Finished cross stitch, free cross stitch patterns and news from Lord Libidan.

Next Year In Cross Stitch – 2021

In our now annual post about the world of cross stitch in the past and coming year, we look at last years 2020 cross stitch and see just how accurate we were, and look into 2021 and see what might be in store.
 
Its been somewhat of a crazy year, and whilst we didn’t foresee anything like a virus shutting the world down, we were oddly accurate on our guesses. However, the lockdown across the world made things happen a little faster, and have changed the cross stitch world for good.

Cross Stitch Magazines & Books

cross stitcher magazine cover may 2011 featuring Lord Libidan (source: crossstitchermag.co.uk)
cross stitcher magazine cover may 2011 featuring Lord Libidan (source: crossstitchermag.co.uk)

For the last few years we’ve mentioned cross stitch magazines and books, and every year, something has happened to prove us right. At first, we thought magazines would become more and more specialized, and with the rise of magazines like XStitch Magazine that came about. Then we foresaw issues with major cross stitch magazines and thought some would be sold off, like the Cross Stitcher was in 2019. But we still thought something was going to happen.
 
For the last few years, the marketing world has been talking about diminishing advertising return and the lack of investment. However the traditional magazine model relies on advertising, so we thought we would loose magazines this year. And we did. It started off with Cross Stitch Favourites going bust in January, however, the lockdown showed us just how fragile the cross stitch magazine arena is, with both Cross Stitch Crazy and Cross Stitch Gold shutting. We were so sure something like this was going to happen that we managed to break the news before the magazines themselves did.
 
So what does this mean for 2021? Well, not a great deal. Now that the less stable cross stitch magazines have been forced to end, the rest should be staying with us for the long run. However, the loss of nearly 30,000 readers from popular cross stitch magazines means smaller magazines have a great chance to start showing that they have. I would expect we might hear more about niche magazines, and see larger magazines trying to push the boundaries a little more.

The Rise Of The Small Store Owner

Small store owners have had a really good year. Big box stores and hobby stores have struggled in the lockdown to bring people in, but small store owners, particularly those online have been able to offer their wares out to anyone in the world. In addition, people were bored and went back to hobbies like cross stitch meaning more people than ever wanted their products. We even had to make a list of the best online cross stitch stores at the request of our Facebook followers.
We honestly expect the service that small stores give to become the gold standard in cross stitch, with people sticking with local and small stores for the future.
 
This, in turn, has given rise to new cross stitch designers. With cross stitch pattern software more accessible than ever and some great resources online, we’ve seen a big increase in new designers coming to platforms like Etsy, giving traditional cross stitch designers a run for their money.

Inclusive Patterns

Another big feature this year were the Black Lives Matter protests. At first this might seem totally unconnected to cross stitch, but patterns featuring people are mostly white. Thanks to resources like our skin tone thread colors and hair color threads, we expect to see more and more inclusive patterns, with alternative designs given as standard to include all skin tones.

Skin Tone Cross Stitch Thread Table by Lord Libidan
Skin Tone Cross Stitch Thread Table by Lord Libidan

Software

PCStitch Cross Stitch Software (source: PCStitch.com)
PCStitch Cross Stitch Software (source: PCStitch.com)

My estimates on cross stitch software were probably a little too eager. Whilst I still fully think that cross stitch generators will move to online and app forms rather than traditional downloads, I think I was a year early. I think in 2021 we’ll see some seriously good cross stitch apps come out, or at least some forward movement here.
Sadly I think this might come at the cost of some smaller software companies, and as such we’ve seen a steady reduction in them since 2018.

ThreadHeaven

Thread Magic (source: threadmagic.com)
Thread Magic (source: threadmagic.com)

We’ve spoke about ThreadHeaven every year since 2019’s post and the reason for that was its shock exit from the cross stitch world. However, that loss opened up the market, but in an interesting way. Last year we said we thought we’d see less and less people using thread conditioners, and by and large we were right. With the loss of a major brand, we’ve seen people go back to threads without conditioners. This wasn’t quite the same though, and in the last year we’ve seen suggestions that people are starting to look towards the quality of their products.
 
Our own posts about the best cross stitch needle brands and the best cross stitch fabric brands are now some of the most popular on the site. This trend suggests that people want quality products. This doesn’t necessarily mean high price either, and we pointed out that cheap embroidery threads from brands like CXC are really good quality thanks to their cotton and polyester mix. Its new inventions like this that we think we’ll see more of (although not until 2022), and big brands really trying to get us on their key selling points.
We’ve already seen DMC increase their offering to include the new 35 threads in 2016 and the Etoile threads in 2018 and we expect other brands to try and play catch up.
 
So that’s what we thought of our 2020 guesses, and our 2021 predictions. Is there something you think we’ll see next year?

Japanese Shrine Cross Stitch By Lord Libidan

Japanese Shrine Cross Stitch By Lord Libidan
Japanese Shrine Cross Stitch By Lord Libidan

Title: Okumiya Omamori Cross Stitch
Date Completed: September 2020
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: White
Colors: 11
Pop Culture: Japan
 
In Japan, religion is everywhere. It may not have as many followers as it used to, but Shinto and Buddhist shrines dot the country at a shocking intensity. At each shrine, you can purchase small objects, known as omamori, that give good luck. In most cases, these are small fabric pouches with wooden talismans inside. However, in recent times, these omamori have become a little more interesting. From small metal keychains to wooden pencils, to modeling clay foxes, giving not only luck but specific help, with love technology and beyond. But a new trend has started, one of small enamel pins.
Japanese shrine good luck charms omamori (Source: tokyoweekender.com)
Japanese shrine good luck charms omamori (Source: tokyoweekender.com)

I’ve seen a few of these pins in peoples cross stitch kits, converted to really interesting needle minders (I really need a frogging one). However, another trend in Japan is also crazy and interesting manhole covers.
Japanese manhole covers (Source: tsunagujapan.com)
Japanese manhole covers (Source: tsunagujapan.com)

This might seem a little strange, however, Japan has always had a strong relationship with illustration. I decided to combine these two for my recent pattern in the next issue of the Xstitch Magazine.
 
Combining a view of Mount Fuji, cherry blossoms, and a torii gate, I’ve created a small omamori good luck charm for “courage”.

SpaceX Falcon 9 Dragon Blueprint Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

SpaceX Falcon 9 Dragon Crew Blueprint Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
SpaceX Falcon 9 Dragon Crew Blueprint Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Title: SpaceX Falcon 9 Dragon Capsule Blueprint
Date Completed: September 2020
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: Navy
Colors: 1
Pop Culture: Space, SpaceX, Falcon 9, Dragon
 
Whilst one of my most loved cross stitches are blueprints (to name just a few, my Futurama Ship Blueprint Cross Stitch and Star Wars Lightsaber Blueprint) I stayed off creating space-based blueprints for a while. There are a few reasons for this, but they come down to two main ones; disappointment and information.
 
The first of those is more complicated. Unlike my Saturn V Blueprint Cross Stitch, where the official blueprints had been released, for many space-based vehicles they haven’t (and for good reason). However, SpaceX is a little unlike NASA and other government-based space agencies. They are looking to bring back the enthusiasm of Space in the 1950s. As a result, there are loads of images and information, from inside and outside of the ship, meaning finding information was a breeze.
 
The second reason I’ve avoided creating more space blueprints is a disappointment. The SpaceX Falcon 9 is someone that gets requested on a weekly basis by my fans, and letting them down would suck. However, following my NASA Space Shuttle Blueprint Cross Stitch I knew I could do it justice, even if the Falcon 9 is a lot slimmer and simple than other rockets.
 
You can also pick this cross stitch pattern up on my Etsy store too.

NASA Space Shuttle Blueprint Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

NASA Space Shuttle Blueprint Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
NASA Space Shuttle Blueprint Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Title: NASA Space Shuttle Blueprint
Date Completed: August 2020
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: Navy
Colors: 1
Pop Culture: Space, NASA, Shuttle
 
I rarely revisit a cross stitch idea. For me, once the idea is done, it’s done. However, whilst stitching my Star Trek Enterprise LCARS cross stitch, I had a real yearning for a non sci-fi space project. What made this particularly interesting, was it may be the first time I had ever revisited an idea. The Enterprise was a larger version of my Star Trek Voyager LCARS cross stitch.
 
I’ve previously explained how much I love blueprints, and I’ve done enough of them, however, I’ve always loved my Saturn V Blueprint cross stitch. It was created for the Xstitch Magazine, however it always held a place in my heart for its complex nature. Working with the same design, planned to go side by side, I reworked the stitch to be focused on the NASA Space Shuttle, the only US space craft to fly in my lifetime.
 
You can also pick up this NASA Space Shuttle cross stitch pattern up from my Etsy.

Star Trek Enterprise LCARS Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Star Trek Enterprise LCARS Ship Schematic Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
Star Trek Enterprise LCARS Ship Schematic Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Title: USS Enterprise LCARS Ship Blueprint
Date Completed: August 2020
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: Black
Colors: 9
Pop Culture: Star Trek The Next Generation
 
I called my Star Trek Voyager Blueprint Cross Stitch my magnum opus, but apparently, I was wrong.
 
I started planning my Voyager blueprint years before I started it, with tests in my Star Trek cross stitch book and my LCARS what happens on the holodeck cross stitch, however, it never really worked for me, so I looked at doing a realistic screen accurate LCARS interface, and I chose a blueprint for it. It was one of the only patterns I’ve made to take me over 100 hours, and I was proud as hell. I added in so many details, so many little hints at storylines, and it’s a super-accurate blueprint to boot! However, I kept getting the same question come up “will you do an Enterprise?”.
 
It turns out, that whilst Voyager has always been my favorite Star Trek, for most people, it’s the Next Generation. This has two major problems with it though, problems I had to overcome. Firstly, there are 7 series (178 episodes) and 4 movies, all of which have their own hints at what the Enterprise contains, and what it can do. So I had to watch them. All of them. That’s not really too hard of a task, but my notes during the 200+ hours of watching were extensive, so I had to add that into the design. This is slightly more complicated by the fact that there are no ‘real’ blueprints out there for inspiration.
Star Trek Enterprise LCARS Ship Schematic Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan (Right Detail)
Star Trek Enterprise LCARS Ship Schematic Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan (Right Detail)

The second issue was that of size. The Enterprise D is 2-3 times larger than voyager in all dimensions. This makes it larger, sure, but combined with all the extra secrets I added in there, more complicated. Then, and this has always been a big thing for me, I wanted these patterns to look like real screens that could be used at any time, so I had to make it appropriate for a screen size, used in the series.
 
However, I put all of this together and even managed to reduce the number of colors from 13 to 11, whilst adding in a whole bunch of extras that were still in keeping, but also period-specific (LCARS changed between Next Generation and Voyager, in both colors and design). Then came the stitching, for which I had to buy a new cross stitch frame large enough!
Star Trek Enterprise LCARS Ship Schematic Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan (Left Detail)
Star Trek Enterprise LCARS Ship Schematic Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan (Left Detail)

Rorschach Ink Blot Test Cross Stitches by Lord Libidan

Rorschach Ink Blot Test Cross Stitches by Lord Libidan
Rorschach Ink Blot Test Cross Stitches by Lord Libidan

Title: Rorschach Ink Blot Test Panels 1 to 6
Date Completed: October 2019
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: White
Colours: 4
Pop Culture: Noir
 
I design patterns for the Xstitch magazine, and this issue the theme was noir. I know the themes are based on general terms to help promote a more varied selection, but I also write for the magazine, and in this issue, I spoke about black. So of course, my mind went to black for the stitch too.
 
But I couldn’t find anything I liked. I tend to stitch on black a lot, but making a dark black stitch is hard, and frankly, not very interesting. But then I happened across a set of ink blot tests in a toy store. They were full of color, but I loved the idea of a Rorschach ink blot test. Not only were they (mostly) black, but they were a pseudoscience that was very of the noir movie aesthetic and time period. It just worked.
 
The patterns didn’t really work though. My first idea was to pick just one and make it huge, but as you guessed, it was a lot of black. So I cut it down in size. But this meant it was not only non-symmetrical, a key feature of the ink blots, but it was full of shades. These shades were OK, but the way the DMC colors work, the dark colors were hued. They had blues in, or purples and they looked wrong. Finally, I made them all, pixel by pixel to get it perfect. I had to make a decision early on, with ink blot 2, as it had red in. Whilst this still fitted with the theme, I just felt it was better as black.

The Orville Blueprint Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

The Orville Blueprint Embroidery by Lord Libidan
The Orville Blueprint Embroidery by Lord Libidan

Title: The Orville Blueprint
Date Completed: May 2020
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: Black
Colors: 3
Pop Culture: The Orville
 
Like many people, my favorite cross stitch changes a lot. It tends to be the last one I’ve stitched or the last big one at least. However for some time now, it remained as just one. My Star Trek Voyager Blueprint/LCARS cross stitch completed over a year ago. I think there were a few reasons for this. I’d worked on LCARS cross stitch before for both my Star Trek cross stitch book and my LCARS what happens on the holodeck cross stitch however I was never really sold on either of them. So when I was able to do another LCARS cross stitch, with a realistic screen, I really felt I’d captured its essence. It felt like I’d managed to complete it in a way that really looked right.
 
I think part of this was I was able to take a real screen (or my impersonation of one anyway). What I didn’t realize at the time is that I liked the UX (user interface) of the LCARS system, and liked the actual screens themselves. When I started stitching my matrix code cross stitch I really understood this and wanted to do more. This is where the Orville project started. I was watching the most recent Star Trek and had heard of The Orville is Star Trek-like, and thought, why not? I gave it a try, and frankly, I think it’s better than Star Trek Discovery. But there was a screen that kept coming up. I won’t spoil why, but a main character is often shown, and he’s a science officer. His screen on the deck is in front of him and clearly visible from the camera angle. Normally I would ignore this, but it had an element at the bottom that looked a lot like a macOS dock. Needless to say, I wanted to do something with it.
The Orville Set Photos - Science Officer Screens on the Main Deck (Source: Wikipedia)
The Orville Set Photos – Science Officer Screens on the Main Deck (Source: Wikipedia)

 
The second thing I noticed about the computer screen was the big old starship blueprint right in the center. It was VERY similar to my Star Trek one, and I just had to take that element as well, after all, I love blueprints. As you can probably tell from my lightsaber blueprint, ZF-1 Blueprint and Metroid Suit blueprint. But all of those are real blueprints. I wondered how a science officer would look at the ship, and wondered if I could make it more… real. I threw some ideas around, but the original image formed most of my plan, with overlays and more detail on science elements, and little in the way of room detail.
 
This also allowed me to do the same thing I had with my Star Trek cross stitch, and that was backstitch variance. What do I mean by that? Well, basically the number of threads when doing backstitch. By using three sometimes, 2 others and 1 for fine detail you can create a design that looks fairly plain from a distance, but then as you come closer gives you more and more detail. Unlike the Star Trek blueprint, the Orville’s computers mostly use blue, so this became really important.
 
So, I started making a pattern. It wasn’t a cross stitch pattern that took me 100 hours, but it sure took a long time. I tried adding the original MacOS dock style thing, but it just didn’t work. However, I came up with about 30 inspiration shots from the show, including this one, and knew there were elements I could add. I put everything together, and finally got stitching.
The Orville Screenshot - Computer Screens (Source: Google Images)
The Orville Screenshot – Computer Screens (Source: Google Images)

This is where I would normally stop, showing you the complete thing. But as I stitched, the less sold on the idea I was. Looking back, the whole reason I wanted to stitch this was the macOS style screen, that I failed to make in the pattern. Then, on top of this, is the fact that I had just completed my Futurama ship blueprint embroidery and was about to start on another one (more on that once I’ve finished it). This pattern just didn’t click in the way those did. So I changed the pattern while stitching to remove the outside, leaving just the ship itself.

Futurama Planet Express Ship Blueprint Embroidery by Lord Libidan

Futurama Old Bessie Blueprint Embroidery By Lord Libidan
Futurama Old Bessie Blueprint Embroidery By Lord Libidan

Title: Old Bessie Futurama Blueprint
Date Completed: April 2020
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: Green
Colors: 2
Pop Culture: Futurama
 
When it comes to blueprints, I’m sold. I’ve made a light saber blueprint cross stitch, a fifth element gun blueprint cross stitch and loads of others. So when I started watching Futurama again (the best cartoon ever by the way) I started getting itchy to do a cross stitch. Then, when watching an episode where the ship gets dismantled (screenshot below), I knew I had to do a blueprint of the ship.
Futurama Dismantled Ship (Source: theinfosphere.org)
Futurama Dismantled Ship (Source: theinfosphere.org)

The thing that makes it so perfect is that the ship is constantly changing, you see in almost every room, yet there aren’t any plans. Others have put things together in the past, but I wanted to do my own take. In my previous blueprints, I had only shown the inside or the outside, but with the ship, I really wanted to combine the two, so I have a cutaway style blueprint.
 
In my research I found a great poster by Volpin Props, and whilst the image was rather small (the quality below is the best I could find), I based my blueprint on it. I also threw in loads of little details the Volpin Props one didn’t have, things that you only pick up on if you’re a Futurama fan, much like the Star Trek Voyager Blueprint cross stitch did. What makes this even better is that much like Volpin props I’ve hidden most of these details away in a Futurama language you need to translate.
Planet Express Blueprint by Volpin Props (Source: volpinprops.com)
Planet Express Blueprint by Volpin Props (Source: volpinprops.com)

This wasn’t as easy as I had planned, however. Much like my Matrix code cross stitch I needed to recreate a whole language in tiny form. The original alien language that Volpin props used was way too hard to convert, so I changed it for the newer alien language Futurama uses (which is much more complicated to translate).

Morning at Hot Spring Resort in Arayu Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Morning At Hot Spring Resort In Arayu By Lord Libidan
Morning At Hot Spring Resort In Arayu By Lord Libidan

Title: Morning at Hot Spring Resort in Arayu
Date Completed: April 2020
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 16
Canvas: Cream
Colors: 27
Pop Culture: Japan
 
By now you might realize I’m on a massive Japanese print kick. I’ve stitched up Moon Light in Yasaka Pagoda cross stitch, New Moon on Tokyo Tower cross stitch, and a miniature Spring In Daigoji Temple cross stitch too. And I haven’t stopped. For my recent XStitch magazine pattern, I made a new Japanese print, this time all my own, and for it, I had to get inspiration. I normally use the work of Asano Takeji as he’s a modern artist with a style I like, however when looking for inspiration I found Hasui Kawase.
 
He was working at roughly the same time as Asano Takeji, but was a prolific traveler, with many of his works being from around Japan, and America. He even added Western elements to many of his works, including Santa, however, his works from around Japan really excited me. When I traveled there I took in many of the tourist sights, including many that Hasui had created prints from. One in particular that really interested me was his hot springs at Arayu. Whilst I didn’t go to Arayu, I did go to another hot spring resort, and it was one of the most relaxing days, and possibly one of the best days of my life. The feeling of warmth and the calming ways of the hot springs are a real juxtaposition against the super high tech cities of Japan.
Morning at Hot Spring Resort in Arayu, by Hasui Kawase 1946 (Source: JapanObjects.com)
Morning at Hot Spring Resort in Arayu, by Hasui Kawase 1946 (Source: JapanObjects.com)

This was the first of these patterns that I turned into a cross stitch (yes, there will be more), however, I created it about 6 months before I could start stitching. This meant that by the time I went back to it, I fell in love with it again. However, due to magazines and other life-things, it took 6 months to stitch as well, meaning it may be my longest project to date. Thankfully, due to all the time we’ve been spending indoors lately, I’ve had some more time to stitch and finished it up.

Namaste Paper Fortune Origami Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Origami Paper Fortune Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
Origami Paper Fortune Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Title: Namaste Paper Fortune Origami
Date Completed: August 2019
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: White
Colors: 5
Pop Culture: Origami
 
You may know, but I often supply patterns for the XStitch magazine. In the past I’ve supplied a pattern for every issue, but not only did that mean I didn’t have much time to make the patterns truly awesome, but I also write for it, meaning I was in everyone multiple times. So recently, I’ve been in fewer and fewer. But that means I can be a little more… adventurous.
 
My last pattern for the magazine was New Moon on Tokyo Tower cross stitch and it had a lot of blue. In fact, it had a whole lot of stitching. So I knew I wanted something a little lighter on actual cross stitch, but something that was still awesome. So I looked at ‘my book’. Yes, that’s right, I record every idea I have down in a little journal. It has WAY too many bad ideas, but there are some gems in there that just don’t work out.
 
One of those gems was an origami crane. I have always loved Japan and put it in my cross stitch whenever possible, but there has always been one Japanese thing I’ve wanted to try out, but failed at. Origami. I’ve always loved 3D cross stitch, and like to push boundaries a bit, but there is one thing that always gets in the way when making cross stitch 3D, and its something I worked out when I was making my first transforming cross stitch; angles. Thanks to the structure of aida, 90 degrees is a breeze. In fact, 45 is OK too, but anything else just gets hard. I tried to work around this when I did my 3D Pokemon cave cross stitch, which is at 67.5 degrees, but it made the joint huge. Therefore an origami crane with hundreds of different angles was out.
 
But as always, I couldn’t quite shake the idea. I looked up as many origami animals as I could, trying to come up with a shape that would only use 90 or 45 degrees but couldn’t find any. Until my niece brought home a paper fortune. It wasn’t a type of origami I was thinking about, but actually, its probably most people’s first foray into origami. I had only just written my post on the best cross stitch toys and loved the idea of something people could actually use. And wouldn’t you know it, it has 90 and 45-degree angles.
&nsbps;
After I mocked something up I realized that the design was only just going to work; aida doesn’t fold well multiple times and in different directions, but it worked! In order to theme it better to the magazine issue ‘namaste’, I added different greetings into the insides in multiple languages.
Origami Paper Fortune Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan 2
Origami Paper Fortune Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan 2