I decided my first project would be a Learn a Craft Cross Stitch Kit from Dimensions (72422 Bumble Bee). The kit came with everything I would need including the chart, floss, fabric (11 ct white Aida), needle and hoop frame. The finished design is about 3inches by 3inches. The first instruction was actually to wash your hands, "Scrub them and use lots of soap". I kind of chuckled then remembered this kit was made for children. I decided to live on the edge and skip the first step.
The instructions were thorough, verging on maybe a little too much so. I found myself at times doing things differently because, intuitively, there were easier ways. Overall, I was glad for the hand-holding directions and no matter what, it is always nice to know that something is there to help you out if you need it.
The basic design consisted of four floss colors and was easily completed. It took me a couple of days of sporadic stitching. There were many long, straight rows of one color or another and no skipping from one side of the "canvas" to the other. After stitching the basic bee shape, the instructions directed me to do a back stitch outline of the bee. After that I ran into my first real problem, the french knots required to do the antenna tips. One of them turned out great, completely by accident and the other one looks like crap. I felt better when I read somewhere that some people actually avoid patterns that include French Knots because they find them so difficult. I do not think I will get to that point but I do think it will be some time until I get the hang of them.
Upon completion, I centered the design in the hoop frame and trimmed off the excess fabric. It will stay in there for the time being. My daughter wanted me to put it up in her room but the other day I saw a magnetic cross-stitch frame made by yarntree that I think might be a good home for it.