A lot of people have requested this pattern over the years, and I’m still well known for it, and so you can stitch it too!
Something has happened! You spilt something, theres a mark, or even worse; you ripped a bit. Well, fear not, as its ALWAYS savable.
I would start by saying though, that if you wash and iron your work, and store it properly, most of the below issues are fixed by washing it again.
This is a common issue with cross stitch that’s not been washed correctly. The oils from your fingers discolor in sunlight, making brown spots.
If you haven’t ironed the piece, you can just wash it in cold slightly soapy water for about 6 hours and you’ll be golden.
If you have ironed your work, then I’m afraid you’ll have to pick the stitches and redo them. There’s a quick guide on this at the end of the post.
Fairly uncommon on cross stitch, however if you’ve stored it in the frame somewhere you may get rust.
Get ready for science! You want to find some Oxalic acid. You can find it online (its used by Bee keepers) or specalist cleaning stores. In short, it bonds with the iron of rust and makes a water soluble solution. Mix a small amount (10g) with a tablespoon of water, and rub in. Wash it out under a tap after 15 mins and it should be as good as new!
Happens ALL the time. This is most common in old samplers as they had candles around all the time.
Straight from the Smithsonian museum, the best way to clean them is bicarbonate of soda and water. Just rub it on and it will remove the spot by removing the top most layer of threads.
Or you would use white vinegar (very small amounts) which will remove the burn color from the stain.
This usually happens during the sewing, following nose bleeds, however the key here is speed. You want to be cleaning it the SECOND it hits thread/aida. The longer you leave it, the harder it gets to clean.
Salt. I would use a 3:1 salt to water ratio, and just rub it in. Once the salt has gone brown, wash it off. If the stain is still there, repeat.
In rare cases the blood will have dried into the aida and you either can’t access it, or it won’t come out. In this situation get a bowl of warm water and add salt until it doesn’t dissolve anymore. Sit the piece in the water and let it sit. I would suggest covering it with something non-transparent to stop evaporation too.
Yeh, we’ve been there…
Cut a lemon open and drip it onto the pen mark. It should wipe straight off.
But limit the lemon juice, and make sure to give it a good clean afterwards, as over time the lemon will bleach the threads.
As a stern tea lover I’ve had this issue more than a few times. Cold water works well, but if you have soda water/carbonated water that works best. Just poor it over, letting it bubble on the surface until its all out.
This is actually fairly rare, normally as a result of incorrect washing, or a cleaning fluid.
This will take time. Be prepared.
The first step is a big flat pan. Lay it down face up, and add ice on top. Let it melt, add more. Repeat for at least 3 days, if not a week. The colder you keep the project the better, so you can keep it in the fridge or freezer if you want too. After this, wash it in cold water only. Dry it so its touch dry, but not perfectly dry. The you need to iron it, stopping any bleed happening in future.
Too late to save
Sometimes its just too late. Maybe you only noticed something weeks after it happened, or the above cleaning doesn’t work. Its OK, as there are ways around it.
Remove a stitch
If the area effected is small enough, then you can remove the stitch and put a new one in. This is actually quite common, and even if you need to remove a whole row, the effort it takes is often less than cleaning.
If the piece has been out in the sun a while, the threads can be a little bleached, and so sit the new thread in lemon juice for a few hours and it should match better.
Three free Pokemon cross stitch patterns. I’m spoiling you, aren’t I?
Whilst some pieces are destined to be framed, there are other finished pieces that just aren’t. That’s not to say they suck, but you JUST HAVE TOO MANY!!!
Cross stitch is addictive, and so you will inevitably need to store some pieces temporarily/permanently. And whilst out of sight out of mind is a great way to think sometimes, finished cross stitch sometimes needs a helping hand. In particular you could get all types of awful things, like rust spots, water damage or warping if not properly stored.
There are two accepted ways to store cross stitch; and I tend to use both for different reasons as sadly neither is perfect.
Kinda in the name, isn’t it?
Now I would ALWAYS suggest sending pieces in storage tubes, however they are also a great longer term option. The great thing about them if you can stack them either on top of each other, strapped together, or even better, in a box. I bet you didn’t realize that all tubes are designed to fit into a 1x1x1.5m box in the most optimal way possible? Well now you do!
However, there are down sides.
The first thing to note is you need to cover the tubes. Most tubes are cardboard, and so water CAN go through them. In addition if the ends are left open you could get moths moving in. The easiest method is cling film, however is still not going to protect it from a flood, so always store them high up if possible.
The second, and most irritating, is warping. Whilst the cross stitch will stay square, it curls. Heavily. In fact, the tube creates are warmth which causes the aida to permanently warp. Now, I’ve just said permanent, but in reality you’ll be looking at maybe 10 years in a tube before its permanent. A quick ironing will be enough to clear any shaping issues up.
But this isn’t my preferred permanent storage method; that title goes to the next type of storage.
Flat portfolio storage
Portfolios are problematic from the start. Firstly, they’re HUGE, and secondly they need to be laied flat, which can be a massive problem. Then there’s the sheer choice, why are some hard, some soft?
I can’t tell you to be honest, they just are, however they have massive positives when it comes to cross stitch storage.
- They’re flat.
- They split the cross stitch out so there are no threats of bugs.
- They’re waterproof.
- They’re naturally sun bleach proof.
- They’re cheap.
- They’re easy to store (once you have a space for them).
In short, so long as you can cope with the sheer size of them, they’re great. However, as they’re so good at storage, feel free to store them in a loft, under the bed, or anywhere out the way…
Continuing my free cross stitch pattern posts; this is one I’ve never actually stitched before, however you can enjoy!
A freshly washed cross stitch is great, but unless you want to store your stitch you’ll want to show off your gorgeous piece? Well, good news for you, as Lauren of Plastic Little Covers has you covered with this perfect little guide on how best to frame cross stitch. You can also pick up the pattern used for this guide on her Etsy store.
Here’s a quick cross stitch framing tutorial for you all!
Before I start with this no doubt subpar tutorial, let me preface it with the fact that I am in no way precious about the way in which I finish a project. There are definitely neater ways to do it, so if you’re a perfectionist this mightn’t be for you! I also took the photos during the grim winter months here in the North East of England. To quote Florence & the Machine “no light, no light…”
Having said that, on the rare occasion I go all out with a frame this is the method that works for me, so here it is:
Things you’ll need:
Your ironed cross stitch with at least two inches of excess material around all edges of the design.
A photo frame
Acid-free foam board (sometimes labelled as foam core mount board). Make sure you get a colour that coordinates with your fabric, white for white etc.
Needle and strong thread (the thread in the photo was as weak as my tutorial game, so make sure you’ve got something strong enough to pull taut without snapping. I actually ended up using Anchor embroidery floss, which wasn’t ideal but just about did the job.)
Scissors (pictured are my tiny embroidery scissors, but you’d be better off using a pair of sharp habedashery scissors for trimming your cross stitch and kitchen scissors or something similar for the mount board) It’s even better to use a proper cutter for the board, but alas! I don’t have one.
First off you need to cut your foam board down to a suitable size for the inside of your frame. My frame was 6 x 4 inches, so I cut it to a few millimetres shy of that. You’ll want it to fit inside the frame but still have a little bit of wiggle room at the edges for when the cross stitch fabric is eventually folded around it. Check you’ve got that gap by trying the foam board in the frame, it shouldn’t be too snug or be wedged in there.
Now that you have your expertly measured foam board at the ready, it’s time to pick up that lovely cross stitch of yours. Position it over the foam board, making sure that the design is central and level, and begin by folding the top side down. Find the middle of your design and push a pin into the foam centre of the board right on the top edge. Repeat at the bottom.
Repeat Step Two, this time at the centre of the left and right sides. As you do this try to make sure that the fabric is as flat as it can be, and pulled fairly evenly across the board.
Start working your way out from the centre, placing pins diagonally opposite each other, a couple at a time on each side. As you do this check that your design is still central, and that the fabric is laying flat and taut. Continue all the way round.
Now that you’ve finished pinning flip the whole thing over. This is where my shambolic tutorial skills once again show themselves. For reasons unknown I’m holding the whole thing the wrong way round in the photo below. S0 what looks like top to bottom is actually side to side. * Sighs*
What you need to do is fold your sides inwards, and lace them together. I found doing the sides first is best for a flatter overall finish. For the lacing you’re going to need a really long length of your thread, as you can see I underestimated and had to do a shoddy retying job in the middle. For my lacing I started at about 1cm from the edge (you can go in closer to the edge than that if you want), and stitched backwards and forwards between the two sides. Pull it tight as you go, but make sure you’re not warping the board.
If you’re still with me here then not only are you some kind of modern hero, but the end is also in sight!
At this stage fold over the top and bottom edges and lace those too.
As you can see my back isn’t the tidiest, but I left far more than two inches of excess around the piece and didn’t pull very tight with my stitches, so it’s all a bit bulkier than usual.
There are neater ways to finish a piece (there’s a snazzy method of folding your corners down and sewing them, which gives the whole thing a lovely finish), which I’d be happy to point you in the direction of if you’ d like to try them!
After you’ve done all of that you should find that the surface of your cross stitch is pulled nice and taut across the board, and that the edges are smooth.
Rejoice and remove those pins!
Because you left that little bit of wiggle room at the start you should find that your cross stitch fits into the frame nice and snugly now.
This is just one of many ways to finish a cross stitch piece. There’s also the option of embroidery hoops and professional framing. Ultimately it’s all about personal preference and budget! If you have any questions feel free to get in touch!
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.
Date Completed: June 2016
Design: Lord Libidan
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!
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.
In my previous post I mentioned how searching for ‘sprites’ through Google images can help you find some really simple cross stitch patterns for beginners.
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
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!