10 of Our Favorite Cross-Stitch Kits for Beginners
Pick up a needle and thread, and try your hand at one of these all-in-one bundles to create flora and fauna, custom portraits, and more beautifully modern designs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.