My friend is a fan of mangas and Japanese culture in general. She is, in fact, a jokingly-self-called fujoshi.
So I made something pretty and neat to hang in her room : some elegant kanjis to anyone who is not aware of the meaning.
I must say I am exceedingly proud of my idea and she was very pleased with her gift.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
I have already done cross stitch tutorials in the past so I'm just going to repeat what I said about cross stitching.
Those of you who are familiar with cross stitching can go directly to step 3.
You will need aida cloth or other fabric fit for cross stitch. The size of the image in the end will depend on your type of cloth and how far apart the holes in it are.
You will need black embroidery floss.
An embroidery hoop and a small screwdriver will be very helpful but you may do it without hoop (if you use a hoop though, you will need a screwdriver). I prefer wooden ones to elastic plastic ones.
You will obviously need scissors and a needle (embroidery needles are usually bigger and less sharp than sewing needles, and their eye is bigger).
You may find all of the above in a fabric shop.
I made it into a banner but you may want to frame your embroidery, if so you will need a frame. I usually advise to wait until the cross stitch is finish to take the measures.
Step 2: How to Cross Stitch
Cross stitch is made of little crosses side by side which make a big picture (a bit like pixel art).
The hoop is used to stretch the fabric and make it easier to stitch on it. Take the two circles apart. Put the smaller one on a table and place you fabric over it. Use the screwdriver on the bigger circle to widen it. Put the bigger circle on the smaller circle and trap the fabric between the two. Ajust the fabric before tightening the bigger circle.
Your embroidery floss is made of 6 threads. Cut a length of floss. Take two threads out of six and pull them through the eye of your needle. You don't make knots before cross stitching as you do when you sew.
Take a scrap of fabric and practice as follows before actually starting your project.
Pull your thread through a hole in the fabric, from under (the wrong side) to the top (the right side). Your needle must not catch the threads of the fabric. Pull the floss out, but not entirely, and leave a little length under the fabric.
Try to visualize the little squares in the fabric. You are at the bottom left corner of one square, now put your needle across it in the top right corner and pull through (then again, not entirely). You should have made a diagonal half-cross.
Put the needle (now it should be under the fabric) through the hole that is just under your last one. As you do this, the floss will make a small loop under the fabric. Trap the loose end of your floss in it. On the right side of your fabric, you are now at the bottom right corner of your square. Put the needle across it into the top left hole. It should make a tiny cross.
When you have large areas to cross stitch, make all the half-crosses before going back and finishing them. It allows you to save floss and to make it look neat. All your crosses should be in the same direction (from bottom left to top right, and then from bottom right to top left, or the opposite, but stay coherent).
You can find several videos on Youtube on how to cross stitch if you think I am not clear enough.
To stop your thread and use another one, finish the half-cross you are doing, then go on the wrong side of the fabric. Stick your needle under a strand of floss, and then under the small loop you just created. Tighten and cut the floss.
Step 3: Stitching the Pattern
Here is the pattern that I made, you can print it or follow it from your screen. To keep track of what you are doing, I suggest you print it, start stitching and colour what you have done every 5 crosses or so with a pencil. Fold your fabric in 4 to find the centre of your fabric and start stitching fom the middle, it will prevent you from arriving to the edge and running out of fabric. The middle of the pattern is shown by the red lines.
Step 4: What to Do With Your Embroidery
For once I didn't frame it but made it into a banner that can be hung to a dooknob. I will not go into the details of how I did it as it is still quite fuzzy in my mind :p
I used another fabric for the back side and two wooden sticks to straighten the fabric, at the top and bottom of the banner.
You can also frame it or make it into a cushion or anything else. Anyway, measure your embroidery and take margins into account. If you want to frame it, I advise you to follow this nice instructable.