Did You Know You Can Print On Aida?

adventure time cross stitches with printed aida background by WonderStrange

Aida selections generally come in white, black, grey or every pale shade of pastel under the sun. But what if you want something that’ll pop? What about something with a design on it? Well saddle up, cos we’re about to go on a ride. It turns out, your average home color printer can create awesome aida in no time flat!
 
WonderStrange worked out all the hard work for us, but the technique is actually pretty simple. Cut your plain aida (you should use white) down to A4 size, put some freezer paper on the back (its sticky on one side) and put it in your printer. Print whatever you want and you have yourself a epic, custom but of aida.
 
Wondering why you need the freezer paper? Turns out those holes make a serious mess unless something is behind it!

Source: WonderStrange

Finally, if you want a pure color for aida, you can also try painting it.
adventure time cross stitches with printed aida background by WonderStrange
Adventure Time cross stitches with printed aida background by WonderStrange

Gameboy Advance Micro Console Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Title: Gameboy Advance Micro Console Date Completed: June 2018 Design: Lord Libidan Count: 14 Canvas: Plastic Colours: 4 Game: Nintendo Gameboy Advance

Title: Gameboy Advance Micro Console Date Completed: June 2018 Design: Lord Libidan Count: 14 Canvas: Plastic Colours: 4 Game: Nintendo Gameboy Advance
Title: Gameboy Advance Micro Console
Date Completed: June 2018
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: Plastic
Colours: 4
Game: Nintendo Gameboy Advance
 
The best place to start with this project is how it came about. I had created a Nintendo N64 Micro Console Cross Stitch and had intended to create a classic Gameboy in the same scale (which I later did), however instead created the Gameboy Color Micro Console Cross Stitch as it was more visually interesting. However my memory of the Gameboy was firmly set on the Gameboy Advance.
 
This new challenge was actually more interesting that it sounds, as along with creating a smaller Gameboy, a Gameboy on a different orientation, and a Gameboy with shoulder buttons, I also had to create smaller games that would still play the larger variants. Choosing the launch purple, I created something that works well, but not perfectly. In future I think an additional ‘step’ on the back will allow you to get Gameboy Advance games out easier.
 
This project grew in size and before I submitted the idea to the Xstitch Mag, I had created the classic Gameboy, Gameboy Color Micro Console Cross Stitch, Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Switch, all in micro form.
Micro Gameboy Cross Stitches by Lord Libidan

The Best Cross Stitch Books

With so many cross stitch books out there, I’ve read my way through a library just to give you a run down of the best cross stitch books, categorised by difficulty.

Best Books For Beginners

The Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch

mr x stitch guide to cross stitch Cover
Difficulty: X to XX

By Jamie Chalmers
Perfect for the beginner, it doesn’t get too technical, and everything it written with an entertaining edge. Its fun, chatty and includes some awesome modern patterns. We have a full review here.
 

The New Cross Stitcher’s Bible

the new cross stitchers bible
Difficulty: X to XXXX

By Jane Greenoff
A staple in many cross stitchers collections, the Jane Greenoff Cross Stitch bible has been updated a series of times over the years, and covers everything from the very basics, so complex theories and stitches. It can be a great learning resource, but is a bit hard to get into.
 

Cross Stitch: A beginner’s step-by-step guide

cross stitch beginners book cover
Difficulty: X to XX

By Charlotte Gerlings
A general beginners book with a slant on smaller projects, this book offers clear and concise advice without going off topic. Small at only 48 pages.
 
 
 

Best Intermediate Books

Mega Mini Cross Stitch

mega mini cross stitch book cover
Difficulty: XX to XXX

By Makoto Oozu
A compendium of small cross stitches by Japanese cross stitch master Makoto Oozu, over 900 simple patterns and some basic instructions. The diffuculty comes from the language; the whole book is in Japanese.
 

Cross-Stitch to Calm: Stitch and De-Stress

Cross-Stitch to Calm- Stitch and De-Stress book cover
Difficulty: XX to XXX

By Leah Lintz
These simple patterns, mostly using less than 5 colors are great practice, but offer little in the way of very complicated designs. The 40 patterns included are all well created however, making each pattern a worth while stitch.
 

The Cross-Stitch Garden

the cross stitch garden book cover
Difficulty: XX to XXX

By Kazuko Aoki
A great selection of delicate patterns and designs make this a book intermediate book, capable of stretching newer and more advanced stitchers alike.
 
 
 

Best Advanced Books

Storyland Cross Stitch


Difficulty: XX to XXXX

By Sophie Simpson
A great book with a series of interesting patterns ranging from fairly simple to advanced, with each pattern having its own kit items attached; ready for stitching.
 

Subversive Cross Stitch

subversive cross stitch book cover
Difficulty: XXX to XXXX

By Julie Jackson
Rude and lude, but a great set of patterns, made specifically to make you chuckle. Whilst the book does have basic instructions, its patterns are far from simple.
 

Do-It-Yourself Stitch People


Difficulty: XXX to XXXX

By Elizabeth Dabczynski-Bean
A book with no guide at all seems like a bad idea, however this fantastic resource allows you to create your own cross stitch people by picking hair, faces, bodies, legs and accessories. As a result there is no pattern to follow, meaning you have to work it out yourself.

Gameboy Color Micro Console Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Title: Gameboy Color Micro Console Date Completed: June 2018 Design: Lord Libidan Count: 14 Canvas: Plastic Colours: 8 Game: Nintendo Gameboy, Pokemon Red, Pokemon Blue, Pokemon Yellow, Harvest Moon

Title: Gameboy Color Micro Console Date Completed: June 2018 Design: Lord Libidan Count: 14 Canvas: Plastic Colours: 8 Game: Nintendo Gameboy, Pokemon Red, Pokemon Blue, Pokemon Yellow, Harvest Moon
Title: Gameboy Color Micro Console
Date Completed: June 2018
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: Plastic
Colours: 8
Game: Nintendo Gameboy, Pokemon Red, Pokemon Blue, Pokemon Yellow, Harvest Moon
 
I had this project on the back burner since my Nintendo N64 Micro Console Cross Stitch back in June of 2017. In that time I’ve been working on my largest ever project, but also stitching some secret projects. By now I can say that I create cross stitch patterns for the Xstitch Mag, which has taken up some time, but also two books, and a third and fourth book proposal, which I can say a little more about in the coming weeks. However, with the newest Xstitch Mag project done, it was announced that the next issue was goign to be a ‘mixtape’ issue. In short, this meant I could stitch anythign I wanted, so long as it fit in the mag. I threw this idea back in the mix along with a Micro Cassette Keychain Cross Stitch.
 
My initial idea was to copy the size requirements of the micro Nintendo N64 console I stitched, but make a classic gameboy. Whilst I did go onto make a Classic Gameboy Micro Console Cross Stitch as part of the project, I initially shelved the idea, instead going for a Gameboy Color, as it looked a little more interesting.
 
Picking the launch color, lime green, I created a micro Gameboy color, with a slot at the back for games to go in and out. In addition I created a cartridge of Harvest Moon 2 (my favorite Gameboy game) and Pokemon Blue, Pokemon Red and Pokemon Yellow.
 
This project grew in size and before I submitted the idea to the Xstitch Mag, I had created the classic Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Switch, all in micro form.
Micro Gameboy Cross Stitches by Lord Libidan

Why is it called FROGGING anyway?

knitting frogging

A few weeks back we looked into the word railroading and found out where the name originally came from, and on our social media platforms people started talking about other weird cross stitch words. One of these was frogging or simply ‘to frog’. However a small argument started about where the term came from, and why it was called that. Turns out, no one knows for sure, however there are three main theories.
 

What is FROGGING?

For those that don’t know, frogging is the bain of all cross stitchers. Simply put, if you’ve made a mistake and can’t fix it, then you have to rip it out. Its bound to have happened to every stitcher at some point, but not that many people know its called frogging.

knitting frogging
Frogging is also a term used in knitting for the same issue!

Why is it called FROGGING anyway?

When it comes to the term frogging, there are a few possible options on its etymology. Whilst no one knows for sure, we can narrow some of the options down a little.

Possibility 1 – “Rip it, Rip it”

A fun and quirky way of learning the term frogging is the phrase “rip it, rip it”, which kinda sounds like a frog. Kinda.
I think whilst this is a great way of learning the namee, the closeness of ‘rip it’ to ‘ribbit’ is just a bit too far from the truth.

Possibility 2 – The swear word

We’ve all heard of the story on how the word f*ck came about, but in many circles its just not an acceptable term. But getting cross stitch wrong sucks. Simply put this story works on the idea that someone would exclaim “FROG!” instead of its well known offensive cousin.
However, that doesn’t really add up either. You see, the first known use of the term ‘frog’ (used for embroidery, not specifically cross stitch) was in 1500. The swear word was invented in 1475. The likelihood that the swear word became so well known and then surpassed in 5 years is just crazy unlikely. So that leaves just one other theory.

Possibility 3 – The English don’t like the French

Turns out, ‘frog’ isn’t just the creature, it means something else too.

Frog
[frog, frawg]

noun

  1. (often initial capital letter) Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive.
  2. A contemptuous term used to refer to a French person or a person of French descent.

There is one thing that every Englishman knows, and its our history with the French. We’ve been friends, enemies, and everything in between. As a result French words, and words pertaining to the French have made their way into the English language.
So it could be that people are simply saying that ‘to frog’ is extremely disparaging.
And why is this the most likely answer? Well, two things. Firstly the term ‘frog’ to talk about a Frenchman would have been on everyone’s lips. Not becouse we were at war with France, but because France had just stopped being at war with us, and suddenly we were friends. In an effort to use common language, its likely they reused the term ‘frog’ to no longer mean a Frenchman, and as a result used its original meaning, disparaging. Whilst this did change some 200 years later, by then it was likely in the common vocabulary for stitchers. Interesting at this time most stitchers and embroiderers were men, specifically those in the military, who would have fought then fought alongside the French.
The second reason? There simply isn’t a better alternative. No one really knows the origin of the term, but for now, the best we can work out, is its simply an obscure use of the word ‘frog’ which is no longer remembered.

Gameboy Micro Console Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Title: Gameboy Micro Console Date Completed: June 2018 Design: Lord Libidan Count: 14 Canvas: Plastic Colours: 3 Game: Nintendo Gameboy

Title: Gameboy Micro Console Date Completed: June 2018 Design: Lord Libidan Count: 14 Canvas: Plastic Colours: 3 Game: Nintendo Gameboy
Title: Gameboy Micro Console
Date Completed: June 2018
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: Plastic
Colours: 3
Game: Nintendo Gameboy
 
I had originally set out to create a classic Gameboy in the scale of my Nintendo N64 Micro Console Cross Stitch a year ago, and although I had ditched the idea in order to create the Gameboy Color Micro Console Cross Stitch at the start of this project, it just didn’t seem right to leave the classic Gameboy out. This design is actually the same as the Gameboy color, with a wider and longer body, and as a result is still able to play the Gameboy games I created.
 
This project grew in size and before I submitted the idea to the Xstitch Mag, I had created the Gameboy Color Micro Console Cross Stitch, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Switch, all in micro form.
Micro Gameboy Cross Stitches by Lord Libidan

7 Awesome Gift Ideas For Cross Stitchers

DMC thread card

Finding gifts for the people in your life that like things outside of your normal is hard, and so we’ve put together 7 awesome gift ideas for cross stitchers.

Fun Needle Keeps – from $5

chapelviewcrafts polymer cake needle minder
The great thing about needle keeps, other than how cheap they are, is the awesome volume of different designs. Pick something their interested in, and BOOM! You’ve got yourself a super personalised gift for under a fiver! They can even become a bit of a hobby in themselves; I have a charizard, a cup of tea, the cake design you see here and a book. I would look on Etsy first as they have a whole wealth of handmade ones.

ThreadCutterz – $12-15

thread cutterz
How about something a little more practical? These ThreadCutterz are an awesome alternative to scissors, which sits on your finger like a ring, meaning no more swapping out to go for a pair of scissors. Just for an added bonus they can be taken on international plane flights too!

A Good Pair Of Scissors – $30

cross stitch scissors
I know, I just said about replacing scissors, but in reality, a lot of cross stitchers like a good pair of scissors. In fact, I’m a believer that you always need another pair of scissors. You can choose practical scissors, fancy scissors, or even super colorful ones. We’ve even got a guide for finding the best cross stitch scissors if you’re not sure what type to get.

Thread Shade Chart – $20

One of the best gifts I’ve ever recived is a thread shade card. They simply show you how all the colors look, and how they sit together. DMC (the most common thread company) do a version with thread samples ($20) including the new DMC threads, which is far superior. We have a copy of the DMC shade card on our site to see at any time, however we know from experience that there is nothing like the real thing. A steal at $20 too.
DMC thread card

Magazine Subscriptions – $20-60 a year

cross stitcher magazine cover
What about a gift that keeps giving? There are loads of cross stitch magazines out there, including a whole raft of modern, traditional, kid friendly and international ones. The great thing however is it keeps being delivered month after month! They’re fantastic for giving you patterns, inspirations, fiding out about new products and a lot give away free gifts too! Prices vary, $20-$60 a year.

Threads! – $20-200+

Full set of DMC threads
As a cross stitcher I know too well that there is a super warm fuzzy feeling that comes from owning a full set of cross stitch threads. Now this might seem like a big cost, $200 or more for DMC. However just a pack of threads, such as metallics or the new coloris range are an awesome way to bring a bit of flair into someone’s cross stitch for a really reasonable price. As a bonus, they come in nice gift boxes too!
It’s also worth noting that there is a cheaper brand of threads which are surprisingly good, and can cost as little as $40 for the whole set!

Great Cross Stitch Software – up to $50

pcstitch cross stitch software
How about something slightly more expensive? A time comes for every cross stitcher when they want to make their own patterns, and whilst you can do this online, they all have their limitations. As a result you often see a cross stitch pattern creation program on the wish list of many cross stitchers. You can choose from frankly hundreds of them, with prices ranging from $20 to over $200, however the ever popular WinStitch or PCstitch are the best bets, for $50. You can find a comparison of cross stitch programs here.

How Cross Stitch Helps Real World People With Real World Problems

epic pokemon first generation perler by mininete

Today we’re going to talk about something slighlty different. For two reasons. Firstly, we talking about how craft can help people, how it can enable the worst situations in life to seem a little more acceptable. And we’re not talking cross stitch. Well, we kind of are, you see the thing that made me interested in this story originally, was Nete Hangel, and how she used my free cross stitch patterns.
If you hadn’t worked it out already, we’re doing to be talking about perler beads, which whilst a totally different craft uses patterns the same way.
 
Nete Hangel, or Mininete as she’s known online, is a pretty typical 19 year old from Denmark, with one major exception; she has complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), a rare condition that can cause severe or extreme pain in arms or legs. Because of this, she can’t do much without pain being on her mind. However there is one thing; perler beads.
 

It’s been a coping method and a thing I could do even if I couldn’t think straight because of pain and pain meds

For her, the repetative action of beading has been almost “a form of meditation” and helped with “clearing your head”, which for almost every cross stitcher I know is the same. And whilst we might not stitch to burn through pain, it helps keep us grounded and a little more settled. We’re massively devoted to helping mental health, and we’ve even talked before on how cross stitch helps me destress.

Epic Pokemon perler being constructed by mininete (Nete Hangel)
Epic Pokemon perler being constructed by mininete (Nete Hangel)

The fact that Nete picked up her largest project to date, our free epic pokemon cross stitch pattern at a time of seriously bad pain, and the fact that she’s able to get up and battle the world now, just goes to show that sometimes cross stitch isn’t such a closed off world, and it helps real world people with real world problems everyday. We’re damn proud to have helped that.
epic pokemon first generation perler by mininete
Epic Pokemon Perler by mininete (Nete Hangel)

Why Are Glow-In-the-Dark Threads Green?

spiderman glow in the dark cross stitch

xstitch magazine issue 3 cover I write and I make patterns for the XStitch Magazine and found myself writing a companion piece before, such as my blog on when cross stitch almost made it to space. However in the newest issue, we talk about green. My post focused on the weird relationship we have with green, in both love and hate, thanks to ink prices, sour emotions and the green of nature. I had planned to cross stitch something within the theme using glow-in-the-dark thread, as I knew it came in green. But then I though:

Why are glow-in-the-dark threads green?

Let’s start by looking at the facts; glow in the dark thread is green. You can see a few awesome glow-in-the-dark stitches elsewhere on my website, its green. But does it have to be? No. In fact, there are loads of threads out there that are glow-in-the-dark and not green, take these Kreinik ones for example:
kreinik glow in the dark threads
There are two reasons for the green glow. Science, and physcology.
 
Science – The reason the glow comes, or the phosphorescent if you want to get fancy, is mostly down to zinc sulfide. Unlike other glowing chemicals, zinc is non-harmful to humans, and fairly stable. Zinc sulfide, is green. Now, you can add it to other chemicals to make it different colors, hence Kreinik’s threads, however the combining reduces the phosphorescent effect heavily.
 
Physcology – People expect it to be green. Originally green was used as a haunted and eery color thanks to halloween, being represented in alien blood, slime or zombies, and so when glow-in-the-dark colors came into fashion, green seemed the obvious choice. Since then, you naturally associate the color in your head when thinking of glow-in-the-dark, so when its different; you don’t like it as much. Turns out people, just like it that way.

How to use metallic threads – and make it super easy!

dmc light effect threads

Let’s face it, you’ve used metallics at some point, but you’ve not touched it in a LONG time, right? Simply put, speciality threads are hard to use.
But they don’t have to be. With a few simple changes to the way you work, metallics suddenly become super easy and a fantastic way to make your projects more interesting. We spoke to a few major players using metallic threads, including kreinik threads to see what they suggest.
 

Pick the right thread

If you’ve picked up a metallic thread from the shelf, you’ve either picked up a thick thread (like DMCs metallics) or a super thin blending thread. Neither are useful. In face DMCs metallics are so thick they can only be used on 10/12 count and not 14. Instead look to get a thin braid specifically designed for set count aida.

kreinik threads in different thicknesses
Different thread weights. Kreinik Very Fine #4 Braid, Fine #8 Braid, Blending Filament combined with floss, just floss. Source: Kreinik Threads

 

Remove the curls

Metallics knot. A lot. So so much… But there is a good reason! As they’re held on the spool the metal parts stiffen into the shape, meaning when you pull it off, there are curls. We tend to want to straighten the thread with twists of the needle, which leads to more knots. BUT if you dampen a small sponge (make up sponges work well) and pull the thread you’ll find it straights right out. No more knots!
 

kreinik threads off spool with a curl
Source: Kreinik Threads

Don’t seperate the threads

This is SUPER important with other speciality threads such as glow in the dark threads, where the threads are actually made up differently, meaning you might strip the threads apart. If you’ve picked the right thread, as per above, this shouldn’t be an issue.
 

Don’t stitch 2 over 2

OK, so I know I keep going on about picking the right thread, but if you’ve picked the right thread; stick with it. That means you shouldn’t split the thread apart, and you shouldn’t combine the threads together to make a ‘double thread’. Metallics are made to be used as one thread only.
 

Make the thread ‘slide’

There are parts of the cross stitch world that simply haven’t come to terms with the closure of thread heaven. Simply put, the stuff make working with metallics a breeze in itself, however they are no more. But that doesn’t mean other alternatives don’t work. I personally wouldn’t use the likes of beewax for cotton threads as it clumps up, but metallics slide so easy its crazy. Even better news? Bees wax is super easy to get hold of.
 

Slow down (and calm down)

Finally, with one simple thing you can improve any metallic stitching session; remember metallics aren’t like cotton threads. They’re different in pretty much every way, and whilst they kinda look the same, so long as you take your time, any problems are easily fixed.