Not only is cross stitch a fun and creative hobby, it’s a really mindful activity too. It’s something to keep your brain and hands occupied without using a device or looking at a screen.
It’s also really satisfying and confidence-building to produce artwork. Because of this, cross stitch is a great hobby for kids - I actually started cross stitching as a child, and look at me now!
Cross stitch is a type of embroidery that’s made up of stitched crosses of different colours to form a beautiful image or pattern. It’s a relatively easy form of embroidery, making cross stitch great for both beginners and experts alike.
If your child is showing interest in starting cross stitch as a hobby, here are a few ways to encourage their passion, whether you’re a cross stitcher yourself or not.
1. Suggest practising cross stitch on scrap fabric
Let’s be real - no one ever gets it perfect on their first try at a new craft, and I think it’s important to learn how to stitch your crosses correctly before working on your first full cross stitch piece.
There are two different methods to stitching each cross - you can either complete a row of half stitches (////) and then work back (\\\\) to complete each X, or complete each X as you go. Whichever method your child chooses, the top thread should always slant in the same direction.
Give your child a scrap piece of aida (cross stitching fabric) to practise stitching their crosses, so that they get the gist and can make as many mistakes as they need to without worrying. It will also help them figure out which cross stitching method suits them best.
2. Pick a cross stitch kit specifically for children or absolute beginners
Cross stitch kits are great for beginners, because they include everything you need to create the artwork. Most beginners won’t already have the needles, threads, embroidery hoops and all the other accessories you need for cross stitching.
Most cross stitch designers will have kits and patterns that are suitable for beginners or made specifically for children, like our Meloca Designs Cross Stitch for Kids.
These designs are much more simple than advanced cross stitch patterns, and along with all the accessories, they come with easy-to-follow instructions.
3. Choose a fun cross stitch design
Some cross stitch designs can be a little old fashioned and drab - that’s part of the reason why I decided to start making my own super colourful cross stitch designs.
Complicated or dated designs often don’t really appeal to kids (especially those just starting out) and I believe that if they enjoy the design, they’ll be much more likely to stick with cross stitching.
There are loads of fun and simple cross stitch patterns out there, for example Sew Sophie creates lots of adorable cross stitch kits that are perfect for beginners.
4. Give guidance and assistance when they ask for it
Often, the best way to learn something new is by figuring it out on your own, and inevitably making mistakes - by working out where you went wrong, you're more likely to remember how to do it the correct way.
The wonderful thing about cross stitch is that you can really easily unpick threads if mistakes are made, meaning you can re-do sections or start the whole thing over if you need to.
A fun fact that your kid might enjoy (and will make mistakes less of a big deal) is that in cross stitch, unpicking stitches is called frogging, because “rip it, rip it” sounds like the noise frogs make - “ribbit ribbit”.
It can be really tempting to jump in and help when your child makes an error, but try to take a step back and let them figure it out, so that they can learn. Letting them learn independently will be great for their confidence too.
Let them know that if they really feel like they need a bit of guidance with their new cross stitch hobby, they can ask you and you’ll happily help them.
5. Get their pals involved with cross stitch
Kids are way more likely to be interested in something if their friends or peers think it’s cool too.
You could help your child set up an after school craft club, or throw a one-off cross stitch party to try to get their friends involved.
If your child’s friends aren’t interested in cross stitch, try looking for an already existing craft club - you might be surprised by all the exciting crafty things going on at your local community centre.
There are also loads of online groups for those who aren’t able to attend an in-person club. I’m sure someone in the Meloca Designs Cross Stitch Facebook Group will know of some kids’ clubs to join!
It’s worth highlighting again that you don’t have to be good at the craft yourself to encourage and help your child pursue cross stitching. There are plenty of informative blog posts and YouTube videos to fill in any gaps of knowledge.
For a few extra tips and tricks, take a look at my Beginners’ Guide to Cross Stitch.