Selling the cross stitch patterns you’ve created is one way of the best ways to get money for your hobby. With years of past experience and success, we’ve worked together to offer a FREE guide to help anyone that needs it called “The Ultimate Guide To Selling Cross Stitch Patterns Online”.
The guide has been created over the last 6 years by three cross stitch pattern sellers on Etsy, with the specific focus on selling cross stitch. Unlike other guides on the internet we’ve made sure that every word is valuable to you. This includes over 40 tips from other Etsy stores, setting up your own store, checklists, examples, best practices, copyright issues, creating patterns, marketing, advertising, and much more.
The guide is beginner friendly and covers everything you need to know selling on Etsy, from the very basics to the most effective SEO techniques. Here are a few topics from the book:
What it includes
Introduction Why Etsy? How much time does it take? How much does it cost? How much can you earn? Creating a brand Setting up a store Make a pattern List an item Future Designs Ongoing actions Future Development Issues you might have Etsy seller tools Tips from Etsy store owners Quick answers Checklist for opening a store Checklist for each new item Item description example
This is everything you’ve ever needed if you were thinking of setting up an online store to sell cross stitch patterns. Just throw your email in below (just to stop those pesky robots) and download your free 35 page guide.
I regularly get asked how I can cross stitch so fast, and whilst it probably has a lot to do with how many hours I stitch in, there are various ways to speed up your cross stitching. We’ll start off with some different techniques to try, before going into some tips for speeding up your cross stitch.
The Danish Technique
Traditionally there are two ways to cross stitch, the English technique and Danish technique. Generally people use the Danish technique, where you lay down a line of stitches in one direction, and then go back with the other direction. We use this technique in our how to cross stitch guide for a reason; it makes things far faster.
If you want to find out more about the differences between both, peacockandfig has a great guide.
Two Hand Technique
The two handed technique requires you to have a hands free frame. This means that instead of flipping the frame over to find the needle, you simple grab the needle with your otherhand and push it back up through the fabric. This means that you don’t have to put the needle far to straighten the thread, or take your eye off the fabric holes.
Double Sided Needle
One of the best ways to acheive the two hand technique is to change your needle to a twin pointed or double sided variety. Its basically a standard needle that you don’t have to swin around, cutting even more time off.
Sometimes refered to as the ‘sewing’ method, this technique requires you to not use a frame. For smaller projects, this is fine, however just not workable for larger ones. The idea is to pucker the fabric so you place an in and out hole in one go. The below video explains this process very well:
Have the right equipment
Whlist you can change your stitching style, or using fancy needles, there is always a need to have the right equipment, and regularly, without realising it, many people don’t have what they need to stitch fast.
There are loads of different fabric types you can use to cross stitch on, and due to their differences, some are easier to stitch on. If you want a fast project, use aida. In addition, the count can drastically change the speed of stitching. Try using a larger count for faster stitching.
Stick with the same color
Another great tip is stitching with one color as long as possible. Firstly, this means no awkward thread changes, but also means you havelots of nearby references for where to stitch next (so no pesky counting).
One way to help yourself when sticking with a color is to prepare lots of needles. I regularly set up 8 needles with 8 threads ready to go, so I don’t have to keep start stopping to rethread. It saves far more time than you realise and makes use of all those needles you collect.
Use the correct thread length
Many new cross stitchers make the mistake of having a very large piece of thread hanging off the needle. In theory, the larger the thread, the less needle preperation. However, in reality, the larger the thread, the more tangles. Instead, you should have a smaller piece of thread. A good guide is measure from the tip of your middle finger to the tip of your elbow.
Organise, organise, organise
Finally, you have to organise. Whilst it can seem a bit tedious, this actually saves you massive amounts of time. I would suggest taking all of your skeins off and onto thread cards. By doing this your not only making it easier to grab the thread you need, but you’re untwisting the threads, making sure they don’t knot on the skein, and making selection easier. They also look super pretty.
So there you have it. Now you have everything in your disposal to cross stitch faster. However, as a final note, I would say that sometimes taking your time can have added benefits, such as curbing stress.
Moving on from my history of cross stitch, I’ve started looking into the various parts of cross stitch and breaking down some of the walls people see when starting out. One of these has got to be the fabrics used for cross stitch.
Simply put, there are four types of fabric used:
Aida (the most widely used)
There are then also specialist fabrics:
A note on counts: Before we get into what makes up a fabric, we should mention counts. In short, this is the amount of full cross stitches you can get in a line, for an inch. The most common type is a 14 count, which is an Aida. Some fabrics come only in set sizes.
Aida was invented in 1986 specifically for cross stitch and counted cross stitch. As a result its the most widely used fabric for cross stitch, and is very likely to be the type your using. Its made up of regular holes on a semi rigid starch heavy cotton. It allows you to cross stitch in perfect squares by using the holes given. They come in different size counts, from 10 to 32.
Hardanger is very similar to aida, however is 100% cotton without starch, meaning its very easy to stretch and warp. It comes in 22 count only,, however cross stitch can be done over 2 “sets” giving 11 count. Prior to 1986 this was the most common fabric for cross stitch, and most historic examples of cross stitch are on Hardanger. Since the invention of aida Hardanger has dropped massively in popularity and is very rare currently.
Linen is a very traditional fabric used for embroidery, made up of flax. It can come in a large varience of types, with smaller or larger holes, however its normally found as a 22 to 36 count.
Evenweave however is a combination of multiple fabric types. Officially aida is a type of linen, but with added starch and even spacing. Evenweave however is linen with even spacing, but no starch. The image here shows that whilst Evenweave is normally much higher count, it can vary from 18 to 32.
The first of out specialist fabrics, waste canvas is made to either dissolve in contact with water, or to be able to pull it apart when wet. Its effectively a type of aida, but with larger holes and special starch that washes out. It usually only comes in 14 count. Despite its very specific purpose, you can still cross stitch objects without waste canvas.
Going the other way for a specialist thread, plastic canvas is made to be stiff, so you can make 3D objects. It comes in a variety of types, as seen in the image, and some plastics are stiffer than others, meaning you can use them for different purposes. They come in 14 count normally, however I have seen 16, 18 and 22. An example of what can be acheived with plastic canvas is my transforming cross stitch robot.
Finding the right skin tone threads can be VERY hard, normally resulting in a super pink face, or a washed out face. However, with the sheer volume of threads out there, its not actually that hard to create really realistic skin tones.
We’ve created the above table so you can look up the skin tone you want to stitch and see both highlight and shadow thread colors for DMC to go with it. Equally, you can go down the table to see darker skin tones progressively. With this you can edit existing patterns to match skin tones you want, or you can make your own patterns with quality skin colors.
A cross stitch calculator is basically a requirement for all stitchers. Sure, if you wanted you could do the maths, but who has time? And who want’s to check it three times over to make sure its right? Neh, instead, pull out the calculator. There are a few out there now, each doing slightly different things. We’re going to roundup all the best ones in one post, with their pros and cons.
This post has started for a simple reason; I wasn’t happy with the ones available. So I took all the best features from all of the below calculators and combined them into one. Which we (of course) belive is the best, but we’ve also got loads of support from reddit!
Yarntree’s calculator has previously held the title as the best due to its extra features. It allows you to select extra aida a the sides for framing and gives you both inches and centimeters, but it also simplifies this down by just asking it you want it or not, doing all the fancy maths in the background.
Barely known for anything else, needlework tips & tricks’ calculator has gained a lot of momentum due to it being more mobile compatible than the others mentioned (other than our own), however will a lot less options, tends to be a quick reference calculator to give an approximate, and not exact measurements.
It really shouldn’t surprise you that social media is one of the first options here. And it really shouldn’t surprise you that instagram is the most important one. As a primarily image based sharing platform its craft following is really quite massive, with people regularly getting up to 10,000 followers. What’s even better is the engagement with people is super high.
Other social media
Other social media is pretty much the same as the above, but unlike instagram you need to limit the text, limit the hashtags, and you’ll get less of an impact on posts. But, you can post multiple times for more love!
DeviantArt is similar to a few other things on this list, however as the largest online artist sharing platform, its obvious that this is where you want your work. It requires a little more effort to get popularity than social media platforms, but with over 10 million finished pieces on its databases you’ll be addicted in no time.
Forums are SUPER at self promotion. There are loads out there, but big highlights are craftster, crossstitchforum or more specific sites like SpriteStitch. The great thing about forums is they’re full of your peers, meaning you can get tips, help out others, and of course, promote your work. We recently went through all the best cross stitch forums so you can find your community.
Now we start getting more technical. There are loads of blogging platforms out there such as wordpress, blogger or tumblr which makes it super easy to create a website. Over time you’ll get more and more people following your site, and can help out the community with awesome posts like this.
How to do it
So now you know where to upload it, is there an easier way? The answer is yes; automation. If you’re making a website, there are plugins you can get that post to all of these are more. And if you’re not, you could use a tool like Zapier or IFTTT, which post across all.
Have you got any preferred ways to promote your work? I’d love to hear them in the comments!
I’m going to suggest three different ways of making a truly awesome pattern here, each of them are SUPER simple to do.
The initial idea when trying to make an awesome cross stitch is to add something, but before we get there, think about removing something. The below storm trooper helmet cross stitch originally had a full outline which the designer decided to forgo. Its placement on a white aida hoop makes it really work, and as not many people think to remove bits, its rarely seen, making it more unusual.
Ok, you can add things too. Sometimes its more detail, or an extra joke, but in the case of the below, one of a massive series, is an instagram sepia filter, making it moody and dark.
I’ve shown off the work of Johan Ronstrom before, as he’s the true master of the craft, but you can always combine patterns to make something truly weird. The below image takes a sweet Breaking Bad reference and combines it with a kitsch flowery boarder to really make the evil face stand out. Perfect.
I have a pattern, but I want to make it break the internet!
Now you have a pattern, the hard but is done for you. All the images below started off as standard patterns and have been edited in some way to really make them pop. I actually devoted a whole post to making a cross stitch pop but that relied on you not making a pattern yet. The truth however is that you’re going to be doing the same things. In the below image, by replacing the suggested blue threads with a glow in the dark thread, the piece lights up ever so slightly in the day, giving it the illusion of real neon.
In addition is this pattern we’ve featured on our best Harry Potter cross stitch as its a brilliant example of pattern hacking. The original pattern was entirely black, but by choosing to stitch the golden stitch gold, its taken a whole new edge to the piece. I imagine you could go further, stitching in a metallic thread, or even putting small silver details on the snitch.
Got any other ways of making awesome cross stitch? Drop me a line below.
I’ve already written a few blog posts in the past on how to make a cross stitch pattern perfect however it was written from the point of view of improving a pattern you’ve already made. But what about starting from a blank piece of paper?
The above image is one of the best composed images I’ve even seen recreated in cross stitch. Its perfect balance of blank space to stitches, and its fantastic sense of scale allows it to own that title on its own. But its fantastic us of the rule of thirds (a well known photography trick) make it even more special. The rule of thirds stipulates something every simple, but its often not that easy to actually do it. The eye is naturally drawn to the cross over points marked in blue. I know that blue lines make it clear on the above image, but normally it happens too. It doesn’t even matter if the image is rectangular, circular (or even star shaped), your eye naturally goes to these areas. Combining them like the above Journey one just makes the eye pick them up perfectly.
There’s no getting away from it, but the theme of a cross stitch pattern is the thing that makes or breaks it. Is it an in joke? Or is it something everyone is talking about? Ironically depending on what your theme might be, the pattern changes drastically. It might be a good idea to check out the biggest trends in cross stitch for 2017 to see what might be a good starting position, but remember one thing; make something memorable.
Taking a fun Harry Potter image might be a great start to a cross stitch pattern. Its got a story, it fits with positioning, it has a fantastic and nerdy theme, but there are 7 movies. I can’t tell you how many Potter cross stitch patterns I’ve seen that have bright colors like the first film. But if you’re stitching up something from Harry as a child, how about choosing color palettes from the film that reflect that time?
There are two reasons you might be reading this; either you’re currently sitting over a ruined stitch, or you’ve made a few too many mistakes in the past. The good news is at some point everyone has made the same mistake, so don’t fret!
First things first
Take a breather. If you’ve just noticed your mistake, don’t fear there is ALWAYS a way out. So lets get into the list:
Knots on the back
I should state now, you need a smaller bit of thread. As standard you should look for about a lower arms length. If you have a small knot pull on the knot and pull towards to hoop. Then pull all the following threads tight like a shoe lace. If the knot is big (or there’s no hoop) then this won’t do. Instead start chopping. Make sure to only cut threads involved in the knot and leave as much “free” thread as possible. Once the knot is gone and you have a series of loose strands, start stitching the surrounding area, and stitch over the loose threads. By the time you’ve finished the surrounding areas the threads will be all stitched up. Alternatively you can push the loose threads under the backs of the stitches like you would end a thread.
You’ve spilt something on it
Yeh, normally tea, right? Well this is super simple, just wash it. However as you haven’t yet finished, make sure you don’t iron it.
This happens a lot. I don’t know of anyone that hasn’t managed to do it. You should really look into future ways to avoid this, like thread breaking, and fabric pens, however you have two possible solutions.
Let’s say we have a missing stitch marked on our Pikachu preforming iron tail, with a blue blob.
You could then think about removing the lines from that point on towards the end of the piece, marked with dark blue lines.
This means you have to be prepared to edit your pattern in a big way, but sometimes is the only way to get it to work. The Pikachu still looks fine:
Depending on the stitch in question, it might not matter a whole lot, much like the Pikachu pattern, you could easily fill it with yellow and no one would ever know.
Well sometimes that’s the easiest way…
Wrong stitch placement
The white out technique about might be a good idea here, however for the most part you probably want to unpick what you have. But let’s say its a massive area, its obvious and you can’t do a white out. Cut it out. Now this seems harsh, but if you cut out the offending area, and stitch a new small piece of aida on top it’ll be totally hidden by the time you finish. Easy!
Know of any other stitching disasters? Throw me an line and I’ll help!
I’ve stated here metallics, however glow-in-the-dark works too, just look at the awesome Fallout 3 cross stitch above which utilized glow in the dark so that the screen glows, just like the game. Would it have worked in just green? Yes. But now it works that little bit more. Its something a little better. This can be done to pretty much any cross stitch as no change in actual pattern is needed, just the thread. Try a blending filament on something that’s meant to be wet to give it that extra bit of shine.
You can hide things in cross stitch all over the place. One that I love to do is hide text in the backgrounds using font specific to the theme. You can also hide things using the above method, with glow in the darks, hiding a message, or even a totally different pattern within a block of white. The advantage of this is that the main pattern is once again, completely unaltered, however as soon as dusk falls, your piece takes on a totally different feel.
Can you read it?
This actually covers a few things, however is one of the biggest issues you might have with a pattern; language.
Do you actually need that text?
Samplers are a staple of cross stitch, and whilst that will never change, it does close off that piece to non-native speakers. Now, there are some situations where the text is completely necessary, so don’t avoid it, but think of how you might want to adapt the piece so more people can enjoy it. For example many Pokemon are named differently all over the world, but the English translations are best known.
Chances are you’ve either made the pattern or you brought the pattern because you could read it. But can others? The best way to do this is to put up the pattern and take a 10 meter walk. Turn around, and ask yourself “can I read that WELL?” The most important thing here is ‘well’, as if a passerby can’t, they won’t bother trying.