Counted cross-stitch may be one of the easiest of all embroidery techniques, but worked in rows, these hand-stitched Xs can add surprisingly sophisticated patterns and rich texture to almost any fabric. While the craft dates back centuries, the stylish designs here prove that it can be fresh and fun. Best of all, the work goes quickly because of some carefully chosen materials. Coarse fabrics such as burlap and heavy linen make it simple to position and space your stitches (the loose weave of the cloth provides a built-in grid), and pearl cotton (a thick, glossy thread akin to embroidery floss) is comfortable to work with.
Because the weight of the thread you're using is similar to that of the thread used to make the fabric itself, these embellishments appear as if they were woven right into the cloth. You'll need a tapestry needle and, if you like, an embroidery hoop to keep the work flat and the tension even. If you're new to the craft, practice a bit before launching into a project. Then settle into a chair and enjoy. Even in the small amount of time today's schedules allow, you can create something the old-fashioned way: by hand.
Try making our Embellished tote.