Title: New Moon on Tokyo Tower
Date Completed: June 2019
Design: Lord Libidan
Pop Culture: Japan
When the editor of the Xstitch Mag announced the new theme for issue 9 was going to be oriented; I knew exactly why. A few months before I have shown him a preview of my Moon Light in Yasaka Pagoda Cross Stitch (just before I decided to remove the Pokemon from it), and showed him what an awesome theme it could make.
However, that turned out to be a little problematic. The piece of art I used to make that cross stitch was still under copyright, meaning I couldn’t give the pattern to the Editor. Instead, I had to make my own. Now, I loved Asano Takeji’s work and thought I could riff on his style, whilst bringing it slightly more modern. To do this I researched when the ukiyo-e style went out of fashion. It was roughly the 1870’s. That meant that none of the modern Japanese buildings would be captured in the form.
Having visited Tokyo a few years prior, I also felt that the new Tokyo Skytree overshadowed Tokyo’s previous iconic tower; The Tokyo Tower. Following the American occupation of Japan, in the 1950s, Japan wanted to celebrate its newfound freedom with a new and audacious tower. Based on the Eiffel Tower they constructed a new tower, which was originally planned to be painted Bronze, but due to height regulations at the time had to have a red and white candy stripe paint job.
The tower, when completed would have been a beacon to all of Japan that they were back in charge, and were once again, ready to enter the world stage. However, at the time, modernization hadn’t come to a lot of Japan, meaning a lot of streets were traditional in design. I really wanted to combine this design to show both the new Japan and traditional Japan side by side.
To do this I combined images of Tokyo Tower, and a preserved traditional street in Tokyo, ironically next to Yasaka Pagoda, Sannen Zaka Street. I then lowered the tone of color to show a deep night sky, free of moonlight, to differentiate it from my previous Asano Takeji piece.
With sites like Etsy pumping out cross stitch patterns by the thousands, finding a quality cross stitch pattern can be hard. We helpfully went over a few tips for making sure you get a good pattern, however one of those points was about copyright. Copyright in cross stitch is a massive issue, and if you haven’t yet been involved in something to do with copyright, you’re lucky. However, the biggest issue is with selling patterns.
Why Should You Care?
This is probably the big question we need to look at first, after all, why should you care about copyright in cross stitch? and I’m not going to say you should (even if I think it). Instead, I’m telling you it’s in your best interest. If the pattern you’re looking at is copyrighted, its either going to be bad quality, putting the real designer out of business (and stopping them creating more patterns you love) or its a trap.
What do I mean by a trap? PDFs are a great way of spreading malware and viruses on your computer. Downloading a pattern that abuses your desire to get a cross stitch pattern is just one way of giving you a virus.
Does It Only Matter When Its A Known Character/Theme?
Whilst the vast majority of copyright infringement happens on well-known characters, etc, this advice is actually a good tool generally. By following it you know you’re going to get a good pattern, and aren’t going to get the stiff end of the deal.
– Is it a well known Character?
As we said above, well-known characters are a big issue, and if you’re seeing things like Disney characters on sites like Etsy or eBay; it’s copyrighted.
There are outlets for well-known characters, but these are sold in legitimate shops or are turned into books. I even wrote one myself for Disney, Star Wars, Star Trek and Hello Kitty. However, all of these books cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase the rights. Etsy stores just don’t have the capital to afford that.
Disney Classic Cross Stitch Book Kit & Star Wars Book Kits by Lord Libidan
– Are there loads and loads of patterns in different styles?
One of the first things designers work out is their signature style. If you see a website with loads of different styles, it’s a dead giveaway that there isn’t one designer involved. The source of these patterns is probably stolen.
– Are the cross stitch patterns super cheap?
Price is an interesting point for cross stitch patterns. Places like HAED can charge a big sum for patterns, however, you can pick up some for less than $10. However, if you ever see a pattern for less than $5; buyer beware. These margins make it almost impossible for sellers to make money, so if they’re charging for less than that, then you know selling quality cross stitch patterns isn’t their goal.
– Is there licensing information?
If someone is using a great looking piece of art to make a pattern, they need to say who did the original art. Now, if a pattern doesn’t say any licensing info, then the likelihood is that it’s being used without the original artist’s consent. From the artist’s point of view, this is annoying, but for the buyer, it means the pattern designer is willing to cut corners and give you a cut-rate cross stitch pattern.
“Octopus” counted cross stitch pattern. Designed by Vik Dollin.
– Is it clearly scanned/photocopied?
You actually find a lot of these type of patterns spread across sites like Pinterest and eBay, and yes, the patterns are probably good, they come from great designers. However the photocopied version is not only an illegal copy, but it’s putting the designer out of business. If you like their pattern; buy it from them. Otherwise, they’ll have to stop making awesome patterns.
– Is it from a questionable website?
The last tip is probably the biggest one. There are loads of websites out there that just deal with a lot of copyrighted patterns. Only use the ones that are well known, and other cross stitchers use.
Places like eBay, Etsy, AliExpress, and Amazon have MASSIVE issues with copyright. That isn’t to say every pattern on there is bad, but you need to be careful. Checking to see that sellers are well known, they have good ratings on the sites, and they aren’t breaking any of the other rules above means they’re probably OK. But you need to be careful when purchasing from these places.
In addition, you can find massive online stores that look to be from China or Russia selling super cheap cross stitch patterns. It’s a good chance that these are built to spread malware. Whilst that is a very general term, I am yet to find a website like this that isn’t just spreading malware. If you’re ever unsure; check with other cross stitchers on Facebook groups, or cross stitch forums.
A month ago we gave reasons why you need a DMC color card and since then we’ve received a lot of emails and comments about how to use one properly. There can be quite a knack to it, but once you get it, it’s super simple!
Understanding color runs
The biggest thing to get your head around on a color card is the color runs (sometimes called color families). In the example below, you can see 20 rows of colors; these are the basic color runs, split from red to grey, and everything in between.
However, in addition to these rows are smaller runs. Below we’ve broken out the smaller color runs within row 1 of the DMC color card; red. In it, we can see each color run goes from light to dark, however each smaller run changes in color slightly too. The first run is more pinky, the second more Christmas red, the third blood red, and the last dark red. Now; here’s the biggest tip I can give you; never choose colors from more than one run. If you pick colors, you need to choose colors from the same run. And that’s it!
How to find a color by its number
Let’s say you want to look up a thread. Due to the way the color card is set up, in color runs, the numbers are all out of order. So you have to look at the table in the back to check the row. In the image below er can see thread 3840 is on row 6.
Other information on a thread card
There’s actually a whole wealth of other information on color cards too, which can be super helpful if you want to know it; however, it’s only on a need to know basis. If you don’t care; you can easily ignore it!
The first of these is the types the threads are sold in. For example, on the image below we can see that the new DMC threads 14, 15 & 16 come in ‘117’ only. This is the basic 6 strand floss you stitch with normally, however, 704 and 703 come in a whole range of other types, like pearl cotton.
Then you have specialty threads. Unlike the standard threads, these aren’t arranged in color runs but are instead just shown in number order. It allows you to see what makes up a variegated thread, or what the metallics look like.
Dots on DMC labels
We’ve written about the purpose of those dots on DMC labels and the dots are also in the shade book, meaning you know which threads are which.
Finally, on the back page are care instructions. These are pretty standard for most threads at the moment, but these are a great tool to refer to if you have a stubborn cross stitch stain you can’t get out and need to know how to give them a good wash.
Title: Spring In Daigoji Temple
Date Completed: August 2019
Design: Lord Libidan
Canvas: Antique White
Pop Culture: Japan
The idea for this project was a simple one, but as always, with simple projects, it turns out much more complicated than you first had in mind. To go back to the start of this project, we need to talk about my Miniature Pirate Sampler Cross Stitches. I was asked to do a ‘heroes and villains’ themed pattern for the XStitch magazine, and to match the nature of the theme, and the magazine itself, I wanted to do two things. But with a standard sampler, it was going to be too big. So I changed the count to 32.
It was the first time I’d ever stitched on anything smaller than 18 count, and whilst it was a great task, I wasn’t convinced to change my standard 16/18 count preference. The mag went out, the patterns were liked, however almost exactly when I got them back I was able to submit something for the National Needlecraft Awards 2019. I submitted them, and I won.
This was a super pleasant surprise and I thought to myself, it was easy enough, how about I make something for next year? So I decided to bring out the 32 count again. But this time, I wanted something a little harder. I’m in a big Japanese print kick at the moment, with my Moon Light in Yasaka Pagoda Cross Stitch and my New Moon on Tokyo Tower Cross Stitch, so I thought it would be good to do something similar. But with this, comes full coverage and changing colors a lot. I knew it wasn’t going to be too easy, so I stitched up a Miniature Pokemon Card Cross Stitch to try it out.
I then wanted to do something a little more special, so decided to do the whole piece using cut-offs (meaning I had to delay this project while I got enough of them stored up). But, finally, I was ready to make the pattern. This also caused issues.
Unlike smaller counts, the 32 count requires a fairly simplified pattern to work. This means any Japanese print I could find had details removed from it. So, after a lot of back and forth and false starts, I finally picked Spring at Daigoji Temple by Asano Takeji (the same artist as the previous Moon Light In Yasaka Pagoda cross stitch).
With over 500 basic threads, and 50 varigated, variations, coloris and etoile threads its hard to keep track of which threads you have, and which you don’t (and don’t get us started on the discontinued threads). Even those who have a full set of DMC threads, still have spares we need to track (no one wants hordes of one color). So how exactly can you go about tracking which threads you have, and how many?
In short, there are two distinct ways; a spreadsheet, and a tracker. We’re going over both here, and we’ll give you multiple options.
Spreadsheets are great for tracking things, so its no wonder you can find frankly hundreds online for DMC threads. You need to be careful that you’re picking up a recent one, especially with the 35 new DMC threads that came out in 2017; most don’t have these on! The spreadsheet used to be PC only, and for many, that’s still how they’re mostly used, you can set one up with a Gmail account, and you can access the spreadsheet on the go with google docs. It might not be as user-friendly when you’re out and about, but it’s a great visual representation of what you do, and do not have.
We’d suggest our new one, which includes nice colors to go with everything too.
When it comes to trackers, you’ll be using a phone, or ipad/tablet. Once you’ve located a device of choice, you can pick your app. Now, some do more than just track threads, which is what makes these great, but the big plus is that they’re avaliable on the go. You can simply pull out your phone when you’re at the store and you can make sure you’re not getting duplicates.
Thread Tracker 117 ($1) – 7/10
Based on 14 reviews
For a dollar, it’s hard to say anything bad about this app, however in reality, it’s just a spreadsheet to track which DMC threads you have. The advantage, and the thing that makes this app so successful is you can import list of colors needed for your next project, and the app works out which ones you need. Next time you’re in a store, pull the app out and the list is there straight away. Of all the apps on the list, this is the one I personally use the most.
X-Stitch ($3) – 9/10
Based on 27 reviews
Similar to Thread Tracker 117 this app not only tracks threads, but aida, needles, charts and other tools. It’s “need to buy” feature not only works well, but it reads your charts and patterns to give you lists of threads needed for each project too!
Cross Stitch Thread Organizer ($1) – 8/10
Based on 30 reviews
Doing exactly what it says on the tin, Cross Stitch Thread Organizer orders your threads with to-buy lists, current stock, and warns you if you’re running low on a thread and a future project needs it. There are a lot of other apps doing exactly this, however what makes this app fantastic is the constant upgrades, and a really devoted developer who can be found on reddit daily.
Stitchingly (FREE) – 8/10
Based on 12 reviews
Basically a fancy version of a spreadsheet, Stitchingly combines a few cross stitch tools into one dashboard, including a thread tracker. In addition to the simple act of tracking threads, it also allows you to upload patterns and track which threads you need to buy for that pattern, based on what you already have. Very clever.
Title: Miniature Pokemon Card
Date Completed: August 2019
Canvas: Antique White
Pop Culture: Pokemon
I rarely stitch up other people’s cross stitch patterns, however, it does happen. But in those instances, like the Portal Gun cross stitch, I like to edit the patterns slightly. It might be adding something new, or in this case, just doing it on a different count.
I originally found this pattern on Instagram over a two years ago, and I put it in my pile for cross stitch patterns I wanted to stitch, but probably wouldn’t do. I honestly expected that to be the case forever and never thought about it again. However, I happened on someone else selling small pendants of the same pattern. It was cute. But once again, I just didn’t feel right. With the way the pokemon card has been reduced down in size, the overall thing seemed a bit too large. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Roll on 2018 when I stitched up two miniature pirate cross stitch samplers for the XStitch Magazine. I got these back from the publisher and chose to submit them to the National Needlecraft Awards. I didn’t expect to win, but I did. In fact, I won the Best Miniature Needlecraft award. It came as a bit of a shock, but the whole process really made me appreciate getting crosss stitch recognition. I decided to make another one for this year, and whilst you’ll see that one shortly, I decided to go full coverage.
This was something I decided to do after I put together a round-up of the best miniature cross stitches, but I hadn’t done it before. This is where the pokemon card came back. I thought that to both test the full coverage, and to make the pokemon card even more miniature, I could stitch it in 32 count as a tester.
Sadly, by this time, the Instagram post and Esty sale had both ended so I no longer had access to the original artist or pattern. However, I recreated it and stitched it up in 32 count. It’s now smaller than my thumbnail!
Title: Miniature Retro Game Screens
Date Completed: August 2019
Design: Lord Libidan
Video Game: Pacman, Dig Dug, Donkey Kong
One of my most loved cross stitches is actually one of the first, my retro video game trio cross stitch. It’s simple, and it works. However, there’s only so much you can do with 8bit video games, there just isn’t the wealth of material to pull from to make complicated patterns. As a result, I’ve kept it as a great thing, but something that I probably wouldn’t go back to. That was until I found a cool phone stand.
Yeh, a phone stand. It was actually a phone stand made to play arcade games on, in the shape of an arcade cabinet. I had made a miniature Joust arcade cabinet cross stitch before, but it had always bugged me that it was only Joust, a game that isn’t really that well known. So I wanted to come up with an idea to replace the screens, but also allow me to swap out a phone.
This was a great idea in principle, but I was never going to give my phone away when someone wanted to show it off at an event, so I threw the idea away. By that time, however, I had made the screens that would fit into the cabinet. I once again thought about making the whole cabinet, but it would be larger than the last one, and it would be a bit derivative. But that didn’t mean the screens had to be. In fact, they fit rather well within a photo frame.
I wanted them to look a bit more like an 8bit game and so reduced the colors to 12 (even though you can have up to 256 colors on 8bit) and placed them side by side. A simple cross stitch, that still brings back the feelings of the retro gaming era.
Included are Pacman, Dig Dug (my favorite retro game) and Donkey Kong, which is the first time it’s been stitched up by me.
With the DMC company being in operation for well over 270 years, its no wonder that they’ve had to discontinue a few threads. And whilst we’ve looked into the reasons DMC threads have been discontinued I couldn’t find a full list anywhere. So, please find the attached list, with replacements (if there is one):
57 (variegated) no replacement
61 (variegated) no replacement
75 (variegated) no replacement
91 (variegated) no replacement
95 (variegated) no replacement
101 (variegated) no replacement
102 (variegated) no replacement
103 (variegated) no replacement
104 (variegated) no replacement
108 (variegated) no replacement
112 (variegated) no replacement
113 (variegated) no replacement
114 (variegated) no replacement
116 (variegated) no replacement
122 (variegated) no replacement
123 (variegated) no replacement
124 (variegated) no replacement
126 (variegated) no replacement
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
5269 replaced with E699
5270 replaced with E815
5272 replaced with E5200
5279 replaced with E301
5282 replaced with E3821
5283 replaced with E168
5284 replaced with E3852
5287 replaced with E317
5288 replaced with E316
5289 replaced with E3837
5290 replaced with E3843
3773* replaced with 407
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
4000^ (variegated) no replacement
4017^ (variegated) no replacement
4022^ (variegated) no replacement
4042^ (variegated) no replacement
4047^ (variegated) no replacement
4066^ (variegated) no replacement
4068^ (variegated) no replacement
4069^ (variegated) no replacement
4072^ (variegated) no replacement
4073^ (variegated) no replacement
4095^ (variegated) no replacement
4122^ (variegated) no replacement
4129^ (variegated) no replacement
4135^ (variegated) no replacement
4205 (variegated) no replacement
4211^ (variegated) no replacement
4212^ (variegated) no replacement
4214^ (variegated) no replacement
4237^ (variegated) no replacement
4245 (variegated) no replacement
4250^ (variegated) no replacement
4255^ (variegated) no replacement
4260^ (variegated) no replacement
4265^ (variegated) no replacement
* These threads aren’t officially discontinued, however, they are only available in the US and Australia, and mostly sold in packs. You can still pick these up individually from the DMC US website though.
^ Can still be found as part of large variations packs in Northern America.
Need a DMC thread card with the new colors? We have you covered.
Title: Portal Cake Is A Lie Reveal
Date Completed: August 2019
Design: Lord Libidan
Video Game: Portal
In the past, I’ve taken a long time to get to grips with some projects. A great example of this is my 3D Pokemon Cave cross stitch which took me 8 tries to get right before I could stitch the final version. This project is similar to that, in fact, its the longest ‘in progress’ project I’ve ever had. But it had a slightly different story.
Let’s go back to the start of this whole thing, LONG before I ever stitched anything. In 2012 I wrote a post on SpriteStitch about an epic portal gift box. It was so epic, that I had to jot the idea down in my journal to come back to at a later date. This is where the project actually starts, 7 years ago. Now, I know what you’re thinking; it just took me a long time to get around to stitching it? Well, no.
In fact, I started planning it almost straight away. I set out the general design, and the changes I wanted to make to the original. That, however, is where it stalled. I couldn’t work out how to get the cake to work at all, which is basically the main part. Roll on a few years and I happen to see the same candle used in the papercraft version. I give it a shot, and frankly, it worked better than I ever thought possible.
I put it in a box, ready to work out the rest, and then it stalled again. This time, I couldn’t work out the design I wanted the rest. It sat in a box. I happened to be looking for something totally unconnected, a glow-in-the-dark thread that wasn’t green and came across it. Well, thankfully, years had passed and my idea had developed a bit. By simplifying what I wanted to do, I could create the whole design pretty quick. It actually took a little longer than I planned thanks to a few on the fly redesigns, but we’re finally here!
Using threads from the DMC variegated range can really make a project, but what happens if you’re a little short, or you want to make use of one color in particular? Well, we have you covered.
Below you’ll find each of the DMC variegated threads, with their corresponding solid colors broken out.
Looking for the DMC variations range broken out or the DMC coloris range broken out?