You may have noticed when picking colors, or using them, that there are a variety of dots and marks before and after some cross stitch numbers. These are those marks if you’re unsure what we mean:
Thanks to the new DMC color chart that came out thanks to the 35 new DMC threads, DMC make more of these dots, and if you have a keen eye, you’ll notice the pre-2018 color card has different dots to the post-2018 color card.
So what are they? Basically, they’re changes in the formula to avoid using nasty chemicals. In the EU dye usage is highly monitored and as a result, they’ve required suppliers of threads to make sure they use only friendly dyes. This has happened in two stages; firstly in 1994 when a lot of greys were changed to fit in with new laws, and again in late 2017 when lots of the reds were affected.
Well that’s interesting, but why do I care?
I’m glad you asked. Dye lots. And it’s actually quite a problem. You see, they couldn’t just change the color formulation and keep the colors perfect, and as a result, we now need to monitor which version of the threads we’re using; old or new. An example of how different they can be is below on some of the 1994 color changes:
In fact, DMC even carry the warning on their color charts:
Do not mix with the original colours without the dot.
That’s just how serious this problem might be, so from now on, keep your eye out for those dots of colors 304, 321, 498, 815 and 816.
My thanks to DMC and Sidar who supplied information, along with Martha Beth.
Title: Portal 2 Gun
Date Completed: November 2018
Design: Lord Libidan & AngryBetta
Canvas: Pearl Grey
Video Game: Portal & Portal 2
Sometimes, patterns take AGES to make, and for my Star Trek Voyager LCARS cross stitch that was definitely the case. However thanks to a lot of it being backstitch I rocketed through the pattern, meaning I didn’t really have anything to move onto next. This was far from something that happened before, in fact, I’ve written a post on how to get over a creative cross stitch block, and one of my favorite ways; lookup portal stuff.
I know that seems weird, but the portal community has a massive breadth of fan art styles, and normally this means I’ve picked up an idea or two, however this time I came across a portal gun cross stitch by AngryBetta on reddit and knew I had to stitch it too. However, I also knew that stitching someone else’s pattern was a departure for me, and thanks to my recent Harry Potter Golden Snitch cross stitch taking a lot of time, I had some time, so I took inspiration from Portal 2 itself and decided to add a GLADOS potato to the arm of the portal gun.
There are also a few small adjustments on the original to make it look slightly closer to the real Portal gun.
Sadly, there isn’t a hard and fast rule for this, however, over the last 2 years, I’ve been compiling data to give you an idea of how much you can make.
The answer isn’t as obvious as you think either. Thanks to Etsy’s rating system, which relies on SEO, store ranking, title, and most importantly ‘freshness’ stores can have really varied success. As a result I set up a three new stores; all selling the same patterns, with the same descriptions, costs, names, and we gave the stores zero marketing. I used a series of $5 patterns (giving $3.80 profit per sale).
Store 1 – Set it and leave it
For our first store, we created a batch of 10 patterns and put them up to sell. On average we sold 4 of each pattern across the whole year. This means we got $152 in profit.
For most stores starting out, this is exactly what happens. The initial idea of pattern creation seems OK but after the first ten, people give up and wait to ‘see what happens’. Sadly, due to the low return, most people give up at this point.
Store 2 – Set it and add a pattern a month
Much like the first store, we put up 10 initial cross stitch patterns, but we then added an additional pattern every month for the remaining 11 months of the year. This extra work (12 hours at our count) not only gained us a further $152 from the new patterns, but thanks to Etsy’s freshness rating increase each patterns sales to an average of 8 each. This means that our end of year total was $669 in profit.
Considering that it was only 12 hours of work, the additional patterns basically allowed us to increase our profit by 440%. TOTALLY worth it.
Store 3 – Set it and add a pattern a week
But does this increase in work always pay off? For our third store we added an extra pattern every week. 52 extra patterns were actually rather time-consuming, and the constant pressure was always on us. However, the increase in ‘freshness’ rating paid off to some extent. We increased our pattern sales average to 12 of each pattern. This means that we made a shocking $2827 in profit.
Store 4 – Set it and add a pattern every day
And we took it one step further. To top this whole experiment off, we added 2 patterns a week. Yes. We really tried this. We couldn’t keep it going however, and gave up after the 6-month point. However, the results were clear. We made no additional sales per pattern within the year. In fact, the mass of patterns actually had the opposite effect; we sold LESS of each pattern.
We’re not sure if this was down to a possibly decreased quality of patterns, however we think that the extra work just wasn’t worth it.
So what does this mean? Well as far as we can tell, uploading a new pattern every 1 month or 2 weeks is the best bet. It’ll get you the biggest return on your time, and increase sales all over. However, you really need to think about the timings here. We did a few shorter tests to see if you could add a block of 12 patterns at the start of the year went and it’s clear that you need to post regularly through the year to keep up your freshness rating.
What about patterns that cost more than $5?
Yeh, we expected you to ask that. In fact, we did some research into exactly that. It appears that up to a point ($18 per pattern, as far as we can see) the decrease in purchases is equal to the increase in price. What that means if you’ll still make the same amount of profit, just on less pattern sales.
We’d like to thank the pattern creators that allowed us to test with their patterns. All profits were given back to the original pattern creators; Lord Libidan took none of the profits.
Title: Pikachu Pokemon Bookmark
Date Completed: October 2018
Design: Lord Libidan & MokosMakery
Canvas: Pale Yellow
Video Game: Pokemon
I don’t often give up on cross stitches, even if I think they’ve failed. My Harry Potter Golden Snitch cross stitch is a fantastic example of this, however, with this cross stitch bookmark, I gave up. In fact, I completed it, and then threw it away as it was so bad, and didn’t work as it needed to.
Roll on 3 years; yes, that’s 3 whole years. Every time I looked at my aida stash I kept seeing that dang pale yellow aida and this pattern came to mind time after time. It honestly took me about 2 years before I realized what I had done wrong the first time, but honestly, shame stopped me going back.
The original idea for this stitch actually came from MokosMakery, who make frankly fantastic papercraft bookmarks of many pokemon, and the pattern is taken almost 1 for 1 from their paper model. I thought it was so good that I had to spend a few hours making one myself (even if I use a kindle…)
A few weeks ago we looked at how cross stitch threads are made and surprisingly we were bombarded with comments about discontinuations of DMC threads. So I decided for our second look at threads, we’d look at discontinuations.
There are a few sets of discontinued threads from DMC and there looks like there is a load of confusion over them, so without further ado, here are the sets:
3880 replaced with 223
3881 replaced with 164
3882 replaced with 839
3883 replaced with 722
3884 replaced with 535
3885 replaced with 312
3886 replaced with 3685
3887 replaced with 208
3888 replaced with 3740
3889 replaced with 445
3890 replaced with 3766
3891 replaced with 995
3892 replaced with 740
3893 replaced with 543
3894 replaced with 907
3895 replaced with 646
The most recent discontinued threads from DMC come in the form of the 2013 ‘3800’ series. A lot is said about these particular threads due to how weird they were. Unlike any other thread sold by DMC these were only ever sold as a package; never alone. In addition, they only released in the USA (but also made their way to Canada through resellers).
Most people suspect therefore that these had an issue being sold in the EU, and whilst that is partly true, most people are getting confused with the second set of threads.
You see, back in the 1990s, DMC threads were made in two factories; in France and the USA. At the time US threads were considerably more expensive than they are now and one of the reasons was the dye cost, which was taxed heavily at the time. So the US factory came out with new dyes to replace the hard to get dyes. The set sold as a tester to see if they should change some other colors (see below), but poor sales of the packs, thanks to the fact that they were copies of colors already in the range, meant they were scrapped within a year.
Officially, these were never actually discontinued. Whilst they are no longer sold on their own (apart from on the DMC US website), you can still pick up the larger packs, however, branding hasn’t changed since 2013, so there is a good chance its old stock.
504 replaced with 3813
731 replaced with 732
776 replaced with 3326
781 replaced with 782
971 replaced with 740
806 replaced with 3760
868 replaced with 801
3773 replaced with 407
Those other threads the US factory considered removing? Wasn’t officially discontinued until 2015, the most recent set of discontinuations. The new EU laws in 2000 stated that no new products could use dyes classes as harmful to the environment. DMC chose to alter the dyes of a whole set of their threads, but for some dyes, they just couldn’t get a good match. Whilst the threads were phased out of all EU stores (and removed from their thread cards), they hung around in the US for some time, who didn’t have the same dye laws. They were officially removed alongside some variegated threads (without alternatives) in 2015.
But what about the new DMC threads? Is this signs that we might be getting more discontinuations?
No. In fact, the new range fills in many of the gaps of the old range, and we think, thanks to the numbering, that we might be seeing a ‘renumbering’ of the old set soon.
Title: Expired Ramen Coupon
Date Completed: October 2018
Design: Lord Libidan
Video Game: Destiny 2
I started my Star Trek Voyager cross stitch after months of perfecting the pattern and was shocked that it was so quick to stitch. So less than halfway through I started coming up with another idea, most probably a quick stitch.
This all came after I had just finished Destiny 2, along with its expansions. Therefore, it didn’t take me long to jump to the idea of stitching a sweet Destiny piece. I had seen The Crafting Geek’s awesome Ramen icon and my initial plan was to simply stitch hers up, after all, it’s great!
But that’s when I realized, what if I could do something a little more tangible? The Expired Ramen Coupon is basically an inside joke within Destiny 2 after Cayde-6 is lost at the start of the most recent expansion, and he sends you off to find a free coupon, some decades out of date. And when you get it? Not much happens, you simply get the coupon. So I wondered, how hard would it be to make a coupon?
Hard. Super hard. In fact, this is the ONLY image of it:
Tiny. However, that didn’t stop me, and I put something together in a realistic size using a simple black backstitch in varying thicknesses.
Title: USS Voyager LCARS Ship Blueprint
Date Completed: October 2018
Design: Lord Libidan
Pop Culture: Star Trek Voyager
The idea for this project started nearly 2 years ago when I had recently watched ‘The Martian’. I was instantly enthralled by the control screens on the spacecraft, on the Mars base, and in mission control. My initial idea was a reproduction of the ship schematic in a smaller scale, however, it just looked blocky. I knew I had to redo it, but fear of getting it wrong kept me back for a long time.
Move on a few months whilst I had to do some other projects, and I watched the new series of Star Trek Discovery. Finally, the whole design came together in my head. In the same way that The Martian had different screens for different ships/sections, so did Star Trek, with its LCARS programs. I had actually done some work with LCARS before in my Star Trek book, where I designed a LCARS interface, however it had a joke on it, and wasn’t something you’d see in real life. I decided, therefore, to have a second go, this time creating a fake panel, which you might actually find on the ship.
My favorite Star Trek is Voyager, and when searching came across a wealth of screen used designs I could draw from. I also had a framed Pokemon triptych I had been meaning to update, which has a unique long frame. Therefore I started to design a screen that you might find throughout the ship itself of a full ship-wide schematic including a mini-map, and basic ship updates. Effectively, a quick reference map, which plays into my well-known love of maps, like my Pokemon region map.
This is also the first time I’ve used one of the new 35 DMC colors, specifically 03, the grey at the top and bottom.
Everyone loves a good collection of threads, but unless you have the whole set of DMC threads you’re going to need a way to keep track of what you have, and haven’t got. That’s why we created this awesome colored spreadsheet of all standard, metallic, variations, variegated, Coloris and Étoile 6 strand DMC threads, so you can keep track.
Just click the link or image and save the spreadsheet. You can access it on your computer, phone, or put it through googledocs!
It’s been a busy few months for the DMC thread company, with the addition of 35 new threads back in September, and now, a whole new set of specialist threads for October.
These 35 new threads dubbed the “DMC Mouline Etoile” (star mill) series are 35 new six-strand threads with the slightest sparkle added to them. They still work in the standard way a 6 strand thread would, but they offer a smaller amount of interest than the standard threads. I’ve actually been able to get hands-on with a small section and confirm they’re rather smooth and stitch well, something which specialty threads have struggled with in the past. They come in these standard colors:
(C)ECRU, (C)BLANC, C310, C318, C321, C415, C433, C436, C444, C471, C519, C550, C554, C600, C603, C666, C699, C725, C738, C740, C798, C814, C816, C820, C823, C840, C890, C900, C907, C915, C938, C972, C995, C3371, C3799
Unlike the 35 non-sparkly threads that came out in September, not much is being made of these new threads, which I personally find interesting. I think the timing is probably one issue. I know that September and October are filled with stitching up Halloween and Christmas stitches, so they might have missed the boat slightly when it comes to timing. It’s clear that these threads probably won’t be used outside of special occasions, and Christmas and Halloween were the time to use them. Sadly, thanks to this I think the Mouline Etoile range might struggle to sell.
But there is a second, and the slightly more interesting reason I think DMC has kept a bit quiet is due to competition, specifically with Anchor, DMC’s traditional rival. Anchor has a small set of Pearl Metallic threads which for all purposes are identical threads. Whilst Anchor have nowhere near as many threads in the range as DMC do now (only 6), with cheaper Chinese brands such as CXC gaining traction, DMC are starting to feel the pinch, and they want to be seen as the one brand pushing thread boundaries, the ‘top dog’. In fact, the Coloris range from DMC released in early 2018 was for exactly the same reason.
It’s clear that this year DMC has gone out of their way to match and exceed Anchor’s threads, and now they have a larger set of classic threads, and specialty. However cheaper brands are really getting some steam at the moment, so I wouldn’t be surprised if 2019 had some new threads too.