Is cross stitch art? Or craft?

Cross Stitch Mona Lisa by MrXStitch (source:

Often within the stitching community the question of art or craft comes up, and on a general basis it can be answered. However cross stitch always sits outside the classifications, and no one is really sure. Its not an art form in its own right, its part of embroidery, however there are LOADS of art pieces out there with just cross stitch. So does it deserve to finally be called an art form?

Cross Stitch Mona Lisa by MrXStitch (source:
Cross Stitch Mona Lisa by MrXStitch (source:

Mastering the art form

I wrote a post a few months back now on becoming a cross stitch master and how achievable that actually is, however I never addressed the elephant in the room; a master OF WHAT?

The reason there are so many issues here are down to the definition of art form. In short it could be “a medium for artistic expression”, “an activity that requires skill and care” or “the more or less established structure, pattern, or scheme followed in shaping an artistic work”, all of which cross stitch applies to. But its STILL not classed as an art form in its own right. So why?

I recently posted a link to someone who had used my cross stitch as a base for his own art work, so surely the original must be art too?

For many, cross stitch conjures up images of cute kittens and country cottages, but theres a different side to cross stitching that its an art in its own right, and will encourage them to be a little braver with their art.

Mr X Stitch, Jamie Chalmers


The greatest case therefore would be galleries and museums, both of which have a historic inclusion of cross stitch. Some of the best known are the V&A in London, the Met Museum in New York, and the Smithsonian in Washington DC. However most of these are old samplers, and almost none are from modern times.

Modern Renaissance

However there are a few exeptions. What I like to call the “modern renaissance” where art is in the hands of everyone, there are a few notable examples:

WWII cross stitch

We’ve shown this piece before in a history of cross stitch, however the works of Major Alexis Casdagli in the second world war are not only a fascinating story in their own right, but his most widely known work (seen below) has traveled all over the world in modern exhibitions.

World War 2 sampler by imprisoned POW Major Alexis Casdagli
World War 2 sampler by imprisoned POW Major Alexis Casdagli (source: V and A website)


The only truly well known cross stitch artist is Severija who uses cross stitch with historic objects to truly create a memorable set of works. We even devoted a whole post to creating works like hers.

Cross Stitch- Helmets by Severija (source:
Cross Stitch- Helmets by Severija (source:


So does any of that suggest an answer? Well, yes. But mostly in the craft camp.
Whilst there is cross stitch art out there, most of the works being produced are being done for just a beautiful image. To truly be classed as art in a modern form, it needs to have a message, like Severija’s works. So as much as I hate it, I’ve got to admit I’m not an artist.

What its like to write a cross stitch book

Star Trek Cross Stitch Book Cover by John Lohman and Lord Libidan

I’ve now been published twice under my own name, and had patterns/writing in 4 others. I just released a Star Wars cross stitch book, and I even have another project in the works with the same publisher. Many of my contemporaries are doing the same, but still whenever someone picks up my book I get the same question; What’s it like to write a book?

kermit writing
It doesn’t really feel like this…

Now, I’m going to be a bit more specific here, and assume they mean a craft book, as writing a fiction and non-fiction books are very different. I would know, I have one of those too. But its true, non fiction and fiction are MASSIVELY different.
So lets get down to it. Positives first, or negative? Time to flip a coin.

The Possible Negatives

Well, negative first. The good news is that whilst there are negatives, they aren’t that bad. In fact, I get a kick out of the extra pressure, but I know a lot of people, including Genevieve Brading (Floss & Mischief) who had some seriously tight deadlines.
Which is the first thing;


In the best scenario you might have 3 months. Whilst this seems like loads, there is one issue; you also have to stitch 12-20 projects in that time. Not easy. With some projects you might be able to kick them out in a weekend, but others can be massive (Star Trek LCARS comes to mind…)

Last Minute Changes

So you work for three months solid, and then all goes quiet on the Western Front, leaving you to sit and wait for up to a year. And then the license holder suddenly changes their mind about EVERYTHING. A super busy period exists where you just don’t know how you can get it done at all, but somehow you do..

The Positives

All The Help

And this is how you get it done. The secret of every craft book writer. Massive amounts of help. I’ve relied on a few people, but massive kudos goes out to BlackMageHeart who has been a serious help with all the books. And frankly without her; it would have been impossible. Thanks!

You Get Paid

Well… Yeh. You get paid. Now its not a massive amount of money, but considering its the cherry on the cake, its always a plus 😀


And this is why you do it. Sure, its not going to be the next Harry Potter, but you’ll be the author you always wanted to be.
Unless its a flop.

Would I give it up?

Hells no. I LOVE to work to a dead line, and frankly having a project where I think about kawaii characters instead of video game characters allows my mind to bring in some different perspectives and makes me a better pattern maker.

I’ve now been published quite a few times. Check me out in:
Fine Art Cross Stitch Kit
Emoji Cross Stitch Kit
Star Wars Cross Stitch Kit
Star Trek Cross-Stitch: Explore Strange New Worlds of Crafting Book
Disney Classic Cross Stitch Kit
Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch book
CrossStitcher Magazine (twice)
CrossStitcher Designer Stitches Magazine
CrossStitchCrazy Magazine
& XStitch Magazine

7 Signs you’re addicted to cross stitch

TED addicted gif (source: giphy)

So you like cross stitch, and it has its health benefits, but are you addicted?

addicted to cross stitch

Your fingers are always twitching to itch

That’s how it starts, that’s how it gets you. The first thing you know you sit there at work, or in the super marketing, and you just wanna get back home to stitch something up.

You cancel 90% of social meetings just to stay home and stitch

And that’s when the read addiction sets in. Do you really want to go to the bar with your friends, pretend to follow the game and be absolutely knackered tomorrow? Or should you just cancel it like all the others and sit at home in the warm with a nice brew and your cross stitch?

You can’t go to a gallery without wanting turning art into cross stitches

Previously that painting looked nice. Now it NEEDS to be turned into cross stitch. I mean, that’s the perfect medium. I mean why did the artist even choose paint to start with. For that matter who is this Picasso guy?

You have at least 2 stitches on the go at once and at least 5 patterns bubbling around your head

Oh, but it isn’t just art that isn’t safe. No, its EVERYTHING. There has to be at least 2 projects on the go, at least 5 patterns in your head, and a whole raft of paper or a journal with even more… I just can’t find enough hours in the day…

you no longer count projects in hours, but in days

On that point, no longer was a project 24 hours. Now its counted in days. Maybe even weeks…

Any time anyone mentions any type of textile your name is ALWAYS mentioned

You don’t even have to be around any more. People are aiding your addiction. Any time anyone mentions textiles, art, embroidery your name pops up. Bonus points for being able to detect when its happening from across the office.

No nerves in your fingers

The ultimate sign of cross stitch addition. You have basically no nerves in your fingers anymore. There are needle marks under your nails. You’re a wreck. You need help… Or maybe you should try out that awesome half stitch idea you’ve been thinking about…

The Best Cross Stitch Calculators

Yarn Tree Cross Stitch Calculator (source:

A cross stitch calculator is basically a requirement for all stitchers. Sure, if you wanted you could do the maths, but who has time? And who want’s to check it three times over to make sure its right? Neh, instead, pull out the calculator.
There are a few out there now, each doing slightly different things. We’re going to roundup all the best ones in one post, with their pros and cons.

The Best – Lord Libidan’s

This post has started for a simple reason; I wasn’t happy with the ones available. So I took all the best features from all of the below calculators and combined them into one. Which we (of course) belive is the best, but we’ve also got loads of support from reddit!

Pattern Size: 

Pattern Size: 

Fabric Count: 

Each stitch covers? 

Extra fabric for border? 

Extra fabric for framing? 

 stitches wide by
 stitches high

 threads per inch

Stitched area will be: 

Stitched area will be: 

Fabric should be: 

Fabric should be: 

 inches wide  inches high

 CM wide  CM high

 inches wide  inches high

 CM wide  CM high

Use a size  cross stitch needle

Use  strands of floss for stitching

Use  strands of floss for backstitch

Cross stitch calculator created by 

Yarn Tree

Yarn Tree Cross Stitch Calculator (source:
Yarn Tree Cross Stitch Calculator (source:

Yarntree’s calculator has previously held the title as the best due to its extra features. It allows you to select extra aida a the sides for framing and gives you both inches and centimeters, but it also simplifies this down by just asking it you want it or not, doing all the fancy maths in the background. Cross Stitch Calculator (source: Cross Stitch Calculator (source:

The original online calculator, do a lot right, however with slightly less choice than Yarntree, always comes away without fully doing the job.

Needlework Tips & Tricks

Needlework Tips and Tricks Cross Stitch Calculator (source:
Needlework Tips and Tricks Cross Stitch Calculator (source:

Barely known for anything else, needlework tips & tricks’ calculator has gained a lot of momentum due to it being more mobile compatible than the others mentioned (other than our own), however will a lot less options, tends to be a quick reference calculator to give an approximate, and not exact measurements.


123Stitch Cross Stitch Calculator (source:
123Stitch Cross Stitch Calculator (source:

An extreamly simple calculator, 123stitch tried to link it to a sales procedure that didn’t really work out. Now it serves as the only most basic of sums, which might be better off done in your head.

Whats the best way to show cross stitch off online?

love me family guy gif (source:

You’ve braved the world of cross stitch software, made yourself an awesome pattern, and even battled a few problems with stitching, but the time has come; you’ve finished your stitch. You’ve shown your family, you’ve shown your friends, but frankly they’re sick and tired. So who else do you show it to? The internet.

love me family guy gif
If they don’t love your cross stitch; you’ll make them love it!

So what’s the best way?


It really shouldn’t surprise you that social media is one of the first options here. And it really shouldn’t surprise you that instagram is the most important one. As a primarily image based sharing platform its craft following is really quite massive, with people regularly getting up to 10,000 followers. What’s even better is the engagement with people is super high.

Other social media

Other social media is pretty much the same as the above, but unlike instagram you need to limit the text, limit the hashtags, and you’ll get less of an impact on posts. But, you can post multiple times for more love!


DeviantArt is similar to a few other things on this list, however as the largest online artist sharing platform, its obvious that this is where you want your work. It requires a little more effort to get popularity than social media platforms, but with over 10 million finished pieces on its databases you’ll be addicted in no time.


Forums are SUPER at self promotion. There are loads out there, but big highlights are craftster, crossstitchforum or more specific sites like SpriteStitch. The great thing about forums is they’re full of your peers, meaning you can get tips, help out others, and of course, promote your work.
We recently went through all the best cross stitch forums so you can find your community.

Personal Website

Now we start getting more technical. There are loads of blogging platforms out there such as wordpress, blogger or tumblr which makes it super easy to create a website. Over time you’ll get more and more people following your site, and can help out the community with awesome posts like this.

How to do it

So now you know where to upload it, is there an easier way? The answer is yes; automation.
If you’re making a website, there are plugins you can get that post to all of these are more. And if you’re not, you could use a tool like Zapier or IFTTT, which post across all.

Have you got any preferred ways to promote your work? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

How to make awesome cross stitch!

Link Realistic Cross Stitch by shingorengeki (source: Deviantart)

If you’re reading this, the chances are you’re either want to make a cross stitch pattern, or you’ve just make a killer cross stitch pattern, either way, you want to make it so awesome the internet skips a beat. Well is really isn’t that hard.
I’m going to start by splitting this guide straight down the center. Read on if you’ve not made the pattern, or skip ahead if you have a pattern already.

I just want it to be an awesome cross stitch!

I’m going to suggest three different ways of making a truly awesome pattern here, each of them are SUPER simple to do.

Remove stuff

The initial idea when trying to make an awesome cross stitch is to add something, but before we get there, think about removing something. The below storm trooper helmet cross stitch originally had a full outline which the designer decided to forgo. Its placement on a white aida hoop makes it really work, and as not many people think to remove bits, its rarely seen, making it more unusual.

Stromtrooper Helmet Negative Space Cross Stitch (source: Etsy)
Stromtrooper Helmet Negative Space Cross Stitch (source: Etsy)

Add stuff

Ok, you can add things too. Sometimes its more detail, or an extra joke, but in the case of the below, one of a massive series, is an instagram sepia filter, making it moody and dark.

Link Realistic Cross Stitch by shingorengeki (source: Deviantart)
Link Realistic Cross Stitch by shingorengeki (source: Deviantart)

Combine stuff

I’ve shown off the work of Johan Ronstrom before, as he’s the true master of the craft, but you can always combine patterns to make something truly weird. The below image takes a sweet Breaking Bad reference and combines it with a kitsch flowery boarder to really make the evil face stand out. Perfect.

Kiss The Cook Breaking Bad Cross Stitch by Steotch (source:
Kiss The Cook Breaking Bad Cross Stitch by Steotch (source:

I have a pattern, but I want to make it break the internet!

Now you have a pattern, the hard but is done for you. All the images below started off as standard patterns and have been edited in some way to really make them pop.
I actually devoted a whole post to making a cross stitch pop but that relied on you not making a pattern yet. The truth however is that you’re going to be doing the same things. In the below image, by replacing the suggested blue threads with a glow in the dark thread, the piece lights up ever so slightly in the day, giving it the illusion of real neon.

Live Nudes Neon Cross Stitch Pattern by CrassCross (source:
Live Nudes Neon Cross Stitch Pattern by CrassCross (source:

In addition is this pattern we’ve featured on our best Harry Potter cross stitch as its a brilliant example of pattern hacking.
The original pattern was entirely black, but by choosing to stitch the golden stitch gold, its taken a whole new edge to the piece. I imagine you could go further, stitching in a metallic thread, or even putting small silver details on the snitch.

Harry Potter Sampler Cross Stitch by Christine, pattern by FeltLikeStitching (source:
Harry Potter Sampler Cross Stitch by Christine, pattern by FeltLikeStitching (source:

Got any other ways of making awesome cross stitch? Drop me a line below.

The Very Best Pop Culture Cross Stitch

Harry Potter Sampler Cross Stitch by Christine, pattern by FeltLikeStitching (source:

We’ve shown the best geeky cross stitch before on our site, but with the lines blurring on popular culture and geek, we feel its time to post some killer cross stitches!


Pokemon go was massive last year, and continues to be a stable app on many of our phones thanks to gen 2, but nothing compares to how awesome the original epic cross stitch is. This version by Eponases shows just how much effort is required with 8 months of stitching.

Epic Pokemon Cross Stitch by Eponases (source:
Epic Pokemon Cross Stitch by Eponases (source:

Video Games

There are frankly loads of video game cross stitches out there now, a large volume of which are mine… but the reason cross stitch got such a cult following back in 2010 was partly due to awesome work being shared on the likes of technabob. This amazing example by psi169 is one of my all time favorites.

Mario Power Ups Cross Stitch by Psi169 (source:
Mario Power Ups Cross Stitch by Psi169 (source:

Harry Potter

Harry Potter will ALWAYS (see what I did there?) be a part of our hearts, but there is so much going on in the books and movies, how can you stitch all of them? Well this brilliant Potter inspired sampler by Etsy shop FeltLikeStitching is made particularly poignant by adding a little golden flair.

Harry Potter Sampler Cross Stitch by Christine, pattern by FeltLikeStitching (source:
Harry Potter Sampler Cross Stitch by Christine, pattern by FeltLikeStitching (source:


1 in 3 people have a tattoo. Hard to get away from now-a-days, but its rare to see a truly brilliant one. However, this rose cross stitch tattoo, whilst not my personal favorite, still goes to show there’s talent out there.

Cross Stitch Shoulder Rose Tattoo by Tattoodo (source:
Cross Stitch Shoulder Rose Tattoo by Tattoodo (source:

Star Wars

When you think of a Star Wars cross stitch there is only one that comes to mind. The “Coruscant Tapestry” has become so popular it was even posted in major English newspapers.

Star Wars Coruscant Tapestry by Aled LewisStar Wars Coruscant Tapestry by Aled Lewis (source:
Star Wars Coruscant Tapestry by Aled Lewis (source:

If you wanted to check out some other Star Wars cross stitch I have a book out too.
Star Wars Cross Stitch Cover by rhys turton lord libidan

Star Trek

Whilst I did have a hand in the below pattern, thanks to my Star Trek Cross Stitch Book, the fact that the below sampler is so fantastic is the designer has merged multiple patterns into one, making a super stitch.

Star Trek Sampler Cross Stitch by samapictures (source:
Star Trek Sampler Cross Stitch by samapictures (source:

Sherlock Holmes

This awesome little sherlock cross stitch is only made all the cooler by it being so small. aliciawatkins occasionally sells them on her Etsy, so keep your eye out for a chance to get one.

Sherlock Little Brains Cross Stitch (source: google images)
Sherlock Little Brains Cross Stitch (source: google images)

Game Of Thrones

Game of Thrones hit the world my storm, and its clear we’ll get spin offs, but whilst the story is all about being the king or queen, everyone knows its all about owning the map. And now you can thanks to RandomlyGenerated’s Etsy store, featuring this brilliant map you can develop as the stories continue on.

Game Of Thrones cross stitch by RandomlyGenerated (source:
Game Of Thrones cross stitch by RandomlyGenerated (source:

This we missed one off, or want to submit your own? Hit us up with an email or link!

How comics help create cross stitch patterns

POW Cross Stitch (source:

Making patterns is pretty simple, however making a good one is an art. We’ve gone over a few ways to make sure the pattern you make has elements that put on the finishing touches, however I’m going to delve into one of those in more detail.

The Story.

This is where comic books come in. Comics and manga have a limited space to convey a lot of emotion, suspense, story and above all still look good.
They do this in a few key ways that allow the image to convey more than just a simple figure standing there, and these are things you should always think about when making a pattern, especially of a character.


Saga Lying Cat Cross Stitch by MissStitchedCrafts (source:
Saga Lying Cat Cross Stitch by MissStitchedCrafts (source:

The first thing you see here is the cat. Then you see what he’s saying. Now whilst this is a direct import from a comic book (Saga) its been positioned slightly off to the right of center, meaning you look at the whole image, and not just the cat. This puts further emphasis on what the cat is saying; his catchphrase (and only thing he says).
If you look into this image a little further it also utilizes the rule of thirds to perfection.


Green Lantern Cross Stitch by saber (source:
Green Lantern Cross Stitch by saber (source:

Boom! Look at those pose. Green Lantern has not only taken up the whole ring, but his position shows he’s in flight, driving off the screen, creating suspense and movement. Imagine a plain green lantern standing there; which is better?


POW Cross Stitch (source:
POW Cross Stitch (source:

Whilst the above image is very comic book specific it does show that with the simplest of words “pow” you can create something so much more. The fun colors, the star background, the fact that it only just fits into the ring, its slightly uncentered position, all make it seem super important, punchy and in your face. Drama at its finest.

Combining these things:

Superman Cross Stitch Pattern by SuperCross (source:
Superman Cross Stitch Pattern by SuperCross (source:

So what does this actually mean for combining these things together? Well the above pattern (available on Etsy) uses all these things at once for a fantastic cross stitch pattern.
The position on the right makes it clear he’s looking down on the city, the pose suggests he’s mid fight (or enraged), and the drama of the piece thanks to the plain simplistic background but bright crisp detailed superman.

When making my own patterns I ALWAYS try to think of comic books, and how they might be displayed. Not only does it help with each of the above points, but its always a constant source of inspiration. A Green Lantern cross stitch in the right pose can quite easily be turned into any superhero, and with a bit of work any character you want.
If you want to know more about how comics and manga can help make cross stitch patterns with a punch, check out the book Manga Cross-Stitch: Make Your Own Graphic Art Needlework. Its all about how to use the comic book style in pattern making.

Pokemon Mega Ring Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Pokemon Mega Ring Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Pokemon Mega Ring Cross Stitch
Title: Mega Ring
Date Completed: February 2017
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 12
Canvas: Bracelet
Colours: 9
Game: Pokemon
This project was slow to come about. About a year previous I had won a cross stitch-able leather bracelet as part of a competition I won for my minature arcade cabinet cross stitch, but it had hung around in my stitching kit boxes, I simply didn’t know what to do with it.
I brought it back out again after stitching a leather notebook cover with a pikachu cross stitch and tried to come up with an idea of what I could use it for. I just so happened to have finished playing through Pokemon Sun. In the game the character is given a mega ring, roughly the size of the bracelet, and I thought it was a perfect fit!