The best modern and contemporary cross stitch books

Frankly, there are hundreds of cross stitch books out there. However which are the best books? That’s a little hard to answer on its own, but I’ve broken up the cross stitch world so you can find out which cross stitch books are best for you. Here we have the top 10 modern and contemporary cross stitch books.

1 – Subversive Cross Stitch

By Julie Jackson

Rude. Lude. But oh so funny. The cross stitch community wouldn’t be what it is today without subversive stitch, and this book only goes to prove that. A quick look at their website will probably give you more stitches to try, but it makes you understand the sub-culture so much better.

2 – Cross-stitch Super Collection

By Makoto

A fantastic book particularly for beginners, with hundreds of mini stitches to try, it won’t take long to see a pattern, start a stitch and finish. I have more than a slight feeling that this book got people into cross stitch.

3 – Game & Stitch

By Makoto

This is a little hard to find now, and its all in Japanese… However the design of the book just oozes awesome. Makoto has also come about the stitches in a way unlike others I’ve seen, with outline only space ships from space invaders (worth it just for those). Its major drawback however is its lack of content. There are maybe only 30 stitches, and each are less than an inch.
And the language barrier doesn’t help to be honest…

4 – Star Wars

By Rhys Turton & John Lohman
Star Wars Cross Stitch Cover by rhys turton lord libidanStar Wars Cross Stitch inside by rhys turton lord libidan
Written by my very own hand the Star Wars cross stitch kit features loads of patterns for beginners and more advanced stitchers alike, but also offers parts so you can construct your own patterns! And it massively helps that its Star Wars…

5 – Stitch People

By Lizzy Dabczynski-Bean

I’ve never been one to stitch people, however one quick glance at this book and you can see just how easy it is. There are outfits, hairstyles, faces, and accessories in abundance so you can mix and match your subject with ease. To make it even better the style makes it easy for you to customise with your own work in a flash. The book is clear, and every page is a beauty to read.

6 – Supersize Stitches

By Jacqui Pearce

BIG STITCHES! The great thing about Jacqui’s book isn’t that the stitches are big, but are instead well thought through. Some use large aida, some use the negative space well, and others are plan and simple well designed.

7 – Storyland Cross Stitch

By What Delilah Did

What Delilah Did is a powerhouse in cross stitch. And no wonder her books are too. I like this one best for two reasons; firstly its cute, every stitch makes you want to say “awwwwww”. And secondly; its also a kit. Unlike other kits that come in a big box, each pattern has a page where the supplies are attached so you can pull off and do one at a time.

8 – Manga Cross-Stitch

By Helen McCarthy & Steve Kyte

2007 wasn’t a big year for cross stitch, it was before the rise of the contemporary scene as seen in our cross stitch history post, however I think a major part to its rise may have been this book. It comes with a questionable cross stitch pattern maker, and a set of instructions for panel ideas. What it doesn’t do is tell you what to stitch, but instead tells you styles you can emulate, and takes you on a journey to make your own patterns. A great book for beginners, and frankly, a great resource for comic book style stitches.

9 – Mega Mini Cross Stitch


By Makoto
The newest book from the author of “Cross-stitch Super Collection”, he attempts to pack more detail into ever smaller stitches. I picked up a copy the first day it was out, and the space stitches are frankly amazing.

10 – Twisted Stitches

By Phil Davison

My major concern with this book is the lack of finesse. Each stitch has unclean lines, and dead stitches. However that’s its charm. The stitches are horrific, and weird at the best of times, and it pulls no punches in being an adult book, however its one of the best selling cross stitch books out there.

Bonus – Push Stitchery

By Jamie Chalmers

OK, this isn’t specifically a cross stitch book, and its content of cross stitch is fairly low, however our mate at MrXStitch.com has been able to compile some of the best stitchers in the world. This is my go to place when I want a bit of out of the box stitching.

5 Best Fallout Cross Stitches

I recently finished the last piece of Fallout 4 DLC, and with a pending 3-5 year wait until the next one I thought I would round up the last of Fallout until then with 5 Fallout cross stitches to tide you over until Fallout 5.

Can you see that? I mean…wow. Just… wow. This amazing (and epic) piece was inspired by the Nuka Quantum of Fallout 3, using a fan made poster to create a great cross stitch.
fallout-nuka-cola-quantum-cross-stitch

All those years squired away in a soul-less, possibly dangerous vault. What else would there be to do than cross stitch classic samplers? This fantastic example combines a few simple stitches as well, making not only a fantastic cross stitch, but a fantastic bit of Fallout fan art.
fallout vault-sampler-cross-stitch

Made for the annual spritestitch charity quilt, user SonnySplendor created this amazing cross stitch inspired by Fallout New Vegas. It was so impressive that I also featured it as the title cross stitch for the SpriteStitch Round Up on Mr X Stitch that month.
fallout-new-vegas-cross-stitch

This fantastic cross stitch is so good I’ve even used it before in my post Clever tricks to make cross stitch patterns pop. Its clever neon glow in the dark thread really brings the HUD of the pipboy, to showcase a VERY cleverly put together project.
glow in the dark fallout 3 cross stitch

And of course, where would I be without a killer Fallout piece by myself?

Fallout Vault Boy Cross Stitch
Fallout Vault Boy Cross 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.

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

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