Next Year In Cross Stitch – 2019

Technology and cross stitch by Wei Chieh Shih (source: shihweichieh.com)

Over the last 10 years of cross stitch blogging I’ve seen a lot happen to the craft, and for the last few years I’ve created posts based on what I think is going to happen in 2017 and (with a little help from my cross stitchy friends) 2018. I’m normally pretty correct, so without further ado, let’s look at what might happen in 2019.
 

Cross Stitch Magazines

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)

This one was actually on last year’s plan, however, with the loss of Cross Stitch Collection in 2017, the cross stitch magazine market has had a bit of a hard time. Originally I had foreseen magazines becoming more persona focused, and with magazines such as The XStitch Mag coming out for a more modern market, I think we’ve seen that. But it also means something else.
Advertising. You see, the magazines are really feeling the pinch right now with advertisers losing trust in magazines. As a result even in the biggest of mags we see more local and Etsy style shops advertising instead of the big companies. I think we might see another big cross stitch magazine go bust this year.
 

The Rise Of The Small Store Owner

One of the main impacts of big stores no longer advertising is that they start getting undercut by smaller stores that can stock the same things, but offer better service. I hear more and more that smaller stores are being selected over larger retailers, and I think 2019 will see a big change in the way people buy cross stitch supplies.
 

Software

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

This is another one I focused on last year, and I’m glad to say my prediction was spot on. We saw quite a few cross stitch generator programs go bust and in their place lots of ‘point and click’ online creators. This has two big effects; the first is that those point and clicks are going paid, and the costs are really high for what they offer ($10 a pattern anyone?) and so I foresee a big increase in people investing in downloaded software. In fact, we’ve even seen an increase in clicks on our review of the best cross stitch software.
This will also start the big players (WinStitch and PCStitch) looking to develop simpler, user friendly options at a cut down price.
 

Books

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)

This is the first thing that happened in 2018 that I simply didn’t see coming. Books came out. Loads. And unlike previous years, this year has been chocked full of fantastic books, such as Criss Crossing Paris (you can check out some of the others on our review of the best cross stitch books).
However, a year of big cross stitch book releases normally means the next year will have none. In fact, I’m expecting kits to be light on the shelves this year too, as more and more people turn to pattern only online purchases.
 

ThreadHeaven

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

The next big shock of this year was the loss of ThreadHeaven. A staple in the cross stitch world for decades, it was a big shame to see its loss. Whilst there are some great ThreadHeaven alternatives out there, we forsee a new player coming to the market to try and take ThreadHeaven’s crown.
 

Technology

Technology and cross stitch by Wei Chieh Shih (source: shihweichieh.com)
Technology and cross stitch by Wei Chieh Shih (source: shihweichieh.com)

My final forsight for 2019 is tech in cross stitch. This is more a general one. We’ve seen a lot of technology amd lights in cross stitch this year, but I forsee more and more kits coming out with integrated electronics.
I’m also foreseeing more and more robotic cross stitch as the sewing machine market develops further. Expect to see cross stitching on mass-produced cheap goods this year.
 
 
And that’s what we’re expecting to see in 2019. Is there something you’re looking for?

 

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The Best 3D Cross Stitch

Earth and Moon sphere cross stitches by robinsdesign (source: Etsy)

I simply love any 3D cross stitch, that really shouldn’t be a surprise to any of you that know my own stitches. After all, a lot of people reading this know about me thanks to my 3D transforming cross stitch, but I know that not a lot of people known 3D cross stitch in the same way as I do. So I thought I’d do a round-up of the best 3D cross stitch out there (other than my own that is).

The best for play

I like to make 3D cross stitch for two main reasons; its complexity and its tactile nature. As a result, whenever I look at others 3D cross stitch, I think of actually using it. BlackMageHeart has taken this to another step all together though, with her miniature Harvest Moon playset, created for a friend’s kid. It not only includes the barn (a staple for many 3D cross stitches) but the farmer, animals, and various crops at different stages of completion. To top the whole thing off its set within a frame with a cross stitched field. A fantastic playset regardless of being in stitches.

3D Harvest Moon Cross Stitch Playset by BlackMageHeart (Source: Etsy)
3D Harvest Moon Cross Stitch Playset by BlackMageHeart (Source: Etsy)

The most complicated

That second reason I like 3D cross stitch so much? It’s complexity. I’m far from the first to make a complex 3D stitch, and in fact, the most well known of 3D cross stitchers, The Nutmeg Company, beat me to the post by a whole year with their stunningly detailed 18 count Windsor Castle cross stitch for the Queen’s jubilee in 2002. Sadly despite its fantastic design, we don’t have any better pictures, but it comes complete with the entire grounds, to scale, with fun details like corgis running around the outside!

3D Windsor Castle Cross Stitch by The Nutmeg Company
3D Windsor Castle Cross Stitch by The Nutmeg Company (Source: 3dcrossstitch.co.uk)

The unique

So what about something a little more exotic? I’ve been cross stitching for more than a decade now, and in that time I’ve always tried to push boundaries, but when I think of impossible cross stitch, I always think of globes. Not only does a circle barely work in cross stitch, but making a globe is surely impossible, and how on Earth you’d cross stitch the sides to make up anything is beyond me. However, RobinsDesign has been doing the impossible all along. In fact, I recently had a go myself using her techniques to make my 3D Harry Potter Snitch cross stitch so I can give testament to how hard it is, but RobinsDesigns carry off the impossible with such ease, making fantastic looking planets. They also do a series of amazing dolls and animals too!

Earth and Moon sphere cross stitches by robinsdesign (source: Etsy)
Earth and Moon sphere cross stitches by robinsdesign (source: Etsy)

The obvious

I personally believe that plastic canvas can make anything, however, somethings fit better than others. The most obvious though is Minecraft. With simple lines and easy movements Minecraft is a perfect 3D cross stitch companion. There are a boatload of 3D Minecraft cross stitches out there as a result, but this recent stitch by an anonymous user from Reddit is amazing. Not only does it capture the design aesthetic perfectly, but the little steve has magnets hidden in him, meaning he can pick up tools just the game!

3D Minecraft Cross Stitch by an anonymous user (Source: Reddit)
3D Minecraft Cross Stitch by an anonymous user (Source: Reddit)

If you’re interested in stitching with plastic canvas to make 3D cross stitch, you might want to check out our post on the different types of plastic canvas and when to use them.

 

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Micro Cassette Keychain Cross Stitches by Lord Libidan

Micro Cassette Keychain Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Title: Micro Cassette Keychain Date Completed: June 2018 Design: Lord Libidan Count: 14 Canvas: Plastic Colours: 5 Pop Culture: 80s Tape Cassettes
Title: Micro Cassette Keychains
Date Completed: June & August 2018
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: Plastic
Colors: 16
Pop Culture: 80s Tape Cassettes
 
I’ve written about how I create designs for the Xstitch Mag before, however, in the most recent issue, the theme was ‘Mixtape’. This, in essence, meant I could stitch anything I wanted. I actually created a series of Gameboys based on a Gameboy Color Micro Console Cross Stitch, however, I knew the editorial team liked literal things, so I thought I would also submit a literal mixtape.
 
This was the mock-up of the designs to test viability, and I randomly picked one of 9 different styles. At this stage, it was taken up for the cover for the Xstitch Mag! I designed a further 3 styles so there were 12 in total and stitched them up.

Xstitch Issue 6 Mixtape featuring Lord Libidan (Source: xstitchmag.com)
Xstitch Issue 6 Mixtape featuring Lord Libidan (Source: xstitchmag.com)

 

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The Best Metallic, Glow-In-The-Dark and French Knot Cross Stitches

Wonder Woman Cross Stitch Closeup by The Crafting Geek (source: thecraftinggeek.com)

Normally I write about how to improve your cross stitch, and how making a simple change can have a massive impact and make your work truly unique. However, that advice is only good if you can see the effect it has. As a result, I wanted to go over my personal favorite glow-in-the-dark, metallic and french knot cross stitches to show you that sometimes just choosing a different thread can have a MASSIVE impact on your work.
 
I’ve had a few people ask me about how to use these threads, but fear not you can find out how to make using specialty threads easy in a previous blog I wrote.

The Best Metallic Cross Stitch

I’m a big fan of The Crafting Geek, however this collaboration with Spykles is one of her best. Not content with a great little pixel art Wonder Woman, The Crafting Geek incorporated metallic flourishes throughout the piece, on Wonder Woman’s sword, shield, and headband. Small changes that just make it pop.

Wonder Woman Cross Stitch Closeup by The Crafting Geek (source: thecraftinggeek.com)
Wonder Woman Cross Stitch Closeup by The Crafting Geek (source: thecraftinggeek.com)

The Best Glow-In-The-Dark Cross Stitch

Glow in the dark thread is an odd thread. Not only is it a serious pain to use, but its always white. So you need to make sure whatever you’re doing, the color is white in the day. Most people, myself included, take this as a white element, with a hidden message. But StitchFight takes this to a whole new level. A seriously cool Iron Man cross stitch by day suddenly turns extra cool in the night.

Spiderman Glow In The Dark Cross Stitch by stitchFIGHT (source: mrxstitch.com)
Spiderman Glow In The Dark Cross Stitch by stitchFIGHT (source: mrxstitch.com)

The Best French Knot Cross Stitch

I want to be clear here; my french knots are terrible. However, I think my poor attempts make anyone that uses french knots infinitely more impressive. This example by Peakcock & Fig is a fantastic example of how french knots can add something special to a normal cross stitch. The plain black tree trunk is actually quite plain, but a series of pink and white french knots on the top needs no explanation. All of a sudden a plain cross stitch has been completely changed, and now invokes Japanese cherry tree blossoms.

Cherry Blossom Cross Stitch by Peacock & Fig (source: peacockandfig.com)
Cherry Blossom Cross Stitch by Peacock & Fig (source: peacockandfig.com)

 

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Mad Max Car Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Mad Max Car Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Mad Max Car Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
Mad Max Car Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Title: Mad Max Car
Date Completed: November 2018
Design: Lord Libidan & Petrick Animation
Count: 14
Canvas: Orange
Colors: 5
Video Game: Mad Max
 
Back in 2015 I fell in love with the Max Max game, and the movie Mad Max fury road. Not only were they both excellent in their own right, but the style betwen both games made it feel like they were from the same universe. That’s why when I found some super awesome animated Mad Max pixel art on behance by Petrick Animation I knew I had to stitch it. However, the pixel art caused some issues. Firstly, I had to remove the animation, and due to its size had to reduce the pixel count, and colors.
 
I created the pattern pixel by pixel over a month, and even purchased some awesome bright orange aida from Permin, but it sat there for more than 3 years while I stitched other things. However when recently going though my aida to find something for my Half Life 2 Gravity Gun cross stitch I found the old orange aida and knew it was time to stitch it up finally.
Mad Max Interceptor pixel art gif by Petrick Animation (source: behance.net)
Mad Max Interceptor pixel art gif by Petrick Animation (source: behance.net)

Mad Max Inteceptor On Set Image (Source: Imgur)
Mad Max Inteceptor On Set Image (Source: Imgur)

 

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The Different Plastic Canvas Types for Cross Stitch

The different types of plastic canvas cross stitch fabric (source: thesprucecrafts.com)

Right now you probably have a quizzical look on your face, after all, you know what plastic canvas looks like, how can there be different types? Well, actually there are three different types, used for three different purposes, and most of the time, people use the wrong one. I stitch a lot of things in plastic canvas, and I’ve sold patterns and kits all over the world, however, I regularly get asked about the type of plastic canvas. In reality, there is only one cross stitch plastic canvas.
This isn’t due to stupidity or anything, but more a case of cheap fakes. In fact, ever since 1973 when plastic canvas first came to market, people have been ripping it off. You see, plastic canvas is super easy to fake and as a result, most stores hold ’14 count cross stitch plastic canvas’ which are actually, not cross stitch plastic canvas. Confused? Let me explain…

The different types of plastic canvas cross stitch fabric (source: thesprucecrafts.com)
The different types of plastic canvas cross stitch fabric (source: thesprucecrafts.com)

Needlepoint Plastic Canvas

Needlepoint Plastic Canvas - stiff (source: marymaxim.com)
Needlepoint Plastic Canvas – stiff (source: marymaxim.com)

The most common type of plastic canvas people see has small squares in it, similar to the above image, and mostly comes in 5, 7 and 10 count. I say mostly, as the most common producer, Darice, ONLY produces those sizes. The reason is that needlepoint yarn can’t go any lower than 10 or 12 count. But when fake canvas makers come in, they copy this style and make it 14 count.
 
In itself, this isn’t massively problematic, however, due to the shape of the cut-outs, your cross stitch will have holes in it where the stitches don’t fully meet. Instead, you should be looking for an actual cross stitch plastic canvas, which is slightly different.
 

Cross Stitch Plastic Canvas

Cross Stitch Plastic Canvas - ultra-stiff (source: marymaxim.com)
Cross Stitch Plastic Canvas – ultra-stiff (source: marymaxim.com)

Cross stitch plastic canvas has one main difference; circular holes. It emulates aida and looks a lot like perforated card, and comes in loads of stiffnesses. This is the stuff that you should be cross stitching with as it makes sure your cross stitches lie in the correct way, filling the whole space without letting massive areas be uncovered. It also has shaped holes meaning your thread won’t catch, the count is actually 14 count, and unlike any fakes, it comes in a variety of colors.
 

Perforated Plastic Canvas

Perforated Plastic Canvas (source: grainger.com)
Perforated Plastic Canvas (source: grainger.com)

If you want to get really fancy with your plastic canvas, you can also look into perforated plastic canvas. It works in exactly the same way as perforated card, however, the varied types of plastic mean not only can you get a massive variance of stiffness, but you can also get custom shapes made. We’re not just talking about circles here either, you can get a series of weird and wonderful shapes like purses and wallets.
 

Plastic Aida Canvas

14 count plastic aida (source: aliexpress.com)
14 count plastic aida (source: aliexpress.com)

There is also another type of plastic canvas. I mention this as its essentially aida, and sometimes sold as that, but NEVER use it as plastic canvas. Not only does it look like fabric, but it acts like it too. if you want a waterproof aida, you can use it, but it won’t hold shape and won’t work in any 3D projects.

 

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Half Life Gravity Gun Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Half Life Gravity Gun Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Half Life Gravity Gun Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
Half Life Gravity Gun Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Title: Half Life Gravity Gun
Date Completed: November 2018
Design: Lord Libidan & Petrick Animation
Count: 18
Canvas: Stone
Colors: 10
Video Game: Half Life 2
 
After finishing my most recent Portal Gun cross stitch I knew I had to do another. I decided that the two most well-known guns out there had to be the Portal gun and the Half Life 2 gravity gun.
 
The Portal gun patter wasn’t solely my own, so for the gravity gun I needed to copy the style and sizing of the Portal gun, so working from prop images I recreated the gravity gun. I also decided to change the background slightly. With the Portal gun, the background was grey, however as I wanted to stitch it on 18 count I had to use a slightly bluey grey. This didn’t impact the design much as the background for most of the Portal games is grey, and the blue from the light tube worked with the background. However for the gravity gun, I thought I would do the same, but on purpose, so I decided to use a slightly orangy ‘stone’ aida instead.
Half Life 2 Gravity Gun Screenshot (source: mobygames.com)
Half Life 2 Gravity Gun Screenshot (source: mobygames.com)

 

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Miniature Traditional Pirate Samplers by Lord Libidan

Pirate cross stitch samplers by Lord Libidan

mini pirate cross stitch samplers by Lord Libidan
Title: Miniature Traditional Pirate Samplers
Date Completed: May 2018
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 32
Canvas: Ecru
Colors: 8
Pop Culture: Pirates
 
Now that the new issue of Xstitch Mag is out I can finally show off a few of my recent pieces. The theme this quarter was ‘Heroes & Villans’, and I just just finished watching Black Flag, a pirate drama, and knew I had to do something with the idea.
 
As it turns out, Pirates were actually pretty nice people for the main part, and whilst they did steal, they were free men and freed slaves whenever they could. I wanted to look at the way that the East India Trading Company and pirates are often seen in contrary roles to how they actually were. To stitch them I decided on a period styled set of samplers, on ecru with limited pallettes. When looking through some reference material I saw the cutest little dolls house frames and the idea came to stitch them into doll house size. As a result I stitched on 32 count, which is by far the smallest count I’ve worked on so far.
 
You can pick up the pattern for both of these samplers in the newst issue of the Xstitch Mag, and if you’re interested I also have a companion piece for the mag on how close we are to a robot cross stitch artist.

EIC Pirate Sampler cross stitch by Lord Libidan

 

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Harry Potter Golden Snitch Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Harry Potter Golden Snitch Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Harry Potter Golden Snitch Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
Harry Potter Golden Snitch Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Title: Harry Potter Golden Snitch
Date Completed: November 2018
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: Ecru & Plastic
Colors: 3
Pop Culture: Harry Potter
 
I’ve done a lot of 3D cross stitches in the past, and honestly, I’m probably still best known for my series of Transforming robot cross stitches, even though I first designed the first one almost 8 years ago. However when stitching up my free sashiko inspired biscornu I realized that all my 3D stitches had one thing in common; they were all on plastic canvas.
 
This really isn’t that surprising considering that’s what it’s used for, but I had some across the work of robinsdesign and her 3D work. I knew her mostly for dolls, but she also created a series of planets, which end up like completed globes. The way these were constructed were frankly amazing, but I figured it would be too hard to make the sphere smaller; until she came out with a 2.5-inch moon:
Earth and Moon sphere cross stitches by robinsdesign (source: Etsy)
Earth and Moon sphere cross stitches by robinsdesign (source: Etsy)

In case you were wondering, this size interested me, as the Harry Potter golden snitch was 2 inches. I decided I’d have a go at replicating the style robinsdesign used to create a tiny golden snitch. I actually thought this was going to fail, and so decided I would only stitch the main part to test the idea. In fact, I even started stitching my Portal gun cross stitch whilst I was washing and ironing it, I had that much faith, but it came out better than I thought! It isn’t perfect, however, I decided to add on some wings and it was complete!

 

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What are those dots on DMC thread labels?

Discontinued US only DMC threads (source: 123stitch.com)

In our deep dive into threads, we’ve covered two points, how DMC threads are made and why some DMC threads were discontinued. The reason we’ve covered those two points first, is the answer to this week’s query; what are those dots and marks after thread numbers?
 
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:

DMC threads with dots after numbers

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:

DMC 3861 dye lot differences (source: Cindi Csraze)
DMC thread 3861 color differences (source: Cindi Csraze)

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.