Keeping distracted with cross stitch has been really helpful but I’ve been going through supplies like there’s no tomorrow. As I was topping up my stash recently, it occurred to me that a blog post about essential cross stitch supplies and where to buy them might be useful. So here we are.
I have two criteria when I’m looking for cross stitch supplies; quality and price. I am pretty fussy about materials. I like DMC threads, Elbesee hoops and 100% cotton Aida (usually by Zweigart or DMC). Using branded materials can get expensive, so I’ve sunk a lot of time into looking for them at reasonable prices. Fortunately, there are a few online retailers who really deliver the goods and some of them are even independents!
OK, enough waffle. Let’s get to what we’re all here for. I’ll break it down by item to make it a little easier to find what you’re looking for (though there is often overlap so you can generally buy several things in one place).
For cross stitch you need to use a blunt tapestry needle. They come in different sizes; size 24 for 14 count Aida, size 26 for 16 count, and size 28 for 18 count.
Needles are generally pretty cheap, but you can get them even cheaper by buying in bulk. Stitchtastic is the only retailer I’ve found that offers this, with options from 50 for £3.95 to 500 for £29.95. The only downside is that each individual needle comes wrapped in plastic.
As mentioned above, I prefer DMC threads. They have the best range of colours, are really good quality (no knotting!!) and it’s the easiest brand to get hold of.
The shops listed below also sell Anchor and Appletons if either of those are your brand of choice.
LoveCrafts and Wool Warehouse both sell DMC stranded cotton for £0.69 per skein. While Stitchtastic sells DMC threads at £0.79 per skein. It’s good to have a few sources just in case one place is out of stock in the colours you need.
Aida is tricky. Zweigart and DMC are well-loved brands but expensive. However, buying unbranded Aida fabric can be really hit and miss. Some of the cheaper Aida is really poor quality and you just won’t know until you have it in your hands. I almost always default to DMC and Zweigart when buying online because it takes away that risk.
As with threads, I tend to use LoveCrafts, Wool Warehouse or Stitchtastic to buy Aida. Occasionally I’ll do a quick search on Ebay as you can find some really good bargains when people have a clear out.
I also love ClaireBrownXStitch on Etsy; she’s an independent seller of really cool printed Aida and the quality is great!
Embroidery hoops aren’t exactly essential but they do make stitching easier and more comfortable. Plus you can frame your finished piece in the hoop and it looks real cute.
Embroidery hoops come in a few different materials, most commonly solid wood, bamboo wood or plastic.
Elbesee is my favourite hoop brand. The quality is spectacular, they are made in the UK, and it’s a family run business. You can’t buy direct from Elbesee but you can buy from a number of online retailers. The cheapest I’ve found is The Craft Department. I haven’t used this company yet, but I’ll definitely be putting in an order soon.
Again, not entirely essential because you can use whatever scissors you have at home, but nice sharp embroidery scissors do make a difference.
Embroidery scissors come in a myriad of colours and styles. Honestly? I have about 10 different pairs and they’re all so pretty. You definitely do not need 10 pairs, I just have a problem.
Milward embroidery scissors are great - they’re pretty affordable, very sharp and comfortable to use. I actually sell some on my website but if you’re not keen on those, these iridescent rainbow scissors by Milward are only £4.49 at Wool Warehouse.
Even cheaper - but just as good - are embroidery snips. I like these colourful snips from Hawthorne Handmade. At less than £4 a pair, they’re a total bargain.
Well, I think that’s everything. If you have any recommendations or questions, please feel free to pop them in the comments below.