The Perfect Amount Of Cross Stitch Patterns To Sell On Etsy?

Etsy Listings - Lord Libidan's Sarky Stitches (source: Etsy)

Our selling cross stitch patterns on Etsy series has gone over many of the key elements of HOW to sell, but I get one question far more than any other:

How much can I make?

Sadly, there isn’t a hard and fast rule for this, however over the last 2 years I’ve been compiling data to give you an idea on how much you can make.
$nbsp;
The answer isn’t as obvious as you think either. Thanks to Etsy’s rating system, which replies on SEO, store ranking, title, and most importantly ‘freshness’ stores can have really varied success. As a result I set up a three new stores; all selling the same patterns, with the same descriptions, costs, names, and we gave the stores zero marketing. I used a series of $5 patterns (giving $3.80 profit per sale).

Store 1 – Set it and leave it

For our first store we created a batch of 10 patterns and put them up to sell. On average we sold 4 of each pattern across the whole year. This means we got $152 in profit.
For most stores starting out, this is exactly what happens. The initial idea of pattern creation seems OK but after the first ten, people give up and wait to ‘see what happens’. Sadly, due to the low return, most people give up at this point.

Store 2 – Set it and add a pattern a month

Much like the first store, we put up 10 initial cross stitch patterns, but we then added an additional pattern every month for the remaining 11 months of the year. This extra work (12 hours at our count) not only gained us a further $152 from the new patterns, but thanks to Etsy’s freshness rating increase each patterns sales to an average of 8 each. This means that our end of year total was $669 in profit.
Considering that it was only 12 hours work, the additional patterns basically allowed us to increase our profit by 440%. TOTALLY worth it.

Store 3 – Set it and add a pattern a week

But does this increase in work always pay off? For our third store we added an extra pattern every week. 52 extra patterns was actually rather time consuming, and the constant pressure was always on us. However, the increase in ‘freshness’ rating paid off to some extent. We increased our pattern sales average to 12 of each pattern. This means that we made a shocking $2827 in profit.

Store 4 – Set it and add a pattern every day

And we took it one step further. To top this whole experiment off, we added 2 patterns a week. Yes. We really tried this. We couldn’t keep it going however, and gave up after the 6 month point. However the results were clear. We made no additional sales per pattern within the year. In fact, the mass of patterns actually had the opposite effect; we sold LESS of each pattern.
We’re not sure if this was down to a posisbly decreased quality of patterns, however we think that the extra work just wasn’t worth it.
 
So what does this mean? Well as far as we can tell, uploading a new pattern every 1 month or 2 weeks is the best bet. It’ll get you the biggest return on your time, and increase sales all over. However, you really need to think about the timings here. We did a few shorter tests to see if you could add a block of 12 patterns at the start of the year went and its clear that you need to post regularly through the year to keep up your freshness rating.

Etsy Listings - Lord Libidan's Sarky Stitches
Etsy Listings – Lord Libidan’s Sarky Stitches

What about patterns that cost more than $5?

Yeh, we expected you to ask that. In fact, we did some research into exactly that. It appears that up to a point ($18 per pattern, as far as we can see) the decrease in purchases is equal to the increase in price. What that means if you’ll still make the same amount of profit, just on less pattern sales.
 
We’d like to thank the pattern creators that allowed us to test with their patterns. All profits were given back to the original pattern creators; Lord Libidan took none of the profits.
 
If you’re struggling to hit these figures, it might be worth checking out our guide on why your cross stitch patterns aren’t selling.

Pikachu Pokemon Bookmark Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Pikachu Pokemon Bookmark Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Pikachu Pokemon Bookmark Cross Stitch vby Lord Libidan
Pikachu Pokemon Bookmark Cross Stitch vby Lord Libidan

Title: Pikachu Pokemon Bookmark
Date Completed: October 2018
Design: Lord Libidan & MokosMakery
Count: 14
Canvas: Pale Yellow
Colours: 4
Video Game: Pokemon
 
I don’t ofen give up on cross stitches, even if I think they’ve failed. My Harry Potter Golden Snitch cross stitch is a fantastic example of this, however with this cross stitch bookmark, I gave up. In fact, I completed it, and then threw it away as it was so bad, and didn’t work as it needed to.
 
Roll on 3 years; yes, that’s 3 whole years. Every time I looked at my aida stash I kept seeing that dang pale yellow aida and this pattern came to mind time after time. It honestly took me about 2 years before I realised what I had done wrong the first time, but honestly, shame stopped me going back.
 
The original idea for this stitch actually came from MokosMakery, who make frankly fantastic papercraft bookmarks of many pokemon, and the pattern is taken almost 1 for 1 from their paper model. I thought it was so good that I had to spend a few hours making one myself (even if I use a kindle…)
Pikachu paper bookmark by MokosMakery (source: Etsy)
Pikachu paper bookmark by MokosMakery (source: Etsy)

Why were those DMC threads discontinued?

dmc light effect threads (source: DMC.com)

A few weeks ago we looked at how cross stitch threads are made and surprisingly we were bombarded with comments about discontinuations of DMC threads. So I decided for our second look at threads, we’d look at discontinuations.
 
There are a few sets of discontinued threads from DMC and there looks like there is a load of confusion over them, so without further ado, here are the sets:

3880 replaced with 223
3881 replaced with 164
3882 replaced with 839
3883 replaced with 722
3884 replaced with 535
3885 replaced with 312
3886 replaced with 3685
3887 replaced with 208
3888 replaced with 3740
3889 replaced with 445
3890 replaced with 3766
3891 replaced with 995
3892 replaced with 740
3893 replaced with 542
3894 replaced with 907
3895 replaced with 646

The most recent additions from DMC come in the form of the 2013 3800 series. A lot is said about these particular threads due to how weird they were. Unlike any other thread sold by DMC these were only ever sold as a package; never alone. In addition they only released in the USA (but also made their way to Canada through resellers).
Most people suspect therefore that these had an issue being sold in the EU, and whilst that is partly true, most people are getting confused with the second set of threads.
 
You see, back in the 1990s DMC threads were made in two factories; in France and the USA. At the time US threads were considerably more expensive than they are now and one of the reasons was the dye cost, which was taxed heavily at the time. So the US factory came out with new dyes to replace the hard to get dyes. The set sold as a tester to see if they should change some other colors (see below), but poor sales of the packs, thanks to the fact that they were copies of colors already in the range, meant they were scrapped within a year. The factory was shut down not too long afterwards, and now DMC threads are quite cheap in the US.

Discontinued US only DMC threads
Discontinued US only DMC threads

504 replaced with 3813
731 replaced with 732
776 replaced with 3326
781 replaced with 782
971 replaced with 740
806 replaced with 3760
868 replaced with 801
3773 replaced with 407

Those other threads the US factory considered removing? Wasn’t officially discontinued until 2015, the most recent set of discontinuations. The new EU laws in 2000 stated that no new products could use dyes classes as harmful to the environment. DMC chose to alter the dyes of a whole set of their threads, but for some dyes, they just couldn’t get a good match. Whilst the threads were phased out of all EU stores (and removed from their thread cards), they hung around in the US for some time, who didn’t have the same dye laws. They were officially removed alongside some variegated threads (without alternatives) in 2015.

But what about the new DMC threads? Is this signs that we might be getting more discontinuations?

No. In fact, the new range fills in many of the gaps of the old range, and we think, thanks to the numbering, that we might be seeing a ‘renumbering’ of the old set soon.
 
Need a DMC thread card with the new colors? We have you covered.
DMC shade color thread card chart with new DMC threads

Expired Ramen Coupon Destiny Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Destiny 2 Expired Ramen Coupon Embroidery by Lord Libidan
Destiny 2 Expired Ramen Coupon Embroidery by Lord Libidan

Title: Expired Ramen Coupon
Date Completed: October 2018
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: Red
Colours: 1
Video Game: Destiny 2
 
I started my Star Trek Voyager cross stitch after months of perfecting the pattern, and was shocked that it was so quick to stitch. So less than half way through I started coming up with another idea, most probably a quick stitch.
 
This all came after I had just finished Destiny 2, along with its expansions. Therefore, it didn’t take me long to jump to the idea of stitching a sweet Destiny piece. I had seen The Crafting Geek’s awesome Ramen icon and my initial plan was to simply stitch hers up, after all, its great!
 
But that’s when I realised, what if I could do something a little more tangable? The Expired Ramen Coupon is basically an inside joke within Destiny 2 after Cayde-6 is lost at the start of the most recent expansion, and he sends you off to find a free coupon, some decades out of date. And when you get it? Not much happens, you simply get the coupon. So I wondered, how hard would it be to make a coupon?
 
Hard. Super hard. In fact, this is the ONLY image of it:
Expired Ramen Coupon Icon from Destiny 2
Tiny. However, that didn’t stop me, and I put something together in a realistic size using simple black back stitch in varying thicknesses.
Destiny 2 Expired Ramen Coupon Embroidery by Lord Libidan comparison
Destiny 2 Expired Ramen Coupon Embroidery by Lord Libidan comparison

How DMC Cross Stitch Threads Are Made

thread plastic rings (source: DMC)

A few months ago we looked into needles in some depth. We looked into why cross stitch needles have those weird numbers and we looked at how cross stitch needles were made.
But it turns out that threads are just as interesting. We found this ace video from DMC that not only shows you some of the factory, but gives some awesome tid-bits of info. Like, I never knew DMC were the ones who invented the 6 strand floss…
 

Looking for a DMC thread card with the new colors? We have you covered.
DMC shade color thread card chart with new DMC threads

Star Trek Voyager LCARS Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Star Trek Voyager LCARS Blueprint cross stitch by Lord Libidan

Star Trek Voyager LCARS Blueprint cross stitch by Lord Libidan
Star Trek Voyager LCARS Blueprint cross stitch by Lord Libidan

Title: USS Voyager LCARS Ship Blueprint
Date Completed: October 2018
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: Black
Colours: 13
Pop Culture: Star Trek Voyager
 
The idea for this project started nearly 2 years ago, when I had recently watched ‘The Martian’. I was instantly enthralled by the control screens on the spacecraft, on the Mars base, and in mission control. My initial idea was a reproduction of the ship schematic in smaller scale, however it just looked blocky. I knew I had to redo it, but fear of getting it wrong kept me back for a long time.
the martian control room image
Control room image from inside the Hermes Spacecraft from the film ‘The Martian’

That was until I had to create a design for the first Xstitch Mag, which I decided to create a blueprint of the Apollo Saturn V, similar to my Lightsaber blueprint, ZF-1 Fifth Element gun blueprint and my Metroid Power Suit Cannon Blueprints. I realised that the element that I loved the most from The Martian screens was the ship systematic itself.
 
Move on a few months whilst I had to do some other projects, and I watched the new series of Star Trek Discovery. Finally, the whole design came together in my head. In the same way that The Martian had different screens for different ships/sections, so did Star Trek, with its LCARS programs. I had actually done some work with LCARS before in my Star Trek book, where I designed a LCARS interface, however it had a joke on it, and wasn’t something you’d see in real life. I decided therefore to have a second go, this time creating a fake panel, which you might actually find on the ship.
Star Trek Voyager Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan Zoomed in Section
My favorite Star Trek is Voyager, and when searching came across a wealth of screen used designs I could draw from. I also had a framed Pokemon triptych I had been meaning to update, which has a unique long frame. Therefore I started to design a screen that you might find through out the ship itself of a full ship wide schematic including a mini map, and basic ship updates. Effectively, a quick reference map, which plays into my well known love of maps, like my Pokemon region map.
 
This is also the first time I’ve used one of the new 35 DMC colors, specifically 03, the grey at the top and bottom.

DMC Thread Inventory Spreadsheet

Discontinued US only DMC threads (source: 123stitch.com)

Everyone loves a good collection of threads, but unless you have the whole set of DMC threads you’re going to need a way to keep track of what you have, and haven’t got. That’s why we created this awesome colored spreadsheet of all standard 6 strand DMC threads, so you can keep track.
 
Just click the link or image and save the spreadsheet. You can access it on your computer, phone, or put it through googledocs!
 

DMC thread spreadsheet free download by Lord Libidan
DMC thread inventory sheet free download by Lord Libidan

Direct download link

Cross Stitch Christmas Gift Guide (Updated for 2018)

Charizard Needle Keeper by MyWifesAVelociraptor (source: Etsy)

Christmas is nearly upon us, and we all know how hard it is to buy gifts for hobbies we don’t know much about. So here’s an updated holiday gift guide on what to buy the cross stitcher in your life. They’re arranged by price lowest to highest.

Fun Needle Keeps – from $5

charizard needle keeper
Christmas is mostly about fun gifts you might not buy yourself, and something many cross stitchers never buy is a fun needle keep. You can get them in thousands of different designs, and there are a lot of custom made ones out there like this 3D printed Pokemon charizard for $6 from Etsy. They’re a little bit fun, and you can combine other things together, so if their other favorite hobby is reading, get a book based one, etc.

ThreadHeaven Alternatives – from $5

ThreadMagic cross stitch thread moisturiser
Sadly this year we lost one of the most beloved cross stitch companies, ThreadHeaven. For those who don’t know, they produced a fantastic thread moisturiser that makes cross stitching MUCH easier. A great gift this season might be the last of the stock avaliable (if you can find it) or one of these ThreadHeaven alternatives.

ThreadCutterz – $12 to $15

thread cutterz
Cross stitch takes time, and a great place to stitch is on planes and trains, however with security being tightened all over, ThreadCutterz have come to the rescue with a plane safe alternative to scissors.
They can only currently be brought from ThreadCutterz themselves.

Thread Shade Chart – $20

We have a copy of the DMC shade card on our site to see at any time, however on screen images aren’t always that reliable. As a result one of the best tools I’ve ever picked up is a cross stitch thread card. DMC (the most common thread company) do a version with thread samples ($20) including the new DMC threads, which is far superior. Think about getting a metallic shade card from Kreinik too ($36).
DMC thread card

The Perfect Frame – $12 to $30


I know a lot of people thing cross stitch is a bit simple, but in reality RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) is a real issue. The best way to solve this is a suitable cross stitch frame. The best one in my mind is a EasyClip frame ($20), but you can see a roundup of cross stitch frames on my recent post about the perfect cross stitch frame.

A Good Cross Stitch Book – $20 to $30

criss crossing paris cross stitch book cover
This year has seen some of the best cross stitch books ever published, and I would personally buy all of them. However, for the cross stitcher in your life books offer both patterns, and a fresh look at the hobby. We’d personally suggest Criss Crossing Paris ($22) but you can also check our run down of the best cross stitch books out on the market.
If you’re still struggling on what type of scissors to buy, check out our guide on picking the best cross stitch scissors.

A Good Pair Of Scissors – $30

cross stitch scissors
Scissors might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but you send a lot of time snipping things, and frankly, a poor pair of scissors get blunt quickly, fraying ends. Get a nice pair of Fiskars ‘snipping’ scissors, or ones like the image (a Japanese embroidery scissor), or another specific pair for embroidery/cross stitch or cutting fishing line and you’ll see the difference straight away.
You can even get a super awesome pair of frogging scissors, which solves the worst thing about cross stitch (frogging is incorrect stitches that need to be removed).
If you’re still struggling on what type of scissors to buy, check out our guide on picking the best cross stitch scissors.

Magazine Subscriptions – $20 to $60 a year

just cross stitch magazine christmas cover
Magazines are fantastic for both giving you patterns, giving you inspiration, finding out about all the new products, and reading up on all the happenings of the cross stitch community. There are frankly a shocking amount out there, so its best to pick one or two you like the most, you can find our cross stitch magazine reviews here, and getting a subscription to those. Prices vary, $20-$60 a year.

Great Cross Stitch Software – $50 to $200

pcstitch cross stitch software
The natural progression for a stitcher is to go from kits, to patterns, to making their own patterns. Most choose online programs, but they all have their own limitations, so spend $20-$200 on the perfect one. I would personally suggest KG Chart or PC Stitcher for $35-50. Or you can check out our cross stitch pattern generator comparison page.

All The Threads!

Full set of DMC threads
The only thing better than owning a thread shade card is owning the threads themselves. I always kept using the threads I had on hand, and until I got the whole set, I didn’t realise just how much I was making compromise; my colors have definitely got better. You can see how much a full set of DMC threads has helped us with our blog post about our journey to a complete set of cross stitch threads.
Not the cheapest thing in the world, wait until you can buy a whole set in one go on an offer. The price can drop from $450 to $200. Just don’t be tempted by those cheap Chinese deals to see on ebay.

New DMC Mouline Etoile Threads

New DMC Mouline Etoile Threads (source: sewandso.co.uk)

It’s been a busy few months for the DMC thread company, with the addition of 35 new threads back in September, and now, a whole new set of specialist threads for October.
 
These 35 new threads dubbed the “DMC Mouline Etoile” (star mill) series are 35 new six strand threads with the slightest sparkle added to them. They still work in the standard way a 6 strand thread would, but they offer a smaller amount of interest than the standard threads. I’ve actually been able to get hands on with a small section and confirm they’re rather smooth and stitch well, something which speciality threads have struggled with in the past. They come in these standard colors:
(C)ECRU, (C)BLANC, C310, C318, C321, C415, C433, C436, C444, C471, C519, C550, C554, C600, C603, C666, C699, C725, C738, C740, C798, C814, C816, C820, C823, C840, C890, C900, C907, C915, C938, C972, C995, C3371, C3799

New DMC Mouline Etoile Threads In Silver Box
New DMC Mouline Etoile Threads In Silver Box

Unlike the 35 non-sparkly threads that came out in September, not much is being made of these new threads, which I personally find interesting. I think timing is probably one issue. I know that September and October is filled with stitching up Halloween and Christmas stitches, so they might have missed the boat slightly when it comes to timing. It’s clear that these threads probably won’t be used outside of specialist occassions, and Christmas and Halloween were the time to use them. Sadly, thanks to this I think the Mouline Etoile range might struggle to sell.
New DMC Mouline Etoile Threads Compared
New DMC Mouline Etoile Threads Compared

But there is a second, and slightly more interesting reason I think DMC have kept a bit quiet is due to competition, specifically with Anchor, DMC’s traditional rival. Anchor have a small set of Pearl Metallic threads which for all purposes are identical threads. Whilst Anhcor have no where near as many threads in the range as DMC do now (only 6), with cheaper Chinese brands such as CXC gaining traction, DMC are starting to feel the pinch, and they want to be seen as the one brand pushing thread boundries, the ‘top dog’. In fact, the Coloris range from DMC released in early 2018 was for exactly the same reason.
 
Its clear that this year DMC have gone out of their way to match and exceed Anchor’s threads, and now they have a larger set of classic threads, and speciality. However cheaper brands are really getting some steam at the moment, so I wouldn’t be suprised if 2019 had some new threads too.