The Best Cross Stitch Gifts Guide (Updated for 2019)

The Best Gifts For Cross Stitchers

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.

Cross Stitch Gifts Under 25 Dollars Cross Stitch Gifts Under 40 Dollars Cross Stitch Gifts Under 100 Dollars

Cross Stitch Gifts Under $25/£20

Fun Needle Minders – from $5

Charizard Needle Keeper by MyWifesAVelociraptor (source: Etsy)
Charizard Needle Keeper by MyWifesAVelociraptor (source: Etsy)

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. There are a lot of options here, so we also made a guide on inding the perfect needle minder that you might find helpful!

ThreadHeaven Alternatives – from $5

Thread Magic (source: threadmagic.com)
Thread Magic (source: threadmagic.com)

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.

Canary Micro Snips – from $7

Canary Micro Scissors in a palm (Source: beyondmeasure.com)
Canary Micro Scissors in a palm (Source: beyondmeasure.com)

We are passionate about scissors, but these micro snips from Canary are super tiny scissors that can fit on your keychain, are super easy to use, and are TSA compliant for plane travel.

ThreadCutterz – $12 to $15

Thread Cutterz (source: threadcutterz.com)
Thread Cutterz (source: threadcutterz.com)

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, and we know that a lot of people use it on a day to day basis, however on screen images aren’t always that reliable, and having the read threads in your hands are a much better alternative. As a result one of the best tools I’ve ever picked up is a cross stitch thread card. We’ve even detailed why you need a DMC 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 complete thread card (small)
DMC complete thread card

 

Scissor Sheaths – from $5

Scissor Sheaths (Source etsy.com)
Scissor Sheaths (Source etsy.com)

There’s nothing more fancy than covering the sharp ends of your scissors with a nicely made scissor sheath. Not only that, but it has a practical benefit of keeping the scissors sharper much longer, by reducing dust build up. You can pick up a nice cover for under $5, so you might want to combine this with a nice fancy pair of embroidery scissors too.

The Perfect Frame – $12 to $30

Easy Clip Cross Stitch Frame (source: amazon)
Easy Clip Cross Stitch Frame (source: amazon)

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 book by fiona sinclair and sallyanna hayes cover small (source: amazon)
Criss crossing paris book by fiona sinclair and sallyanna hayes cover small (source: amazon)

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.

Cross Stitch Gifts Under $50/£40

Travel Cross Stitch Kit – $30

Altoids Tin Travel Cross Stitch Kit (Source: red-handledscissors.com)
Altoids Tin Travel Cross Stitch Kit (Source: red-handledscissors.com)

This might not be the first thing that comes to mind when looking for gifts for cross stitchers, however many stitchers either stitch when they travel, or wish they could. Finding a great, small, cross stitch kit featuring everything they need is a great gift, and probably not something they’d think of (so you get brownie points). You can either buy pre assembled kits, or make one yourself. A pair of Canary mini snips, needle minder, needle tube and a seam ripper are all you need. And you can fit them all into an Altoids tin.

Magnifier – $30

Clip-on magnifier by 123stitch

A magnifier might seem like something an old person might want, but when it comes to cross stitch, a magnifier can be a massive help. In fact, we detailed why magnifiers are worth getting a few months ago; we’re big fans. You can get a whole set of different options here, from ones that light up, to ones that click onto your embroidery hoops. I would try to get one with a 2.5x zoom as this is the most useful for cross stitchers.

A Good Pair Of Scissors – $30

Cross Stitch Japanese Style Scissors (source: ebay)
Cross Stitch Japanese Style Scissors (source: ebay)

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 not sure what type of scissors to buy, check out our guide on picking the best cross stitch scissors.

Magazine Subscriptions – $20 to $50 a year

CrossStitcher Magazine Cover Issue 317 (source: crossstitchermag.co.uk)
CrossStitcher Magazine Cover Issue 317 (source: crossstitchermag.co.uk)

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-$50 a year.

Monthly Subscriptions – $20 to $50 a month

SnarkBox cross stitch subscription kit (Source: snark-box.com)
SnarkBox cross stitch subscription kit (Source: snark-box.com)

Nothing is quite like getting a gift in the post month after month, stuffed full of awesome cross stitch prizes. You can pick up a whole load of different monthly subscription boxes that make every month a gift month. Prices vary, $20-$50 a year.

Full Set of CXC Threads – $40

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

Full Set of CXC Threads – $40

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

CXC is a fairly new brand to the world of cross stitch, but they’re making massive moves. They produce threads, which match the DMC colors exactly, however they make them using a polyester blend, meaning they can reduce costs considerably. In fact, you can pick up their full range of 447 threads for under $40, compared to $400 for DMC threads. But don’t let the price fool you, CXC threads are just as good as more expensive brands in our tests.

DMCs New 35 or Etoile Thread Packs – $40

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

This year has been big for DMC threads (the most used cross stitch threads). Not only have the new 35 DMC threads started to be used in commonly found kits and patterns, but they also launched a sweet new set of DMC etoile threads, which are super sparkly threads. You can pick up these new threads in fancy packed sets for under $40.

Great Cross Stitch Software – $50

PCStitch Cross Stitch Software (source: PCStitch.com)
PCStitch Cross Stitch Software (source: PCStitch.com)

 

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.

Cross Stitch Gifts Under $100/£80

Day Light Lamp – $50 – $100

Daylight Slimline Table Lamp (source: Amazon)
Daylight Slimline Table Lamp (source: Amazon)

We can tell you, for sure, that day light lamps do make a difference to cross stitch. Not only do they add a massive amount of light to the area you’re working in, which can be super helpful when working with black or dark aida but they help your eyes deal with the intense focus you’re putting them through. We belive that everyone should have a well lit cross stitch area, and day light lamps, or bulbs are the best way to get that necessary light.

Cross Stitch Gifts Over $100/£80

All The Threads! – $200+

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

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.

The Best Cross Stitch Toys

3D Harvest Moon Cross Stitch Playset by BlackMageHeart (Source: Etsy)

My niece LOVES to pick up my cross stitch. Doesn’t matter if its half completed or not, she wants her hands on it. So I thought to myself; maybe there is cross stitch out there, specifically made to be played with. Today, we run down the best cross stitch toys.

Thread Maniac’s Mazes

OK, so I lied already. Thread Maniac hasn’t just created a maze, they’ve created a whole series of cross stitch you can frame and then draw on using dry erase markers. From mazes to tic-tac-toe and the obligatory black board, kids can go nuts drawing and never damage the cross stitch. Very neat idea.

Maze cross stitch by Thread Maniac (Source: threadmaniac.com)
Maze cross stitch by Thread Maniac (Source: threadmaniac.com)

BlackMageHeart’s Farm Playset

What about omething more tactile? Well, we have those in bunches. First up is BlackMageHeart’s Harvest Moon Playset. Complete with 24 crops, a house, farmer, cow, chicken, chick, duck and two ducklings its a full on farming set, that kids would LOVE to get their hands on. The best thing about it however is that the floor, a perfectly stitched farm, is in a frame, meaning it packs up nice and neat once they’re done playing.

3D Harvest Moon Cross Stitch Playset by BlackMageHeart (Source: Etsy)
3D Harvest Moon Cross Stitch Playset by BlackMageHeart (Source: Etsy)

Figurines

Next up we have the figures section. Move over Barbie and Action Man, now we have cross stitch guys. Or more specifically, these two. By stitching simple boxes out of plastic canvas you can make pretty much anything you want. In this instance we both made characters, with my cross stitch being about to transform from robot to truck.

3D Minecraft Cross Stitch by an anonymous user (Source: reddit)
3D Minecraft Cross Stitch by an anonymous user (Source: reddit)

Optimus Prime Transforming 3D Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan in robot form
Optimus Prime Transforming 3D Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan in robot form

RobinsDesigns 3D Cross Stitch

Robin’s Design is one of our all time favorite cross stitch designers. We’ve highlighted her work loads of times in the past including using it as the posterboy of our best 3D cross stitch and even trying to copy the style with my own Harry Potter golden snitch cross stitch. As you can probably tell then, we’re in love with her 3D work, which includes everything from dice to people, to animals, and planets. Best of all, its all made from traditional aida, so is soft like a cuddly toy.

Earth and Moon sphere cross stitches by robinsdesign (source: Etsy)
Earth and Moon sphere cross stitches by robinsdesign (source: Etsy)

53 Free Cross Stitch Alphabets

Mid Century Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Sometimes you just don’t like the working on a cross stitch pattern, or maybe you want to design a pattern of your own. So we’ve combined over 50 free cross stitch fonts and alphabets for you to download and use for free. Patterns increase in size as they go down the page. Just click the image to get a higher resolution version.
Most include upper case, lower case and numbers.
 
These alphabet patterns are provided for free and are not copyrighted. They can be used for any private pattern, however if you wish to use in a commercial setting, please contact me to ask permission (which is usualy given).

5 stitches high

Minature Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download By Lord Libidan

Simplified Minature Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download By Lord Libidan

Professional Cursive Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Block Gothic Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

6 stitches high

Brush Stroke Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Cursive Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Hand Writing Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Mini Times New Roman Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

7 stitches high

Italic Swash Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Minature Serif Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Celtic Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Small Times New Roman Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Futuristic Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Brush Stroke Curvive Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Swash Serif Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Arial Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Old Cursive Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Mid Century Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Slight Italic Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Religious Block Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

8 stitches high

Curvy Hand Written Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Modern New Roman Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Traditional Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Pirate Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Full Caps Arial Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Arial Classic Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Sans Serif Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Scratchy Horror Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Italic Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Thin Gothic Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Horror Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

9 stitches high

Helvetica Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Bowed Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Large Brush Stroke Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Tall Sans Serif Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

10 stitches high

Ultra Modern Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Square Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Helvetica Wide Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Fountain Pen Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Informal Fountain Pen Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Scrawly Horror Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Lower Case Cursive Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Bubble cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Lower Case Large Cursive Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

11 stitches high

Retro Futuristic Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

12 stitches high

Typeface Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Formal Hand Writting Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

15 stitches high

Ye Olde Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

16 stitches high

Pen Mark Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

Thin Typeface Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern Free Download by Lord Libidan

The Best Miniature & Dolls House Cross Stitches

Light house minature cross stitch by Miniaturas Cubells (Source: Etsy)

As some of you may know, I received the Best miniature Cross Stitch award in the recent National Needlecraft Awards for my miniature pirate cross stitch samplers. This was my first foray into miniature cross stitch, and whilst I thought I was doing something new at the time, I really wasn’t. It turns out that not only are there loads of miniature cross stitches out there, there is a massive community devoted to only stitching miniatures.
So without further a due we round up some of the best miniature and dolls house cross stitch from the web.

Tiny Fox Cross Stitch by Arachnoid

Tiny Fox Cross Stitch by Arachnoid (Source: Deviantart)
Tiny Fox Cross Stitch by Arachnoid (Source: Deviantart)

Whilst its hard to see from the image above, Arachnoid has not only stitched a super tiny fox, but they’ve included it in an embroidery hoop the size of a quarter!

Red Car miniature Cross Stitch by Victora Minaturas

Red car miniature cross stitch by Victora Minaturas (Source: Etsy)
Red car miniature cross stitch by Victora Minaturas (Source: Etsy)

How about something a little larger? Victora Minaturas from Etsy has made these four miniatures which not only have some great cross stitch work, but also go to show that miniature cross stitch can be super modern too!

Miniature Cross Stitch Slippers by miniricami

Miniature cross stitch slippers by miniricami (Source: Etsy)
Miniature cross stitch slippers by miniricami (Source: Etsy)

Looking for something a little smaller? How about these miniature slippers by miniricami? Stitched on silk, these slippers are only 2.5cm long, meaning it must be about 42 count!

Christmas Night miniature Cross Stitch by CS broderie miniature

Christmas night miniature cross stitch by CS broderie miniature (Source: Etsy)
Christmas night miniature cross stitch by CS broderie miniature (Source: Etsy)

Christmas is literally more than half a year away, however this christmas inspired miniature cross stitch is just too cute!

Lighthouse miniature Cross Stitch by Miniaturas Cubells

Light house miniature cross stitch by Miniaturas Cubells (Source: Etsy)
Lighthouse miniature cross stitch by Miniaturas Cubells (Source: Etsy)

And finally, we come to the best miniature cross stitch I could find. Miniaturas Cubells sells nothing but miniature embroidery on Etsy, and you can see they’ve been at it a long time. This lighthouse stitch is clearly from a commercially availiable pattern, but instead of sticking to boring old 14 count, they went with 38 count. Yet they stitched it just like they normally would. I am so super impressed.

The Best Animated Cross Stitch

Stitchy Cat Cross Stitch by The Wild Stitch (Source: thewildstitch.blogspot.com)

For my most recent project I made an animated cross stitch, specifically an animated Pikachu cross stitch. The idea for it came from the Xstitch Mag which featured a zoetrope by Tom Katsumi. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it and new I had to give it a go, but with a geeky twist. However, that was far from the first animated cross stitch I’ve seen, so I decided to round up some of the best the web has to offer!

Tom Katsumi’s Sewtrope Cross Stitch


Of course, I have to start with Tom Katsumi’s space cat, which is actually a cleverly made zoetrope using 12 different images to make a moving picture. Not only is this a fantastic example of animation but the cross stitch goodness was a massive inspiration.

The Wild Stitch’s Stitchy Cat Cross Stitch

Stitchy Cat Cross Stitch by The Wild Stitch (Source: thewildstitch.blogspot.com)
Stitchy Cat Cross Stitch by The Wild Stitch (Source: thewildstitch.blogspot.com)

However, I think I may know where Tom got his own inspiration, as back in 2015 The Wild Stitch created an earily similar, and just as trippy, animated cross stitch cat.

Lord Libidan’s Running Pickahu

Animated Pokemon Pikachu Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
Animated Pokemon Pikachu Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

OK, this is mine, but in fairness, this list was put together by someone else, so I think that’s OK.

RuPaul Cross Stitch Animation Workshop

RuPaul Cross Stitch Animation Workshop (Source: brookehatfield.com)
RuPaul Cross Stitch Animation Workshop (Source: brookehatfield.com)

The RuPaul cross stitch animation workshop is probably the best known animated cross stitch out there, as not only was it created with 35 cross stitchers, but also asked for creative coloring of RuPaul\s face. Originally planned by Aubrey Longley-Cook, who has created a whole slew of animated cross stitch himself, this piece was everywhere on the web back in early 2013.

Jennifer Norm’s Dance Dance Revolution


Jennifer Norm isn’t a name you hear in cross stitch a lot, and frankly, finding her work is hard at best, but one video she created back in 2011 is the earliest example of animated cross stitch I can find anywhere. Unlike the others on our list is actually a combination of cross stitch and some very clever photoshop work, but it grabs the essence of Dance Dance Revolution perfectly.

Thereminista’s Duck Hunt


The first 100% stitched animated cross stitch I could find however, was back in 2012 with this awesome Duck Hunt by thereminista, who we sadly haven’t heard of since. A shame too, as this was an idea that has inspired so many…


So many, including music video producers. Specifically, animators Jonathan Chong and Clem Stamation who made a whole music video in the cross stitch style, all be it digitally, for the band Husky’s single Ghost.

What is the best monthly cross stitch subscription box?

The Geeky Stitching Cross Stitch Subscription Box (Source: thegeekystitchingco.com)

Everyone loves a subscription box, that feeling when it comes through your door and makes you feel like its christmas every month, but with more and more subscrition boxes out there, its hard to find the best. So we brought 3 month subscriptions to cross stitch subscription boxes to review, and tell you which is the best to get! Updated March 2019.

The Geeky Stitching Club – Score 9/10

$5 per month: Digital pattern download only
$10 per month: 1 counted cross stitch pattern (6×6 inches), 1 counted cross stitch pattern (6×6 inches), 1 counted cross stitch pattern (2×2 inches), Aida, DMC Threads, Needle, Sweets, 15% shop discount, access to all previous patterns
$15 per month: All of above + 1 counted cross stitch pattern & kit (6×6 inches), Pom Pom Kit
 
The Geeky Stitching Club is our prefered cross stitch subscription box for a simple reason; stuff. You get a lot of stuff. Not content with just one pattern, you get 2 full 6×6 inch patterns, and a sweet mini pattern to stitch up too. You get enough stuff to make one of the larger patterns, and some sweets (always a nice touch). The real gem with the subscription though, isn’t the amount of patterns you get, and not even the price, which is really low, or even that you can add ANOTHER kit for only $5 more. No, the gem, is that you get access to the full back catalog of patterns (5 years worth) for your subscription.
The patterns are well made, interesting, and vary enough to keep you at them month after month. I would say however that there is a definate theme to Geeky Stitching Club patterns; girly. That might not be much of a problem, but don’t expect pop-culture references or snarky comments.

The Geeky Stitching Cross Stitch Subscription Box (Source: thegeekystitchingco.com)
The Geeky Stitching Cross Stitch Subscription Box (Source: thegeekystitchingco.com)

 

Rag Tag Box – Score 8/10

$5 per month: Digital pattern download only
$16 per month (USA); $22 per month (Canada): 1 counted cross stitch pattern (6×6 inches), Aida, Wooden Hoop, DMC Threads, Needle, Link to other pattern options
 
The Rag Tag Box is what you would expect from a cross stitch subscription box. It has a pattern, all the tools needed, a hoop, and even different versions of the pattern supplied to mix it up a bit. The brilliance of the Rag Tag Box however are the patterns themselves. They vary. They vary like crazy. One month you might be getting a snarky phrase, the next a sweet collection of miniatures, the next month a cute animal, the month after a time-specific pattern. What makes these even better however is how detailed, and well made they are. You’d genuinely want to go out and buy these patterns.
The only downsides we could come up with however were both the price, and that you can’t get the kits outside of North America. But, with a $5 download only option, its a nice option (if a little less special). Their patterns can be a little pop-culture and sci-fi related sometimes, but I see that as a positive.

Rag Tag Box Cross Stitch Subscription Box (Source: spot-colors.myshopify.com)
Rag Tag Box Cross Stitch Subscription Box (Source: spot-colors.myshopify.com)

 

Cotton & Twine – Score 8/10

£20 per month (UK): 1 counted cross stitch pattern (6×6 inches), Aida, Wooden Hoop, DMC Threads, Needle, Related “free item”, Sweets
 
As the only UK only subscription box, the market for the Cotton & Twine susbcription box might be a little limited, however its really hitting off that side of the pond, thanks to its parent company, Historical Sampler Company, being at the helm. Well known in the UK cross stitch market for over 18 years, its no suprise that they supply quality items each month. The patterns tend to be in the middleground, a little bit comtemporary, but also a little bit historical. In my mind this lowers the overall interest in the box.
One of the best things about the box though is its extras. Every month you get a free item, which can range from a pillow to cross stitch on, to an Easter wall hanging, stickers or a book. And then there is the sweet treats. Unlike other boxes on this list, the sweets are a massive part, with a heavy dose of English treats, like fudge to endulge in.

Cotton and Twine Cross Stitch Subscription Box (Source: www.historicalsamplercompany.co.uk)
Cotton and Twine Cross Stitch Subscription Box (Source: historicalsamplercompany.co.uk)

 

Lakeside Needlecraft DMC Thread Club – Score 8/10

$33/£26 per month: 38 DMC Threads & free gifts on month 3, 6, 9 & 12
 
Unlike the other entries on this list, Lakeside Needlecraft aim to help you complete the full set of 500 DMC threads, including the 35 new DMC threads and 18 variegated threads. They do this by supplying 38 random threads each month for 13 months, ensuring they only send you one thread of each color. Whilst getting all the DMC threads is a fantastic thing to do, its a little clostly upfront. This monthly subscription is a fantastic way to slowly build them up.

DMC Monthly Full Set Thread Club by Lakeside Needlecraft (Source: lakesideneedlecraft.co.uk)
DMC Monthly Full Set Thread Club by Lakeside Needlecraft (Source: lakesideneedlecraft.co.uk)

 

Mini Little Stitching Club – Score 8/10

$10 per month: 1 counted cross stitch pattern (6×6 inches), 1 counted cross stitch pattern (6×6 inches), Aida, DMC Threads, Large Needle, Sweets
 
From the same makers of the Geeky Stitch Club, the Mini Little Stitchers club follows roughly the same model, but instead of small intricate designs, offers simple designs, stitched on wooden boards, with big threads and needles. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a suprise that its aimed at 6 to 12 year olds. Whilst this definately isn’t the best subscription box for adult stitchers, its a fantastic way of getting kids into the hobby.

Mini Little Stitchers Cross Stitch Subscription Box (Source: thegeekystitchingco.com)
Mini Little Stitchers Cross Stitch Subscription Box (Source: thegeekystitchingco.com)

 

SnarkBox – Score 7/10

$5 per month: Digital pattern download only
$22 per month: 1 counted cross stitch pattern (3×3 inches), 1 counted cross stitch pattern (3×3 inches), Aida, DMC Threads, Needle, Sticker
$32 per month: All of above + Wooden Hoop, Backing Felt, 1 accessory/gift
 
By far the most expensive subscription on our list, the SnarkBox is a nice, yet slightly samey box. Instead of giving one kit, you can get up to three kits, accessories/tools and finishing items too, so its a great way to built up your cross stitch stash, but with patterns that range from snarky phrase to slightly less snarky phrase, I find there wasn’t enough varied patterns coming each month. In addition, due to the size of the patterns, finishing them all in time for the next box was a push.

SnarkBox cross stitch subscription kit (Source: snark-box.com)
SnarkBox cross stitch subscription kit (Source: snark-box.com)

 

The Best 3D Cross Stitch

Earth and Moon sphere cross stitches by robinsdesign (source: Etsy)

I simply love any 3D cross stitch, that really shouldn’t be a suprise to any of you that know my own stitches. After all, a lot of people reading this know about me thanks to my 3D transforming cross stitch, but I know that not a lot of people known 3D cross stitch in the same way as I do. So I thought I’d do a round up of the best 3D cross stitch out there (other than my own that is).

The best for play

I like to make 3D cross stitch for two main reasons; its complexity and its tactileness. As a result whenever I look at others 3D cross stitch, I think of actually using it. BlackMageHeart has taken this to another step all together though, with her minature Harvest Moon playset, created for a friend’s kid. It not only includes the barn (a staple for many 3D cross stitches) but the farmer, animals, and various crops at different stages of completion. To top the whole thing off its set within a frame with a cross stitched field. A fantastic playset regardless of being in stitches.

3D Harvest Moon Cross Stitch Playset by BlackMageHeart (Source: Etsy)
3D Harvest Moon Cross Stitch Playset by BlackMageHeart (Source: Etsy)

The most complicated

That second reason I like 3D cross stitch so much? It’s complexity. I’m far from the first to make a complex 3D stitch, and in fact, the most well known of 3D cross stitchers, The Nutmeg Company, beat me to the post by a whole year with their stunningly detailed 18 count Windsor Castle cross stitch for the Queen’s jubilee in 2002. Sadly despite its fantastic design, we don’t have any better pictures, but it comes complete with the entire grounds, to scale, with fun details like corgis running around the outside!

3D Windsor Castle Cross Stitch by The Nutmeg Company
3D Windsor Castle Cross Stitch by The Nutmeg Company (Source: 3dcrossstitch.co.uk)

The unique

So what about something a little more exotic? I’ve been cross stitching for more than a decade now, and in that time I’ve always tried to push boundries, but when I think of impossible cross stitch, I always think of globes. Not only does a circle barely work in cross stitch, but making a globe is surely impossible, and how on Earth you’d cross stitch the sides to make up anything is beyond me. However, RobinsDesign has been doing the impossible all along. In fact, I recently had a go myself using her techniques to make my 3D Harry Potter Snitch cross stitch so I can give testiment to how hard it is, but RobinsDesigns carry off the impossible with such ease, making fantastic looking planets. They also do a series of amazing dolls and animals too!

Earth and Moon sphere cross stitches by robinsdesign (source: Etsy)
Earth and Moon sphere cross stitches by robinsdesign (source: Etsy)

The obvious

I personally belive that plastic canvas can make anything, however somethings fit better than others. The most obvious though, is minecraft. With simple lines and easy movements minecraft is a perfect 3D cross stitch companion. There are boat load of 3D minecraft cross stitches out there as a result, but this recent stitch by anonymous user from reddit is amazing. Not only does it capture the design aesthetic perfecty, but the little steve has magnets hidden in him, meaning he can pick up tools just the game!

3D Minecraft Cross Stitch by an anonymous user (Source: reddit)
3D Minecraft Cross Stitch by an anonymous user (Source: reddit)

If you’re interested in stitching with plastic canvas to make 3D cross stitch, you might want to check out our post on the different types of plastic canvas and when to use them.

When Cross Stitch And Technology Collide

Technology and cross stitch by Wei Chieh Shih (source: shihweichieh.com)

Cross stitch has been around for more than 2500 years and whilst it has a rich history the advent of new technology into a fairly historical hobby is few and far between. However, with a recent push in the fashion industry for e-textiles, cross stitch has had its world turned upside down. Now, its future tech.
 
I initially heard about lights and PCBs being used in cross stitch back in 2013 when I was about to speak to Wei Chieh Shih about his work, and an upcoming project, “Adelita”. He’s a fashion designer that focuses on technology, but to work out if something is possible, he turns to cross stitch. There are a whole series of conductive thread kits you can now buy, allowing you to install tech into your clothing, but Wei takes it 10 steps ahead, by intergrating programable tech into complex circuits.

He can then take these ideas, simplfy them and create fantastic works of art, like his 2013 “Adelita” project, combining folk wooden toys from Mexico with high tech clothing.

Adelita by Wei Chieh Shih (source: shihweichieh.com)
Adelita by Wei Chieh Shih (source: shihweichieh.com)

But technology and cross stitch isn’t just for the fancy high end artists. It’s not only possible to make clever art using tech, but you can do it really easily.
Cross stitched circuit by Jade Jenkins (source: jade0jenkins.wordpress.com)
Cross stitched circuit by Jade Jenkins (source: jade0jenkins.wordpress.com)

With more and more cross stitch artists showing their work to the world, it’s clear that kits such as Kitronik or LilyPad, we’re not only going to see more tech cross stitch, but also helping push the e-textile world.
Stranger Things light up cross stitch by raleblanc05 (source: reddit)
Stranger Things light up cross stitch by raleblanc05 (source: reddit)

Technology and cross stitch by Wei Chieh Shih (source: shihweichieh.com)
Technology and cross stitch by Wei Chieh Shih (source: shihweichieh.com)

What’s the best alternative for ThreadHeaven?

ThreadHeaven (source: ThreadHeaven.com)

By this point its probably no longer news that ThreadHeaven is no more, but as you work through your stash, have you wondered what to use as a replacement?
 
ThreadHeaven was fantastic as it was both a wax, and a conditioner, and whilst a lot of people think they’re the same, they have two different purposes. Wax makes the thread stick together, and through the fabric easier, whilst the conditioner stops the thread fraying. We’ve looked at all the different options on the market to see which we prefer, based on these two features, using normal and metallic threads, which are MUCH easier to use with thread conditioner. Note that there are other claims, such as protection from UV rays, but we’ve yet to see the science behind that so we’ve not taken it into account.
 

Our Pick: Thread Magic

Thread Magic (source: threadmagic.com)
Thread Magic (source: threadmagic.com)

I’ll hold my hands up and say I’m not suprised by this. Initially when TheadHeaven was all the rage I thought Thread Magic was the ugly step sister; turns out, I was wrong. So wrong in fact, that I would say Thread Magic works better! Its conditions and waxes like a charm, doesn’t build up over time, and has no scent at all (although one can develop if stored for a long time). The packs it comes in with holes for the thread also make it super user friendly, and whilst it is MUCH more expensive than all the alternatives on the list, it lasts far longer than any of them. A true winner in our eyes.
 

Close Second: White Bees Wax

bees wax thread conditioner (source: etsy)
bees wax thread conditioner (source: etsy)

When it comes to wax, not all are equal. We should note that I’ve said WHITE bees wax here, you can see below for a little bit about why that is. Bees wax is actually a bleeding wax, meaning it penetrates surfaces, such as threads where as other waxes don’t. Therefore it not only waxes the surface, but conditions at the same time. It can get a little waxy after a while of use, but it also smells great, so its worth it! Its worth noting though that bees wax is extreamly flammable; so be careful when ironing if you don’t want to wash your work before hand.
 

Surprise Third: Candlemaker’s Wax/White Unscented Candles

white candle (source: amazon)
white candle (source: amazon)

We expected the standard candle to be a out and out flop in our tests, but it turns out, it worked quite well. Unlike bees wax it isn’t conditioning, but it waxes well, and doesn’t build up on your fingers over time, which is a big plus. Thanks to the shape of a candle, its also super easy to wax up your threads.
 

In A Pinch: Water

damp sponge (source: google images)
damp sponge (source: google images)

Yeh, you heard that right; water. So to be more accurate, a damp sponge, however you’re only actually using the water. This idea came from a commenter, and damn is it good. Tried it last night and it worked a treat. However, a few things to remember; don’t use it on speciality threads, they often use metal, which can rust if you’re not careful. And try finding natural or pH neutral sponges to make sure you’re not picking up nasties.
 

Some success: Silicone Ear Plugs

silicone ear plugs (source: amazon)
silicone ear plugs (source: amazon)

Before I begin with this one, not all silicone-like earplugs are made from silicone; get the pure silicon ones. However, if you find them, silicone can be a good idea. The one thing to say is silicone cannot be washed out. At all. It stays permanently on the thread. Whilst this can be great (it protects the thread long term), it means any dust caught in there, or sweat from hands can’t be washed out. I would use this with some caution for now. We’ll do more tests.
 

JUST DON’T BOTHER: ‘Natural’ Bees Wax

diy bees wax (source: etsy)
diy bees wax (source: etsy)

We mentioned above that white bees wax is fantastic for threads, however don’t be tempted to get DIY or ‘natural’ bees wax. Theses aren’t the same. The DIY ones can include some seriously iffy colorants (and could actually be toxic), however even the natural ones aren’t that good for threads. In natural bees wax they often don’t filter off the impurities. Whilst most are perfectly fine, you don’t know what chemicals are hidden away, and you don’t want your work ruined.

The Best Of Cross Stitch Maps

stardewvalley map cross stitch by Bunia (source: spritestitch.com)

I’ve always loved maps. Bit of a cartophile. However, it looks like I’m not alone, as there are a wealth of awesome cross stitch maps out there just begging for some limelight!

Stardew Valley

The reason I started looking into cross stitch maps was this. Not only is Stardew Valley an awesome game map, but Bunia has recreated the in-game map into a fantastic micro scale map with all the details of the original and more.

stardewvalley map cross stitch by Bunia (source: spritestitch.com)
stardewvalley map cross stitch by Bunia (source: spritestitch.com)

Just to take it one step further, she also offered the pattern for free!

Zelda

Jumping back a step though, sometimes video game maps are awesome on there own. In my mind however, Zelda’s Ocarina of Time map was a little sparse on details. BUT, it looked great from above. This cross stitcher thought so too and make a cracking recreation.

legend of zelda ocarina of time cross stitch map (source: instagram)
legend of zelda ocarina of time cross stitch map (source: instagram)

But lest we forget the awesome Zelda map Servotron created that has been recreated by this stitcher:
Legend Of Zelda Map Cross Stitch by tibtibs (source: spritestitch.com)
Legend Of Zelda Map Cross Stitch by tibtibs (source: spritestitch.com)

Mario

Whilst we’re on the topic of video game maps, lets talk about the weirdly shaped ones. Mario has always had great maps, but this third world map stitch by cross stitch ninja is frankly jaw dropping. The weird shape, the fact that is has a massive III lake, and the deserty finish make it one of my all time favorite maps.

mario cross stitch map by cross stitch ninja (source: spritestitch.com)
mario cross stitch map by cross stitch ninja (source: spritestitch.com)

Game Of Thrones

But sometimes, video games and other things combine. Like this Game of Thrones Mario mashup cross stitch map, which not only having a nice nod to both worlds, but has a shocking amount of accuracy too. Credit to MonkeeCatcher (the stitcher) and titan413 (the designer).

Game Of Thrones cross stitch by RandomlyGenerated (source: Etsy.com)
Game Of Thrones cross stitch by RandomlyGenerated (source: Etsy.com)

But as one of the most watched TV shows in history, its no surprise that the original map got some love too. This design by Randomly Generated reminds me of the book map sooo much.
Game of Thrones Mario Style World Map Cross Stitch by MonkeeCatcher, pattern by titan413 (source: spritestitch.com)
Game of Thrones Mario Style World Map Cross Stitch by MonkeeCatcher, pattern by titan413 (source: spritestitch.com)

Pokemon

But where would a Lord Libidan post be without a bit of Pokemon?
Now, its no secret that I’ve created my own Pokemon maps in the past:

Pokemon National Map cross stitch by Lord Libidan
Pokemon National Map cross stitch by Lord Libidan

And loads of other people, like merichan27 and KDstitching have too:
pokemon johto map cross stitch by kdstitching (source: Etsy)
pokemon johto map cross stitch by kdstitching (source: Etsy)

hoenn pokemon map cross stitch by merichan27 (source: spritestitch)
hoenn pokemon map cross stitch by merichan27 (source: spritestitch)

However, my out and out favorite cross stitch maps? They have to be these stellar mini maps by StrangenessIsConservative. Not only are they super cute, and based on in game sprites most people would have looked over, but they are the only images of the cross stitch world that exist in the Pokemon universe. AND the patterns are avalible for free!
Pokemon region maps by strangenessisconserved (source: strangenessisconserved.wordpress.com)
Pokemon region maps by strangenessisconserved (source: strangenessisconserved.wordpress.com)