Why You Should Try Gold Plated Needles

gold cross stitch needles (source: ebay)

We like needles here, and as a result its probably no surprise that we’ve come across gold plated needles before. In fact, we even mentioned them in our post about choosing the perfect cross stitch needle for you. However, a lot of people are skeptical of gold plated needles. There’s a good reason for this; they cost a lot more, and they’re often viewed as a luxury that doesn’t can you anything. But they can actually be fantastic needles, and we want to convince you to try them out.

Why Gold?

So we start with a simple question; why gold? Simply put, you’ll find claims about gold needles from improving your cross stitch, to stopping wrist injury and even more crazy claims. In short; they’re all lies. There are two reasons you might want a gold plated needle; allergies and smooth passing of threads. We’ll go into more details on those later on, but as a warning; don’t believe the crazy lies.

Type of Gold Needles

So now we have that out of the way, let’s talk about types of needle. Most people expect a gold needle to be solid gold, and I’m afraid that’s not the case; they are gold PLATED needles. But not only that, some aren’t even fully plated.
A lot of gold needles you’ll find are only gold on the eye. This is mostly to keep the price down, but the idea that the eye of the needle is the largest part, so you only really need to plate that. In my mind, I don’t agree and find these needles are normally the ones that aren’t worth the money. However, if you like the idea of a gold plated needle, but don’t like the cost, they can be a good alternative.

gold cross stitch needles (source: ebay)
Gold eye plated cross stitch needles (source: ebay)

Price

So let’s hit the biggest issue of gold plated needles on the head right away; cost. Gold is expensive, and yes, gold plated needles are more expensive, but they do vary in price. Realistically they can be anything from a few cents more expensive per needle, to double the price, depending on quality (which we’ll speak about later). This seems OK to start but bear in mind that gold plated needles don’t last as long as nickel-plated needles, meaning you go through them faster. I’m a big fan of getting rid of old needles, but let me tell you, you’ll be going through gold needles at a rate of knots (once again, we’ll say why later).

Allergies

So now we have that out the way, let’s talk about positives. The first is a nickel allergy. It actually affects more people than you think and can go undiagnosed for a while. You might get stiff fingers after stitching, slight swelling and redness. And for those people, gold needles are the only way they can stitch. You either have an allergy or you don’t, so that’s pretty much all there is to say about this.

Feel

For the rest of us non-allergic cross stitchers, the advantage of gold plated needles is the smoothness of stitching. Specifically, gold is a soft metal, but nickel is harder (but still fairly soft). This means as you push the needle through your cross stitch fabric the gold moves. Yes, you heard that right, the gold actually moves out of the way. We are talking tiny tiny tiny amounts here, but this allows you to have a smoother feeling stitch.
It might sound a little stupid, but it’s genuinely a great stitching experience. This is why I want you to try gold plated needles. There is simply nothing that compares to how nice it is to stitch with gold plated needles. I know a lot of people that swear by thread conditioners but gold plated needles are MUCH smoother.

Self threading needles pack (source: Etsy)
Self threading needles pack (source: Etsy)

Corrosion

But all this fancy gold does come with a downside; corrosion. Gold reacts far faster to things like hand oils that nickel, and thanks to the way the gold reacts to you passing it through the fabric, the gold plating does come off. In fact, it comes off far quicker than you think, realistically it starts being a problem at about 6 hours stitching. Gold plated needles in general last maybe 30 hours. This can be improved to 40 to 50 hours if you store your needles properly, but your gold needle will quickly become a steel wire before long.
We rarely have to speak about steel when it comes to cross stitch, nickel needles usually break before you expose the steel core, but steel does terrible things to your cross stitch. Its biggest problem is the tarnishing that can stain your work, or even rust it. And trust us when we say cross stitch stains can be a pain to get out. So you will throw needles out quickly.

Variations in Manufacture

But it’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, the differences in supplier can be massive when it comes to gold plated needles. We’ve spoken before about the best cross stitch needle brands and we really mean it when it comes to gold. For example, most people plate their needles with 1 micron of gold, but cheaper manufacturers supply less than 0.2 microns of gold. The thicker the plating, the longer they’ll last. The best we’ve found are the cross stitch guild gold plated needles with 2 microns of gold.

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

Are They Worth It?

So now we’ve spoken about the differences, price, feel and how hand oils can impact them, the question remains; are they worth it? And that’s a hard question to answer. In short, it depends on you.
 
If you have an allergy its a no brainer; try them. But if you don’t they still might be worth getting. Everyone’s hands vary and the oils they produce do too, so for some, they won’t have the corrosion problem, for others, the smoother feel is worth the high price tag. But you won’t know, until you try them.

What About Platinum Needles?

I’ve had a few people mention platinum plated needles to me while I was putting this post together, and yes, you can buy platinum plated needles. But having tried them; they gain nothing more than a gold needle does. In fact, platinum is a softer metal so corrodes faster, and the price is 4 times more than a standard needle. If you want our advice; just stick with gold.

How To Sell Your Completed Cross Stitch

shut up and take my money (source: knowyourmeme.com)

When you’ve finished a cross stitch you have a few options on what to do with it. You can frame it for display or just store it. Traditionally, these are the only two things people think of doing with cross stitch. But there is another way; sell it.
 
Now, before we start, I’m not going to suggest you can make a business out of selling completed cross stitches, but you can get some extra cash to fuel your hobby. And after all, with all of those cross stitches in storage, never to be seen again, you might as well do something with them. So here is how to sell your completed cross stitches.

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

Etsy

I’ve said before that Etsy is a good thing for the cross stitch world and I’ll say it again. As not only is Etsy the powerhouse of cross stitch pattern suppliers, but there are loads of people selling completed cross stitch too. In fact, of all the options on the list, we found the highest prices on Etsy, even though there weren’t as many actual pieces for sale.
Just sign up, list your item (cost is 20 cents) and set your price. Etsy takes about 5% of the whole transaction price.

Ebay

eBay is the second on our list and is by far the largest of the market places for completed cross stitch. The one big benefit of eBay over something like Etsy is cost. eBay doesn’t charge to list your item, meaning you can keep the listing up for however long it takes to sell.
Sign up, list your item (free for personal users) and set your price. eBay take a beefy 10% of the transaction price though.

Shopify/Your Own Website

If those transaction fees seem a little steep, how about setting up your own store? You can use online tools like Shopify to make a store or make your own. People like Shopify can take from 2% to 10% depending on your set up, but you can get an online store through SquareSpace for about $15 a month.
Find your preferred store, make a website, list your items and market your website.

shut up and take my money (source: knowyourmeme.com)
Sadly this isn’t how customers are… :/

Craft Fairs

Away from the internet, how about craft fairs? Most cities and some towns host monthly or yearly craft fairs, and usually, you can get a free stand. You have to think about costs here though, as they quickly rack up. You need to cover your transport, booth fees (if there are any), booth decoration, lunch on the day, etc.
Look in local papers for upcoming events, reach out to the organizer to get a booth, work out your costs, set your prices and sell!

Take Custom Orders

Finally, we’re going to talk about custom orders. This is a slightly different ball game, as you don’t get to stitch what you want; you stitch what someone else wants. The prices are usually 1-2 cents per stitch, meaning on something 6×6 on 14 count, you can earn $140. This is by far, the best in terms of profit of anything on our list. If you’re lucky you can even find jobs going for up to 5 cents per stitch.
Getting these gigs is harder than the rest as well. You’ll have to reach out to cross stitch designers directly. Most designers create patterns to sell on platforms like Etsy and eBay, but don’t have time to stitch them up. However, they’re all very much aware that having a photo of the completed piece helps you sell cross stitch patterns.

7 Ways To Stop Your Cross Stitch Fraying

Blanket Stitching Aida to Stop Fraying (Source: wikihow)

When it comes to starting a cross stitch, other than gridding, most people just start. But if you’ve found your fabric fraying whilst stitching, you probably mean to do something about it next time; but never do. Stopping fabric fraying, especially aida and evenweave, seems like a daunting task, but we have 7 ways to stop that fabric fraying, regardless of what cross stitch fabric you’re using.

Hand Sew The Edges

The first thing for many when it comes to fraying is to stop it using some type of sewing method. For most people, this is the blanket stitch, but honestly, any edge stitching (or even backstitch) will stop fabric fraying. The one issue is that it takes forever. This is twice as bad if you sew on a large piece of aida, and then cut it down once finished, meaning you have to stitch it twice.

Blanket Stitching Aida to Stop Fraying (Source: wikihow)
Blanket Stitching Aida to Stop Fraying (Source: wikihow)

Machine Sew The Edges

However, sewing machines exist for a reason. Lots of cross stitchers also have other hobbies like machine sewing, and therefore a sewing machine at hand. This can be super useful for winding bobbins but also stopping fabric edges fraying. It’s super-fast and generally works better than hand-stitching anyway.
 
The most common stitch is a zig-zag, but many sewing machines can also do edge stitches specifically made for this. And if you have a serger, even better!

Fray Check

But what about a no-sew method? We start with a commercial option, fray check (other brands available) which is like a thick glue. It sticks the edges of the fabric together, giving you a stiff edge to your fabric, that will never (and we mean that) fray.

Sealing Evenweave Fabric Edges with Fray Check (Source: thesprucecrafts.com)
Sealing Evenweave Fabric Edges with Fray Check (Source: thesprucecrafts.com)

Glue

But the commercial glues do cost a lot of money. And so there are two options using less expensive options.
 
The first is a thick super glue (note; you can get different thicknesses) which is basically the same as fray check. Fray check tends not to stick to human skin as easily as super glue, but it works just as well and is much cheaper if you can avoid sticking it to yourself.
 
The second option is PVA glue, or ‘craft glue’ as its sometimes called. This requires you to wait for it to dry, but PVA glue will hold the edges of your fabric just as well. It doesn’t stick to skin, it’s non-toxic (although we’d suggest never eating glue), and if the worst happens, you can just wash it off.

Tape

The way I personally prefer to edge my fabric, however, is tape. If you wanted the cheapest option, sellotape works, but masking doesn’t leave any residue. It’s fast to apply, is super cheap, and works just as well (if not better) than the other options on our list.

Masking Tape aida edges to stop fraying (Source: youtube)
Masking Tape aida edges to stop fraying (Source: youtube)

Pinking Shears

Next up, we have pinking shears. That might sound like a fancy new term to you, but in all likelihood, you’ve received aida with pinked edges. Simple little shark teeth like cuts. Thankfully a pair of scissors does this for you, meaning all you have to do is cut your fabric out. We should say however that whilst this is a common method used to stop fraying, it doesn’t actually stop it. Instead, it reduces the impact of fraying. If you intend to really get hands-on with your fabric, this technique might not work too well.

14 Count Aida and 28 Count Evenweave (source: cloudsfactory.net)
14 Count Aida and 28 Count Evenweave (source: cloudsfactory.net)

Fringe

Finally, we have fringing. This technique works wonders, and the fact that it’s been around for hundreds of years is a testament to that, but it’s also very visual. More often than not it’s used as a decorative edging rather than to stop fraying. However, if you don’t like the look of fringe, you can crochet the edge.

Fringed Edges of Evenweave Fabric (Source: thesprucecrafts.com)
Fringed Edges of Evenweave Fabric (Source: thesprucecrafts.com)

How To Cross Stitch On Any Fabric

14 Count Aida and 28 Count Evenweave (source: cloudsfactory.net)

I often see people talking about stitching on linen, evenweave or monk’s cloth, and people in the comments are quiet. It took me a while to work it out, but people aren’t aware you can cross stitch on other fabrics. Most people see just the standard cross stitch fabrics like aida and evenweave, but you can pretty much cross stitch on any fabric out there. You have to change the way you go about stitching sometimes, but there really is a world of fabrics out there to cross stitch on.

14 Count Aida and 28 Count Evenweave (source: cloudsfactory.net)
14 Count Aida and 28 Count Evenweave (source: cloudsfactory.net)

Aida

When it comes to cross stitching, you probably learned with aida. It’s the go-to fabric to use for cross stitch as its uniform in size and shape, comes in different counts and makes nice cross stitches. In all likelihood, you know how to stitch on aida, so I won’t dwell, but if not, check out our guide on how to cross stitch.
What I will say, however, is that cross stitching on aida requires you to go through the closest hole to the one you started with. In short, 1 over 1.

Cross Stitching on Aida (Source: thecrossstitchguild.com)
Cross Stitching on Aida (Source: thecrossstitchguild.com)

Linen/Evenweave

Before we start, let’s talk about the differences between Linen and Evenweave. In fabrics like cotton and Aida, the vertical threads (Weft) and the horizontal threads (Warp) (see our cross stitch terms guide for more info) are evenly spaced out, meaning you get nice square blocks to stitch on. Linen is NOT like this. In most cases, linen is bigger in one direction than it is the other. There is nothing stopping you stitching on linen, but be aware your cross stitches may be a bit irregularly shaped. Evenweave however, is linen that is specifically made to be nice and uniform.

Can You Cross Stitch On Monk’s Cloth?

Yes. Monk’s cloth is another name for evenweave, and you can cross stitch on it the same way you would evenweave.

Linen cross stitch fabric (source: thecrossstitchguild.com)
Linen cross stitch fabric (source: thecrossstitchguild.com)

Now we have that out of the way, let’s talk about actually stitching on it. Unlike aida, you have to stitch 1 over 2. Pull your needle through the first hole, jump a hole, and then put it in the next one. The reason we do this is that unlike aida that is woven together with starch, linen and evenweave are loose weaves, meaning threads can move from one row to another by jumping over/under threads.
By doing this you reduce the overall count by half, however with a 28 count evenweave you can get a 14 count cross stitch, with a nicer background fabric.
Cross Stitching on Evenweave Linen (Source: thecrossstitchguild.com)
Cross Stitching on Evenweave Linen (Source: thecrossstitchguild.com)

Cotton

Whilst aida, linen and evenweave are the most common fabrics to cross stitch on, you can also stitch on others. One big one people often forget about is cotton fabrics, polyesters, and general clothing fabrics. Unlike the other examples on the list, you actually need something else to stitch on; waste canvas. It works very much like aida when stitching, however once you’re done you wet it, and pull out all the fabric threads. This leaves you with cross stitch in neat shapes, despite the fabric under it.

14 Count Waste Canvas Cross Stitch Fabric (source: google images)
14 Count Waste Canvas Cross Stitch Fabric (source: google images)

Knitting/Crochet

What about knitting, or crochet? We mentioned that knitting and crochet is a great additional hobby to cross stitch, so you may already do one of them, and you can cross stitch straight onto it! It works the same as aida, so it does make your knitting one sided, but you can really make a piece stand out by adding a bit of cross stitch.

Cross Stitch On Crochet (Source: thesprucecrafts.com)
Cross Stitch On Crochet (Source: thesprucecrafts.com)

Pretty Much Anything

We wrap up this list with, everything. Yeh, everything. Thanks to things like waste canvas you can stitch on any soft material, but by using a drill you can actually cross stitch on any hard surface without waste canvas.

Ikea desk chair cross stitch hack (Source: Pinterest)
Ikea desk chair cross stitch hack (Source: Pinterest)

How To Combine Cross Stitch And Interior Design

Large Cross Stitch Art in a study (Source: CBC.ca)

You can get cross stitch inspiration pretty much anywhere, but after hitting a few dozen massive projects, you sometimes want a change. And whilst looking for unique cross stitch ideas I came across people who mixed cross stitch with interior design.
 
Unlike other projects, which are destined to go into cross stitch storage, by making something to do in your house, you’ll always be able to enjoy it.

Peg Board

The easiest way to get into interior design cross stitch, or super massive cross stitch for that matter, is peg board. It comes in loads of different sizes and its rather cheap. You can paint it, stain it, or cross stitch on it. It might not be the most traditional cross stitch fabric, but it sure works for a great addition to any room. You can also turn it into things like stools for an added factor.

Large Cross Stitch Art in a study (Source: CBC.ca)
Large Cross Stitch Art in a study (Source: CBC.ca)

Ikea Hacks

If you don’t want to make something the the wall however, you could always pop down to your local Ikea. Not only is it stocked full of items with regular holes in them (think chairs, floor mats, lamps, etc), but there are items made from peg board, meaning you can have a functioning bit of furnature with a sweet cross stitch edge.

Ikea desk chair cross stitch hack (Source: Pinterest)
Ikea desk chair cross stitch hack (Source: Pinterest)

Paint

How about something a little more refined? By ditching the needle and thread and picking up a paint brush you can add a cross stitch design to literally anything that takes paint. You can find a great guide from homeheartcraft if you’re interested.

Painted Wall Cross Stitch Rose (Source: homeheartcraft.com)
Painted Wall Cross Stitch Rose (Source: homeheartcraft.com)

Fences

But just because the inside of your home can be cross stitched up, doesn’t mean it has to stop there. By using gardeners yard you can use things like fences to add cross stitch characters. It’s actually been seen in big cities before with the illegal cross stitch movement. Maybe its safer to stick to your own garden though.

Pacman Cross Stitch Graffiti in Milan by Miss Cross Stitch (source: sayraphimlothian.com)
Pacman Cross Stitch Graffiti in Milan by Miss Cross Stitch (source: sayraphimlothian.com)

Cross Stitch On Anything!

However, let’s be honest here, you can actually cross stitch on anything, and we mean anything. Cross stitching can be done with something called waste canvas, or you can even cross stitch without waste canvas by drilling holes. The great thing about this is that you aren’t limited by size or count, you can do your own thing.

broderie-objet-metal-16 by Severija Incirauskaite (source: mrxstitch.com)
broderie-objet-metal-16 by Severija Incirauskaite (source: mrxstitch.com)

Frame It!

We however, quite like the old fashioned framed cross stitch. You can get really inventive with framing with bright matting and frames, and as it goes up in your own home, it doesn’t matter if anyone else likes it or not. You could even not put glass in your cross stitch frame.

Pacman screenshot cross stitch in frame by gmatom (Source: reddit)
Pacman screenshot cross stitch in frame by gmatom (Source: reddit)

Tips For Travelling With Your Cross Stitch

Sewing on a plane (source: twitter)

On of the most googled questions about cross stitch is still about taking it traveling. And whilst there are a whole host of people giving advice on taking cross stitch needles on planes, actually taking it is a whole different thing.
 
You have to think about size of project, stuff to bring, how much space you’re going to have, how to keep your work from getting dirty, and making sure you don’t loose your needle! So we’ve decided to give you a run down on the best tips for travelling with your cross stitch.

Sewing on a plane (source: twitter)
Sewing on a plane (source: twitter)

Can You Take Cross Stitch Supplies On A Plane?

Let’s get the biggie out the way first; yes, you can take your cross stitch supplies on a plane.

You may place your knitting needles and needlepoint tools in carry-on or checked baggage.

TSA Official Guidelines


That said, you should still consider taking something like snip scissors as sharp and pointed scissors can cause delays at the airport.
So, what tips can I give you?

Don’t Take Something You’ll Miss

Let’s start with a tip that’ll probably put you on a downer right away; don’t take something you care about. Being super realistic, taking cross stitch travelling increases the likelihood of it getting dirty, damaged or even lost, by a considerable amount. Don’t take that heirloom piece that’s been in your family for 30 years; you’re asking for trouble.

Take A Smaller Project

That said, I would also suggest taking something small. This actually has three points to it. The first reflects the point above, take a small travel project, that isn’t your main piece, but one that’ll keep up your interest during travel.
Secondly, depending on your method of travel, space might be an issue. On planes, you rarely have enough space to reach out your arm, and no one will appreciate you trying it with a needle hanging off the end, even if it is a tapesty needle.
Thirdly; how are you going to take it with you? The is simply no way you can fit the 2 meters long epic Pokemon generations cross stitch with you. Smaller will help you here.

Pack A Project Bag

Now that you’ve picked a smaller project, let’s think about actually taking it somewhere. So you need a place to store it. The first thing I would suggest is getting a cross stitch travel kit. As per our cross stitch gift guide you can pick one up for about $30, including all needles, snip scissors, a couple of bobbins, magnet, etc.
Secondly, you need a project bag. This can pretty much come in any form, from a resealable food bag to a handbag, but so long as its clean, and tan store your cross stitch; it’s worth it. Just make sure you don’t chuck the rest of your travel gear in the bag too; it’s for cross stitch only.

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

Put Your Hoop On Backwards

This is where we get onto the slightly weird things; we’re going to suggest you put your cross stitch in the hoop backwards. Yes, backwards. Normally you place the cross stitch on the outside, however when traveling this area will rub on the bag, possibly getting your work dirty. But by flipping the cross stitch to the inside of the hoop, you save yourself the possibility of dirt and damage.

Take A Reading Light

Finally, we suggest taking a light. It doesn’t have to be a fancy day light bulb or anything, but taking an additional light, even if its a cheap reading light, will help you in the darker moments of travel…

How to Finish Plastic Canvas Cross Stitch

The different types of plastic canvas cross stitch fabric (source: thesprucecrafts.com)

If you’ve ever wanted to dabble in cross stitch on plastic canvas you probably did exactly the same as me, and countless others; you started it. So long as you’ve not thrown it at the wall in hatred, you then get to the end of the project, and a simple question is asked: “How do I finish this thing?”
Turns out there are actually a few ways, and you can turn your creations into keyrings, pendants, needle minders, magnets, badges, pins, earrings and more! So we’ve going to round up the best ways to finish off your plastic canvas so you can make the most of your cross stitch, regardless of what type of plastic canvas you’ve used.

Back Stitch The Edges

Great for:

  • Earrings
  • Keyrings
  • Needle Minders/Magnets
  • Pendants

Bioshock Infinite Bird Cage Key Cross Stitch By Lord Libidan
Bioshock Infinite Bird Cage Key Cross Stitch By Lord Libidan

In my mind, this is the way I like to finish off plastic canvas. The main reason is that it avoids the issues that overcasting the edges can bring (we’ll get onto that later), and depending on your project, its probably the easiest way to finish it. In short, you need to backstitch around the edges. This, in essence, is all it is, but by combining it with a few other things you can make some really awesome projects.
 
The first thing to do is back it with the same cross stitch. You need to swap the pattern over (if it’s not symmetrical) but by doing this you can make keyrings, earrings, tags and more as both sides might be seen. A good example of this is my Bioshock Infinite Bird Cage cross stitch where I took the idea a little further and changed each side ever so slightly.
However, if you don’t see the back (like a magnet, pendant or needle minder) you can simply backstitch an unstitched piece of plastic canvas to it. The advantage here is that the back of your work doesn’t get damaged, and you can slip in a magnet. This means the magnet never touches your work (if you’re making a needle minder) or the fridge itself, which is good as neodymium magnets can stain aida.
 

Overcast The Edges

Great for:

  • Pins
  • Badges

Monkey Island Cross Stitch Keychain by Lord Libidan
Monkey Island Cross Stitch Keychain by Lord Libidan

The other alternative for finishing plastic canvas is overcasting the edges of your work. This protects the raw edge of the plastic canvas, but in turn, also adds another layer of thread (roughly the same width as a whole stitch) along the edge. You can work this into your design if you need a black edge, but can sometimes cause the great cross stitch to be lost.
 
But, it has lots of advantages too. Namely, you can back your work. I would suggest felt as it’s easy to cut, soft to the touch and easy to sew. You can cut out hole and mount a pin behind it too allowing you to change your project into a badge or pin.

Is It Worth Buying Second Hand Threads?

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

Sometimes you’re on eBay, sometimes you’re at a craft fair, maybe a car boot sale, and you see it; threads. Hundreds and hundreds of threads. You eagerly walk over and find out they’re going cheap. Probably from someone’s Grandmother who can’t stitch anymore, or excess threads someone is cutting down. And the simple thought goes through your head “Is it worth buying these second-hand threads?”
 
The idea of second-hand threads is a great one, they’re cheap, they’re the brand you like and it can get you far along on your journey to a complete set of DMC threads. But actually, there are things to consider, and sometimes that deal can actually be more effort than its worth.

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

Discoloration

The first, and usually biggest issue, is the age of threads like these. In most cases the threads are being sold as they are either passed onto someone who doesn’t stitch (and very old) or are excess threads that someone is cutting down on (and are old). Old threads aren’t an issue in themselves, in fact, far from it. But threads can discolor over time. Most people think this is actually thread dye lot issues, but its actually more likely to how the threads have been stored.
 
Regardless of who is selling the threads, it’s always worth asking if the threads have been stored correctly. At first, looking at the threads will look OK, even discolored threads look OK, but once you get them home, you might have a nasty shock. A quick tip is to make sure DMC threads have plastic labels on the top and bottom; if one is paper, its at least 18 years old.
 
We would also ask if the threads are from a smoke-free home too, as it’s hard to tell tar-covered threads from normal ones at first glance.

DMC Thread Color 318 Old and New (Source: Facebook)
DMC Thread Color 318 Old and New (Source: Facebook)

Not numbered/ordered

The second issue, and probably the biggest in my mind, is that its rare to get threads sorted nicely into boxes. More often than not, it’s in a big old bag of threads.
 
This might be a blessing in disguise; it could put less serious buyers off, but the fact remains that unless there is a nice little label on the threads, you basically have no way of knowing what color it is.

DMC thread number wraps
So many DMC thread number wraps…

Not one brand

In addition, that bag of threads has another issue; if there are no labels on the threads, do you actually know you’re getting the brand you want? With cheap embroidery threads entering the market, they could easily pass their threads off as well known brands. I don’t think people intentionally do this in person (they do online for sure), but someone that doesn’t know about cross stitching might just assume.

So is it a good deal?

I have no idea. Unless you can see the threads, know their condition, see how they’re labeled and trust the provider, it’s hard to tell. In most cases, if it sounds too good to be true and it’s online, it’s too good to be true. But in person, you can get some great deals. You just need to take a breath, stop seeing the low price, and think about what you’re actually buying.

Where To Find The Best Cross Stitch Thread Deals

Clear Draws for Embroidery Thread Storage (Source: pinterest)

Everyone wants a full set of DMC threads, or maybe you want loads of threads for your next epic cross stitch project or maybe you just want a few and don’t want to shell out insane amounts. Well you’re in luck, as we look at the best places to get great deals on embroidery threads.

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

Cones

DMC Six Strand Cross Stitch Cotton 500g Black Cone (Source: DMC.com)
DMC Six Strand Cross Stitch Cotton 500g Black Cone (Source: DMC.com)
Without a doubt, the first thing I would suggest would be DMC cones. These are much easier to find in the USA (only the American DMC factory sells them), but in short, they are big old cones of thread. They come in 35 different colors, but if we’re honest, the only two colors worth thinking about are black and white. The reason they rock however is the size. You can get them in 100g (if you can find them) or 500g cones, which equates to 261 skeins of thread. The real kicker is that you can pick one of these up for $20 sometimes, that’s less than 1 cent a skein. Sure, the price is mostly around the $30 to $70 dollar mark (they’re $70 dollars on the US DMC website, but cheaper elsewhere) however that’s still a deal you can’t beat anywhere else. And you never have to worry about dye lots again. We’ve gone into more detail about DMC thread cones and how to use them in another post, so check that out before purchasing!

AliExpress/Ebay

But what about all the other 498 colors of thread? Well, you could visit online stores like AliExpress. We’re of the opinion that AliExpress is bad for cross stitch but if you’re super careful you can find some cheaper DMC threads. They tend to be super old stock and are found when a store goes out of business, but there are some good deals to be found (but make sure you realize may deals are too good to be true). However, we suggest something slightly different:

Cheaper Alternatives

We’ve looked into if cheap embroidery threads are worth it before, and honestly, they are a great alternative to DMC. They come in the same colors, they aren’t as bad as some people say they are, and they’re are super cheap. Sure, getting them from China can be like pulling teeth sometimes, but if you’re just starting out in cross stitch I would seriously suggest looking into getting CXC threads instead of DMC. You can get a full set for less than $50, and no one will be able to tell the difference.

Embroidery Thread In A Draw (Source: 1dogwoof)
Embroidery Thread In A Draw (Source: 1dogwoof)

Second Hand

But if you really want DMC, then you’ve probably considered buying second-hand cross stitch threads. This can be an amazing way of getting threads on the cheap, but there are issues:
– Sunlight damage
– Mix of brands
– Unlabeled threads
So if you do intend to get your hands on second-hand threads, just be careful to check their quality; there’s nothing worse than buying loads of threads and having to throw most of them out as they are unusable.

Store Sales

And so finally, we hit the regular ways to buy threads; the big retailers. These can be online, or in-store, but just because they’re a big store, doesn’t mean they can’t offer you a great deal. In fact, I got my full set of DMC threads from a big online store when they were on sale, and I combined a sweet discount code.
When going online, they tend to have sales once a year, around the new year, and if you can combine with discount codes you can get massive discounts on bulk orders. However, I would save these deals for times when you’re buying in big numbers of threads.
Brick and mortar stores are more likely to have sales through the year, and in America you can combine coupons for double the effect, meaning you can get smaller orders. However there is one big thing to be aware of, and that’s how the store has stored their threads. Sometimes you can get a lot of light damaged threads in big stores, so make sure the colors are OK and save the receipt; if the color is wrong, go back and exchange it!

How To Put Cross Stitch Threads On A Bobbin

Printable bobbins (Source: Pinterest)

In the past we’ve spoken about how to properly store cross stitch threads and why you should put threads on bobbins, but the question still remains; how?
 
Unlike other storage methods, like chucking skeins in a draw, bobbins take time to wind, and if you have all 500 DMC threads it’s going to take you forever. So today, we’re running down all the ways to put embroidery threads on bobbins, so you can skip the pain, and take the easy route 😀

Hand Wind

Hand-winding a cross stitch thread bobbin (Source: Youtube)
Hand-winding a cross stitch thread bobbin (Source: Youtube)

We start with the standard in bobbin winding, and the one technique that you’ll do regardless of the situation. Sure, later options are faster, but if you only have one or two threads to put on skeins, you’ll do it by hand.
You start by pulling out one end of the skein without it knotting and simply wind around the bobbin.

Bonus: Use A Tin Can

Hand-winding however, really isn’t a foolproof system. Somehow, those threads just always manage to find a way to knot themselves, and believe us when I say its 100x worse when it’s a whole 8m skein knotted up. So we suggest removing your skein’s wraps and putting it over something like a tin can. You can start by either end this way, and it keeps the thread from knotting.
 

Use A Winding Tool

Embroidery bobbin winder (Source: Etsy)
Embroidery bobbin winder (Source: Etsy)

Hand-winding takes ages though; let’s face it, if you have a load of threads to do, you want something faster. So like many, you look towards tools to do the job. You’ve probably all found one of these things before, and brought one, they’re cheap enough after all, but seriously; THESE THINGS SUCK.
If I could give a single bit advise to anyone, it would avoid these like the plague. However, if you’re so inclined, and have the knack for it that I don’t, they can save you time, and a lot of hand ache.
 

Use A Sewing Machine

Winding a bobbin using a sewing machine (Source: lovestitches.blogspot.com)
Winding a bobbin using a sewing machine (Source: lovestitches.blogspot.com)

However, now we’re done with the slow and painful methods, let’s talk about speed. This next technique requires you to have a sewing machine, however, we know a lot of cross stitchers also sew so you might have one. On every sewing machine is a bobbin winder! Sure, it’s not the type of bobbin we use for cross stitch, but with this handy guide on the LoveStitch Blog, you can cannibalize one of those hand winders to help out!
 

Use A Drill

Winding a bobbin using a drill (Source: Pinterest)
Winding a bobbin using a drill (Source: Pinterest)

But if you don’t own a sewing machine (and hope to farm the job out to someone else), try a drill. Without a doubt, this is the fastest and easiest way we’ve found to bobbin threads. Simply grab the bobbin in the drill chuck and spin away. What’s better is that you could probably bully the nearest male into doing it if you’re not bothered (let’s face it, all men are big kids, and we love drills); double win.
 

Labeling

That’s our list of how to bobbin your embroidery threads, however, there is one thing everyone asks; how do you label them?

Write The Number

Simple, right? Not so much. If you have paper bobbins writing the number is easy, but those plastic bobbins (which we would suggest you use) just don’t take pen. You can use a permanent marker, but you need to use a fine tip and write small.

Use The Official Number Stickers

There are official stickers you can get, direct from DMC (although they don’t include the newer 35 threads), but these things are worth ignoring, to be honest. You can get them to stick with some work, I find taping them down works well, but they can fall off.

Place The Label Under The Thread

However, the best way I’ve heard is to place the number label under the thread. You can slip it in there before or after you’ve wound the threads, and the number sticks out, reducing on both the high aount of waste in cross stitch and the effort of trying to write or stick something down.