It's no surprise that cross stitch is the most popular embroidery method. The stitches are easy to learn, and there are a variety of fabrics and patterns to suit every style.
It can be done in large, easy embroidery stitches or in smaller fine, detailed stitches.
This embroidery method requires an evenweave fabric so the squares are a consistent size.
You can also use gingham as a base fabric. This technique is called chicken scratch embroidery.
Some people like to embellish with stitches on preprinted pictures. Others count colored squares or squares with symbols in them to follow a charted pattern, as I did for the counted butterfly ornament in the photo below.
Any beginner can quickly master the basic stitches found in counted cross stitch instructions.
The simple x stitch forms the base of the entire design. Other stitches form accents.
If you think about a pixilated graphic, that's the same concept of small squares making up a design. But stitching with thread has been around a lot longer than computer screens!
Make two diagonal lines to form an X.
Be consistent about which diagonal is on the bottom and which is on top. If you do one backwards, your finished work won't have a smooth finish.
You can do a whole row of bottom diagonals then come back and cross the tops. That's it!
There are only a few supplies required to get started. Aida cloth is easiest for beginners because it's slightly stiff and has the squares clearly visible. On other evenweave fabrics and linens, cross stitches are usually worked over two threads. If the fabric is flimsy, you might need an embroidery hoop or frame to hold it smooth as you work.