraft
supplies. As a matter of fact, I like to keep two boxes. This
way when I am working on a project, I can put all the skeins of embroidery
thread needed for that project in a separate box. This makes it
handy to pick up and carry with me if I want to take it along.
Please, when you cross stitch,
make the back side look as good as the front. I know, you're
thinking "who's going to know?" But, you will know and the
person that does your framing will know.
One last tip: Keep a small
trash can close by to put you little pieces of thread in. I have
laid mine on a table next to where I was working to throw in the trash
next time I pass by. But, it never fails that the threads would
somehow get on the floor and make a real mess.