ITS RUINED! How to fix common cross stitch mistakes

There are two reasons you might be reading this; either you’re currently sitting over a ruined stitch, or you’ve made a few too many mistakes in the past. The good news is at some point everyone has made the same mistake, so don’t fret!

This is fine
This is fine – honestly, the house is NOT on fire.

First things first

Take a breather. If you’ve just noticed your mistake, don’t fear there is ALWAYS a way out. So lets get into the list:

Knots on the back

I should state now, you need a smaller bit of thread. As standard you should look for about a lower arms length.
If you have a small knot pull on the knot and pull towards to hoop. Then pull all the following threads tight like a shoe lace.
If the knot is big (or there’s no hoop) then this won’t do. Instead start chopping. Make sure to only cut threads involved in the knot and leave as much “free” thread as possible. Once the knot is gone and you have a series of loose strands, start stitching the surrounding area, and stitch over the loose threads. By the time you’ve finished the surrounding areas the threads will be all stitched up. Alternatively you can push the loose threads under the backs of the stitches like you would end a thread.

You’ve spilt something on it

Yeh, normally tea, right? Well this is super simple, just wash it. However as you haven’t yet finished, make sure you don’t iron it.

Missed stitch

This happens a lot. I don’t know of anyone that hasn’t managed to do it. You should really look into future ways to avoid this, like thread breaking, and fabric pens, however you have two possible solutions.

White Out

Let’s say we have a missing stitch marked on our Pikachu preforming iron tail, with a blue blob.
Pikachu pattern missing stitch 1
You could then think about removing the lines from that point on towards the end of the piece, marked with dark blue lines.
Pikachu pattern missing stitch 2
This means you have to be prepared to edit your pattern in a big way, but sometimes is the only way to get it to work. The Pikachu still looks fine:
Pikachu pattern missing stitch 3

Fill it

Depending on the stitch in question, it might not matter a whole lot, much like the Pikachu pattern, you could easily fill it with yellow and no one would ever know.

Unpick it

Well sometimes that’s the easiest way…

Wrong stitch placement

The white out technique about might be a good idea here, however for the most part you probably want to unpick what you have. But let’s say its a massive area, its obvious and you can’t do a white out. Cut it out.
Now this seems harsh, but if you cut out the offending area, and stitch a new small piece of aida on top it’ll be totally hidden by the time you finish. Easy!

Know of any other stitching disasters? Throw me an line and I’ll help!

Clever tricks to make cross stitch patterns pop

We’ve posted a few times now about How to make a cross stitch pattern perfect, How comics help create cross stitch patterns and How to finish a cross stitch pattern, but that’s not where cross stitch patterns end. There’s a final, and easy to master, last step you might want to consider. What little thing will push it just a bit beyond?

glow in the dark fallout 3 cross stitch

Make it shine with Metallics

I’ve stated here metallics, however glow-in-the-dark works too, just look at the awesome Fallout 3 cross stitch above which utilized glow in the dark so that the screen glows, just like the game. Would it have worked in just green? Yes. But now it works that little bit more. Its something a little better.
This can be done to pretty much any cross stitch as no change in actual pattern is needed, just the thread. Try a blending filament on something that’s meant to be wet to give it that extra bit of shine.

Hidden Elements

You can hide things in cross stitch all over the place. One that I love to do is hide text in the backgrounds using font specific to the theme. You can also hide things using the above method, with glow in the darks, hiding a message, or even a totally different pattern within a block of white.
The advantage of this is that the main pattern is once again, completely unaltered, however as soon as dusk falls, your piece takes on a totally different feel.

Can you read it?

This actually covers a few things, however is one of the biggest issues you might have with a pattern; language.

Do you actually need that text?

Samplers are a staple of cross stitch, and whilst that will never change, it does close off that piece to non-native speakers. Now, there are some situations where the text is completely necessary, so don’t avoid it, but think of how you might want to adapt the piece so more people can enjoy it. For example many Pokemon are named differently all over the world, but the English translations are best known.

Distance

Chances are you’ve either made the pattern or you brought the pattern because you could read it. But can others? The best way to do this is to put up the pattern and take a 10 meter walk. Turn around, and ask yourself “can I read that WELL?” The most important thing here is ‘well’, as if a passerby can’t, they won’t bother trying.

5 Cross Stitch Trends of 2017

We’re done with 2016, and its time to look to the future of 2017. Over the last few years we’ve seen trends come and go, and 2017 will clearly be no different. So in order to look forward, we have to start looking back on what has been bubbling under the surface, what pieces were selected for museums, and what new products are out on the market.

90s TV References

Game of Thrones is a big TV moment, and sadly people are all too aware its coming to and end in the next few seasons, however their TV time isn’t dwindling. With 2016’s movies disappointing, people are moving back to 90s TV like Friends, The X Files, and The Simpsons. Pokemon Go has also had a massive impact with Pokemon Cross stitch really hitting it big in late 2016, which is expected to rear its head again with Sun and Moon coming out.
lisa-simpsons-cross-stitch

Kawaii/Cute

Etsy is always a good way to judge whats coming up in the trends. And currently its contemporary cross stitches. The likes of cute elephants, or witty jokes, all with a modern edge.
blue-geometric-elephant-cross-stitch

Art

Cross stitch seems to be branching out from its crafty routes into a true artists medium. The likes of Severija Incirauskaite-Kriauneviciene have been using it as a medium for a while, but museums and galleries have started taking note including The Met and The Victoria & Albert. This is starting to really pick up momentum in China too with their long history of cross stitch.

sampler by Major Alexis Casdagli
Sampler by Major Alexis Casdagli (source: V&A website)

Glow-In-The-Dark

I’ve posted about glow-in-the-dark cross stitch a lot recently, including some key pieces that were made some time ago, however there I think glow in the dark will really hit it big this year, with new glow in the dark aida, Krienik threads getting more popular, and a big push for unique pieces in the contemporary under-culture.
journey-glow-in-the-dark-cross-stitch

Technical Drawings

Be it architecture, blueprints, building instructions or deconstructed burgers, I’ve started seeing a lot of new technical cross stitch. The lines between work and play are starting to merge for all millennials, and with it I think we’ll see more and more of these.
A lot of museums are now looking to include larger and larger architecture exhibits, so maybe this one might move into 2018…

Lightsaber Blueprint Embroidery
Lightsaber Blueprint Embroidery

What do you think will be the best big hitters in 2017?

6 Epic Glow-In-The-Dark Geeky Cross Stitches

Last month we featured a post about glow-in-the-dark cross stitch’s staying power, and we concluded that whilst its got history, and a big backing, not many people are picking it up outside of Halloween. So today I have 6 of the most epic geeky glow-in-the-dark cross stitches to bring you some inspiration!

First up we have a massive secret passion of mine; Journey. Not only has the stitcher here made the scarf glow in the dark (as it does in the game), but the background has some of Journey’s iconic runes.
journey-glow-in-the-dark-cross-stitch

And then we have the master of the night himself, Batman with a clever hidden nighttime message.
batman-glow-in-the-dark-cross-stitch

Whilst doing this post I reached out to many of my cross stitching friends to see what they thought were some of the best pieces, and I was shocked to hear that one of my own pieces, an Assassins Creed glow in the dark cross stitch was one they picked.
Abstergo Poster - Glow In The Dark Cross Stitch

Boo! This clever Pacman inspired piece completely hides the ghost until the lights go out. Not only is this hidden message super cute, but it uses many of the design principles for cross stitch patterns we mentioned last week.
boo-pacman-glow-in-the-dark-cross-stitch

Nothing excites me more than a clever use of geeky pop culture references, and so a light spell from Harry Potter immortalized in glow in the dark cross stitch? A clear winner, that we even featured as part of our Harry Potter cross stitch roundup.
harry-potter-lumos-glow-in-the-dark-cross-stitch

Finally we have some works by StitchFight, who I’ve not only exhibited with, but been inspired to make a space invader cross stitch too.
A keen glow in the dark cross stitcher, he’s probably best known for his Kick-Ass cross stitch, however I just love his superhero series.
spiderman glow in the dark cross stitch
iron-man-glow-in-the-dark-cross-stitch

5 Sherlock Holmes Cross Stitches to Get You Into Sherlock Fever

We’ve been waiting a while, but on new years day we have the first of the new series of Sherlock. So to get everyone in the Shelock-y spirit here’s my personal top 5 Holmes cross stitches!

sherlock holmes baker street cross stitch patternsherlock-gif-inconvenient
I remember in the books laughing silly at this moment, and its oh so similar font to the show…

sherlock cross stitch little brains
I think the size of the piece only goes to show just how far Sherlock is from the regular human. He has a long way to come…

sherlock cross stitchsherlock-gif-narrative
He makes everyone feel so small. And this classic stitch works wonders by showing just how majestic he is.

sherlock cross stitch by_melefim
The classic phrase (even though its constantly misquoted) makes the perfect sampler with Cumberbatch himself.

il_340x270-691609581_gn70sherlock-gif-sociopath
You can get this awesome one as a pattern from GeekyStitches Etsy store.

Best Free Cross Stitch Generators

Free Online cross stitch generators:

patternsforyou.com (FREE) – 7.5/10

Based on 1042 reviews

myphotostitch.com (FREE) – 7/10

Based on 302 reviews

StitchBoard (FREE) – 6/10

Based on 57 reviews

craftdesignonline (FREE) – 5/10

Based on 46 reviews

Pic2Pat (FREE) – 5/10

Based on 78 reviews

Free iPad cross stitch generator:

Cross Stitch Saga (FREE ($4 upgrade)) – 9/10

Based on 127 reviews

Free download cross stitch generator:

Stitch Art Easy! (FREE) – 4/10

Based on 14 reviews

Cross Stitch Instructions

What’s In The Kit & How To Prepare

  1. If this is a kit, it will contain aida fabric, needle, threads, and the pattern. You will also need a small pair of scissors.
  2. If it is a kit, use the aida fabric supplied, if not, you can use any size aida, however 14 count is the most common. The higher the number, the smaller your finished project will be. The count means there are that many stitches to an inch in length.
  3. It is best to start in the middle of your project. This is marked on the pattern by small triangles along the outside. To find the center, fold the fabric, then fold it again. Once opened up, where the creases cross, is the center.
  4. To help you during stitching you can also put your fabric in a hoop. This will increase the tension, and allow a neater final product. However you shouldn’t keep your project in a hoop for a long time, as it will put heavy creases in it.

Following Your Chart

  1. One square = one cross stitch
  2. Ever symbol on the pattern refers to a specific thread. Use the color key to select the color.
  3. Backstitch is marked by solid lines. Do the cross stitches first, then the backstitch on top.
  4. Some patterns may contain 1/4, 1/2 or 3/4 stitches, refer to the key at the end of these instructions to identify these.

How To Stitch

  1. Each thread is made up of 6 individual strands. Unless stated otherwise, use two strands for the cross stitches, and one for the backstitch.
  2. Keep the length of thread short to avoid knotting. The best length is the distance between tip of your longest finger, to your elbow. If the thread starts to twist, let the needle freely dangle and wait until it stops spinning.
  3. Each cross stitch is composed of two separate stitches. The diagonal stitch going from left to right, and the diagonal stitch going from right to left.
  4. You should always do one row of stitches, doing only one diagonal of each stitch, then go back and go the top stitch.
  5. You should always have the same diagonal direction on top of the stitches, normally the top stitch goes from left to right.
  6. Stitch colors in blocks. Start with darker colors, and go lighter.
  7. You can either fix your threads with a small knot on the back, or you can anchor the thread. To anchor your thread, pass the needle from the back of the fabric to front. Make sure not to pull it completely through the fabric, but to leave an inch of thread. As you make stitches, try to ensure the end of the thread lays under them (on the back side).
  8. To end a section of thread you can either tie another small knot, or you can weave it through the backs of the cross stitches for about an inch, and then snip the rest off. You can use this principle when starting a new thread once you have already started your project.
  9. When moving from one section of cross stitches to another, when in the same color, end the thread, and start again, do not carry the thread under the fabric, as it will show.
  10. If you’re left handed, you may prefer to hold your project upside down.


After Care

  1. After finishing you should ALWAYS wash your project. This is to stop any discoloration over time. Simply place the project flat into a bowl of cold water with 2-3 drops of liquid hand wash mixed in.
  2. After washing you may iron your project. Put the design face down and iron on a low setting. If there are a lot of knots on the back of your project, you can iron through a towel.