10 of Our Favorite Cross-Stitch Kits for Beginners

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assortment of animals created from monotone trees
Courtesy of Velvet Pony Design

Even in the small amount of time today's schedules allow, you can create something the old-fashioned way: by hand. Enter one of our favorite crafts: cross-stitching. 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.

You'll need a tapestry needle and, if you like, an embroidery hoop to keep the work flat and the tension even. Your choice of tools and materials also make a difference: Because the weight of the thread you use is oftentimes similar to that of the thread used to make the fabric itself, these embellishments appear as if they were woven right into the cloth. If you're new to the craft, practice a bit before launching into a project.

While the craft itself dates back centuries, the stylish designs here prove that it can be fresh and fun: woodland animals, houseplants, abstract designs, and even a family portrait are all possibilities for your finished project. All of these makers are reinventing the craft for a younger, more decidedly modern audience. A night-sky blue canvas can be dotted with a zodiac constellation. A canvas can be colorfully decorated in the image of an iconic European city like Amsterdam, London, or Paris. A canvas with a decorative silhouette is more than a useful activity; it's a conversation piece. Any profile—your child's, your own, or a friend's—can be enlarged and used for the pattern. Customization makes any of them yours.

01 of 10

Woodland Animals

pink tree pattern in shape of a squirrel
Courtesy of Velvet Pony Design

Design a creature of your choice—whether it's a wolf, a bear, a bunny, or, in this case, a bushy-tailed squirrel. These patterns are in vibrant colors and, if you look closely, reflect the densely forested landscape of their natural habitat.

Shop Now: Velvet Pony Design Cross Stitch Squirrel Forest Silhouette Kit, $27, etsy.com.

02 of 10


assortment of houseplants cross stitch
Courtesy of The Stitch Mill

Grow your own garden of sorts with this cross stitch kit that includes a sampler of leafy green varieties—cacti, succulents, ferns, and more all in abundance.

Shop Now: The Stitch Mill Botany Dark Cross Stitch Kit, $35, thestitchmill.com.

03 of 10


Amsterdam Cross Stitch
Courtesy of Satsuma Street

Part of their popular "Pretty Little City" series, this cross stitch pattern of Amsterdam features all of the must-see landmarks including the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum, the Westerkerk clock tower, a whimsical windmill, canals, and, of course, tulips.

Shop Now: Satsuma Street Pretty Little Amsterdam Cross Stitch Kit, $49.50, stitchedmodern.com.

04 of 10

Family Portrait

the Edmonds family dad mom boy girl and dog cross stitch
Courtesy of Dimensions

Craft the ultimate family heirloom with ever member of your inner circle. Everything about this counted cross stitch design can be customized from a catalogue of templates like the hair, skin, dress, age, and pets.

Shop Now: Dimensions Counted Cross Stitch Kit All in the Family, $13.68, amazon.com.

05 of 10

Mountains Majesty

sunset behind snow-capped mountains cross stitch
Courtesy of Hawthorn Handmade

The bright landscape by Stephanie Carswell is achievable with just one stitch (no back stitching or quarter stitches required) and the color blocks and simple lines make the pattern easy to follow.

Shop Now: Hawthorn Handmade Mountain Adventure Cross Stitch Kit, $27, fancytigercrafts.com.

06 of 10

House Cat

black cat curled up on couch peeking over tail
Courtesy of Stitchery

This watchful feline keeps a vigilant eye on the action. If you consider yourself a modern cat lady, immortalize your companion with a cross stitch kit that includes 14-count white Aida cloth, DMC cotton floss, needle, chart, and instructions.

Shop Now: The Stitchery Black Cat "Eye on You" Cross Stitch Kit, $24, stitchery.com.

07 of 10

Starry Skies

assortment of blue with white constellations cross stitch
Courtesy of Junebug and Darlin

Are you a Pisces? Leo? Sagittarius? Or some other sign entirely? Stitch your own zodiac's constellation in this simple yet elegant connect-the-dots pattern.

Shop Now: Junebug and Darlin Constellation Kit, $16, junebuganddarlin.com.

08 of 10

Song Birds

blue birds and berries cross stitch
Courtesy of Solar Stitch

For birdwatchers and other ornithologists, try your hand at this beautiful backyard scene—a pair of bluebirds sharing a bough of berries. It has a painterly quality due to the use of open space—mimicking light—on the canvas.

Shop Now: Solar Stitch Blue Birds with Berries Cross Stitch Kit, $33, etsy.com.

09 of 10


Diana Watters Handmade Alpine Flowers Cross Stitch Kit
Courtesy of Diana Watters Handmade

Canadian artist Diana Watters is famous for her cheery designs and bright colorwork. This pattern—stitched in yellow and green on slate blue Aida—is inspired by alpine flowers on a sunny day.

Shop Now: Diana Watters Handmade Alpine Flowers Cross Stitch Kit, $28, etsy.com.

10 of 10

Kid-Friendly Fun

bear with cross stitch sweater blue ball of yarn
Courtesy of Moon Picnic

Cross-stitching is a fun craft activity for kids. Teach them the technique by stitching together a sweater for their animal friend, which comes with 100 percent wool yarn in two tones, a child-safe needle, and a play booklet.

Shop Now: Moon Picnic "Bear" Cross Stitch Friends, $21, moonpicnic.com.

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