1. Press the fabric to remove any creases. Turn under 0.5cm on each edge and tack to prevent fraying. Roll, rather than fold the fabric when it is not being stitched to prevent further creasing.
2. Sort your threads by following the key provided with your chart or kit. If two colours are similar, they may be identified by counting the number of lengths in each colour. Write each code number against a hole in the thread organiser and thread the appropriate lengths through the hole. You may need more than one hole where there are more than six lengths of any one colour
3. Find the centre of the fabric by folding in half each way and marking the centre of each side with a pin. Then follow the pins along the lines in the fabric until they meet and mark this central point with a pin or a tacking stitch. The centre of a chart is usually marked by arrows inwards halfway along each edge—follow the arrows from each side and the top and make a pencil mark where they meet. Begin stitching at this point, which is the centre of the design—if there is no stitch here, count on the chart and fabric to where the nearest stitch is, and start stitching there.
To keep stitch tension even, you may find it easier to use a frame or an embroidery hoop.