NASA Space Shuttle Blueprint Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

NASA Space Shuttle Blueprint Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

NASA Space Shuttle Blueprint Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
NASA Space Shuttle Blueprint Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Title: NASA Space Shuttle Blueprint
Date Completed: August 2020
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: Navy
Colors: 1
Pop Culture: Space, NASA, Shuttle
 
I rarely revisit a cross stitch idea. For me, once the idea is done, it’s done. However, whilst stitching my Star Trek Enterprise LCARS cross stitch, I had a real yearning for a non sci-fi space project. What made this particularly interesting, was it may be the first time I had ever revisited an idea. The Enterprise was a larger version of my Star Trek Voyager LCARS cross stitch.
 
I’ve previously explained how much I love blueprints, and I’ve done enough of them, however, I’ve always loved my Saturn V Blueprint cross stitch. It was created for the Xstitch Magazine, however it always held a place in my heart for its complex nature. Working with the same design, planned to go side by side, I reworked the stitch to be focused on the NASA Space Shuttle, the only US space craft to fly in my lifetime.
 
You can also pick up this NASA Space Shuttle cross stitch pattern up from my Etsy.

Whats The Best Cross Stitch Thread Brand?

Full set of DMC threads

Finding the best products for you can be a challenge, so we’ve covered the best cross stitch needle brands and the best aida brands in the past. However there was always one topic we tended to stay away from, yet it was always the most requested. The best cross stitch thread brand.
 
We supplied 125 cross stitchers (ranging in ability, and current thread brand preference) with a selection of threads from 9 well-known thread brands, on unmarked bobbins (to remove bias) and asked for their honest feedback.
 
We tested five different variables; price, availability (both locally and online), quality, price, and a new category specific to this test; manufacture. This new variable is all about how the threads are made and include lots of factors such as environmental, tradition, thread make up and more.
 

Royal Broiderie Threads

Coming up in the last place on our test in Royal Broiderie threads. We actually praised the thread for its coverage in our post, testing to see if cheap embroidery threads are worth it, however, our testers found batch mismatches, the thread knotted more often, it split apart, and one tester reported color loss when washing. It should be noted that Royal Broiderie threads are such a low price point that many testers said they would still consider using the thread, even though it had its problems.
 

Range – 4/5
Availability – 2/5
Quality – 1/5
Manufacture – 2/5
Price – 4/5
Total – 2.5/5

 

Presencia Finca Coats

With 133 colors, Presenica Finca threads do offer problems when switching out DMC colors, although they do have the closest DMC code on their label. However, poor availability, highish prices, and the lower range meant Presencia Finca rated poorly, despite great scores for its quality and manufacture.
 

Range – 2/5
Availability – 2/5
Quality – 5/5
Manufacture – 4/5
Price – 3/5
Total – 3.2/5

 

Cosmo Threads

Never heard of Cosmo threads? Well, that’s not a surprise. Cosmo threads are often used by quilters, even though its a hand embroidery thread, it’s of great quality and they do carry 400 colors. This sadly, is where the problems start creeping in. Cosmo threads are seriously hard to find, often requiring a deep web search to uncover. They don’t even have a website. In addition, the price can be up to double that of DMC threads, making it a costly thread to procure.
 

Range – 4/5
Availability – 2/5
Quality – 5/5
Manufacture – 5/5
Price – 2/5
Total – 3.5/5

 

Appletons Wool

Appletons threads aren’t like the others on this list; they’re wool. At first, we were hesitant to add Appletons for that specific reason, but our Facebook group asked for it to be added, so we did.
Understandably, wool breaks apart easier than cotton, it’s not as smooth, and its slightly harder to deal with. Its range is a healthy 400, so you can use it for almost any cross stitch project, but with it being hard to find inside of the UK (its head office), let alone elsewhere, it sadly slips down our ratings.
 

Range – 4/5
Availability – 2/5
Quality – 3/5
Manufacture – 5/5
Price – 3/5
Total – 3.5/5

 

J&P Coats

J&P Coats, or Coats, or J&P as they are sometimes called, create high-quality products. But just because the threads are well made, doesn’t mean they are actually nice to use. Sadly, this is one of those cases. Our testers found knotting to be an issue, coverage to be an issue, and fuzziness to be an issue (especially as you go to the end of your thread). This, coupled with poor availability and fairly high prices means Coats weren’t as high as we thought they would be.
 

Range – 4/5
Availability – 2/5
Quality – 5/5
Manufacture – 4/5
Price – 3/5
Total – 3.5/5

 

Madeira Cotton Threads

In a not-a-huge- surprise, Madeira threads have done well. Madeira is a pleasure to use, and thanks to its unique skein storage reduce the likelihood of knotting and splitting while being used. Our testers also found it to be the shiniest to use, giving any project a slightly glam look. However, outside of the UK and Australia Madeira hand embroidery threads (unlike their machine embroidery threads) are hard to find, and when you do find them, they often come with a healthy price jump.
If you can find them for a good price, these are a great product. With just under 380 colors, conversion to DMC color codes is easy, even if you lose some slight shade differences.
 

Range – 4/5
Availability – 4/5
Quality – 5/5
Manufacture – 5/5
Price – 4/5
Total – 4.5/5

 

Anchor Embroidery Threads

Another well-known choice for embroidery threads, especially in Europe, is Anchor threads. Praised for their soft texture, and for not knotting, or splitting people loved the quality of the threads. Sadly, they’re a little more expensive than its competitors, and outside of the US and Europe, they are hard to come by.
The range is slightly smaller than DMC, but there is a whole raft of DMC to Anchor conversion tables out there, the threads are still interchangeable.
 

Range – 4/5
Availability – 3/5
Quality – 5/5
Manufacture – 4/5
Price – 3/5
Total – 4/5

 

Sullivans Threads

Sullivans threads are a delight to work with. Unlike many on our comparison test, Sullivans offers a standard 400 color range, and a further set of metallics, overdyed and variated, meaning its the largest range of any on our list, even DMC. However the manufacturers also know that DMC is the preferred option for many, so each skein is stamped with the closest DMC color code on the label, meaning you don’t need a conversion chart.
Sadly, sourcing these threads outside of North America or Australia isn’t easy, however, there are a few local stores taking up stock, so over time we expect this to alleviate and Sullivans should get easier and easier to find.
 

Range – 5/5
Availability – 4/5
Quality – 5/5
Manufacture – 5/5
Price – 3/5
Total – 4.5/5

 

CXC Threads

We don’t actually have a link to CXC threads, and that is the biggest problem. A Chinese copy if DMC threads, which come in all thread colors bar the new 35 DMC thread colors (although I hear they will do these colors as well soon), these threads were a key feature of one of our previous tests, are cheap embroidery threads worth it, and we found, not only were they worth getting, but thanks to their polyester construction, could actually hold up better than the competition.
One thing we didn’t talk about though, was getting your hands on these threads. Sold through Aliexpress, Etsy or other non-licensed reseller websites, theses threads are super cheap, but take ages to get to you, and are hard to find. Other than that though, they ranked very well with our testers.
 

Range – 5/5
Availability – 5/5
Quality – 3/5
Manufacture – 5/5
Price – 5/5
Total – 4.5/5

 

DMC Threads

DMC is for many, known as the golden standard for thread quality, but many have questioned its crown and wonder if it’s simply a case of DMC being the best-known brand out there. Our tests prove that DMC does still have fantastic threads. The range is copied by others on this list and is the most exhaustive by far, it’s available in almost every country on earth, and its made of traditional cotton in the same factory that has been making it for the last 500 years.
Those are the good points. However, there is a downside; cost. It’s a well-known fact that DMC threads vary in price by up to $5 a skein in some locations, but our tests proved that for the quality, people were prepared to pay the averaged out cost. That said, they still only tied for first place, with CXC threads.
 

Range – 5/5
Availability – 5/5
Quality – 5/5
Manufacture – 5/5
Price – 3/5
Total – 4.5/5

 
And there you have it, our round-up of the best cross stitch thread brands out there which will hopefully help you pick out a thread supplier for you! We should say though that there are lots of smaller brands out there which we haven’t included, but are great, including hand-dyed options. We also didn’t include any specialty thread suppliers that can really make a cross stitch project sparkle.
 
If you wanted to know, our choice is DMC threads. We prefer using pure cotton threads, and its widespread popularity, availability and color choices make it the easiest for us.

Full set of DMC threads
My full set of DMC threads ordered by number

Looking for a embroidery thread conversion table?

Star Trek Enterprise LCARS Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Star Trek Enterprise LCARS Ship Schematic Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Star Trek Enterprise LCARS Ship Schematic Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
Star Trek Enterprise LCARS Ship Schematic Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Title: USS Enterprise LCARS Ship Blueprint
Date Completed: August 2020
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: Black
Colors: 9
Pop Culture: Star Trek The Next Generation
 
I called my Star Trek Voyager Blueprint Cross Stitch my magnum opus, but apparently, I was wrong.
 
I started planning my Voyager blueprint years before I started it, with tests in my Star Trek cross stitch book and my LCARS what happens on the holodeck cross stitch, however, it never really worked for me, so I looked at doing a realistic screen accurate LCARS interface, and I chose a blueprint for it. It was one of the only patterns I’ve made to take me over 100 hours, and I was proud as hell. I added in so many details, so many little hints at storylines, and it’s a super-accurate blueprint to boot! However, I kept getting the same question come up “will you do an Enterprise?”.
 
It turns out, that whilst Voyager has always been my favorite Star Trek, for most people, it’s the Next Generation. This has two major problems with it though, problems I had to overcome. Firstly, there are 7 series (178 episodes) and 4 movies, all of which have their own hints at what the Enterprise contains, and what it can do. So I had to watch them. All of them. That’s not really too hard of a task, but my notes during the 200+ hours of watching were extensive, so I had to add that into the design. This is slightly more complicated by the fact that there are no ‘real’ blueprints out there for inspiration.
Star Trek Enterprise LCARS Ship Schematic Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan (Right Detail)
Star Trek Enterprise LCARS Ship Schematic Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan (Right Detail)

The second issue was that of size. The Enterprise D is 2-3 times larger than voyager in all dimensions. This makes it larger, sure, but combined with all the extra secrets I added in there, more complicated. Then, and this has always been a big thing for me, I wanted these patterns to look like real screens that could be used at any time, so I had to make it appropriate for a screen size, used in the series.
 
However, I put all of this together and even managed to reduce the number of colors from 13 to 11, whilst adding in a whole bunch of extras that were still in keeping, but also period-specific (LCARS changed between Next Generation and Voyager, in both colors and design). Then came the stitching, for which I had to buy a new cross stitch frame large enough!
Star Trek Enterprise LCARS Ship Schematic Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan (Left Detail)
Star Trek Enterprise LCARS Ship Schematic Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan (Left Detail)

How Many DMC Threads Are There?

Clear Draws for Embroidery Thread Storage (Source: pinterest)

There are officially 500 different colors of DMC 117 Mouliné Spécial thread.

But…

That’s not the whole story. The US DMC website lists only 489, there are some region-specific “exclusive” threads, and there are Étoile, Coloris, Color Variations, Light Effects, and even some Special Embroidery threads available.
 
So let’s dive in and work out what’s going on, and how many threads you can collect.

So Why Does The US Site Only List 489 Threads?

The DMC US website allows you to buy 489 colors separately, but there are still 500 standard threads.
All DMC threads are made in the French factory and shipped around the world (which is the main reason DMC threads vary in price depending on where you live). For some reason, which I don’t know yet, DMC US gets individual threads for 489 of the colors. So while you can get the others in the US, you can’t buy them individually from the US site (although other retailers do sell them).
 
If you’re looking for the missing colors, you need to pick up 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 677, 734, 822 and 988. Sometimes you may also need to source 3856 too.

Full set of DMC threads
My full set of DMC threads ordered by number

What About Those US Specific Threads?

These 16 threads are mostly considered as discontinued DMC threads, as they are hard to come by outside of the Americas, and they’re rarely used in patterns. However, they are officially still in production.
Many countries have stringent rules on what dyes can be used in manufacturing, however, in America, these rules are slightly more relaxed. In 2013 a new set of 16 threads was made, using dyes that can only be sold in America. Whilst these threads were never brought into the official range (due to them being hard to come by outside the states), you can still pick them up on the US DMC site, and some resellers across the world.
 
3773, 3880, 3881, 3882, 3883, 3884, 3885, 3886, 3887, 3888, 3889, 3890, 3891, 3892, 3893, 3894 & 3895

What About The Other 6 Stand Threads?

Now the official 500 colors are done, we now need to talk about the other 6 strand threads. Whilst there are 500 solid colors, there are other threads that offer you a slight variation in your stitches, which might be worth picking up.

Étoile Threads

The newest threads to be added to DMCs range, the Étoile thread range. These 35 threads (not to be confused with the “new 35 DMC threads” which are included in the 500) are like any other threads in the range, but they have a slight sparkle running through them. Great for adding a subtle touch to any work, they’re a great range to collect too.
 
(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 (source: sewandso.co.uk)
New DMC Mouline Etoile Threads In Silver Box (source: sewandso.co.uk)

Coloris

Another fairly new set of threads from DMC, the Coloris range is made up of threads with 4 distinct colors in each thread. Like some of the other variations threads which we’ll speak about in a minute, these threads are great for making more interesting solid color patterns. However, unlike the variations, they change to a very different color every 5cm, rather than a complementary color.
 
4500, 4501, 4502, 4503, 4504, 4505, 4506, 4507, 4508, 4509, 4510, 4511, 4512, 4513, 4514, 4515, 4516, 4517, 4518, 4519, 4520, 4521, 4522 & 4523

Color Variations

The color variations range is a series of color-changing threads with each color varying slightly giving a faded effect. There are 36 in total, however, there have been more in the past.
 
4015, 4020, 4025, 4030, 4040, 4045, 4050, 4060, 4065, 4070, 4075, 4077, 4080, 4090, 4100, 4110, 4120, 4124, 4126, 4128, 4130, 4140, 4145, 4150, 4160, 4170, 4180, 4190, 4200, 4210, 4215, 4220, 4230, 4235 & 4240

Variegated threads

The variegated range of threads, which can be hard to find if you’re trying to find them on the official DMC websites, are 18 threads similar in nature to the color variations series, but the change of colors is slower.
In the past DMC have made a lot of variegated threads discontinued, and the arrival of the new Coloris range has made many to suspect they made do the same to these soon too.
 
48, 51, 52, 53, 67, 69, 90, 92, 93, 94, 99, 105, 106, 107, 111, 115, 121 & 125

Light Effects

The final set of 6 strands threads by DMC is the Light Effects range. This includes all their metallic, pearl, neon and glow-in-the-dark threads.
 
E5200, E130, E135, E155, E168, E211, E301, E310, E316, E317, E321, E334, E415, E436, E677, E699, E703, E718, E746, E747, E815, E818, E825, E898, E966, E967, E3685, E3747, E3821, E3837, E3843, E3849, E3852, E980, E990, E940, 5282 & 5283

dmc light effect threads (source: DMC.com)
dmc light effect threads (source: DMC.com)

Are There Any Other Threads?

Whilst those are the standard 6 strand threads cross stitchers can use, there are other 6 strand threads from different DMC ranges that can be used as well.

Satin Threads

The first range is DMCs satin range. Unlike its standard cotton 500, the satin range is made up of rayon fibers (shiny wool) but acts exactly like normal DMC thread. Most people forget these threads, and they really shouldn’t as not only is a project with purely these threads a delight to behold (especially a higher count project) but they are a great swap in for backstitching threads.
 
S5200, S211, S307, S310, S321, S326, S336, S351, S352, S367, S414, S415, S434, S469, S471, S472, S501, S504, S550, S552, S553, S601, S602, S606, S666, S676, S700, S702, S712, S726, S738, S739, S741, S744, S745, S762, S776, S797, S798, S799, S800, S818, S820, S841, S898, S899, S909, S915, S931, S932, S943, S959, S964, S976, S991, S995, S3371, S3607, S3685 & S3820

Diamant Threads

Somewhat different from the others on this list the Diamant range is single strand, but they’re the same as a single strand of the standard cotton. Diamant threads are a great DMC metallics alternative, as they’re softer and in my opinion don’t have anywhere near the same issues as the DMC metallics range.
 
D5200, D140, D168, D225, D301, D310, D316, D317, D321, D415, D699, D898, D3821 & D3852

DMC Diamant Threads in Presentation Box (Source: crossstitchworkshop.co.uk)
DMC Diamant Threads in Presentation Box (Source: crossstitchworkshop.co.uk)

Discontinued Threads

There are also a whole bunch of discontinued threads. There are so many here, from all types of ranges, such as metallics, variations and variegated, but you can still get your hands on good quality second-hand embroidery threads that include these.

So How Many Threads Can You Collect?

In total, you can get your hands on 667 different DMC 500 six strand threads.
 
500 solid colors, 16 region-specific colors, 35 Étoile threads, 24 Coloris threads, 36 Color Variations, 18 Variegated threads & 38 Light Effect threads.
 
You can also get your hands on 60 satin six strand threads, 14 diamant threads and 73 discontuined threads.

Looking for how to track your threads?

We have a great free spreadsheet you can use!
 

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

Subversive Cross Stitch Is Older Than You Think

Linen sampler embroidered with silk, by Elizabeth Parker, Ashburnham Forge, Sussex, England, about 1830. (Source: Victoria & Albert Museum)

For as long as I’ve been cross stitching, there have been snarky cross stitches, NSFW cross stitches, postmodern cross stitches, tongue-in-cheek cross stitches, and even just the plain old retro cross stitches. These designs are great, but they serve a purpose; to subvert. But what exactly does that mean, and is it as contemporary as we’d like to think? I say no.
 

Subversive
[suhb-vur-siv]

 
adjective

  • Seeking or intended to subvert an established system or institution.

 
Its important that we start with a definition, or more specifically the definition of the word. Whilst you probably think you know what something is, its actual definition can be wildly different, take the humble cross stitch sampler for example.
So subversion is to undermine the power and authority of an established system or institution. This can take a whole or part of a cross stitch, but as many know it, a sampler of some type.

Modern Trends

In modern times, subversion can be highly varied. It can tackle major injustices, racial freedoms, or it can be a simple subversion of the common cross stitch. For most, this is the vast majority of cross stitch samplers, but even ones that aren’t made to be incongruous or shocking are still subversive.
 
In the below example someone has taken on the home sweet home cross stitch sampler trope, a highly traditional design, and subverted it by pushing a very modern video game aesthetic on top. This in itself does subvert, but the very nature of the work, a vault under the ground where the inhabitants are trapped for hundreds of years, pushes that envelope even further, mocking the original intentions.
 
Whilst this is far from the most subversive cross stitch, it does go to show that subversive cross stitch is very popular. This increase in popularity does mean its more obvious to the everyday cross stitcher, but in order to be a video game cross stitch, it needs to be contemporary.
 
But does it get older than this?

Fallout 3 Home Sweet Home Sampler Cross Stitch (source: reddit)
Fallout 3 Home Sweet Home Sampler Cross Stitch (source: reddit)

Second World War

With our second example, we throwback to the second world war, a time where you probably didn’t expect cross stitch to be popular, but with thousands of prisoners of war across Europe, cross stitch was a popular pass time. In reality, the British government supported this, indirectly, as they sent supplies that were tools for escape, however that didn’t stop POWs having their fill of cross stitch.
 
One such example is the fantastic work of Alexis Casdagli. At first glance this is a very Nazi loving sampler, a sampler so impressive to the nieve Nazis that they took this apparent pro-third Reich sampler around Germany to show off in other prisons. They were at the time, the authority, the established system, and Alexis subverted them in a way they didn’t even know. Around the edge reads simple morse code, familiar to all British troops at the time, with very subversive statements like “God Save The King” and even a swear word; “F**k Hitler”.
 
This is a sampler that not only subverts the authority of those in power but flys under their radar, hidden from view, meaning the Nazis spread the subversive statements to other prisoners of war.
 
But does it get older than this?

World War 2 sampler by imprisoned POW Major Alexis Casdagli
World War 2 sampler by imprisoned POW Major Alexis Casdagli (source: Victoria and Albert museum website)

19th century

The last example we have today is a fantastic cross stitch sampler by a young Elizabeth Parker in 1830, and whilst being one of the most intimate works you might have seen, is also strong in subversion. This was a time when cross stitch samplers were expected of young women when they were intended to show off their skills for a future life of marriage and to strengthen their bond with God. This was a time when young women couldn’t write and mental health was far from understood. Elizabeth subverted this expectation.
 
The opening passage of this sampler reads “As I cannot write I put this down simply and freely as I might speak to a person to whose intimacy and tenderness I can fully entrust myself.” from the very opening passage she is showing a wildly different take on a sampler, something at the time so traditional and expected. She subverts the very position she is put in, not being able to write, yet still about to form words.
 
She goes on, in a lengthy passage, I would suggest anyone reads, stitching about her treatment that is “cruelty too horrible to mention”, her thoughts on suicide and her lack of resolve with God. This all coming from the mind of a 17-year-old girl. But this isn’t pure rambling, this is staged, planned, thought through. Her words are clearly well chosen, and the design clearly planned. Her placement of nothing but red letters on white linen makes the words so much more dramatic, a color that wasn’t well used in samplers of the time. She even ends the whole passage with “what will become of my soul” followed by a large blank space, urging the reader to ponder on what happened to her.
 
This sampler is a diary of such, but I would argue that its one of the most subversive pieces you’ve ever seen, and whilst it doesn’t have that meme-worthy snarky snippet of modern stitching it’s subversive all the same.
 
But does it get older than this?

Linen sampler embroidered with silk, by Elizabeth Parker, Ashburnham Forge, Sussex, England, about 1830. (Source: Victoria & Albert Museum)
Linen sampler embroidered with silk, by Elizabeth Parker, Ashburnham Forge, Sussex, England, about 1830. (Source: Victoria & Albert Museum)

Earlier

Sadly, we don’t have any examples of subversive stitches before the 19th century, but let me be clear; we barely have any cross stitches before this time. The 19th century was a big boom time for cross stitch history where cross stitch became mainstream, thanks to cheap wool and cotton imports. However that to me, leaves the query open, for whilst we don’t know what came before, we do know subversive cross stitch is far older than we imagine.

Cross Stitch Crazy & Cross Stitch Gold Magazines To Shut

Cross Stitch Crazy Magazine Cover Issue 221 (source: cross-stitching.com)

Since March both the Cross Stitch Crazy magazine and Cross Stitch gold magazine, both rating highly on our cross stitch magazines review, have been on pause due to the recent stay at home events. However, their owner Immediate Media has now announced plans to close 12 magazines, including those titles.
 
We first heard about the possible plans back in July, however independent sources within the company have now confirmed that positions are being made redundant and the last issues will be 268 (Cross Stitch Crazy) and 162 (Cross Stitch Gold).
 
The cancellation of some of the best-known magazines in the cross stitch area is estimated to impact roughly 28,000 users, with Cross Stitch Crazy having a readership of 24,400. Redundancies were made on Friday 7th August, and no official announcement has been made to either readership.
 

Cross Stitch Crazy Issue 243 featuring Lord Libidan (source: cross-stitching.com) Cross Stitch Gold Magazine Cover Issue 248 (source: cross-stitching.com)

 
In the last few years, we’ve also seen the likes of F&W Media collapse, the owner of The Cross Stitcher, however, this allowed a new owner to come in and take control of production. We’ve learned that this will not be the case with either magazine owned by Immediate Media and they are looking to close them permanently.
 
The publisher has said that “In order to the protect the long-term future of Immediate we have embarked on a cost-saving project across the business, which unfortunately will include some redundancies and the closure of some brands in our craft and homes portfolio and the phased closure of some of our youth and children’s titles.”
 
SOURCES:
Press Gazette Press Release
Immediate Media former employees
Immediate Media Website

The Ultimate Cross Stitch Quiz!

The Ultimate Cross Stitch Quiz

Ever wondered just how much you know about cross stitch? Why not take on our quiz and see what score you get?
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

What To Do Once You’ve Finished Your Cross Stitch

childs play charity auction cross stitch quilt 2011 (source: spritestitch.com)

You buy a cross stitch pattern or kit, you stitch all day and night, you embellish, fix mistakes and wash your cross stitch (or maybe ask yourself do you need to wash your cross stitch) and you finally finish. You step back and admire your work and then… and then… and then you’re not sure what to do with it.
This is sadly something that people often think. As you stitch more and more, your pile of completed cross stitches steadily rises. But what do you do with all of them once you’re finished?
For many its a case of ignoring them in a corner, but you can use complete cross stitch in a whole slew of ways. We round up the best we know, and a few submissions from our followers.
 
We’ll start off with some of the more obvious, and then explore the more interesting.

Frame It

Yeh, that’s right; frame it. I know a lot of people that cross stitch, but not that many that cross stitch and then frame their work. To me, if you’re going to spend hundreds of hours on a piece of art (or craft), you might as well show it off.
 
You have two options when it comes to framing, you can either frame your cross stitch yourself, or go to a framer. A framer will do a nice job, but it’ll cost a fair bit. Framing yourself is almost free, but it takes a little more effort to get looking perfect, for example, you need to work out if you should frame your cross stitch with or without glass. But whatever route you choose, framing your work allows you to show it off (even if it’s just to yourself), and relish in your work.
However, also like me, you may have cross stitched so many things, and filled up so many frames, that there is no longer a place on any wall in your house. This is when I go back through my frames and update them. This might be harder for those of you who prefer to get their cross stitch framed at a framer, but for self framers, it gives you the option of always having something new up.

Self framed cross stitch (source: plasticlittlecovers.com)
Self framed cross stitch (source: plasticlittlecovers.com)

Sell It

Let me answer a question that might have just had; people buy completed cross stitch. Sure, there isn’t a massive market, but people part with their cash and buy finished pieces a lot. In fact, so often we made a post on how to sell your completed cross stitch.
You can recoup the cost of production, and actually make yourself a fair bit of profit. You do have to part with your cross stitch though; however for many, that’s not too much of an ask.

Wake up and Make Money cross stitch by pxdstitchshop (source: etsy)
Wake up and Make Money cross stitch by pxdstitchshop (source: etsy)

Store It

This may seem like a crazy one at first, but hear us out; store it. Unlike every other option on this list, if you store it, you don’t get to see it, but it keeps it in perfect condition (so long as you store your finished cross stitch correctly). If you want to make a piece an heirloom, or at least keep it to frame at a later point, you need to store it in a safe place.

cross stitch storage
Lord Libidan’s cross stitch storage

Make a Quilt

So let’s get to making. We covered in a recent post other hobbies a cross stitcher would like and one of the biggest was sewing. The great thing about sewing is you can add cross stitch into it. One way is to make a quilt.
One of the first projects may hobby sewers learn is how to make a quilt. It’s traditionally done with patches of T-shirts, but you can change it up and add completed cross stitches without any fuss!

Childs play charity auction cross stitch quilt 2011 (source: spritestitch.com)
Childs Play charity auction cross stitch quilt from 2011 (source: spritestitch.com)

Make a Table Cloth

the second idea for a sewing project is a table cloth. It’s fairly similar in design to a quilt, but you wouldn’t stuff it. If you’re really creative you can make sure each seat at the table gets their own cross stitch, and if all of the designs are similarly themed (like Christmas) you can get it out on special occasions!

Make a Cushion Cover

Although you can buy hundreds of cushions and cushion covers, they’re rarely personal. However, with a simple sewing job, you can turn any cross stitch into a killer cushion. Add a backing piece of fabric, sew up the sites, and shove in a cushion and you’re sorted.

Harry Potter Crest Pillows Cross Stitch by Carlydx-x (source: Instructables.com)
Harry Potter Crest Pillows Cross Stitch by Carlydx-x (source: Instructables.com)

Make a Pencil Case/Sewing Case

Another idea I would suggest is the sewing case or pencil case. Depending on what you want to store (a project travel case would be larger) you can either use small or large finished cross stitch for this. Simply follow a sewing guide, but instead of using fabric, you use your cross stitch. You can have multiple designs or just the one, and make yourself something really handy.

Cross stitch Charizard pencil case by miloceane (Source: DeviantArt)
Cross stitch Charizard pencil case by miloceane (Source: DeviantArt)

Make a Glasses Cloth

If you’re a glasses wearer like me, you’ll know just how darn handy a glasses cloth is. But have you ever thought about a cross stitched one?
I’ll start by saying that you need to be selective here. Not only do you need a small cross stitch, but it needs to be on a soft cross stitch fabric like linen, and not aida (which will scratch the glass). But, embroidery on a glasses cloth actually helps clean the glasses.
Be aware though, that glasses cloths get a lot of wear, and are likely to be covered in grease (washing is a must here!) and likely to be washed often, so your cross stitch may not last forever.

Make Coasters

The sheer volume of coaster kits in cross stitch and craft stores should give you a heads up that cross stitch works perfectly for coasters. Once again, you need a smallish cross stitch, but the great thing here is that the cross stitch is held within the coaster, meaning it’s protected from all but the sun. You get to keep your cross stitch safe, whilst seeing it all day, every day.
You could also add some banding to the edge and just use the cross stitch itself, but I’d be worried about spilling tea…

Make Pins/Needle Minders

Going right down into the small cross stitch now, you can make pins and needle minders. You can use plastic canvas cross stitches (in fact you can finish plastic canvas a whole load of ways), small cross stitches, or (dare I say it) cut apart a sampler. This will destroy the whole thing, but if you can make something out of the smaller parts, but not the whole design, it might just be worth it.
There are a few different ways to make pins and needle minders, including some kits, so we won’t say how right here, but instructions aren’t hard to come by.

cave story cross stitch cufflinks by benjibot (source: pinterest)
Cave Story cross stitch cufflinks by benjibot (source: pinterest)

However, whatever intend to do with your completed cross stitch, just remember to remove your cross stitch from the hoop.

Double Eye Tapestry Needles – Perfect For Blending Cross Stitch

Standard tapestry needles next to double eye tapestry needles (Source: Pinterest)

Considering we use them so much, cross stitch needles or tapestry needles to give them their rightful name, are staples for our craft. Therefore, when I spoke about the best types of cross stitch needles in a previous post, I thought I had all of them covered. For a while, I thought there were no others. But when we started investigating who makes the best cross stitch needles we fell upon another type of needle. One we had never heard of before; double eye needles.

What Are They?

In essence, they are exactly what you expect, a standard tapestry needle with two eyes for threads. If we’re getting specific they actually take the standard eye and split it in two. This means that you probably have to use a needle threader to put the thread through the smaller eyes, but otherwise they act just like a normal needle.
 
The reason they exist, however, is slightly more interesting. The double eyes are meant to carry two different threads, allowing you to either blend threads, or add in metallics without putting friction on the fabric. This should result in a neat almost railroaded blended thread look.

Gold Double Eye Tapestry Needles (Source: grovesltd.co.uk)
Gold Double Eye Tapestry Needles (Source: grovesltd.co.uk)

How To Use Them

So how do you use them? In short, you put one thread in each eye and stitch like normal. As they are blended, you need to think about the ends of your thread (no using the loop method), but otherwise its just like you’d expect.

Are They Worth Getting?

So now you know what they are, and how to use them, let’s talk about their worth. Or more specifically, are they worth getting. We don’t shy away from speaking our mind here, and we’ve previously asked ourselves if self-threading needles are worth it, but double eye needles are different. They’re just for blending.
 
If you don’t blend, and you have no intention of doing so, don’t get these needles. They just aren’t for you. But what if you do blend?
In my mind, these needles make blending separate threads no easier. In fact, I tend to find the threads spin around each other much more, resulting in a worse look than a standard needle. BUT then we come to metallic threads. Without a doubt, it’s hard to use these threads and anything that can make using metallic threads easier, I’m game. And that’s where these needles really shine.
 
The extra eye means the effort associated with metallic threads is mostly avoided, making it a much nicer experience. In my mind, if you use metallics at all, even if you aren’t blending, these things are worth their weight in gold.

Standard tapestry needles next to double eye tapestry needles (Source: Pinterest)
Standard tapestry needles next to double eye tapestry needles (Source: Pinterest)

Where To Get Them

So, where can you get them? The fact that I wasn’t even aware of these needles, despite Bohin, Clover and Hemline making them just goes to show they aren’t easy to find. I prefer looking for them on Etsy as you can always find someone selling them, but other than that, local brick and mortar stores should be able to stock some in, even if you have to ask.

Bohin Double Eye Tapestry Needles (Source: stitchitcentral.ca)
Bohin Double Eye Tapestry Needles (Source: stitchitcentral.ca)

How To Organize Your Cross Stitch Patterns

Green Lake Reflected Color Cross Stitch Print (Source: solidrop.com)

I’m a big fan of keeping your craft space neat, tidy and organized. At any time, you might just want to go through your kit to find that one item you brought 5 years ago and will get around to using. In the past we’ve covered how to store cross stitch threads, and went into some length about why its important, and we’ve covered how to store your cross stitch needles too.
But there is always one thing we’ve shied away from. And frankly, if you’re anything like me, this will be the messiest part of your craft space. Cross stitch patterns.
 
Unlike any other tool in cross stitch, cross stitch patterns pose a unique issue. Firstly, you have tonnes of them. You see a pattern, be it a free cross stitch pattern or paid, and you just have to pick it up. In addition, you have all of those patterns you’ve completed, but want to hold onto. This is only exacerbated if you design cross stitch patterns as well, adding a third layer to your cross stitch collection.
And secondly, they aren’t the easiest things to store. Much like storing finished cross stitch you want to keep them in a good enough condition that they last, but they’re made of paper, which tends not to last.
So, we’ve scoured the internet and tried a whole series of storage methods to round up the best for you.

Digitally

We start with an obvious one, but one that doesn’t get that much recognition.
We would strongly suggest making a copy of any cross stitch pattern you have anyway, as the life of a digital file will be far longer than even the best-kept paper document. In addition, many of the patterns you see in places like Etsy are downloaded files, meaning many, if not all, of your patterns, are digital anyway. So why keep around the printed versions?
Don’t get me wrong, I also prefer a printed pattern when I’m actually using it, but with a great printer for cross stitch patterns, you can always print new sheets on demand (and depending on which printer you get, cheaply too).

Great For:

  • Large volume of patterns
  • Long term storage (and a saftey net)
  • Storing free/downloaded cross stitch patterns

Bad for:

  • Viewing cross stitch patterns
  • Easily using cross stitch patterns
  • Cross stitch kits
Green Lake Reflected Color Cross Stitch Print (Source: solidrop.com)
Green Lake Reflected Color Cross Stitch Print (Source: solidrop.com)

Binders

The second method we’re going to suggest is binders, portfolios or binder notebooks. The great thing about these babies is that you can store printed patterns in clear sheets, so you can see them (or at least the first page). They’re cheap, and if you use page protectors you can keep the patterns for a long time. You can store them in a filing cabinet too.
I personally keep all of my completed cross stitches in these too, meaning I can keep a copy of the pattern with the cross stitch itself.
There are downsides though. The biggest being what you do with digital patterns. With digital stores taking over the cross stitch world, and no sign of them slowing down, its likely that your digital stash is going to grow to massive levels. Unless you plan to print them all (think of the trees!) you’ll have to keep printed and non-printed patterns separate. And a smaller issue is epic patterns. Our epic all generations pokemon cross stitch pattern racks 210 pages. That’s bigger than a lot of novels. If you like epic patterns, you might want to stay away from this method.

Great For:

  • Printed cross stitch patterns
  • Viewing cross stitch patterns
  • Easily using cross stitch patterns
  • Cross stitch kits

Bad for:

  • Long term storage
  • Storing free/downloaded cross stitch patterns
  • Epic cross stitch patterns
A clear page protector art portfolio (source: Google images)
A clear page protector art portfolio (source: Google images)

Hangers

A new one on us until we started this post, was hangers. Yes, you read that correctly. Get yourself a hanging rail (or use a wardrobe), get some trouser clip hangers, and hang your cross patterns. You can even use clear pouches to keep them a little neater (and store threads if you have kits). You need to be a little careful you don’t overweight the hangers (some epic patterns are too heavy), and this only works if you have a smaller collection of patterns too. However that said, it’s also a great way of keeping track of patterns you’re halfway through!

Great For:

  • Smaller cross stitch patterns collections
  • Viewing cross stitch patterns
  • Easily using cross stitch patterns
  • Cross stitch kits

Bad for:

  • Large cross stitch patterns collections
  • Storing free/downloaded cross stitch patterns
  • Long term storage

Homemade Cross Stitch Pattern Holders by Ms_Pebbles (Source scrapbook.com)
Homemade Cross Stitch Pattern Holders by Ms_Pebbles (Source scrapbook.com)

What’s your preferred way to store patterns? We’d love to hear of ways we might have missed!