Glow-in-the-dark threads are a fantastic way to make any cross stitch that little bit more special. However there is one constant when using glow-in-the-dark, and that’s green. Or more specifically the green glow. But why green?
Why are glow-in-the-dark threads green?
Let’s start by looking at the facts; glow in the dark thread is green. You can see a few awesome glow-in-the-dark stitches elsewhere on my website, its green. But does it have to be? No. In fact, there are loads of threads out there that are glow-in-the-dark and not green, take these Kreinik ones for example:
There are two reasons for the green glow. Science, and physcology.
Science – The reason the glow comes, or the phosphorescent if you want to get fancy, is mostly down to zinc sulfide. Unlike other glowing chemicals, zinc is non-harmful to humans, and fairly stable. Zinc sulfide, is green. Now, you can add it to other chemicals to make it different colors, hence Kreinik’s threads, however the combining reduces the phosphorescent effect heavily.
Physcology – People expect it to be green. Originally green was used as a haunted and eery color thanks to halloween, being represented in alien blood, slime or zombies, and so when glow-in-the-dark colors came into fashion, green seemed the obvious choice. Since then, you naturally associate the color in your head when thinking of glow-in-the-dark, so when its different; you don’t like it as much. Turns out people, just like it that way.
Let’s face it, you’ve used metallics at some point, but you’ve not touched it in a LONG time, right? Simply put, speciality threads are hard to use.
But they don’t have to be. With a few simple changes to the way you work, metallics suddenly become super easy and a fantastic way to make your projects more interesting. We spoke to a few major players using metallic threads, including kreinik threads to see what they suggest.
Pick the right thread
If you’ve picked up a metallic thread from the shelf, you’ve either picked up a thick thread (like DMCs metallics) or a super thin blending thread. Neither are useful. In face DMCs metallics are so thick they can only be used on 10/12 count and not 14. Instead look to get a thin braid specifically designed for set count aida.
Remove the curls
Metallics knot. A lot. So so much… But there is a good reason! As they’re held on the spool the metal parts stiffen into the shape, meaning when you pull it off, there are curls. We tend to want to straighten the thread with twists of the needle, which leads to more knots. BUT if you dampen a small sponge (make up sponges work well) and pull the thread you’ll find it straights right out. No more knots!
Don’t seperate the threads
This is SUPER important with other speciality threads such as glow in the dark threads, where the threads are actually made up differently, meaning you might strip the threads apart. If you’ve picked the right thread, as per above, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Don’t stitch 2 over 2
OK, so I know I keep going on about picking the right thread, but if you’ve picked the right thread; stick with it. That means you shouldn’t split the thread apart, and you shouldn’t combine the threads together to make a ‘double thread’. Metallics are made to be used as one thread only.
Make the thread ‘slide’
There are parts of the cross stitch world that simply haven’t come to terms with the closure of thread heaven. Simply put, the stuff make working with metallics a breeze in itself, however they are no more. But that doesn’t mean other alternatives don’t work. I personally wouldn’t use the likes of beewax for cotton threads as it clumps up, but metallics slide so easy its crazy. Even better news? Bees wax is super easy to get hold of.
Slow down (and calm down)
Finally, with one simple thing you can improve any metallic stitching session; remember metallics aren’t like cotton threads. They’re different in pretty much every way, and whilst they kinda look the same, so long as you take your time, any problems are easily fixed.
You spend hundreds of hours cross stitching a project, and perhaps a few more making the pattern. You make sure the stitches look pretty, you’ve not made mistakes (or fixed them at least) and you’ve already thought about how to frame it. But there is one last thing. One thing you’re not too sure about.
To sign, or not to sign?
Its a thought that goes through every cross stitchers head, and without a doubt you’ve seen some online like it, but you’re just not convinced. So I’ve decided to wrap up some of the ways you can sign your work that doesn’t look distasteful.
Stitch it on the front
Let’s start off by addressing the elephant in the room; when we mentioned signing cross stitch you automatically assumed we meant stitching on the front of it. Now there is a good reason for this; you can see them online all the time. The simple reason for that is people copying. I have had, just like many other cross stitchers, people take my images and pretend they’ve stitched them themselves, so putting a signature is a nice nod to make sure that happens. However, if you use a watermark on online images, you don’t have a problem. As a result, feel free to add a signature to the front of your stitching, only if you WANT to.
There are loads of different ways of signing your work, from unique pixel blocks, like above, or an initial or two. However, they normally stick out something aweful. But they don’t need to. Take the below example, which has a small “SK 14” hidden in plain site, thanks to a clever use of almost aida matching thread.
Write it on the front
There is another way of thinking about this though. You’re an artist. Sign your work with pride! And frankly, you want it to be visable. Heck, make it huge!
But be clever and use a fabric pen/sharpie.
Write it on the frame
But lets say you don’t way to shout from the rooftops, and your happy with using a watermark online. Then I suggest putting it on the frame. I choose to attach buisness card size stitchers to the backs of my frames detailing when I made it, the count, etc. As I’m the one that’ll end up enjoying it (or a select few family/friends) then there isn’t a great need to shout about it.
You can even do this in hundreds of ways. I found a great example on reddit:
If I am displaying the piece in a wooden hoop I sign and date the wooden hoop with a permanent metallic marker on the top next to the metal thingy.
Before I started researching this article, I thought the above options were it. Simply no choice other than that. But my friend advised me to take the cross stitch he gave me out of the frame. And what do you know, there was his signature. Turns out this is done a lot, as not only does it have a record of who made it and when, but you can hide it behind a frame if you want. It is about time to put that excess aida to good use.
So there you have it, everyway I’ve found online and off on how to sign your work. Heard of any other ways? Drop me a line below, I’d love to know!
Railroading is a term used in cross stitch a lot. For some it means the hell of trying to do the technique, for others it means the height of perfect stitches. However whenever I’ve asked about the name, everyone gave me the same answer. Until I finally researched it myself and found out they were only half correct.
What is railroading?
Before we go any further though, lets establish what railroading actually is. Simply put, its the act of laying the threads flat against your work in a fashion that allows each thread to be viewed seperately. OK, that’s not that simple, but that’s the correct definition of railroading.
As the threads are placed down, you specifically have to split the two threads apart so they lay flat against the aida like the example above. The example is done with two strands, but you can do it with one to a million if you wanted, its about making them lay correctly.
When and how should you use it?
Railroading can be done in a few different ways, however you can also use it slightly differently too. The point of railroading is a good coverage and a neat finish, however you hardly even see the bottom stitch. That’s why unless you’re making something for a competition I would suggest using normal stitch on the bottom, with railroading on the top stitch.
A quick guide on how to do it
To railroad you can either use a specific tool (laying tool), or simply change the way you stitch. I prefer altering the way I stitch slightly. When pulling the stitch taught, once you’ve ‘stabbed’ it in, push the needle into the exposed thread and run it up the length of the stitch. This should seperate your threads. When using the same hole for the next stitch make sure you keep the threads seperated. Its that simple 😀
Why is it called RAILROADING anyway?
And finally, we get to the meat of the problem, whats up with the name?
Well, there are a lot of rumors where the name came from, and how similar it looks to standard railroads, however its a very specific part of the railroad that gives it the confusing name.
In American in particular railroad crossings have a unique design to them making it look like each rail is actually two rails next to each other (you can see this in the image below). The stitch was created to resemble this style and for a long time was used as a speciality stitch to draw your eye, before it finally became a way of stitching.
Title: Pokemon Mini Map
Date Completed: May 2018
Design: Lord Libidan
Its really no secret that I love Pokemon, and I love maps. I even devoted a whole post to the best cross stitch maps. And honestly, about half of them were Pokemon. However, I wrote that blog after my own Pokemon map cross stitch, and whilst that map was created by me using 15 different reference images, these in game maps of regions stitched up by strangenessisconserved weren’t some of them.
Weirdly, the maps in game don’t match up to what we know about the Pokemon world, especially the Kanto and Johto regions (top left and right on the image above). So I decided to combine the images to create an in-style in game Pokemon map of Kanto and Johto.
You can see below how my two Pokemon maps compare:
It might seem surprising to modern cross stitchers, but the very first cross stitch pattern books were sold as far back at the 14th century. The oldest surviving one is from 1545AD.
3 – Cross stitch is actually an emulation of Berlin wool work
What!?! I hear you cry. When cross stitches were first brought to the world, the was no set structure. However Berlin wool work, similar to needlepoint today, structured the design by using something similar to aida. The English thought this looked more attractive and stopped using linen, and started using aida to make their own Berlin wool work type designs.
4 – Cross stitch have been found on fabric dating all the way back to the 6th Century
Whilst we look at older embroidery in our history of cross stitch, the first cross stitches ever found were from the 6th Century!
5 – Cross stitch is the oldest form of embroidery and can be found all over the world
On that note, cross stitch is world wide. So much so that even without the internet, cross stitch was the oldest embroidery technique that was found around the globe.
6 – The largest cross stitch in the world is oer 9 million stitches
7 – While most folk embroidery is no longer popular, cross stitch is heavily used in Palestinian dressmaking
Traditionally, before cross stitch became samplers, it was used in traditional folk dress. However, modern Palestinian dressmaking still uses cross stitch heavily!
8 – Cross Stitch crossed social class boundaries
Don’t think that cross stitch jumped from folk to fancy samplers though. Cross stitch has been created from the poorest to richest parts of society. In world war 2 prisoners of war stitched, the 18th century it was fancy samplers, in the 80s it was mine workers. Cross stitch is for everyone.
9 – Most modern patterns cross stitch an object, but Assisi embroidery the stitches are reversed
In traditional Assisi embroidery, cross stitches are used, but instead of stitching an object or sampler, the background is stitch instead.
I’ve always loved maps. Bit of a cartophile. However, it looks like I’m not alone, as there are a wealth of awesome cross stitch maps out there just begging for some limelight!
The reason I started looking into cross stitch maps was this. Not only is Stardew Valley an awesome game map, but Bunia has recreated the in-game map into a fantastic micro scale map with all the details of the original and more.
Jumping back a step though, sometimes video game maps are awesome on there own. In my mind however, Zelda’s Ocarina of Time map was a little sparse on details. BUT, it looked great from above. This cross stitcher thought so too and make a cracking recreation.
But lest we forget the awesome Zelda map Servotron created that has been recreated by this stitcher:
Whilst we’re on the topic of video game maps, lets talk about the weirdly shaped ones. Mario has always had great maps, but this third world map stitch by cross stitch ninja is frankly jaw dropping. The weird shape, the fact that is has a massive III lake, and the deserty finish make it one of my all time favorite maps.
Game Of Thrones
But sometimes, video games and other things combine. Like this Game of Thrones Mario mashup cross stitch map, which not only having a nice nod to both worlds, but has a shocking amount of accuracy too. Credit to MonkeeCatcher (the stitcher) and titan413 (the designer).
But as one of the most watched TV shows in history, its no surprise that the original map got some love too. This design by Randomly Generated reminds me of the book map sooo much.
But where would a Lord Libidan post be without a bit of Pokemon?
Now, its no secret that I’ve created my own Pokemon maps in the past:
And loads of other people, like merichan27 and KDstitching have too:
However, my out and out favorite cross stitch maps? They have to be these stellar mini maps by StrangenessIsConservative. Not only are they super cute, and based on in game sprites most people would have looked over, but they are the only images of the cross stitch world that exist in the Pokemon universe. AND the patterns are avalible for free!
We’re not shy of showing off some awesome pop culture cross stitch on Lord Libidan before, however what about the times when pop culture shows off cross stitch? Here are some awesome examples of when TV shows, games and movies show off cross stitch!
The Bioshock games have a simple premis; the world was too complicated, so people went off to found a better city. In the third instalment of the game, gone were the art deco statues and famous artworks, and in came the simple world of cross stitch.
What not a lot of people know however is that the game is filled with cross stitches, including in the lighthouse at the end of the game.
Marge Simpson, one of our celebrities who cross stitch, is actually an accomplished cross stitcher. In Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder Marge creates a series of samplers for Lenny.
A more modern TV show, Brooklyn has a character that cross stitches. She’s even called a ‘stitch skipper’…
Whilst a lot of people know Fargo as the TV shows, which used knitting in its promotional posters, had a movie forerunner. And that forerunner had it poster made from (you guessed it) cross stitch.
Know of any other times cross stitch was used in pop culture? Drop us a line!
We’re not afraid to post seriously epic stitches here on Lord Libidan, such as the highly anticipated epic pokemon cross stitch pattern, however when it comes to epic these following stitches blow the socks off any our patterns can.
Worlds Largest Published Cross Stitch Pattern
Less than 1 Epic Pokemon Patterns
Finished Size: 40″ x 80″ or 100cm x 200cm
Joanna Lopianowki-Roberts published the largest ever cross stitch pattern in 2011, which whilst being super massive as a pattern, was actually stitched. To give you some extra stats, it took over ten years to stitch with 2,872 hours put into the project. Despite that, its still only 90% of our Epic Pokemon cross stitch.
You can pick up a copy of the pattern (split into 34 different patterns for ease) over on Amazon.
Worlds Largest Cross Stitch By A Single Person
1.6 Epic Pokemon Patterns
Size: 871w x 1276h
Finished Size: 194cm x 134cm
However, Peter Volna from the Slovak Republic takes the title of largest cross stitch by a single person, with a replica of part of The Last Supper by da Vinvi. It also took ten years, but we also know it has over 48 kilometers of thread in it!
Worlds Largest Cross Stitch
More than 11 Epic Pokemon Patterns
Size: 4304w x 1835h
Finished Size: 920cm x 405cm
Yeh, lets get serious for a second here. The worlds largest cross stitch. It was stitched by a group of people in Poland, seperated into 50 sections, each stitched together to make one awesome stitch. Without the thread stitching the sections together, it has over 150 kilometers of embrodiery thread in it.
Worlds Largest Embroidery Display
More than 140 Epic Pokemon Patterns
However, if we want to talk big, we need to look at the worlds largest embroidery display. These are seperate peices displayed together, but there are 1170 of them. Each cross stitch itself was made up of 82,000 stitches, meaning it was over 140 times larger that our epic Pokemon cross stitch pattern.
It was created by the Trichy Innovative Ladies’ United Needlework Association in India to raise money for charity, and is still growing as more and more panels are stitched.
If you’re still wanting to stitch an epic cross stitch of your own, how about one of our smaller epic Pokemon stitches?
A few of you may know that I make patterns and write for a few magazines. For the space themed issue of one of these, I explored the relationship space has with art, and the various (and frankly numerus) art instalations held in space. However, during my research I kept coming back to a single question:
Has cross stitch ever flown to space?
Well, the answer was a resounding no. BUT sewing and embroidery has.
Astronauts are a superstitious bunch, peeing on bus wheels, eating peanuts and watching Russian movies aside, they have one tradition of note. During take off, especially in the Soyuz spacecraft, astronauts look directly up, with everything strapped down to avoid it floating once they reach space. However, if that’s the case, how to you know when zero gravity starts? In comes the cuddly toy!
In order to show when you’re in space, you dangle a cuddly toy from the control panel. Now, these are genuine tools used in space, dont be confused with their cuddly exterior. Whilst they used to be plastic pens, as time progressed astronauts let their imaginations go wild and picked a whole series of things to travel with. Many include sewing and embroidery in a series of styles. I looked through hundreds (I’m not joking) of toys to see if any had cross stitch. Nope.
In addition to toys flown from Earth though, there is one other interesting example worth exploring.
In 2013, NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg brought to space an idea; to craft. Using tools found around the International Space Station Karen created a small stuffed dinosaur to bring back to her son on Earth. Now, this isn’t the greatest sewing on earth, however lets just think about something for a minute. There are no needles in space. There are no scissors in space. There are no threads in space. Karen managed to make her tools while she was up there too. Now that, is impressive.