How To Work Out How Many Skeins You Need

Skein Calculator by Lord Libidan

Working out how many skeins you need for your next project can be hard, and whilst I do see more and more pattern generators adding this feature, pattern designers are rarely using it. So in order to help everyone out, we’ve created a brand new calculator that does all the hard work for you! It uses the data we developed a year ago with our post on how many stitches you can get out of an 8m skein, but with a nice, easy user interface.
 
Just add in your fabric count, threads per stitch, and the number of cross stitches. Hit calculate and it’ll tell you how much if a skein it will use, and how many you need to buy.
 

You’re using:
count fabric with thread strands
 
 
Color Code
Stitches
Skeins Used
Skeins Needed
 

Cross stitch calculator created by LordLibidan.com 


 
The above calculator is an estimate only. Most people will find it correct, however, if you are more or less efficient you may see small differences in how many skeins you may need.
We also have a cross stitch fabric calculator if you need to work out how much fabric to buy!

Whats The Best Cross Stitch Aida Brand?

Black aida (Source: Etsy)

Since I started stitching I’ve only really used two brands of aida. A no-name brand that came free with a magazine (and was TERRIBLE quality) and a well-known brand. However thanks to my local sewing store being shut, I picked up someone else’s aida. The problem was the aida was completely different. In the past, we rounded up the best cross stitch needle brands and we decided its time to round up the best aida brands too thanks to me having to try them all out!
Over the last 4 months, we tried 180 aida sheets from a variety of brands, with a selection of colors to see who has the best! We chose a series of factors to test including how starched they are, the uniformity of batches, the range, price, and overall quality. We also ignored things like the uniformity of color and possible bleed; if we found any of these things (and we did) we’ve chosen to not even review them here.
 

Big Box Store Aida

Finally, the next brand we have on our list is the big box store. What do we mean by that? Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Hobbycraft, Joann’s, Michael’s, etc. These are the own brand aida that lots of stores sell. We actually know they all come from the same factory and we do know the brand name, but it’d just confuse things, so far now, we’ll call them “big box store” aida.
I’ll start with the positives here; the price is great. Its dirt cheap, and frankly for the price, you get a good product, even if the quality itself it’s super. In addition, the range is basically white or black, meaning so long as you don’t want anything fancy, they have you covered. In addition, the volume they produce aida means that you’re likely to get the same aida for a good 6 months which all comes from the same batch; however, the black does differ wildly from batch to batch. That, it’s all there is to say about this aida. It’s cheap, and it’s OK. Sure, it’s not the best (by far), but it’s a great place to start, and by no means worthless. Just maybe not the nicest.
 

Starch – 3/5
Quality – 2/5
Batch consistency – 2/5
Price – 5/5
Range – 1/5
Total – 2.5/5

 

DMC Aida

DMC aida is generally a brand most have used at least once. It’s a good aida, and I won’t try to convince you otherwise, however, there are some downsides. The first is that DMC aida is stiff; which isn’t too big of an issue, but makes it less pleasant to use. They also suffer from issues with batch consistency (specifically with their pale blue and cream aida). But they are good! However, as one of the most expensive options on this list, I’m not sure they’re the best choice.
 

Starch – 2/5
Quality – 4/5
Batch consistency – 3/5
Price – 3/5
Range – 3/5
Total – 3/5

 

Permin Aida

Permin aida is fantastic, let’s get that’s straight from the outset. However, there are two important things to know. The first is that Permin aida is very soft; which can be great, but for those who freehand stitch (without a hoop) it can be a pain. The second is that whilst Permin used to have a massive selection of aida, they’ve reduced their colors drastically in the last few years with their range mostly being made up of pale colors.
 

Starch – 1/5
Quality – 5/5
Batch consistency – 4/5
Price – 2/5
Range – 3/5
Total – 3/5

 

Zweigart Aida

Zweigart is the brand of choice for me. It’s a medium amount stiff, which for most is good, it’s extremely consistent with its batch colors and its a good price. It might not be as nice to use as brands such as Permin, but its consistency, its range and the fact that it’s everywhere make it the best to pick up. They also include a red stripe along the border, meaning you always know when you get Zweigart aida.
 

Starch – 4/5
Quality – 4/5
Batch consistency – 4/5
Price – 4/5
Range – 5/5
Total – 4.5/5

 

Charles Craft Aida

Charles Craft Gold Standard aida is a brand most people tend to ignore. I think they’re hard to get hold of most of the time, however, if you ever get a chance to use some; give it a go. Without a doubt, they are the best quality aida on this list. Its starch level is stiff but smooth, they have fantastically bold colors, a great range, and a nice price tag. The price is on the expensive side, but its far from prohibitive. They also take a lot more risks with their colors than other brands, giving you a great choice like grasshopper (which is just gorgeous)!
 

Starch – 4/5
Quality – 5/5
Batch consistency – 5/5
Price – 4/5
Range – 5/5
Total – 4.5/5

 
And there you have it, our round-up of the best-known cross stitch aida brands out there which will hopefully help you pick out your next fabric supplier! We should say though that there are lots of smaller brands out there which we haven’t included, but are great. 123stitch.com has a great supply for example.
 
If you wanted to know, our choice is Zweigart aida. Its great quality, but thanks to its fancy orange border, we’re always 100% sure we’ve got the right brand, and someone isn’t trying to pass a poorer quality aida off to us.

Zweigart aida (Source: backstitch.co.uk)
Zweigart aida (Source: backstitch.co.uk)

What’s the Best Cross Stitch Needle For You?

gold cross stitch needles (source: ebay)

A few weeks ago we listed out some of the best-known cross stitch needle brands and gave them reviews based on a lot of factors. However, despite allowing us to work out who the best cross stitch needles were made by, we got a few people asking about different types of needles. In that post, we only focused on your standard needles, and we made comment on their range but didn’t go into why you would want a specific type of needle.
Well, in the same way, we helped to find the best cross stitch scissors for you we’re doing the same with needles!

Normal Needles

The standard cross stitch needle for anyone who picks up a cross stitch kit, and for everyone that follows standard cross stitch needle size for aida count tables. The normal needle works well. It’s been perfected for literally hundreds of years (in fact, we covered this in our history of the cross stitch needle). However, it doesn’t mean its the perfect needle for you.
Yes, it works fine, it’s easy to pick up in a variety of materials, and you can pick them up for pennies if you’re looking to save money in cross stitch. In reality, needles like this tend to wear heavily, which was why we wrote about getting rid of your old needles.
 
So why would it be perfect? Well, simply put, you either want an easy needle that you don’t have to think too hard about, or you prefer a longer needle.

cross stitch needle (source: cross-stitching.com)
Cross stitch needles; rounded and sharp (source: cross-stitching.com)

Petite/Small Needles

Of course, petite needles are basically the same as a normal needle, but they’re smaller. This isn’t much of a bonus if you want a longer needle, however, petite needles allow you to move through the aida fabric with much more ease. In reality, a size 24 needle (standard for 14 count aida) is slightly larger than the whole it goes into. With a petite needle, you can drop it through the hole with ease.
However petite needles give you a lot more variety with stitching too. I prefer to use a smaller needle, rather than a petite. I use a size 26 for 14 count fabric. It has the same impact as using a petite but is much easier to get hold of, and usually cheaper.
 
So why would it be perfect? You want a smoother stitching experience.

Gold Needle

The next set of needles to look out for are gold needles. Now, most people expect that to mean a whole needle in gold, and sometimes that is the case, but you can also get gold eyes. The reason some only have gold eyes is to put the price down. The widest part of the needle is the eye, so if you want to make that area slip through the material better, it improves the whole needle experience. Essentially, that’s the purpose of a gold needle. Gold is slightly smoother than nickel, so moves through the fabric better. Now, gold does come off. In fact, the reason to stop using gold needles is the plating has come off, and that means gold needles rarely have a long life span, however, they do move smoothly through the fabric, and so can be a good idea if you can’t find a petite.
 
So why would it be perfect? You want a smoother stitching experience, but like a larger needle.

gold cross stitch needles (source: eBay)
gold cross stitch needles (source: eBay)

Easy Guide Needles

Next up, we have a little needle that not that many people know about. Instead of a rounded tip of a normal cross stitch or tapestry needle, easy guide needles have a small ball. This allows you to get a lot better control over your tip but still allows you to traverse the fabric without puncturing it. For many, control isn’t much of an issue, however, those with a slight shake can find a massive benefit in using easy guide needles.
They do have a small downside though; they are very hard to get hold of, and don’t come in many sizes. We pick ours up from Etsy.com however even then they can be hard to find.
 
So why would it be perfect? You want greater control.

Easy guide cross stitch needles (Source: Etsy.com)
Easy guide cross stitch needles (Source: Etsy.com)

Self Threading Needles

For many, the worst part of cross stitch, is trying to get the dang needle threaded. I know many people who use needle threaders however the same issue always comes up; they break. They break ALL the time. There are needle threaders that don’t break, but for many, a needle threader is something else to loose in their cross stitch kit. So instead, there are self threading needles.
Now, there are loads of different self-threading needle types, and due to this, they can cause you issues in your cross stitch experience. For many self-threading needles aren’t worth it, but for those that struggle with threading the needle, they can be a lifesaver (if an expensive one).
 
So why would it be perfect? You struggle to thread the needle.

Spiral Self Threading Needles Close Up (source: Etsy)
Spiral Self Threading Needles Close Up (source: Etsy)

Double Needles

Finally, we have the double-needle. Many don’t even know it exists, and when they see one, they often think its a crazy needle for a machine or something. Now, you do have to change the way to cross stitch with a double-needle, but it allows you to cross stitch faster.
They are fairly hard to come by, and they don’t come in gold. They break often, and they’re weird to use. But they increase your speed by an insane amount. If you value speed; these are the needles for you.
 
So why would it be perfect? You want to speed up your cross stitching.

Double ended cross stitch needle (source: reddit)
Double ended cross stitch needle (source: reddit)

Who Makes The Best Cross Stitch Needles?

gold cross stitch needles (source: ebay)

We love cross stitch needles here at Lord Libidan. In the past we’ve covered the suprising history of the cross stitch needle and how cross stitch needles are made in length, but a recent post about time to ditch your cross stitch needle led us into interesting territory; some cross stitch needles last longer than others. And that got us thinking, what’s the best cross stitch needle manufacturer out there?
 
Thankfully, over the last 6 months, we’ve tested over 130 needles from the 6 biggest brands to rate needles. We chose to include durability, plating, quality, range, and price as factors but chose not to include availability (although we do make comment on this in the reviews). We chose to ignore stuff like self-threading needles, so we’re looking at purely common cross stitch needles.
 

Milward Needles

A lot of people know of Milward needles thanks to sewing, and honestly, they make great sharps, however, their tapestry needles seem to suffer from a few manufacturing issues. They tend to have a weak eye (at least in our tests) and the plating doesn’t last as long as the likes of John James needles. However, the price and overall quality of the needles are OK. For a single project needle, Milward does a good job. Once again though, the range is an issue. No gold needles, no petite needles, and you usually have to buy in packs of multiple sizes. Milward gets a big thumbs down from us.

Durability – 2/5
Plating – 2/5
Quality – 3/5
Range – 1/5
Price – 3/5
Total – 2/5

 

Hemline Needles

Hemline produces some OK needles. They last a long time, the plating tends to stay on for a long period of time, they don’t go blunt often either. However, there are two big issues with Hemline. The first is the range; they have standards, but no petites, and if you want gold plated, the price jumps a very long way, making them some of the most expensive needles on the list. This makes them a little too much effort for their price, and we’d suggest others on the list that can be quite cost-effective.

Durability – 3/5
Plating – 3/5
Quality – 3/5
Range – 1/5
Price – 2/5
Total – 2.5/5

 

DMC Needles

Most of the time, when we hear of issues with needles, it turns out to be a DMC needle. This is probably due to many picking them up in kits, however, our testers rated DMC needles the worst in durability and how fast the plating comes off across all the brands we’ve tested, normally with the eye breaking. However, DMC needles do have something going for them. Firstly, they are easy to pick up, they come in a massive (but not exhaustive) range, and they are really cheap. As a way of testing out needles like petites and gold plated, they are a great place to start, but I wouldn’t use them as a standard needle.
 

Durability – 2/5
Plating – 2/5
Quality – 2/5
Range – 4/5
Price – 5/5
Total – 3/5

 

John James Needles

For most, John James needles seem to be the standard in the cross stitch world. And this is due to the fact that they’re a great all-round needle. Yes, they do break, but they last a good amount of time, and with a strong eye, the main issue is losing its plating. Yes, the plating does come off, in gold needles particularly fast, however you can easily use a single needle for 2 or 3 projects before needing to replace it. They do have a whole range, including golds and petites, however finding anything other than the standard count needles can be very hard, and the price jumps as a result.

Durability – 3/5
Plating – 4/5
Quality – 3/5
Range – 4/5
Price – 4/5
Total – 3.5/5

 

Clover Needles

Our tests with Clover needles came back very positive. They had a fantastic life span, they kept their plating longer than any other needle on the test (including gold needles, which is shocking), and the range is rather large. The issues we had were twofold, firstly, finding these needles (outside of Japan) can be hard, meaning you often have to get packs with other needles you don’t need/want, and price. They are very expensive needles. This might just be down to the import costs, however, our testers all over the world reported high costs.

Durability – 5/5
Plating – 5/5
Quality – 4/5
Range – 3/5
Price – 2/5
Total – 4/5

 

Bohin Needles

Bohin needles rock. They’re very well made, the plating doesn’t come off for anything, and they just don’t break. They also have a good price point considering how well they’re made. However, Bohin needles are a problem in two ways. Firstly, getting your hands on them, anywhere in the world, is always tough. For some reason Bohin isn’t in many retailers, even online, making picking up a pack hard. This usually comes with a large postage cost from a different continent and so the price rockets up quickly. The second issue is the range. Whilst they have a full set of sizes, they only have one size of petites, and no gold plated needles. But they do have a double eye needle, and a self threading needle too.
 

Durability – 5/5
Plating – 5/5
Quality – 5/5
Range – 3/5
Price – 3/5
Total – 4/5

 

Tulip Needles

Let me start by saying just how much I love Tulip needles. They were so nice to use it was shocking, they never seem to break, they keep their point well, and whilst the gold does come off, it isn’t quick. The range is full, with packs of a variety and single sizes. Not only that but getting hold of them wasn’t that hard either. But let’s talk about the big issue here; cost. Tulip needles are VERY expensive, and whilst you do get a quality needle for the price, we’re just not sure we can devote that kind of price to a needle. There are perks that make up for this, like little glass vials they come in, but once you have a few of these you want to change to plastic ones, and packs without the vial are just as expensive.

Durability – 5/5
Plating – 4/5
Quality – 5/5
Range – 5/5
Price – 1/5
Total – 4/5

 
There you have it, our round-up of the best-known cross stitch needle brands out there. Hopefully, this test will help you pick out your next needle supplier, however, we should say that storing your cross stitch needles well and using a needle minder will increase the lifespan of your needles.
 
So, what’s our choice? Whilst they are expensive, Tuplip needles were the nicest to use, and if you can afford them, go nuts, however, the cheaper and just as good needles from Clover Needles are the best for us.

Tulip Sashiko Needles come in a glass vial (source: sewandquilt.co.uk)
Tulip Sashiko Needles come in a glass vial (source: sewandquilt.co.uk)

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 has 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)

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 realize 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. It doesn’t matter if it’s 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 something 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, but there is also 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

Lighthouse 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 available 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 subscription boxes out there, it’s 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 preferred 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 number 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 definite 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, is 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 subscription 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, it’s no surprise that they supply quality items each month. The patterns tend to be in the middle ground, a little bit contemporary, 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)

 

StitchBox – Score 7/10

$30 per month: US – 19 cross stitch patterns (25×33 stitches), 11 ‘gifts’
$47.50 per month: International – 19 cross stitch patterns (25×33 stitches), 11 ‘gifts’
 
Working more like a traditional advent calender, but for every month of the year, the Stitchybox monthly cross stitch subscribption box has a gift for each day of the month. This always contains at least 19 very small patterns, but you do have to supply needle, thread and cross stitch fabric for all of the patterns.

StitchyBox Logo (Source: stitchybox.com)
StitchyBox Logo (Source: stitchybox.com)