On our series covering the best cross stitch magazines we review the newest, and most contemporary mag, XStitch.
To do this review we’ve compiled a series of reviews from industry leaders, as well as feefo reviews.
Traditionally cross stitch gets the rep of being about teddies, flowers and all things cottage, however following the end of a few eminant cross stitch mags, Mr X Stitch, a previous pattern designer for the CrossStitcher magazine decided to take on a new challenge, and make a cross stitch magazine for all the young contemporary stitchers. As a direct result, the mag has a very different edge to its competitors, offering stylish pages, well written content, and a great heap of important cross stitchers (the first magazine had 12 designers from all over the world, including Jane Greenoff and Emily Peacock).
How has no one ever made a magazine like this before?! THIS is what I want.
Inside you’ll find only 20 patterns, but each will be crafted to a specific and topical theme each edition. Up to 50 designers submit patterns and only the best are chosen. These are then converted into 4 pattern types which are all downloadable with the mag. In addition to the usual content such as topical articles and reviews there is also an online playlist chosen by the designers to listen to as you read.
The biggest thing you’ll notice however, is there aren’t any adverts. The magazine has been put together for the readers, and its not full of filler.
As the only contemporary magazine on the market, it will either appeal or not, however I think that’s its charm.
$6 per quarter; digital version only, downloadable patterns in 3 formats and online playlist
✓ Loads of patterns ✓ Lots of mainstream patterns ✓ Large readership
╳ Not many modern patterns ╳ Digital only ╳ Not many freebies
As the Lord of cross stitch, its no wonder I wear cufflinks, but I feel all the manbroiderers and partners of cross stitchers should hold up the flag more often! Cufflinks are a great way to do this, but also pose quite a challenge to make in themselves.
The first pair featuring characters from the Cave Story video game, are fantastic examples of super tiny cross stitching; these are 42 count! By Benjibot
Alternatively you could lower the count and make something like these awesome Just Dance cross stitch cufflinks to show off that you can break into spontanious dance moves as soon as the suit is off.
If video games aren’t your thing, you can always use them to monogram your shirts on the cheap. These linen based cross stitch cufflinks ooze class.
Or, if you want hard wearing, how about resin filling a pair, like these from craftster?
Following on from our post a few weeks ago about the best cross stitch frame I’ve had a load of discussions on the best tools for cross stitch. So here are my suggestions for the 8 cross stitch must haves every stitcher should have!
We have a copy of the DMC shade card on our site to see at any time, however there is nothing quite like a real chart, with thread samples. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve checked a color and found it was too red, or too green and so changed it for a better one. Whilst a lot of cross stitch pattern software does a great job, there’s nothing quite like the human eye.
They cost about $20 for one with thread samples, and are definitely the one thing I would suggest EVERY stitcher gets.
The only thing better than owning a thread shade card is owning the threads themselves. I always kept using the threads I had on hand, and until I got the whole set, I didn’t realise just how much I was making compromise; my colors have definitely got better. You can see how much a full set of DMC threads has helped us with our blog post about our journey to a complete set of cross stitch threads.
Not the cheapest thing in the world, wait until you can buy a whole set in one go on an offer. The price can drop from $450 to $200. Just don’t be tempted by those cheap Chinese deals to see on ebay.
We recently posted about taking cross stitch on planes and public transport, and loved the thread cutterz for their ability to take them on international flights, however they’re just damn handy anyway. Far easier than scissors, they can be the quick cut you need.
They retail for $12-$15 but can only be brought from ThreadCutterz themselves.
Sure, cross stitch pattern software isn’t a glamorous item, and doesn’t seem like a must have item, however if you use a free online one, or work patterns out on paper, you REALLY need to update it. And if you’re struggling through, its probably time to update to a better one. We have a super post on which is the best cross stitch pattern software, and they can vary in price from free to $200.
No one NEEDS a needle minder, but if you have all the right tools, sometimes you need a little fun. Needle keepers just hold you needle whilst you’re not stitching, so you want a light weight one. Most are magnetic, and you can get some really great ones. The image for example is a 3D printed charizard for $6, which is about the going rate.
Magazines are fantastic for both giving you patterns, giving you inspiration, finding out about all the new products, and reading up on all the happenings of the cross stitch community. There are frankly a shocking amount out there, so its best to pick one or two you like the most, and getting a subscription to those. Prices vary, $20-$60 a year.
There’s nothing worse in cross stitch than Repetitive Strain Injury. It normally happens as a result of having to hold frames, so its no wonder that one of the best things you can get is a good frame. They vary in price from $2 to $30 depending on a lot of factors. We’ve made a post about the perfect cross stitch frame to help you pick.
I personally use a pair of Fiskars scissors, but I know many people prefer snip style scissors like the image, however there is one thing everyone agrees on, and that’s that some scissors just fit your hand better than others. As a cross stitcher you’re going to spend a lot of time with your hands in a pair, so make sure they’re the best ones for you. I would suggest specific thread or fishing line scissors, as they are sharper and have a small “snip” area. Also make sure to only use them for thread; scissors get blunt really easily.
YES! We do. In fact, there are a lot more men stitching than you realise!
We’ve shown off works by some of the greatest male cross stitchers out there, and whilst a lot of the traditional style and modern cross stitch doesn’t particularly appeal to men, a lot of custom patterns are being made by men. Its because of this that about 50% of the things we post are by men, including killer pieces like the fantastic Star Wars Tapestry that was even posted in a national newspaper.
However, despite this, many male stitchers still fly under the radar and go unnoticed by the public. But you know what, I’d much prefer to sit down in the evening with a cross stitch and a brew than off to the pub to watch a “game”. And others feel the same. MrXStitch even has regular posts on male cross stitchers, which in my opinion is some of the best stuff on the site.
There’s actually a lot of information out there devoted to male cross stitch, including a killer post on Cross Stitch for Men by Stitchtastic, and this video by Peacock & Fig below:
She also goes into more detail on her manbroidery blog!
This is the big one. The most outrageous and insanely huge pattern I’ve found anywhere on the internet. It’s a combination of the first 5 generations of Pokemon, using generation 5 sprites. It’s basically a combination of the separate 5 epic pokemon generations cross stitch patterns we posted last week.
It’s a massive 798,000 stitches, with the finished piece well over a meter wide and tall on 14 count (almost 1.5m x 2m). If you attempt it, I salute you!
Stitch Count: 798w x 1000h
Finished Size: 57″ x 71.5″ or 145cm x 182cm (14ct)
Number of colors: 234 (DMC)
I’m keeping my pattern secret for now, however it is one of the patterns featured on the cover below.
The first issue comes out Summer 2017, with 80 pages, and all kinds of great things like thought provoking columns, interviews, product reviews and tips and techniques to help you improve your stitching. And to make it stand out from the competiton (just encase the contemporary side of things wasn’t enough) each issue will have a collaborative playlist to listen along to as you read.
It stands to be one of the best magazines around in my mind, and I’m just crazy happy about being able to get involved from the very first issue.
Moving on from my history of cross stitch, I’ve started looking into the various parts of cross stitch and breaking down some of the walls people see when starting out. One of these has got to be the fabrics used for cross stitch.
Simply put, there are four types of fabric used:
Aida (the most widely used)
There are then also specialist fabrics:
A note on counts:
Before we get into what makes up a fabric, we should mention counts. In short, this is the amount of full cross stitches you can get in a line, for an inch. The most common type is a 14 count, which is an Aida. Some fabrics come only in set sizes.
Aida was invented in 1986 specifically for cross stitch and counted cross stitch. As a result its the most widely used fabric for cross stitch, and is very likely to be the type your using.
Its made up of regular holes on a semi rigid starch heavy cotton. It allows you to cross stitch in perfect squares by using the holes given.
They come in different size counts, from 10 to 32.
Hardanger is very similar to aida, however is 100% cotton without starch, meaning its very easy to stretch and warp. It comes in 22 count only,, however cross stitch can be done over 2 “sets” giving 11 count. Prior to 1986 this was the most common fabric for cross stitch, and most historic examples of cross stitch are on Hardanger. Since the invention of aida Hardanger has dropped massively in popularity and is very rare currently.
Linen is a very traditional fabric used for embroidery, made up of flax. It can come in a large varience of types, with smaller or larger holes, however its normally found as a 22 to 36 count.
Evenweave however is a combination of multiple fabric types. Officially aida is a type of linen, but with added starch and even spacing. Evenweave however is linen with even spacing, but no starch. The image here shows that whilst Evenweave is normally much higher count, it can vary from 18 to 32.
The first of out specialist fabrics, waste canvas is made to either dissolve in contact with water, or to be able to pull it apart when wet. Its effectively a type of aida, but with larger holes and special starch that washes out. It usually only comes in 14 count.
Despite its very specific purpose, you can still cross stitch objects without waste canvas.
Going the other way for a specialist thread, plastic canvas is made to be stiff, so you can make 3D objects. It comes in a variety of types, as seen in the image, and some plastics are stiffer than others, meaning you can use them for different purposes. They come in 14 count normally, however I have seen 16, 18 and 22.
An example of what can be acheived with plastic canvas is my transforming cross stitch robot.
Some of the most requested Pokemon patterns out there, and seen as some of the most epic; Servotron’s epic Pokemon cross stitch patterns.
We’ve compiled all 5 of the versions, showing the first 5 generations of Pokemon in the generation 5 Pokemon sprites. Each pattern is the same size, and uses the same 105 master colors.
Stitch Count: 256w x 450h
Finished Size: 18.3″ x 32.1″ or 46.4cm x 81.6cm (14ct)
Number of colors: 105 (generation 1), 101 (generation 2), 105 (generation 3), 103 (generation 4) & 101 (generation 5) DMC
Sometimes things go wrong. Maybe it was auto correct, maybe it was miscounting, but regardless, its crazy funny when it doesn’t happen to you. This are some of the best cross stitch mistakes out there.
We start with someone who even made it to a book, specifically Craft Fail: When Homemade Goes Horribly Wrong By Heather Mann, where an entreped cross stitcher spent hours stitching the beginning of her hobby only to realise once she’d finished that it wasn’t all she cracked it up to be.
Sometimes people realise a lot earlier though, like this cross stitcher who only drew the letters on, and then realised the missing H. Most shocking of all though, he’s trying to sell it on ebay for $15…
Sometimes though, spellings are on purpose. This sarky stitch sadly fools more people than it should, but is a great way to make a mistake a feature.
Finally though, by far the most common cross stitch mistake I could find; gob. Sadly, some of these are massive pieces.
Title: Micro Nintendo64 Console
Date Completed: June 2017
Design: Lord Libidan
Game: Nintendo, Pokemon Stadium & Legend of Zelda
I recently saw some awesome retro adverts for the SNES in a Japanese magazine and just fell in love with how they were sold. This idea floated around my head for some time, and I had a play with the idea when I made my 3D arcade cabinet cross stitch and it gave me the enthusiasum to create another 3D project, a super small console. The Nintendo64 jumped into my head, and I started planning based on a pixelated controller I had created some years ago. As it developed I also decided to include 2 controllers, and 2 games; Pokemon Stadium and the golden Legend of Zelda cartridges (using metallic threads, following the success of my gold Zelda cartridge cross stitch).
Once created I wanted to create a design close to the original advert that inspired me: