This was one of the first patterns I ever made, based on a t-shirt of the same design, back in 2009. I used to sell a lot of Pacman and Space Invader cross stitch patterns, and this was one of them, so enjoy saving £5!
Having mastered the art of cross stitch you’re now looking to display it, however there is often an over looked step. When you’ve been stitching a while you’ll find out exactly why washing is important. But even I would admit I never really gave it credit when I started, and I’ve seen the problems first hand.
Its all about finger juice. Yeh, you heard me. More specifically the thin layer of oil around your fingers to help you grip things. This oil is fairly innocuous, and doesn’t do any damage on its own, however it bonds with the thread. When it bonds the thread takes on the same characteristics and can grip to things. Specifically dirt. To make things worse, if you leave your thread out in the sun it will brown (quite considerably). Even worse if you’ve ironed without washing!
Unless you have yourself a house trained raccoon, you have to do the washing yourself. And its not obvious as you might think, but don’t worry, its easy. So lets jump in.
The problem with washing cross stitch is that the threads and aida aren’t treated dyes like your clothes. As a result they bleed heavily. In addition if you use special threads like metalics or glow in the dark threads they have metals or plastics in them which react differently. But there is a tried and tested way you can clean ANY cross stitch. This is even what you need to do if you’ve got dirt on your ironed piece.
There are two things you need. Ones a bowl, big enough to hold your piece (it can be rolled to fit, but don’t fold it). The second can be slightly harder to find; non-colored, non-bleached, non-abrasive dish soap. This is actually easy to find, but its always in an obscure place to see in the super market, so you might have to nose around a little bit.
Once you have everything, fill the bowl with water. COLD water. The colder the better in fact. This is the thing that stops the threads loosing their color. Add 1 drop of dish soap per 5 liters (a normal washing up bowl is about 10). Then very slowly pass your hand through the bowl to mix it, making sure no bubbles form. Then place the cross stitch on top and let it sink. Wait 15 minutes.
That was washing. Simple as letting it sit for 15 minutes. All it does it wash the oils through so they are more dilute so won’t bond to the thread. As a result you don’t need to rub it off the cross stitch. However all that water has left the threads weak, and the aida very pliable. Drying the correct way is the only way to make sure the finished piece is flat. You often pull the aida out of shape slightly when stitching, and the washing will release all of that stretch, leaving your piece warped. As a result we dry in two stages.
Firstly, its VERY wet, so we need to take the bulk of water off. Get a towel large enough to place the cross stitch on, and roll from one edge to the other. Leave this for 5-15 minutes depending on the size of the piece (the larger pieces need longer, but if you’ve used plastic canvas it needs at least 20 minutes).
Once the time is up unroll. This stage could have a whole entry devoted to itself, there are a lot of different ways to do it, and people have come up with some creative ideas. However I’ll tell you two ways. The idea here is to stretch the canvas out again.
Most people call this pinning as, you guessed it, there are pins involved. The first way does involve pins, but if you don’t have any to hand, move to the second option. You want to have a flat surface you can pin. I know that might be unlikely in some houses, so you can also use a flat bit of aida left over (or even a bed sheet). If your backing is fabric, stretch that out first to make sure its flat. Then take your cross stitch and place it on top. Put a pin in a corner. Then in the opposite corner pull it as far as possible, and pin it. Do this all they way around the cross stitch. You should put a pin every inch/2 cm around the edge. Then let it dry some more! It’s likely to take about 2 days to dry fully.
No pins? No problem. Get two pegs and roll your project on its longest side. Do it tightly so there is 1 cm gap in the center. Then pin the edges down so the roll holds. This method uses the aida against itself, meaning it can’t warp. But it also means it takes AGES to dry. I would give it at least a week before you unroll. I would also make sure you put it somewhere dry and breezy instead of damp and humid.
So its washed, great. Now it won’t get dirty in the sun. However what happens if you accidentally spill something on it? If its something like fruit juice it will stain. However there is a super easy way to stop this. Ironing. Basically it heats the threads up enough that they secrete their own natural oils, which seal the threads (this is how sheep stay dry if you’ve ever wondered). But if you throw the iron on top of your cross stitch its going to flatten it, so lets go about this the right way.
Get a towel and dampen it slightly. You could do this under the tap, but make sure its not dripping if you pull it taught. Its only meant to be JUST damp. I tend to iron before the washing is fully dry, so I use a towel in the washing. Heat the iron up to the highest level, and remove the steam. Cross stitch face up on the ironing board, towel on top. Then iron, using a large amount of pressure.
Remember I was talking about getting dirt on your finished piece? Well now any dirt should just wash away! Not too hard, was it? Just need to frame it now or if you have too many like me; you’ll need to store it somewhere.
Title: Multipass Date Completed: June 2016 Design: Lord Libidan Count: 14 Canvas: Black Colours: 18 Film: The Fifth Element Continuing my 80s sci-fi vibe I rewatched the remastered fifth element, just at the time when loot crate where sending out a multiples, and I knew I had to stitch one up. Its based on the screen accurate model, which has some unique data in it; like leelo being classed as a man…
Aime Cox of aimecx.com originally wrote this super sweet post on how to do free Pokemon cross stitch patterns yourself online. Not only is it a great guide, but it uses Porygon as the example! However, if you just want a quick Pokemon pattern, I have free Pokemon cross stitch patterns too
I love Pokémon, nowhere near as much as I love Digimon but that might well be another post. My boyfriend Alex also loves Pokémon, probably more than I do and probably more than the non-nerd society thinks a 28-year old man should.
As I’m such a bitchin’ girlfriend, I decided to create a Pokémon cross stitch for Alex to make up for being a bit cruddy at chores, working all the time and worst of all, dual-screening during Masterchef. So, Project Porygon was born.
Before I get started, I must mention that there are some alternatives available, Makibird-Stitching on DeviantArt has created some spiffing patterns that you can download for personal use. You can also pay for templates from various etsy stores, but I’m a much bigger fan on investing about 15 minutes to save myself some dolla dolla bill y’all.
This method can also be used to create your own not-so-simple Pokémon cross stitch patterns.
1. Find a good source of Pokémon sprites
There’s literally a truck-load available. I like this one, and this one. Visit one of these links, and find an angle of a Pokémon that appeals to you. I chose the one in the triangle below.
Generation 4 was a strong one for porygon.
Right click, or drag and drop, to save the sprite to your desktop.
2. Convert the sprite to a JPG
Most of the sprites available are PNGs, the next program we’re going to use can’t cope with transparent backgrounds so it’s important to convert the file in order to have a white background.
If you’re on a Mac, you can open the file in Preview, select ‘Duplicate’ and then change the file format to JPG.
If you’re on a PC, you can do the same in MS Paint by opening the file and selecting ‘Save As’ . Again, you need to choose ‘JPG’ from the drop-down.
You could also use these opportunities to trim any excess white space off the image – this will make your pattern easier in the long run.
3. Upload to My Photo Cross Stitch
This site is so cool considering it’s totally free. Visit this link and select ‘Advanced’ from the primary navigation at the top of the page.
Now, click ‘Select Image’ and upload your shiny new JPG. There’s a field to add the maximum number of thread colours. Be prepared to play around with this as each Pokémon is different. I find 5-8 is enough.
Pick coloured boxes or symbols, or both, I like coloured boxes but each to their own. Then simply select ‘Make Pattern’ et voilà! A beautiful pattern that you can download as a PDF, print or save it to a cloud drive for use on the road.
Porygon cross stitch final piece, still working out what to do with it.
And that’s it. Let me know in the comments how you got on with creating your own pattern!
I went over how to make a cross stitch pattern a few weeks ago, however if you want to make a video game cross stitch, you actually have a slightly different set of options.
There are a few reasons for this, but the main ones are:
You can edit your pattern heavily
You work on a very small scale
You work with a limited color palette
In short, you’re making far more of the pattern than you would normally. In the below example I’m going to go through the whole guide using a space invader being eaten by pacman.
Collecting your sprites
If you weren’t aware, the little characters in video games are called sprites. And the first step for any project is to get the sprites needed for your project. There are loads of dedicated sprite websites out there such as The Spriters Resource and Sprite Database, you could always search google images for the relevant characters like I have. However you do it, make sure you save your images as PNG. This is to make sure the image quality is still super high.
Resize your images
The chances are good that your sprites are the correct size to start, however you’ll want to zoom in on the sprite to check, I would suggest something like paint, but Photoshop works well too. You’re looking for is one pixel being over more than one pixel when zoomed in. If this is the case, you need to resize the image down to make sure its perfect. As you can see in the image below, we’ve resized the Space Invader. However, both pixel characters look good together, but I want an image where it looks like Pacman is eating the Invader, so I’ve made Pacman bigger.
In the example below, I’m happy with the image I have, however this would be the time you may way to change things. This could be changing hair color, adding parts, removing parts or adding a background. The options are yours. The great thing about video game cross stitch is you can do ANYTHING to the sprites you want.
So now you have to make a choice, and its based on colors. One way (option 1) we’ll manually pick the colors out, the other way (option 2) this will all be done for us. Colors are very important for any pattern, if one color is slightly off, it ruins the look, however in video game cross stitch this is even more important, as the color of Pikachu is THAT yellow, so you need to make sure its perfect. There are two questions I ask myself; how many colors are there? and Will an off color ruin it? If the answer is more than 20 colors and it won’t ruin the pattern to have one off color, then go for option 2. Otherwise, always go option 1.
You’re willing to pick out your on colors; great! This is how I do most of my patterns. The even better bit about this however is you can do it all from your image editing program. The first thing you need to do, is check the options. You’ll see that you can add a grid over your image. Well, this is the grid of your fabric, you’ve just made a pattern!
But you do still need to pick colors. This is where a pattern chart comes in handy; you can see one here for DMC threads. You now need to select each color and pick a thread. Once you’re done, you can start stitching!
The second option is a lot easier. We’re going to use an online pattern maker called MyPhotoStitch.com. Its super easy to use, just save your image, upload it, and it spits out the pattern, colors and all!
I often get asked “What’s the best cross stitch pattern software?” , and it shouldn’t surprise you that there are lots of options. This post details the most used programs on PC, Mac, Online and iPad with feefo review scores. Updated May 2017 with new discount codes.
KG Chart has a fantastic set of stitches, incredible ease of use, and a lot of regular, and worthwhile updates. It’s been created by a non-stitcher, but their understanding of our needs is great. There’s also forums and an email for support and issues. Its the second most used program out there, and for £24 is a steal. The only thing I would note however is the colors can sometimes be a little red-based. I would suggest casting an eye over them to make sure. I would also add you can’t save as a PDF without downloading another (free) program called CutePDF.
Based on 1024 reviews You should also use the code “PCS11UPG” to save $30 when you buy!
PC Stitch is basically a carbon copy of KG Chart, which just so happened to be developed at the same time. PC Stitch is the most used software however due to better marketing. Its advantages lie in better color picking (but I would still cast an eye over them to make sure), and 2000 pre-programmed patterns. It does have its negative though, as PC Stitch uses its own unique pattern files that can’t be opened without using PC Stitch’s separate pattern viewer. However, recently many competitors have unofficially included the ability to open, view and edit PC Stitch files. You can save as PDF using PC Stitch.
WinStitch, and its Mac based brother MacStitch, have a lot going for them. With a massive 30 thread types, and great ease of use, its a fantastic competitor. However, its not been widely picked up due to its fairly young age (3 years), so does not have as much following as KG Chart or PC Stitch. In addition it only gets updated yearly. If you’ve decided against our top two programs however, its definitely worth a shot. You can save as PDF.
Jane Greenoff’s latest pattern maker. Unlike the previous versions that were overly complicated for new users, the new Istitch has been built with simplicity in mind. In addition there are also video guides (if you purchase the DVD version) to help new designers. As a result its the easiest to get into at first, however finding more advanced features is a little difficult, meaning a serious designer might consider another program. You can either buy the DVD version with guide videos, or the download without videos for the same price. The main issue however is that there are no updates to the program, and based on Istitch2 being a paid update of the previous version, I’d imagine you’d have to buy a new one every time Windows updates…
A very new program by the online cross stitch giant Sew and So. Its literately just been developed, and so its hard to comment on its long term prospects, however that’s also where my concerns lie. Its unlikely that an online retailer has a coder on the permanent staff, meaning its unlikely to get updates, and if they do, it will likely be a costed upgrade. A little much to as considering the high price point to begin. Its not marketed well however, which suggest this may be a Beta test for a further update. Watch this space?
The principle of MyriaCross is fantastic. A French mother wanted to learn coding, so created one of the most jam packed programs out there by a single coder. Its a fantastic program. The only thing that bothers me is that in recent updates its been updated to include other sewing styles, and cross stitch is getting less and less focus. However, it can open edit, and save PCStitch files, which is the only non-official one I know of that can do this.
Easy Cross is a nice middle man. It has a lot of great features, lots of included patterns, and loads of threads. However its a little lacking all over. There are better options out there. Equally there are a lot worse programs out there, and with a nice price point can’t really steer you too wrong.
Of all the software reviewed, this is the closest to Jane Greenoff’s previous pattern makers. However that said, there is a reason she stopped creating them 15 years ago – there are MUCH better options out there for cheaper. Apparently DP Software didn’t get the message with its frankly over inflated cost. It also works on Mac, with an unexplained £9 price difference.
You don’t hear much about STOIK programs, and I’ve never understood why. They do a great job, and are reasonably priced. They are a larger team, so updates are regular, and there is good support. The only reason is doesn’t come higher on my list is its lack of backing from the community. If you have an issue, many would suggest you change to KG Chart or PC Stitch, where there is a wealth of help and guides from the stitching community.
Stitch Painter does a lot, and is a nice alternative, but after 3 months of using it, I still can’t understand why the price is so high. Its complicated to use comparatively, and doesn’t have enough image editing capabilities. However, it does have a full version demo which doesn’t appear to run out…
HobbyWare is very much like STOIK, in fact, its pretty much identical. However, there have not been any updates for 3 years (despite often website updates), which seems a little odd. However, their customer care team is one of the best around, which is something a lot of the competitors don’t have.
StitchCraft is where many post Jane Greenoff stitchers end up. I’m not sure why, however you can definitely see the design reflected through. It is a little limited compared to its competitors, and has a highish price, but its unlimited demo is great if you want to try it out before hand. However if you enjoy the program and are thinking of buying an upgrade, I would suggest HobbyWare which has slightly more options, but the design is exactly the same.
The only free fully fledged program on the list. Well, its free, and with that comes limited use. However, if you’re looking to spend as little as possible, Stitch Art Easy! will definitely do the job. Its got everything you might need, and really helps you get your head around making patterns. If you want a little more, you have the opportunity to purchase one of the other programs, so its a great starter program. If you do upgrade, WinStitch or MacStitch is most similar in design.
All of the other reviews on this page are developed programs, officially released into the world. Cstitch however is slightly different. Its opensource. This means that no one owns the program. If you want something added to it, code it and add it yourself. This could be a little annoying, but if you got a coder friend, you might be onto a winner here.
As the only paid online creator I’ve reviewed, its no wonder patterncreator.com comes last on price, however, I would stress that its definitely the best of the online options. I would much prefer to buy a more complete version to download. It has everything you need, but limited to a maximum of 250×250 stitching area.
All online pattern makers have one big problem: limitations. However, of all the online pattern makers I’ve used, patternsforyou.com has the least. With a large 300×300 stitching area, quite good image editing and color selection, its the best one.
With a limited 150×120 stitch area its a little annoying, but the real beauty of myphotstitch.com is the ease of use. Select your image, and it does it all for you. The only options you get are changing the size (it defaults to maximum), but its the easiest of all pattern makers around. However, that said, I would suggest using the advanced version (also free), which gives a few more options.
As a craft pattern app maker, you would expect craftdesignonline to be quite good, and it is, however its clearly make for the younger market, with very limited image editing and a 100×100 stitch area. It does have a cool feature of sharing your patterns though!
If you go a poll of online pattern makers, Pic2Pat comes up fairly high. There are many arguments in its favor, such as 4 thread types, ease of use, etc. However the set sizes of the output are a little annoying.
This is the Mac version of WinStitch, our third place PC option, and whilst they are very similar, there are a few differences. That said, the creators are keen to make sure they are both kept up to date at the same regularity and the Mac version has been catching up with the PC versions recently. Its a simple to use program, it has loads of options and works super smoothly. As its a Mac program you can save as PDF natively.
OK, I tricked you. Stitchfiddle is actually an online program, however with a tonne of great features it easily competes with paid software. With some of the prices of Mac software being through the roof (see below) being free really helps StitchFiddle’s case. An easy interface, DMC & Anchor threads and a very large (2000×2000) stitching area.
This is very similar to the old Jane Greenoff pattern making software, however its updated yearly, has a limited selection, is complicated, and is VERY expensive considering its closest (and arguably a lot better) alternative is a quarter of the cost.
Another complicated to use Mac cross stitch program, Stitch Painter has lots of options, however has a limited ability to edit images, and a very high cost. On the positive side, there is a full demo which never appears to run out.
Made on a cross stitch forum this drag and drop pattern maker was abandoned mid-way through develpment, however if you already have a pixel image you want to convert its the easiest to use software across any device. It also has the best color selection of any program I’ve tested. It eventually became a free online version also reviewed here called PixelCraft.
I’ve revisited this review for 2017 after a load of new features came out. It was the best before, however now its even better. Simply put, if you have an ipad or iphone, get it. Cross Stitch Saga is a true competitor to the desktop paid versions, and as its free, even better. The new upgrade to pro gives you more stitch options, and a larger aida area to play with. Unless you’re explicitly going to need those features, don’t bother getting the upgrade, but for its low price its a steal if you want it. It has the functionality of an easy to use, basic pattern maker, but its all on ipad AND iphone (and its not hard to use either).
StitchSketch is created by the maker of KG Chart, and improves on many features KG Chart does not have. Its a fantastic program, which works almost as well as any desktop program. The only down side however is the cost (but what’s £5 compared to the highest priced review of £137?).
Cross Stitch Camera works, you guessed it, with your camera. It takes a photo (which can be from your phone’s memory) and makes a pattern based on the largest dimension you set. It does not have amount of colors to pick, it doesn’t allow for post editing, and it doesn’t produce a pdf, however, its color selections are very good. Its a bit of a quirky app, and a little lacking in features.
A new app, with a lot of potential, however due to a massive amount of bugs its yet to be actually usable ongoing. Once it has some bug fixes though, the app looks like a winner, able to open a lot of paid PC files for editing, image upload, a great color selection tool, and a highlighter so you know which bits of a pattern you’ve stitched.
A fantastic app, with fantastic reviews from anyone that uses it. Its easily comparable to the likes of paid PC software, however makes use of touch screen andorid devices to give a really good usability. The only real negatives are that it doesn’t come with instructions or a tutorial, and isn’t updated as often as other apps (yet still once a quarter). They also constantly add to the apps core features, so it will continue to develop and get better over the near future.
For only a dollar its hard to say anything bad about this app, however using this app for the last 3 months, I know its pattern making ability is great. However, without the ability to print or transfer the patterns to PC its not a fantastic part of your pattern making arsenal. You can share it via intergrated social media, however you also have to have the app to access the file, and you can’t lock it down.
Below you’ll find a full table review made by myself with all the features:
Title: Ecruteak City Date Completed: May 2016 Design: Lord Libidan Count: 14 Video Game: Pokemon
After playing with a miniature arcade cabinet, I wondered just how small I could go. I’ve been throwing a lot of ideas around following a trip to Japan, and I started by making a torii gate. It just evolved from there. I’ve made the Pokemon Ecruteak City. Ecruteak City is actually different in the anime, manga, and games, and so this is a combination of a series of images and video to make the most generalised city. The bell tower (tin tower originally) is the main feature of the city, which has 9 floors with purple roofs, complete with a golden stand on top, to draw the legendary Pokemon Ho-oh. The opposite side sits the ill-fated burnt tower, with only 2/3 floors left, where the legendary Lugia. Both are on raised land masses to add to their height. You can also find a Pokemon center, gym, PokeMart, zen garden, two red bridges, a pagoda, cherry tree, a blank house tile (which has always featured in both games and anime), and trees surrounding the whole city. It’s 3.5″ by 3.5″, and 4″ tall.
A horrific thought, I know; but with many cross stitch forums suffering with low engagement, and the size of haberdasheries getting smaller in all the major stores, is it time to face facts?
I know, a graph straight away! How mean of me. But its the best way of showing the facts (and there’s only one, I promise!). I’ve used google trends to create a report since 2005, showing cross stitch and embroidery.
The first thing to note, is that they’ve both dropped since their initial high (more on that later), but it also shows that cross stitch has JUST dropped. Other than monthly variance, the general trend is down. But does this actually show you a true story? I don’t think it does. There are three main reasons for this:
Initial guide surge
Initial guide surges: Back in the earlier days of the internet, you went to find out how to do something. And whilst there are loads of great guides out there for cross stitch now; there wasn’t back in 2005. Now-a-days with the rise of cross stitch, (almost) everyone knows how to stitch. As a result, less people are searching in google for it.
Category dip: I used to work in category analysis, so I’ll keep this brief. Following the economic dip, craft in general got a major boost, and cross stitch rode the wave. However as recession comes to a close, and the average person has more money, craft is starting to decline. So the question here is actually, is cross stitch dipping faster? And the answers no. A big fat no. Craft in general is dropping out at a massively fast pace, mainly due to the rise of baking.
Knowledge: I know. Not what you expected. However as all cross stitchers know, cross stitch is a form of embroidery. With people pushing the envelope when it comes to new ways of stitching, the lines are being blurred a bit. Embroidery is a better term for it sometimes.
So is that a yes?
I’m sad to say that the popularity of cross stitch is definitely dropping. Whilst this is sad to hear from the die hard community, its definitely far from dead. I work in a company turning over £10 million a year, and our keyword gets maybe half as many views as cross stitch. And we’re growing faster than we can count! So no, its not dead.
Will it make the slightest bit of difference?
No. No it won’t.
Actually, that’s one of the best things about cross stitch. Throughout history its gone through peaks and troughs of interest, and despite that it keeps coming back. Why should now be any different? In fact, most recently I’ve seen cross stitch in museums, been published(and again), and without meaning to brag, my site views are through the roof. So long as amazing pieces are still being produced, we have no issues!