Finding a cross stitch pattern that shows off any season can be hard, but summer is a particularlly hard one. With summers looking different everywhere, and frankly there are only so many sun images you can take.
And that’s why this week, we’re showing off this summer window by MariBoriEmbroidery. Unlike any of the other summer patterns I looked out, it doesn’t involve a sun, its a generic background, and doesn’t have any fancy words. But what it does have, is feeling. The subtle net curtains made up using sashiko, with heavier parts thanks to double patterns, it makes it look like the curtains are flowing in the soft summer wind.
We have a lot of people using our skin tone thread image to replace skin tones in cross stitch patterns. However we also get a lot of requests for hair colors too. So without further ado, we present the best hair colors for replacement in cross stitch patterns.
Just pick your hair type (blonde, brown, black, grey or red) and pikc a color of the main body of hair from the left hand column, and you’ll see the best highlights and shadows.
We’ve also created this second table so you can look up colors slightly different. It’s the same info, just a different format!
An octopus with a space pattern jumping out of a tea cup may not be the first thing you think of when you think about a cross stitch pattern relating to tea, but we’d argue that this pattern is exactly like a cup of tea. When looking at tea patterns we found a whole slew of cups, kettles, tea bags and other tea related items, but that’s exactly what they were; just items. This pattern, sold by LoLaLottaShop but designed by Vik Dollin shows what its like sipping a cup of tea. The complex flavour battling together is like the wild space design, whilst its warm, calming, hugs from many hands feeling is like an octopus giving you a hug. This pattern is a fantastic example of what drinking tea really is.
It helps that its totally unique too; how many other octopus/space/tea hybrid cross stitch patterns are there?
Finally, it should be noted that we included this pattern on a list of how to find great cross stitch patterns online. It was such a good pattern, that we featured it. If that’s not a show of admiration, I don’t know what is.
With websites like Etsy, eBay and a whole host of other sites selling cross stitch patterns, you could be fooled into thinking all of these cross stitch patterns are going to great to stitch. But the frank, and sometimes disappointing truth is that some, even most, are bad patterns.
Whilst that might not seem too bad considering the cost of some of these cross stitch patterns are less than $5, however do you really want to spend 100 hours stitching to find only at the end that the pattern didn’t live up to the hype?
Well I’m here to help you pick the best quality cross stitch patterns, everytime. With these 5 simple rules, you can make sure the cross stitch pattern will come out like its supposed to.
Is there a stitched example?
The first thing to think about when selecting a cross stitch pattern is how it looks. Not the design, but how it looks stitched.
A lot of sellers, particularly on Etsy, sell patterns without ever stitching them. This is worrying for two reasons; firstly you don’t know how the image actually looks with threads; just computer generated Xs. Secondly, with no one actually stitching it, you don’t know if its full of confetti or not. As a result, I would NEVER buy a pattern without seeing a real stitched example.
But that doesn’t mean any post without a stitched example should be avoided. Let me explain using two examples of good patterns from Etsy.
The above pattern is a great example of someone who shows a stitched example, they have 8 pictures of 6 stitched examples on their store front. You can see, this is a great pattern. Our second example below however only has the inital computer make pattern image:
However, with some searching in the comments on the shop, you can see 4 different stitched examples by customers. This pattern, is a good one. They just haven’t stitched it themselves. So sometimes, you have to go searching!
Look for stitch and color counts
When it comes to cross stitch patterns, sometimes, you need it to be high detail. And that’s great, but when you put an image through a cross stitch pattern generator without knowing what you’re doing, it comes out massive, with a lot of colors, and whole load of confetti.
Once again, we’ll look at the Octopus Tea cross stitch pattern by LoLaLottaShop on Etsy. In the octopus you have a wave of colors and detail. But they’ve specifially gone through the image to both reduce the size, amount of colors and still keep the design to a high standard. However looking at the below example I’ve recreated another way; making it big, and adding as many colors as I could. In the below example is over 300 stitches wide, and has over 50 colors. Yet the quality, is clearly not as good.
A big pattern will look like it has a lot of detail, however the sacrafice is a lot of threads (which can cost a fortune) and making it truly hell to stitch.
Is it copyrighted?
Yes. Copyright; everyone’s least favorite topic. Sadly, in cross stitch copyright is a serious problem. A simple tip often used is to ask yourself “is it a recognisable character/image?” and normally, you can side step most major copyright holders. However, that doesn’t mean the pattern you’re about to buy isn’t copyrighted.
Imagine a pattern that envokes feelings of Disney; its fan art of some kind. Looks like a painting. It’s nicely done. This might not be copyrighted by Disney, as its fan art. But the maker of the cross stitch pattern is almost definately not the artwork’s original creator. That original creator, has copyright on his image. ALWAYS look to see any copyright messaging on cross stitch patterns before you buy. Using our Octopus Tea Cross Stitch Pattern again, we can see a little message in the notes:
“Octopus” counted cross stitch pattern. Designed by Vik Dollin.
We can see that this pattern has been made by someone else and the permission was given to make a cross stitch pattern. You should always be able to see a message like this, even if it is created by the pattern designer.
Is the price super low? Its probably stolen.
Another possible issue plaguing sites like Etsy are stolen patterns. Some people purchase a pattern from a reputable place, such as floss and mischief, who recently won awards for her cross stitch patterns two years running, and then they’ll sell them on at a really really low price.
As a result, you should look at price. Most cross stitch patterns (not kits) sell between $5 and $20, based on size and complexity. However a quick search of Etsy and I can see some patterns sold for as low as 20 cents. No designer worth their salt can produce quality patterns for anything less than $5 a time.
If you see any lower than that, they’re either stolen from someone or seriously poor quality.
When researching for this post we actually found my Pokemon Great Wave Cross Stitch sold, using my images. The issue is that I’ve never released this pattern. Instead they put my image, with watermark through pattern making software. The result was nothing like the original, and even included my watermark…
Is it from a reputable source?
This one is a little more difficult to judge. If you were to buy a pattern from, lets say peacock & fig you’d know its a quality pattern. The reason, is that she’s a real designer (who does it as a day job) and is bound by laws as she’s making her living from it. But places like Etsy and eBay are known to have issues with copyright. Therefore you need to be far more careful when selecting patterns from these sites. Equally, the rise of Aliexpress in cross stitch is a serious problem; a lot of these patterns are stolen, of bad quality or just knock off (don’t start us about the kits), therefore I wouldn’t suggest buying any patterns.
OK, this one isn’t actually about finding quality cross stitch patterns, but it is important (its also our 6th point, sorry!). Cross stitch designers regularly make little to no profit and so when you find a pattern you like; don’t give it to a friend once you’re finished. Tell them about it, so they can buy a copy themselves. If everyone shared their patterns; the best designers wouldn’t be able to make more patterns.
And that’s it! With a few simple steps you can see if the pattern you want to buy, is going to be a good one or not. I hope this helps, and enjoy never having a bad pattern ever again!
Title: Matrix Code
Date Completed: April 2019
Design: Lord Libidan
Pop Culture: The Matrix Trilogy
It’s rare for me to continue editing a pattern whilst stitching a project. It is, after all, the worst time possible to change a cross stitch pattern. However, that didn’t stop me with this project! I edited it 4 times during stitching.
I guess we should start back at the beginning. I had just finished 4 back to back Pikachu on my animated running Pikachu cross stitch, and I hadn’t got anything to stitch. That isn’t a new problem, in fact, I’ve spoken about getting cross stitch inspiration before, but unlike previous times, this was on purpose. I know that might sound crazy, but I stitch a lot of different things, from loads of areas, and wanted to go back to basics and see what really excited me. From the back of this I came up with a load of big projects, however there was one that I thought would be small. I was wrong.
I’ve done a lot of interface/computer screen stitches in the past, like my Voyager Star Trek LCARS cross stitch and really wanted to do something similar. I had just so happened to see that it was the 10 year anniversary of The Matrix and I remembered one of the best computer screens in cinema history. The Matrix code.
I grabbed an image of the code from wikipedia and started charting and soon realised, that despite the apparent simplicity of the code, it was actually super complicated. So my first step was to create a whole cross stitch alphabet but much like the original code, I needed letters that looked recognisable, but weren’t. I made a total of 29 characters, which I then had to put through a random number generator to place each letter in a massive grid. I had originally wanted to make a massive pattern, however less than 1/10th of the way through the pattern was taking me AGES. And whilst it was far from a 100 hour cross stitch pattern, it was too much.
I cut the pattern down, and finished the pattern.
At this point all seemed good, I picked out 18 count fabric to get nice small letters, and make it fit a rough landscape frame. However, when stitching, and rewatching The Matrix, I realised that 90s screens aren’t landscape, they were square. So the first cut came in the form of the pattern becoming a lot more square (not perfectly however). The second change came in the form of an error on my part. Instead of the whole height, I missed out two letters (I really should have gridded by cross stitch). I cut the pattern down again, followed by a further reduction in width after I realised the pattern wouldn’t be square enough. Finally, I cut the last line of code off as I ran out of green DMC 700.
However, despite all of that, its still too big to frame, looks too much like Japanese and is too bright. However, I REALLY loved stitching this. I haven’t approached a lot of 90s movies, prefering the 80s, and really loved the computer screen part of it. I recon the whole nothing to stitch thing worked.
This weeks theme, is dinosaurs. Whilst you can find a whole load of Jurassic Park inspired cross stitch patterns online, its rare to see a skeleton. Mostly, this is down to how dang hard they are to turn into patterns. However SongThread has not only managed to make super accurate dino skeletons, but put a whole load of fun into them with the addition of a crazy cat. Whilst I’m a self confessed dog fan, these are just too good to pass up.
For our pattern spotlight this week I wanted to focus on something people often look for; Pokemon patterns. However with the Pokemon company being rare to give out licenses (or at all in cross stitch), finding a piece that is copyright free is very hard. But not impossible…
This week I’ve decided to feature a pattern by MetamonPatterns. First off, this is not copyrighted. The reason actually comes down to the sprites themselves; before the Pokemon Gold and Silver games came out, a demo was made avaliable at spaceworld 1997, and it included these three pokemon. They were cut from the original game however, so were never copyrighted.
That isn’t what makes this pattern great though (although I love a pattern with a cool story behind it), its the telling of the story. Using a classic Gameboy border with both Japanese and English names makes this piece more than just an average Pokemon pattern. The little nods to the beta Pokemon from spaceworld at the top and bottom add to telling that great story.
With commercial space flight now a reality, with Virgin Galactic apparently taking everyday citizen’s into space this year, there is a lot going on in space. Obviously that means there’s loads going on with space cross stitch patterns, so to narrow things down a little, today, we’re talking about cross stitch patterns that focus on rockets and space shuttles.
As the spotlight was narrowed down in choice, we got a late contender in the form of PRINTandDECOR’s space shuttle pattern. Initially this looked fairly simple, but as you look further, you can see just how complicated and interesting this pattern is. With the solat system diagram in the back, with actual planets super imposed on top, the super stylised Mars the shuttle is taking off from and the sashiko cloud like smoke coming out of the engines shows that this designer really knows what their doing.
Most cross stitch patterns are as simple as you can see, but by making objects progressively smaller, and making the solar system diagram almost hidden in the deep background, this pattern is truly a special kind of clever.
With an overwhelming amount of cross stitch patterns on an ever increasing list of websites, we’ve decided to help the cross stitch community out by searching the web to find you an awesome pattern from one category a week. These cross stitch patterns will be picked based on their style, creativity and most importantly; their quality. In fact, we’ll only post patterns that we’ve seen stitched examples, seen the pattern, and we know they’re free of copyright.
The best news? These posts are in addition to the once a week post we usually post.
This week we’ve decided to start with Marvel. Afterall, the new Marvel movie comes out tomorrow; its an end of an era and the start of a new, so its about time we looked back at those superheroes who made cinematic history.
When it comes to Marvel, there are so many patterns out there; thanks to the sheer volume of films, that its hard to make a choice. However when we saw xstitch4love’s gauntlet design we knew we had to feature it. The gauntlet is simply put; THE symbol of the Marvel movie universe so far.
Featuring every main character from the previous films in black and white with the bright stones standing proud really makes you realise just how poignant the recent movie will be, how far we’ve come, and what will become of the Marvel universe in the future!
In this issues XStitch Magazine I wrote about love, specifically love of cross stitch, and how there are different levels of love. Everyone here probably loves cross stitch, but to what degree?
But then someone asked me “but what is it about cross stitch that you love”? And I honestly didn’t know. It’s not that theres nothing to love, there is loads, but what exactly is the thing I love?
So I start to think about my cross stitch tasks. I know that when I first started the thrill was in the finish. I still think back to my tiny highland cow cross stitch, my first ever, and the thrill of finishing was amazing. But if this was the thing that I loved, I would do tiny stitches over and over, but I find myself regularly doing massive cross stitches such as my Moon Light In Yasaka Pagoda Cross Stitch.
So could it instead be the pattern making? After all, now-a-days 100% of the stitches I create are of my own design. Well, honestly, I only create patterns as I can’t really find something I want to stitch. I’m also a massive advocate of pushing boundries in cross stitch too.
So maybe its just that ‘on more stitch’ feeling? Maybe. We’ve covered how cross stitch is great at reducing stress, but I don’t have a super stressful life (although I wonder if that is because of the cross stitch…).
I’m honestly not sure if its one of these, all of these, none of these, maybe even the fact that there are simply so many things to love. However I do know one thing; the thing I hate is frogging. Thankfully frogging has gotten easier lately.