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.

How to make a cross stitch pattern perfect

I’ve already written a few blog posts in the past on how to make a cross stitch pattern perfect however it was written from the point of view of improving a pattern you’ve already made. But what about starting from a blank piece of paper?

Story

Every post I’ve written about cross stitch patterns starts the same way. Story.
Comic books have story in spades and can really boost an image, but stealing some of their magic, but just thinking about the composition or the background can make a cross stitch pattern perfect.

The Rule Of Thirds

Journey cross stitch using the rule of thirds
The above image is one of the best composed images I’ve even seen recreated in cross stitch. Its perfect balance of blank space to stitches, and its fantastic sense of scale allows it to own that title on its own. But its fantastic us of the rule of thirds (a well known photography trick) make it even more special.
The rule of thirds stipulates something every simple, but its often not that easy to actually do it. The eye is naturally drawn to the cross over points marked in blue. I know that blue lines make it clear on the above image, but normally it happens too. It doesn’t even matter if the image is rectangular, circular (or even star shaped), your eye naturally goes to these areas. Combining them like the above Journey one just makes the eye pick them up perfectly.

Theme

There’s no getting away from it, but the theme of a cross stitch pattern is the thing that makes or breaks it. Is it an in joke? Or is it something everyone is talking about?
Ironically depending on what your theme might be, the pattern changes drastically. It might be a good idea to check out the biggest trends in cross stitch for 2017 to see what might be a good starting position, but remember one thing; make something memorable.

Color Palettes

Taking a fun Harry Potter image might be a great start to a cross stitch pattern. Its got a story, it fits with positioning, it has a fantastic and nerdy theme, but there are 7 movies. I can’t tell you how many Potter cross stitch patterns I’ve seen that have bright colors like the first film. But if you’re stitching up something from Harry as a child, how about choosing color palettes from the film that reflect that time?
harry potter and the deathly hallows part 1 color palettes
@CINEMAPALETTES is a fantastic place to find movie colors.

Are Cross Stitch Needles Allowed On Planes?

Cross stitch needles ARE allowed on planes. The TSA advise;

You may place your knitting needles and needlepoint tools in carry-on or checked baggage.

However, there is a wider question here, and that’s;

Can You Cross Stitch On A Plane?

There are two things to think about here, the needles and the scissors. Even though an initial thought is no on both counts, you can take both on, so long as you prepare for it.

Needles

We’ve already established that you can take needles onto a plane, however in practice, things aren’t as simple.
Firstly, they MUST be embroidery needles, as they have rounded ends. In addition, you should be able to show this.
Secondly, they MUST be enclosed in a hard shell.
The best approach here is to buy something like John James Pebble, as its clear so the agents can see, they’re enclosed, and they stay they’re embroidery needles. Limit the amount you bring though, you’re not taking an arsenal.

I will add a caveat there, that sometimes needles can be confiscated. If this is the case, all airports carry sewing kits, which can be picked up for $2-3, and contain a needle (oh, the irony). In some cases these are even embroidery needles. Just be careful with the point.

Scissors

This is slightly more complicated. You aren’t allowed to bring sharps, which include almost all scissors. If you can find a pair that are less than 1 inch from the pivot point, and are rounded off on a 1/1 curve, then you can take them, however not only was I not even able to find a pair like this in my research, but they don’t strike me as very useful tools for cross stitch.
There is an alternative though; threadcutters. At the moment you can take two different kinds, the DMC thread cutter pendant (which can be questioned on some airlines), or the Thread Cutterz Ring. I have used both, and I would STRONGLY recommend the ring.

Now you have everything prepared, place both needles and scissors (if you have them) in a clear bag, and treat them like liquids.

On a final note, I would suggest in all cases you should phone the airline before taking them aboard, and NEVER hide them. Also, as a tip, use shorter lengths of thread than usual, you don’t have as much space on a plane.

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.