How to make awesome cross stitch!

If you’re reading this, the chances are you’re either want to make a cross stitch pattern, or you’ve just make a killer cross stitch pattern, either way, you want to make it so awesome the internet skips a beat. Well is really isn’t that hard.
I’m going to start by splitting this guide straight down the center. Read on if you’ve not made the pattern, or skip ahead if you have a pattern already.

I just want it to be an awesome cross stitch!

I’m going to suggest three different ways of making a truly awesome pattern here, each of them are SUPER simple to do.

Remove stuff

The initial idea when trying to make an awesome cross stitch is to add something, but before we get there, think about removing something. The below storm trooper helmet cross stitch originally had a full outline which the designer decided to forgo. Its placement on a white aida hoop makes it really work, and as not many people think to remove bits, its rarely seen, making it more unusual.
stromtrooper helmet cross stitch

Add stuff

Ok, you can add things too. Sometimes its more detail, or an extra joke, but in the case of the below, one of a massive series, is an instagram sepia filter, making it moody and dark.
link detailed cross stitch

Combine stuff

I’ve shown off the work of Johan Ronstrom before, as he’s the true master of the craft, but you can always combine patterns to make something truly weird. The below image takes a sweet Breaking Bad reference and combines it with a kitsch flowery boarder to really make the evil face stand out. Perfect.
kiss the cook breaking bad cross stitch

I have a pattern, but I want to make it break the internet!

Now you have a pattern, the hard but is done for you. All the images below started off as standard patterns and have been edited in some way to really make them pop.
I actually devoted a whole post to making a cross stitch pop but that relied on you not making a pattern yet. The truth however is that you’re going to be doing the same things. In the below image, by replacing the suggested blue threads with a glow in the dark thread, the piece lights up ever so slightly in the day, giving it the illusion of real neon.
neon cross stitch

In addition is this pattern we’ve featured on our best Harry Potter cross stitch as its a brilliant example of pattern hacking.
The original pattern was entirely black, but by choosing to stitch the golden stitch gold, its taken a whole new edge to the piece. I imagine you could go further, stitching in a metallic thread, or even putting small silver details on the snitch.
Sampler Harry Potter Cross Stitch large

Got any other ways of making awesome cross stitch? Drop me a line below.

The Very Best Pop Culture Cross Stitch

We’ve shown the best geeky cross stitch before on our site, but with the lines blurring on popular culture and geek, we feel its time to post some killer cross stitches!

Pokemon

Pokemon go was massive last year, and continues to be a stable app on many of our phones thanks to gen 2, but nothing compares to how awesome the original epic cross stitch is. This version by Eponases shows just how much effort is required with 8 months of stitching.
epic pokemon cross stitch

Video Games

There are frankly loads of video game cross stitches out there now, a large volume of which are mine… but the reason cross stitch got such a cult following back in 2010 was partly due to awesome work being shared on the likes of technabob. This amazing example by psi169 is one of my all time favorites.
Mario Power Ups Cross Stitch

Harry Potter

Harry Potter will ALWAYS (see what I did there?) be a part of our hearts, but there is so much going on in the books and movies, how can you stitch all of them? Well this brilliant Potter inspired sampler by Etsy shop FeltLikeStitching is made particularly poignant by adding a little golden flair.
Sampler Harry Potter Cross Stitch large

Tattoos

1 in 3 people have a tattoo. Hard to get away from now-a-days, but its rare to see a truly brilliant one. However, this rose cross stitch tattoo, whilst not my personal favorite, still goes to show there’s talent out there.
shoulder-rose-cross-stitch-needle-tattoo

Star Wars

When you think of a Star Wars cross stitch there is only one that comes to mind. The “Coruscant Tapestry” has become so popular it was even posted in major English newspapers.
Star-Wars-tapestry-cross stitch
If you wanted to check out some other Star Wars cross stitch I have a book out too.
Star Wars Cross Stitch Cover by rhys turton lord libidan

Star Trek

Whilst I did have a hand in the below pattern, thanks to my Star Trek Cross Stitch Book, the fact that the below sampler is so fantastic is the designer has merged multiple patterns into one, making a super stitch.
star trek sampler cross stitch

Sherlock Holmes

This awesome little sherlock cross stitch is only made all the cooler by it being so small. aliciawatkins occasionally sells them on her Etsy, so keep your eye out for a chance to get one.
sherlock cross stitch little brains

Game Of Thrones

Game of Thrones hit the world my storm, and its clear we’ll get spin offs, but whilst the story is all about being the king or queen, everyone knows its all about owning the map. And now you can thanks to RandomlyGenerated’s Etsy store, featuring this brilliant map you can develop as the stories continue on.
game of thrones map cross stitch

This we missed one off, or want to submit your own? Hit us up with an email or link!

How comics help create cross stitch patterns

Making patterns is pretty simple, however making a good one is an art. We’ve gone over a few ways to make sure the pattern you make has elements that put on the finishing touches, however I’m going to delve into one of those in more detail.

The Story.

This is where comic books come in. Comics and manga have a limited space to convey a lot of emotion, suspense, story and above all still look good.
They do this in a few key ways that allow the image to convey more than just a simple figure standing there, and these are things you should always think about when making a pattern, especially of a character.

Positioning:

Saga the lying cat cross stitch
The first thing you see here is the cat. Then you see what he’s saying. Now whilst this is a direct import from a comic book (Saga) its been positioned slightly off to the right of center, meaning you look at the whole image, and not just the cat. This puts further emphasis on what the cat is saying; his catchphrase (and only thing he says).
If you look into this image a little further it also utilizes the rule of thirds to perfection.

Pose:

green_lantern_cross_stitch_by_saber
Boom! Look at those pose. Green Lantern has not only taken up the whole ring, but his position shows he’s in flight, driving off the screen, creating suspense and movement. Imagine a plain green lantern standing there; which is better?

Drama:

pow-cross-stitch
Whilst the above image is very comic book specific it does show that with the simplest of words “pow” you can create something so much more. The fun colors, the star background, the fact that it only just fits into the ring, its slightly uncentered position, all make it seem super important, punchy and in your face. Drama at its finest.

Combining these things:

superman-cross-stitch-pattern
So what does this actually mean for combining these things together? Well the above pattern (available on Etsy) uses all these things at once for a fantastic cross stitch pattern.
The position on the right makes it clear he’s looking down on the city, the pose suggests he’s mid fight (or enraged), and the drama of the piece thanks to the plain simplistic background but bright crisp detailed superman.

When making my own patterns I ALWAYS try to think of comic books, and how they might be displayed. Not only does it help with each of the above points, but its always a constant source of inspiration. A Green Lantern cross stitch in the right pose can quite easily be turned into any superhero, and with a bit of work any character you want.
If you want to know more about how comics and manga can help make cross stitch patterns with a punch, check out the book Manga Cross-Stitch: Make Your Own Graphic Art Needlework. Its all about how to use the comic book style in pattern making.

Pokemon Mega Ring Cross Stitch

Pokemon Mega Ring Cross Stitch
Title: Mega Ring
Date Completed: February 2016
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 12
Canvas: Bracelet
Colours: 9
Game: Pokemon
I got a cross stitch-able bracelet as part of a competition i won, but it had hung around for about a year. However, whilst recently playing through Pokemon Sun I remembered it, and how perfect it would be for a mega ring!

Spirited Away Cross Stitch

Spirited Away Cross Stitch
Title: Spirited Away
Date Completed: February 2016
Design: Richard J. Evans & Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: Orange
Colours: 11
Anime: Spirited Away
MotoRuxin has been doing some sweet stitches recently on really bright background aida, and it got my fingers itching for something similar. I had a quick google online, and after seeing Adam Savage’s My Neighbour Toronto costume, I got on a bit of an anime binge. And lo and behold, a Spirited Away stitch.

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.

I Believe In Mew Cross Stitch

I Believe In Mew Cross Stitch
Title: I Believe In Mew
Date Completed: January 2017
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 16
Canvas: Pewter
Colours: 6
Video Game: Pokemon
Back to the Pokemon Cross Stitch! I found this image on pinterest, and despite my best efforts I just can’t find the original, so shout out to the original artist. I redesigned most of it to suit my own needs, and to make it more obviously Pokemon. It also has some sweet Kreinik threads around Mew to make him look even more special. Its based off the old myth of Pokemon Blue and Red that there was a hidden Mew under the truck by SS Anne.
I believe in mew

Golden Zelda Cartridge Cross Stitch

Golden Zelda Cartridge Cross Stitch
Title: 24 Carat Zelda
Date Completed: January 2017
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: White
Colours: 9
Video Game: Zelda
DMC recently came out with a 24 carat gold thread to celebrate their 270th Birthday. I managed to get my hands on a very limited quantity, and after throwing a few ideas around I knew that the thing I had to stitch HAD to be the most well known gold object in video game history; the Zelda golden cartridge. There are also some non-24 carat metallic threads in there from both Kreinik and DMC.