Novice to  Xstitching? Start with a simple project. Choose cross stitch patterns that uses the traditional "X" in the whole project. By the way, all my XStitchArt patterns use the traditional "X" in the whole project.
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Starting with a simple project also means choosing simple designs using from 10 to 20 colors.  Lesser colors means larger chunks of colors in the pattern, lesser interspersed colors which can make stitching challenging. As you get comfortable, transition to bigger,larger projects.
If you have a Xstitch pattern that you want to start but want it larger or smaller than the  specifications of the pattern. You can make the necessary adjustments by using a smaller aida count if you want a small version or using a larger count aida count if you want a larger version. You also in turn have to adjust your embroidery floss thread count from 1 to 2 to 3 strands depending on your chosen aida count.  
Xstitching takes time and patience. "Haste makes waste" so they say. Take is slow. If you easily get bored like me...I usually have 2 to 3 projects going on at one time so if I get tired of doing one, I shift to my other projects.
Wash hands before resuming your cross stitch project. No oily lotions on hands.
Xstitching is a hobby. Hobby is defined as an activity or interest pursued outside one's regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure or relaxation.
- Definition from Answers.com
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I make a copy of my original XStitch pattern and I use highlighter pens of different colors to mark off on the pattern the parts I have just stitched.
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I leave my stitching out so I can do a few stitches for 15-30 mins even on busy days without having to collect and set up everything.
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Make a spot in your home for your stitching so you don't have to put it out each time.Your "STITCHING SPACE". I have a covered box in my "stitching space" where I keep my stitching supplies-thread, scissors,highlighter,extra needles, etc for a particular project. When I stop stitching, I just put everything back in the box till the next time.Or have a basket by your favorite chair to put your project and supplies in. Easy to grab when you want to move to some other place to do your stitching.