What is the best cross stitch magazine?

There are loads of cross stitch magazines out there, and with magazines like Cross Stitch and Needlework and Cross Stitch Collection coming to and end, I felt it was a good time to go through some of the most popular cross stitch magazines out there and give a bit more detail so you can pick the best one for you.

CrossStitcher

crossstitcher magazine cover
$2 – $6 per month; digital and print

Currently the second most popular cross stitch magazine out there, but on the rise, CrossStitcher focuses on modern cross stitch. The contemporary, bright, bold designs are better suited to a 16-50 age bracket, with great finishing ideas, and loads of freebies every issue. Its also the only magazine to offer a digital only option, which at $2 is a steal in itself, although with a physical copy for only $6 it might be worth getting that, as you get the digital copy for free.
Many prominent artists have been featured, including myself back in 2012, 2013 and 2015
Score 9.4/10
Full CrossStitcher review

The World Of Cross Stitching

the world of cross stitching magazine cover$6 – $12 per month; digital and print

The World of Cross Stitching (or TWOCS as its sometimes known) is the longest running cross stitching magazine in world wide production, and you can see why quite quickly; its very mainstream. If this is what you’re looking for then its a great magazine, full of patterns, and the largest in size on the list. It plays up on being British for the American market, and so as a Brit you might find it a little unrealistic, but it has lots of other animal, teddy, flower, heart, etc based patterns. They theme on seasons heavily, to the point where every issue is a holiday of some kind. They include free items, but these tend to be knickknacks and not pattern stitching items, however they do include waste canvas often, which can be hard to get your hands on. In recent years its started to struggle as people have moved to other magazines on the list, however still commands a massive following.
Score 9.2/10
Full The World Of Cross Stitching review

Cross Stitch Crazy

cross stitch crazy magazine cover
$12 – $14 per month; print only

Cross Stitch Crazy is a very similar magazine to The World Of Cross Stitching, however tends to appeal to the English market better, with less American holidays, less playing up to being British and more kit giveaways. However, its main draw back, which people are very vocal about is its Christmas period. For the three months leading, all the magazines are devoted to Christmas. This tends to get on people’s nerves a bit. Other than that, its a good magazine, but it might be worth a flick through before buying each month as its a bit hit and miss.
Score 8.3/10

Cross Stitch Gold

cross stitch gold magazine cover
$7 – $9 per month; print only

Cross Stitch Gold appeals to the established stitcher, with sometimes VERY complex and large patterns, focuses towards traditional. All the patterns are from established designers, such as Joan Elliott, and most of the projects will take you more than a month to finish. There are no freebies, and most patterns are focused on landscapes, portraits, houses, fairies, samurai, etc much like traditional cross stitch patterns.
Score 8.0/10

Cross Stitch Favourites

cross stitch favourites magazine cover
$5 – $8 per quarter; print only

A new comer to the cross stitch magazine scene, its demographic is hard to pin down. Almost every cover has “cute” written on it in large, and patterns tend to side with teddy bears and baby congratulations. Its only been going a year, and doesn’t theme for seasons, but barely comes with any free gifts, and never includes enough to make a pattern from the mag.
Score 6.1/10

Enjoy Cross Stitch

enjoy cross stitch magazine cover
$11 – $14 per month; print only

Enjoy Cross Stitch Magazine is a new magazine, out less than a year, and clearly aimed at getting young girls into cross stitch. The patterns are all very easy, oriented towards pink, and the magazine comes with enough included to get at least 3 patterns made. Each magazine is themed, but never seasonal. However, of all the magazines on the list, its the only one that has a lot of “other” magazine content. You’re likely to find interviews with popular artists, snippets from books, and quizzes not related to cross stitch.
Score 4.9/10

XStitch

xstitch magazine cover 1
$7 per quarter

Made by MrXStitch this kickstarter based magazine was created as a direct opposite to the girly magazines the scene is full of. Its simple message, is bringing cross stitch up to date, with very modern patterns, and features that a lot of magazines don’t have; such as everyone gets print and online versions, with larger patterns to see better, a podcast of songs to go with all the patterns, a online community for further support and showing off, etc. Unlike the rest of the entries on the list XStitch is not full of patterns by one main designer, but instead each issue has 12 different designers from around the world (including people like Jane Greenoff and myself), specifically chosen for the themes, which are must more radical than the usual.
Score 9.9/10

Just Cross Stitch

just cross stitch magazine cover
$7 per month; print only; USA only

The only US only magazine on the list, Just Cross Stitch has been going just over 30 years, and has had a bit of a rocky start since it was sold last year. The patterns are sometimes inspired, but can occasionally look tired. It has a modern design, and most patterns follow this ideal, and it features lesser known internet cross stitch celebrities. Its big pull is the Christmas ornament issue (not to be confused with the Christmas issue coming out the month after), which includes a large supply of free things, and features nothing but unique ways to make cross stitch ornaments. Its worth looking into if you’re US based, but they currently don’t have any plans to supply the rest of the world.
Score 7.6/10

The World Of Cross Stitching Magazine Review

On our series covering the best cross stitch magazines we review the biggest world wide cross stitch magazine, The World Of Cross Stitching.
To do this review we’ve compiled a series of reviews from industry leaders, as well as feefo reviews and at least a year of continuous subscription to the mag.
the world of cross stitching magazine cover
When people think of cross stitch magazines, the first one they think of is The World Of Cross Stitching. Its one of the longest running magazines and has over 44,000 monthly readers, making it the largest international cross stitching magazine. As a result when flicking through, you see mainstream patterns; tailored to make sure they’re are as accessable as possible. Whilst this can appeal to an average cross stitcher, the younger or male cross stitchers tend to feel very underwhelmed by the teddy, flower and heart patterns that adorn most issues.

The teddy was just so cute, it even got my daughter into cross stitching!

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In regards to the content itself, almost all of the patterns are by the four editors/designers who aren’t known for being big players in the field. At least 20% of the magazine is devoted to full page adverts for various companies. The patterns themselves are mostly small (under 5 hours stitching time), with one 24+ hour piece in each issue.

Its market share shows that cross stitch clearly isn’t on they way out, however with its slightly over played British vibe and traditional patterns, its lost market share recently to alternatives like the CrossStitcher which appeals to a younger crowd.

$6 – $12 per month; digital and print

Loads of patterns
Lots of mainstream patterns
Large readership
Not many modern patterns
Expensive outside of the UK
Not many freebies

Score: 9.2/10
17213 reviews on feefo

If you liked this review, or are looking for something similar you might like our review of the CrossStitcher, or a quick review of the biggest cross stitch magazines.

CrossStitcher Magazine Review

On our series covering the best cross stitch magazines we review the more modern cross stitch magazine, CrossStitcher.
To do this review we’ve compiled a series of reviews from industry leaders, as well as feefo reviews and at least a year of continuous subscription to the mag.
cross stitcher magazine cover
As the main competitor to The World Of Cross Stitching magazine, the CrossStitcher takes a different angle to the world of cross stitch, with a much more modern take. The patterns are modern, and feature unique ways of finishing stitches, framing, and witty new takes, which allows it to be the main cross stitch magazine for the younger and more modern crowd. They tend to vary patterns inside from 60-90 equally spaced between small, medium, and large patterns. Unlike many other magazines they tend to advertise using actual content, suggesting a site to get a frame, etc instead of full page adverts.

If you like very modern and contemporary designs then that’s probably your best bet. They use lots of bright, bold colours, fun finishing ideas etc

reddit (/r/crossstitch)

They are also well known for the free stuff you get, allowing you to at least complete 2 patterns each issue with the freebies provided, although it should be noted the freebies aren’t the highest quality. Its by far the cheapest magazine on offer at the moment, and there are no high fees to pay for postage, especially so with the digital versions.

The ability to be modern and constantly on the cutting edge is how the patterns are sourced; they ask big players in the cross stitch field such as MrXStitch, Maria Diaz, flossandmischief, Jacqui P, Emily Peacock, and Jane Greenoff (founder of the Cross Stitch Guild) to supply patterns.

$2 – $6 per month; digital and print

Loads of patterns
Lots of mainstream patterns
Large readership
Not many modern patterns
Expensive outside of the UK
Not many freebies

Score: 9.4/10
16421 reviews on feefo

If you liked this review, or are looking for something similar you might like our review of The World Of Cross Stitching, or a quick review of the biggest cross stitch magazines.

3 Ways Cross Stitch Helps Me Destress and Keep My Sanity

Today we have an awesome post by KathleenCG who’s giving us an insight on keeping stress free with cross stitch 😀

In times where I am stressed, I’m glad that I took up cross stitching as a hobby. Everyone has their own ways of dealing with stress – exercise, writing, spa day, etc. For me, it’s cross stitch. I’ve been doing cross stitch for just over a year now. It has become a bit of a escape for me, as I’m able to submerge myself in it and forget my troubles. Read on for the ways cross stitch helps me keep my stress levels low.

Cross stitch keeps me focused

With cross stitch, there are many variables that come into play. From figuring out the pattern to counting how many squares you need to stitch, you need to make sure you’re paying attention at every step. It can be very easy to make a mistake. I like to take my time when I stitch. By keeping focused, my attention to detail has grown pretty greatly. I’d rather get it right the first time than have to restart everything all over again. See my tips for cross stitch do’s and don’ts here.

It keeps me distracted

Similar to keeping focused, cross stitch helps distract me from whatever I have going on in my life. I look forward to being able to sit and cross stitch at the end of my day. Cross stitch is a top ‘downtime’ activity for me. Usually I like to catch up on some TV shows while I stitch. Between those two activities, I don’t have much space to think about anything else because I’m focused on finishing the project at hand. I also find that watching TV while I stitch helps me work faster.

It makes me feel accomplished

There’s nothing cooler than sitting back and looking at what you’ve made. You spend hours, days, sometimes weeks on projects that seem never ending. But when you’re done, you can’t help but get the sense of accomplishment. The stress seems to disappear when you look at what you’ve finished and think, “Wow, I made this all by myself.” I love this feeling because it makes me feel proud of myself. It’s a great self-esteem booster and I find it pulls me out of a rut whenever I’m feeling down or stressed.

pokemon home sweet home

Above all, cross stitch helps me out the most because I love doing it. There’s no better way to de-stress than to do something that you thoroughly enjoy doing.

Which Cross Stitch Frame Is Best?

One of the first things any cross stitcher gets is a frame, and as they develop their craft, they start looking at other options. We show the best frames out there, with detailed pros and cons so you can pick the right frame for your project, if you’re looking for a way to cross stitch faster or finish your project in a frame.

Embroidery Hoops

Embroidery hoops are probably the first types of frame any stitcher gets. They come in multiple sizes, they’re cheap, and they can be left in the hoop for as long as you like (even for framing). However, the very fact that you’re reading this post probably suggest you don’t want to stick with one. They’re a bit clunky, hard to hold, and can’t accommodate large stitches.
However, before we move on, there are loads of types of hoops that might help. Whilst most start with wooden hoops, that can be quite heavy, plastic ones are far lighter, and whilst not as strong, are much easier on the wrist.
embroidery hoops
Cheap
Can finish the piece in one
Come in varying sizes
Hard to hold
Need to keep buying different sizes
Cannot use for medium/large pieces

Spring Tension Hoops

Basically a standard embroidery hoop, but instead of an internal wooden ring, they have a wire you slot in. They have a nice and easy install, however they don’t have as strong of a pull than the wooden kind. They also tend to come in a little more expensive too.
spring tension embroidery hoops
Mostly cheap
Super easy to set up
Come in varying sizes
Hard to hold
Need to keep buying different sizes
Cannot use for medium/large pieces

Scroll Frames

And so scroll frames were invented! Solving all the problems an embroidery hoop has (even if they cause some others) scroll frames are the go to frame type for anyone moving on from a hoop. They allow you to sew/tape/staple in your aida and you can stitch to your hearts content. There are a few draw backs though; they’re heavy, really heavy, however you can attach them onto holders so you don’t have to hold them. In addition they’re quite expensive, and due to having to sew in your projects, wear quite quick. You also need to loosen the frame when you’re not stitching to stop it pulling unevenly. And finally, you have to attach them to the frame, either by stitching them on, tape or stapling, which pulls at the edges of the aida and takes forever to set up.
embroidery hoops
Come in hundreds of sizes
Perfect for large/extra large pieces
Heavy
Quite expensive
Cannot “hold” stitch

Easy Clip Frames

So if you read the above review, the main issue with scroll frames comes from the fact that you have to stitch them in. However with an easy clip frame you instead clip the aida in, solving all these problems. Sure, scroll frames, even easy clip are heavy, but they hold the aida tight when not stitching, they don’t wear, and they’re just as versatile. Most serious cross stitchers move onto an easy clip frame sooner or later, they’re the best long term investment.
As an update to my original post, you can now get plastic easy clip frames that are much lighter.
embroidery hoops
Come in hundreds of sizes
Perfect for large/extra large pieces
Best long term price investment
Heavy

Bar Frames

Speaking of long term investments, bar frames are sold as exactly that. They’re sold in 4 to 6 inch bars which clip together to allow you to extend the size of your stitching area. It means that instead of having to buy progressively larger and larger frames, you can just add a few cheap bars. However, this does come with a few draw backs. Firstly, they’re not light, although still lighter than scroll frames (although the plastic ones are lighter). Secondly they’re really bad at holding large pieces, the plastic variety is even worse at this. Thirdly, you can’t hold your aida in one when not stitching, they warp the shape due to being square frames; which is a real problem baring in mind you have to staple your aida in.
embroidery hoops
Much cheaper long term than other frames
Quite heavy
Cannot “hold” stitch
Cannot use for very large pieces

Grip-n-Stitch

This is a new type of frame, made to try and combine all the above frames into one super frame. I’ve tried them a few times, and whilst they do live up to a bit of the hype, I still find myself going back to a easy clip frame. They’re made up in a similar way to a bar frame, but made of a special interlocking rigid plastic so it holds large pieces better. In addition you then clip in spikes to the edges to hold the aida. You’re meant to wet the aida pull it across and it holds the aida perfectly, which does work VERY well, especially the tension it holds, however it requires at least 30 minutes of building, then getting your aida all wet before you can put it together, and then a further 4-8 hours to let your aida dry completely before you can use it. They also have a “Grip-n-Frame” product too, which allows for fantastic framing of finished pieces.
embroidery hoops
Cheap
Light
Perfect for small/medium pieces
Cannot “hold” stitch
Can be uncomfortable to hold
Takes hours to set up each time

Universal Craft Frame

Unlike the rest of the reviewed frames, this one you can create at home. Simply put, its a series of PVC pipes. You can buy kits to make your job slightly easier, however its adaptability is the real seller here. You can swap out lengths for shorter or longer pieces depending on what you’re stitching, and you can very easily put your project into the frame. They tend to loose their hold so you need to put them back in each time you stitch, however it takes seconds. They don’t pucker or flatten the area stitched areas, and they’re lightweight. The only one downside is as the projects get larger, it can get a little unwieldy.
universal craft frame
Cheap
Light
Perfect for small/medium pieces
Cannot “hold” stitch
Not suitable for larger projects

The Best Star Wars Cross Stitch

May the 4th be with you on this festively Star Wars themed round up!

vader composite star wars cross stitch
To start us off, we have an awesome dark side composite image, making up Vader’s face out of Empire goodness. Frankly, this would be awesome if it was made in any medium, but to condense all that into cross stitch is truly brilliant.

Star Wars Dark Side Sampler Cross Stitch
Next up is something I created for a Star Wars Cross stitch book, which comes in both dark side and light side examples.

stromtrooper helmet cross stitch
Sometimes however simplicity wins. This storm trooper, utilizing a hoop and white aida to create most of the piece is genius!

Star-Wars-tapestry-cross stitch
No list of Star Wars would be complete without mentioning this epic Star Wars tapestry, that is a chronology of the first 6 films in the series. At 30 foot long, and frankly some of the best films ever created, its definitely going to give the epic Pokemon cross stitch a run for its money.

BONUS ITEM! How about a Pokemon cross stitch tattoo?

squirtle-pokemon-cross-stitch-tattoo

Is cross stitch art? Or craft?

Often within the stitching community the question of art or craft comes up, and on a general basis it can be answered. However cross stitch always sits outside the classifications, and no one is really sure. Its not an art form in its own right, its part of embroidery, however there are LOADS of art pieces out there with just cross stitch. So does it deserve to finally be called an art form?

cross-stitch-mona-lisa

Mastering the art form

I wrote a post a few months back now on becoming a cross stitch master and how achievable that actually is, however I never addressed the elephant in the room; a master OF WHAT?

The reason there are so many issues here are down to the definition of art form. In short it could be “a medium for artistic expression”, “an activity that requires skill and care” or “the more or less established structure, pattern, or scheme followed in shaping an artistic work”, all of which cross stitch applies to. But its STILL not classed as an art form in its own right. So why?

I recently posted a link to someone who had used my cross stitch as a base for his own art work, so surely the original must be art too?
 

For many, cross stitch conjures up images of cute kittens and country cottages, but theres a different side to cross stitching that its an art in its own right, and will encourage them to be a little braver with their art.

Mr X Stitch, Jamie Chalmers

Museums

The greatest case therefore would be galleries and museums, both of which have a historic inclusion of cross stitch. Some of the best known are the V&A in London, the Met Museum in New York, and the Smithsonian in Washington DC. However most of these are old samplers, and almost none are from modern times.

Modern Renaissance

However there are a few exeptions. What I like to call the “modern renaissance” where art is in the hands of everyone, there are a few notable examples:

WWII cross stitch

We’ve shown this piece before in a history of cross stitch, however the works of Major Alexis Casdagli in the second world war are not only a fascinating story in their own right, but his most widely known work (seen below) has traveled all over the world in modern exhibitions.
sampler by Major Alexis Casdagli

Severija

The only truly well known cross stitch artist is Severija who uses cross stitch with historic objects to truly create a memorable set of works. We even devoted a whole post to creating works like hers.

cross-stitch-helmets-by-severija

Summary

So does any of that suggest an answer? Well, yes. But mostly in the craft camp.
Whilst there is cross stitch art out there, most of the works being produced are being done for just a beautiful image. To truly be classed as art in a modern form, it needs to have a message, like Severija’s works. So as much as I hate it, I’ve got to admit I’m not an artist.

What its like to write a cross stitch book

I’ve now been published twice under my own name, and had patterns/writing in 4 others. I just released a Star Wars cross stitch book, and I even have another project in the works with the same publisher. Many of my contemporaries are doing the same, but still whenever someone picks up my book I get the same question; What’s it like to write a book?

kermit writing
It doesn’t really feel like this…

Now, I’m going to be a bit more specific here, and assume they mean a craft book, as writing a fiction and non-fiction books are very different. I would know, I have one of those too. But its true, non fiction and fiction are MASSIVELY different.
So lets get down to it. Positives first, or negative? Time to flip a coin.

The Possible Negatives

Well, negative first. The good news is that whilst there are negatives, they aren’t that bad. In fact, I get a kick out of the extra pressure, but I know a lot of people, including Genevieve Brading (Floss & Mischief) who had some seriously tight deadlines.
Which is the first thing;

Time

In the best scenario you might have 3 months. Whilst this seems like loads, there is one issue; you also have to stitch 12-20 projects in that time. Not easy. With some projects you might be able to kick them out in a weekend, but others can be massive (Star Trek LCARS comes to mind…)

Last Minute Changes

So you work for three months solid, and then all goes quiet on the Western Front, leaving you to sit and wait for up to a year. And then the license holder suddenly changes their mind about EVERYTHING. A super busy period exists where you just don’t know how you can get it done at all, but somehow you do..

The Positives

All The Help

And this is how you get it done. The secret of every craft book writer. Massive amounts of help. I’ve relied on a few people, but massive kudos goes out to BlackMageHeart who has been a serious help with all the books. And frankly without her; it would have been impossible. Thanks!

You Get Paid

Well… Yeh. You get paid. Now its not a massive amount of money, but considering its the cherry on the cake, its always a plus 😀

Kudos

And this is why you do it. Sure, its not going to be the next Harry Potter, but you’ll be the author you always wanted to be.
Unless its a flop.
game-over-gif

Would I give it up?

Hells no. I LOVE to work to a dead line, and frankly having a project where I think about kawaii characters instead of video game characters allows my mind to bring in some different perspectives and makes me a better pattern maker.

7 Signs you’re addicted to cross stitch

So you like cross stitch, and it has its health benefits, but are you addicted?

addicted to cross stitch

Your fingers are always twitching to itch

That’s how it starts, that’s how it gets you. The first thing you know you sit there at work, or in the super marketing, and you just wanna get back home to stitch something up.

You cancel 90% of social meetings just to stay home and stitch

And that’s when the read addiction sets in. Do you really want to go to the bar with your friends, pretend to follow the game and be absolutely knackered tomorrow? Or should you just cancel it like all the others and sit at home in the warm with a nice brew and your cross stitch?

You can’t go to a gallery without wanting turning art into cross stitches

Previously that painting looked nice. Now it NEEDS to be turned into cross stitch. I mean, that’s the perfect medium. I mean why did the artist even choose paint to start with. For that matter who is this Picasso guy?

You have at least 2 stitches on the go at once and at least 5 patterns bubbling around your head

Oh, but it isn’t just art that isn’t safe. No, its EVERYTHING. There has to be at least 2 projects on the go, at least 5 patterns in your head, and a whole raft of paper or a journal with even more… I just can’t find enough hours in the day…

you no longer count projects in hours, but in days

On that point, no longer was a project 24 hours. Now its counted in days. Maybe even weeks…

Any time anyone mentions any type of textile your name is ALWAYS mentioned

You don’t even have to be around any more. People are aiding your addiction. Any time anyone mentions textiles, art, embroidery your name pops up. Bonus points for being able to detect when its happening from across the office.

No nerves in your fingers

The ultimate sign of cross stitch addition. You have basically no nerves in your fingers anymore. There are needle marks under your nails. You’re a wreck. You need help… Or maybe you should try out that awesome half stitch idea you’ve been thinking about…