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…

Great Cross Stitch Gifts Under $25/£20

Cross stitchers buy threads in their ever reaching aim to own all 500 DMC threads, we buy aida and other cross stitch fabrics through the year, but the little things that don’t cost the earth and are super useful never seem to get purchased. So why not spend a little on yourself ($25 or £20) and improve your cross stitch game.

Aida Identification Cards – from $5

Cross Stitch Gauge and Rule by Yarn Tree (Source: Stitched Modern)
Cross Stitch Gauge and Rule by Yarn Tree (Source: Stitched Modern)

When it comes to sheer usefulness of cross stitch tools, an aida identification card, or aida gauge is right up there. Many people are unsure if aida gauges are worth getting and so don’t buy one themselves, even though they are frankly one of the most used things in my cross stitch kit.
 

Frogging Scissors – from $5

lift-n-snip-scissors with close up (source: amazon)
Making a mistake in cross stitch sucks, but its a pain that cross stitcher knows. However, there is a tool that makes frogging easy. It might not be the most glamorus pair of embroidery scissors, but it sure is one of the most useful.
 

Scissor Sheaths – from $5

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

From scissors to scissor sheaths. Every single cross stitcher probably owns multiple sets of embroidery scissors and like most, one is always kept handy, out on display, getting stuck into things/people all the time. So to keep them safe, and sharp, scissor sheaths were invented. Coming in a whole host of designs, they’re sure to brighten anyone’s cross stitch kit.
 

Easy Guide Needles – from $7

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

Not much happens in the world of cross stitch and tapestry needles, however one recent new addition, the easy guide needle, is like a breath of fresh air. By adding a small ball to the tip of a sharp needle, you keep the blent edge, but get a better point for more controlled stitching.
 

Canary Micro Snips – from $7

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

Stepping up the price slightly, we reviewed these micro snips from Canary that are a fantastic pair of finger scissors, which are not only fast and easy to use, but are fully TSA compliant for plane travel and can even be attached to your keys, so you’re never away from a pair of scissors!
 

Thread Shade Chart – $20

We simply cannot advise every cross stitcher out there to get a shade card enough. They are a super valuable tool. Sure, we have a copy of the DMC shade card on our site to see at any time, but there is nothing like seeing the real threads sat next to each other, to get the best out of your threads, and mae the best patterns. Still aren’t convinced? Check out our post on why you need a DMC thread card.

DMC complete thread card (small)
DMC complete thread card

 

A Good Cross Stitch Book – $20 to $25

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)

With cross stitch patterns being found online in their masses in places like Etsy, however that doesn’t mean those are where the best patterns are. In fact, cross stitch pattern books are still on the rise, and are normally the only places you can get official patterns from people Like Disney. You check our run down of the best cross stitch books out on the market to find one for you.

The Most Under Rated Cross Stitch Tool

Round Nose Jewelry Pliers (Source: kernowcraft.com)

I have a secret I must share with you all. Whenever someone shows me a cross stitch, I ALWAYS take a peek at their cross stitch kit. In fairness, this has helped me in the past, without it I wouldn’t be using snip scissors or a cross stitch magnifier, and after all, its hardly like a ladies handbag.
 
But today, I don’t want to talk about someone new, I want to talk about the thing everyone overlooks; pliers and tweezers.
Now those who have one of these in their kits will probably be nodding away at just the slightest mention of them, but those people are also the ones that never talk about them. The rest of you are probably reading this in sheer confusion at what seems to be an electrician’s tool, but trust me when I say this; I think pliers and tweezers are the most underrated tools in a cross stitcher’s arsenal.

Round Nose Jewelry Pliers (Source: kernowcraft.com)
Round Nose Jewelry Pliers (Source: kernowcraft.com)

Let me start by saying that these aren’t your run of the mill beefy pliers used to bend metal stakes or whatever (can you tell I don’t do DIY?) these are more petite. In fact, there are loads and loads of craft pliers out there for specific purposes. I personally choose a pair of round-nosed jewelry pliers (more on why later), but you can also get tweezers, in metal or plastic, and in fact, there are pairs of tweezers with magnifying glasses too!

What Are They Used For?

So let’s finally let those confused readers in on the secret. Cross stitchers can use pliers and tweezers in three main ways. The biggest thing for me is pushing through threads.
 
The way I was taught to end a thread, like many of you, was by pushing the needle through the back of the stitched threads. Once done, you pull it out and snip the end off. Or at least, that’s how most guides SAY it should be. In reality, the force of getting that thread out is probably the most strenuous thing any cross stitcher will do in the hobby. This is multiplied about one million times when using plastic canvas too.
This is where these tools come in really handy. By gripping the end of the needle you can reduce the overall force you need to apply and the needle will pop right out. We suggest round nosed pliers, or plastic tweezers if you’re going to do this, as the sharp edges of metal tweezers and straight pliers can damage the needles. And whilst I do say you should throw out that old needle I don’t think you should throw needles away all the time…

How to end a cross stitch thread illustration (source: DMC)
How to end a thread (source: DMC)

The second use for these is frogging. Yes, the dreaded frog. I’ve previously spoken about tools that make frogging easier, but tools like tweezers are a good alternative. Unlike a pair of scissors or seam ripper, you can unpick the threads without cutting them.
Equally, they are good at picking out stray pieces of threads that might have developed (I swear some threads fluff more than others), alongside picking out any dirt that might get on your work.

Should You Get Them?

Well, if you haven’t already; yes! I know they might not be the fanciest of cross stitch tools, and they sure don’t make things more fun, but they will make things easier for you.

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.

The Best Online Cross Stitch Stores

Cross Stitch Thread Hanging Board (Source: Reddit)

The cross stitch community is fantastic at supporting local cross stitch suppliers, however sometimes they don’t carry the thing that you want, the prices are a little steep, or you just want a larger range. For most, going to a larger store like Hobby Lobby or Joanns, but thanks to big halogen lights, your threads can be damaged before you’re brought them!
That’s where online stores come into play, which offer home delivery, fantastic service and ranges, but also you can find fantastic cross stitch thread deals. We’re rounding up the best online stores.
 
All stores were suggested by our social media followers, they all had to supply needles, threads and aida of multiple types and had to pass a few delivery tests. We are not affiliated with any of these stores and do not get kickbacks. Updated April 2020.
 
Jump to United States
Jump to Canada
Jump to United Kingdom (UK)
Jump to Australia
Jump to Rest Of World

Best online cross stitch stores – US

 
 

 
123Stitch is by far the best place to get cross stitch supplies online in the US. Finding cross stitch items online isn’t hard, but 123stitch offers two things that others don’t. Firstly, value; a skein of DMC thread will cost you only 56c! The second is the sheer volume of items available. If you want it, they’ve got it.
Fast shipping, great customer service, and an unbeatable price mean they are the top dog of online stores.
 
 

 
EverythingCrossStitch says everything you need to know about it with their name; they have everything you need for cross stitch. Sure, there isn’t a lot of tools that aren’t purely for cross stitch (no magnifiers and the like), but they have boatloads of everything else; including the largest selection of cross stitch threads of any online company in the US or elsewhere. Prices are just as cheap as others on this list, and postage is also excellent. The one thing I would say is they suffer from a lack of aida brands; they don’t stock Zweigart for example, however that really is the only negative that can be said.
 
 

 
CrossStitchWorld really tries to offer the best out there in the cross stitch world, that much is clear as soon as you step on their site. They have stock of pretty much anything you can think of, and whilst the prices aren’t rock bottom, they’re pretty good too. Sadly CrossStitchWorld doesn’t get as much focus as it should, as it’s far better than the big craft stores.
 
 

 
Our number one online store is Lakeside Needlecraft, and we’re not alone, it is by far the largest UK based online retailer out there. And there is a good reason for this; they’re excellent.
They have a gigantic range of everything you can think of, they supply to your door super fast, they have great customer care, they have a points program, and they’re really good value for money. To give you an idea, you can pick up a DMC skein for 69p, a good £30 cheaper than stores.
Their website can be a little annoying to find your way through, however, their search is superb. They also have a huge selection of patterns from large and small designers and have even started putting their own cross stitch pattern books out.
 
 

 
ABC Stitch (or ABC Stitch Therapy as its currently know) doesn’t have a modern site. But they have everything else. They’re one of the longest-running online stores, and they stock frankly, an overwhelming amount of stitchy supplies, so much that you will never get bored of looking through their catalog. Prices are pretty good, although a DMC skein will set you back 69c.
 
 

Best online cross stitch stores – Canada

 
 

 
At 69c per DMC skein, StitchItCentral were suggested to me for a great value website, however, that would be unfair to them; they’re more than that. With a frankly astonishing range of cross stitch supplies, including magazines, something often forgotten about by other retailers, they’re a great resource for everything cross stitch. The only downside is browsing can be a bit of a pain due to their depth of range, but so long as you know what you want; they can supply it.
 
 

 
59c per DMC skein is a super great deal. However, Herrschners isn’t just about cut-price cost. Around for over 120 years, Herrschners has developed relationships with every single supplier of anything cross stitch, meaning they have a crazy level of stock. They also have great customer service, including project assistance (which is worth trying just for the novelty!) and a quick dispatch process. They do run adverts on their site as well, which is a little annoying, but that’s the only negative to say.
 
 

Best online cross stitch stores – UK

 
 

 
Our number one online store is Lakeside Needlecraft, and we’re not alone, it is by far the largest UK based online retailer out there. And there is a good reason for this; they’re excellent.
They have a gigantic range of everything you can think of, they supply to your door super fast, they have great customer care, they have a points program, and they’re really good value for money. To give you an idea, you can pick up a DMC skein for 69p, a good £30 cheaper than stores.
Their website can be a little annoying to find your way through, however, their search is superb. They also have a huge selection of patterns from large and small designers and have even started putting their own cross stitch pattern books out.
 
 

 
Stitcher is not a website I knew about until recently. I had always been a SewAndSo shopper (before they went out of business) however the other big player was Stitcher. They have a more simplistic website design and it hasn’t really kept up with the times, however, that doesn’t stop them having a great selection and great prices. So much so that their trustpilot score is the highest I’ve ever seen!
 
 

 
Previously known purely for their large modern pattern and kit selection (which they still have a load of), Stitched Modern has started moving into the traditional cross stitch retail space lately. What really makes them stand out from the crowd is the quality of their products. They only choose quality items that they themselves use to design and stitch. Not only that, but they have products that other retailers don’t, like my much loved cross stitch travel scissors.
 
 

 
I personally love Cross Stitch UK, however, I don’t buy everything from them. It turns out that many of our social followers do the same. It’s not that they’re bad in some aspects, although they don’t sell DMC threads, it’s a case of doing a little bit of everything, and we really mean everything. Other retailers on our list stop after the basics, but if you want pins, a magnifier, or even scissor keeps, this is the place to go.
 
 

 
Hobbycraft is the largest craft retailer in the UK, and therefore, it’s no surprise that they’re also one of the best online stores. Hobbycraft have always looked to build their online shop at the same time as their stores, but their preference is on supplying low-cost products. This often means that they have a lot of too-good-to-be-true products, however, if you ignore these, they still have a great selection, and actually boast a better selection than others on this list; but you do pay a premium, and postage is high.
 
 

Best online cross stitch stores – Australia


 
Threaded Needle doesn’t sell a lot of items, and in fact, they basically don’t sell patterns or kits at all. But they’re known for quality, low price basics. You need threads, they have them. You need needles, they have them. You need fabric, they have them. But if you need that specific type of needle or that rare brand of thread or that specific color of aida; they aren’t a great place to go.
This all sounds rather negative, however, ThreadedNeedle is one of the best places you can shop for the basics you need. So long as you aren’t doing something cutting edge or crazy, they’ll have what you need, meaning they’re a trustworthy supplier, with great customer care.
 
 

 
More than just a cross stitch store OzStitch supplies a bit of everything. Closer to a brick and mortar store than any other online store OzStitch has a great direct relationship with suppliers meaning they never run out of the usual suspects (although they often have out of stock cross stitch kits listed on the site), giving you a great place to stock up from, even if they’re a little expensive ($1.10 per DMC skein).
In addition to its great stock, its one of the only online stores anywhere in the world, that will let you come and visit their facility. What makes this more impressive is that its a family business and you visit their family property. If that isn’t a sign of honest and open practices, I don’t know what is.
 
 

 
We all know DMC threads can cost a lot in Australia, however, ItchyStitchy is stepping in to help out. At 99c a skein, they are the cheapest online seller of DMC skeins we can find anywhere in Austalia. This doesn’t mean that’s the only thing they do though. A somewhat small online store compared to others on this list (and very young too) they supply everything you need at great prices, and they put customer care first. No confusing price points, great communication and a small team you can really get behind.

Best online cross stitch stores – World

Etsy Logo (Source: Google Images)
 
Whilst we aren’t going to hit on all countries in this guide, most of them do ship internationally. However, even if they don’t ship to you, there is another option; Etsy. It’s a market place made by thousands of sole traders, and they sell everything you could ever want (not just cross stitch). As there are loads of people wanting your trade, it drives costs down, and as a result, you get some great deals.
What makes this even better is they have patterns that are only available through Etsy, and they do have copyright issues, but we did a deep dive and found that Etsy was a good thing for the cross stitch world.

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.