Why were those DMC threads discontinued?

A few weeks ago we looked at how cross stitch threads are made and surprisingly we were bombarded with comments about discontinuations of DMC threads. So I decided for our second look at threads, we’d look at discontinuations.
 
There are a few sets of discontinued threads from DMC and there looks like there is a load of confusion over them, so without further ado, here are the sets:

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

The most recent discontinued threads from DMC come in the form of the 2013 ‘3800’ series. A lot is said about these particular threads due to how weird they were. Unlike any other thread sold by DMC these were only ever sold as a package; never alone. In addition, they only released in the USA (but also made their way to Canada through resellers).
Most people suspect therefore that these had an issue being sold in the EU, and whilst that is partly true, most people are getting confused with the second set of threads.
 
You see, back in the 1990s, DMC threads were made in two factories; in France and the USA. At the time US threads were considerably more expensive than they are now and one of the reasons was the dye cost, which was taxed heavily at the time. So the US factory came out with new dyes to replace the hard to get dyes. The set sold as a tester to see if they should change some other colors (see below), but poor sales of the packs, thanks to the fact that they were copies of colors already in the range, meant they were scrapped within a year.
 
Officially, these were never actually discontinued. Whilst they are no longer sold on their own (apart from on the DMC US website), you can still pick up the larger packs, however, branding hasn’t changed since 2013, so there is a good chance its old stock.

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

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
3773 replaced with 407

Those other threads the US factory considered removing? Wasn’t officially discontinued until 2015, the most recent set of discontinuations. The new EU laws in 2000 stated that no new products could use dyes classes as harmful to the environment. DMC chose to alter the dyes of a whole set of their threads, but for some dyes, they just couldn’t get a good match. Whilst the threads were phased out of all EU stores (and removed from their thread cards), they hung around in the US for some time, who didn’t have the same dye laws. They were officially removed alongside some variegated threads (without alternatives) in 2015.

But what about the new DMC threads? Is this signs that we might be getting more discontinuations?

No. In fact, the new range fills in many of the gaps of the old range, and we think, thanks to the numbering, that we might be seeing a ‘renumbering’ of the old set soon.
 
Need a DMC thread card with the new colors? We have you covered.
DMC shade color thread card chart with new DMC threads

 

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Expired Ramen Coupon Destiny Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Destiny 2 Expired Ramen Coupon Embroidery by Lord Libidan
Destiny 2 Expired Ramen Coupon Embroidery by Lord Libidan

Title: Expired Ramen Coupon
Date Completed: October 2018
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: Red
Colors: 1
Video Game: Destiny 2

I started my Star Trek Voyager cross stitch after months of perfecting the pattern and was shocked that it was so quick to stitch. So less than halfway through I started coming up with another idea, most probably a quick stitch.

This all came after I had just finished Destiny 2, along with its expansions. Therefore, it didn’t take me long to jump to the idea of stitching a sweet Destiny piece. I had seen The Crafting Geek’s awesome Ramen icon and my initial plan was to simply stitch hers up, after all, it’s great!

But that’s when I realized, what if I could do something a little more tangible? The Expired Ramen Coupon is basically an inside joke within Destiny 2 after Cayde-6 is lost at the start of the most recent expansion, and he sends you off to find a free coupon, some decades out of date. And when you get it? Not much happens, you simply get the coupon. So I wondered, how hard would it be to make a coupon?

Hard. Super hard. In fact, this is the ONLY image of it:
Expired Ramen Coupon Icon from Destiny 2
Tiny. However, that didn’t stop me, and I put something together in a realistic size using a simple black backstitch in varying thicknesses.

Destiny 2 Expired Ramen Coupon Embroidery by Lord Libidan comparison
Destiny 2 Expired Ramen Coupon Embroidery by Lord Libidan comparison
 

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How DMC Cross Stitch Threads Are Made

A few months ago we looked into needles in some depth. We looked into why cross stitch needles have those weird numbers and we looked at how cross stitch needles were made.
But it turns out that threads are just as interesting. We found this ace video from DMC that not only shows you some of the factory but gives some awesome tidbits of info. Like, I never knew DMC were the ones who invented the 6 strand floss…
 

Looking for a DMC thread card with the new colors? We have you covered.
DMC shade color thread card chart with new DMC threads

 

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Star Trek Voyager LCARS Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Star Trek Voyager LCARS Blueprint cross stitch by Lord Libidan
Star Trek Voyager LCARS Blueprint cross stitch by Lord Libidan

Title: USS Voyager LCARS Ship Blueprint
Date Completed: October 2018
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: Black
Colors: 13
Pop Culture: Star Trek Voyager
 
The idea for this project started nearly 2 years ago when I had recently watched ‘The Martian’. I was instantly enthralled by the control screens on the spacecraft, on the Mars base, and in mission control. My initial idea was a reproduction of the ship schematic in a smaller scale, however, it just looked blocky. I knew I had to redo it, but fear of getting it wrong kept me back for a long time.
Control room image from inside the Hermes Spacecraft from the film 'The Martian' (source: space.com)
Control room image from inside the Hermes Spacecraft from the film ‘The Martian’ (source: space.com)

That was until I had to create a design for the first Xstitch Mag, which I decided to create a blueprint of the Apollo Saturn V, similar to my Lightsaber blueprint, ZF-1 Fifth Element gun blueprint and my Metroid Power Suit Cannon Blueprints. I realized that the element that I loved the most from The Martian screens was the ship systematic itself.
 
Move on a few months whilst I had to do some other projects, and I watched the new series of Star Trek Discovery. Finally, the whole design came together in my head. In the same way that The Martian had different screens for different ships/sections, so did Star Trek, with its LCARS programs. I had actually done some work with LCARS before in my Star Trek book, where I designed a LCARS interface, however it had a joke on it, and wasn’t something you’d see in real life. I decided, therefore, to have a second go, this time creating a fake panel, which you might actually find on the ship.
Star Trek Voyager Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan Zoomed in Section
My favorite Star Trek is Voyager, and when searching came across a wealth of screen used designs I could draw from. I also had a framed Pokemon triptych I had been meaning to update, which has a unique long frame. Therefore I started to design a screen that you might find throughout the ship itself of a full ship-wide schematic including a mini-map, and basic ship updates. Effectively, a quick reference map, which plays into my well-known love of maps, like my Pokemon region map.
 
This is also the first time I’ve used one of the new 35 DMC colors, specifically 03, the grey at the top and bottom.

You can pick up the Star Trek Voyager LCARS cross stitch pattern from my Etsy store!

 

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DMC Thread Inventory Spreadsheet – Updated

Everyone loves a good collection of threads, but unless you have the whole set of DMC threads you’re going to need a way to keep track of what you have, and haven’t got. That’s why we created this awesome colored spreadsheet of all standard, metallic, variations, variegated, Coloris and Étoile 6 strand DMC threads, so you can keep track.
 
Just click the link or image and save the spreadsheet. You can access it on your computer, phone, or put it through googledocs!
 

DMC thread spreadsheet free download by Lord Libidan
DMC thread inventory sheet free download by Lord Libidan

If the above link didn’t work, you may have to use this link: DMC Thread Inventory Spreadsheet direct download
 

Looking for a PDF download?

We have you covered.
Direct download link
 
 
Updated February 2021

 

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New DMC Mouline Etoile Threads

It’s been a busy few months for the DMC thread company, with the addition of 35 new threads back in September, and now, a whole new set of specialist threads for October.
 
These 35 new threads dubbed the “DMC Mouline Etoile” (star mill) series are 35 new six-strand threads with the slightest sparkle added to them. They still work in the standard way a 6 strand thread would, but they offer a smaller amount of interest than the standard threads. I’ve actually been able to get hands-on with a small section and confirm they’re rather smooth and stitch well, something which specialty threads have struggled with in the past. They come in these standard colors:
(C)ECRU, (C)BLANC, C310, C318, C321, C415, C433, C436, C444, C471, C519, C550, C554, C600, C603, C666, C699, C725, C738, C740, C798, C814, C816, C820, C823, C840, C890, C900, C907, C915, C938, C972, C995, C3371, C3799

New DMC Mouline Etoile Threads In Silver Box (source: sewandso.co.uk)
New DMC Mouline Etoile Threads In Silver Box (source: sewandso.co.uk)

Unlike the 35 non-sparkly threads that came out in September, not much is being made of these new threads, which I personally find interesting. I think the timing is probably one issue. I know that September and October are filled with stitching up Halloween and Christmas stitches, so they might have missed the boat slightly when it comes to timing. It’s clear that these threads probably won’t be used outside of special occasions, and Christmas and Halloween were the time to use them. Sadly, thanks to this I think the Mouline Etoile range might struggle to sell.
New DMC Mouline Etoile Threads Compared (source: sewandso.co.uk)
New DMC Mouline Etoile Threads Compared (source: sewandso.co.uk)

But there is a second, and the slightly more interesting reason I think DMC has kept a bit quiet is due to competition, specifically with Anchor, DMC’s traditional rival. Anchor has a small set of Pearl Metallic threads which for all purposes are identical threads. Whilst Anchor have nowhere near as many threads in the range as DMC do now (only 6), with cheaper Chinese brands such as CXC gaining traction, DMC are starting to feel the pinch, and they want to be seen as the one brand pushing thread boundaries, the ‘top dog’. In fact, the Coloris range from DMC released in early 2018 was for exactly the same reason.
 
It’s clear that this year DMC has gone out of their way to match and exceed Anchor’s threads, and now they have a larger set of classic threads, and specialty. However cheaper brands are really getting some steam at the moment, so I wouldn’t be surprised if 2019 had some new threads too.

 

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Does the back of your cross stitch matter?

I’ve heard a shocking amount of people talk about the backs of the cross stitch, including some of my stitching friends. And honestly; no one cares. At all.
Here’s the thing; the back of your cross stitch CAN be neat, but sometimes it just CAN’T. The reason is all about the pattern.
 
Let’s explain with some examples. Here, we have a fantastic Mew cross stitch by The Celtic Crafter. Its a pattern made up of about 4 colors and they’re all nicely placed, so the back is nice and neat.

Mew cross stitch back by The Celtic Crafter (source: thecelticcrafter.blogspot.com)
Mew cross stitch back by The Celtic Crafter (source: thecelticcrafter.blogspot.com)

However let’s take another example, of a highly skilled cross stitcher, My Poppet Makes, who’s back looks a little less clean. Now, this back HAS to be like that, with small stitches all around and colors on both sides of the work, the threads have to jump on the back, with its small size making them look much less neat. But let’s be clear; its not better or worse. Just less neat.
Cross Stitch Backs by My Poppet Makes (source: mypoppet.com.au)
Cross Stitch Backs by My Poppet Makes (source: mypoppet.com.au)

So I should never care about the back of my work?

You often hear people talk about the back of your work in terms of two things; framing and skill. So let’s address both.

Framing

I’ve heard a few people mention this, even really experienced stitchers, however, the back has no impact on the framing of cross stitch. The issue comes from home framing and people not using the correct framing system. You can check out a great guide on framing cross stitch, in which we mention the use of foam board. This foam; super important. It means that any of those little messy blemishes on the back are hidden, and can’t be seen when framing.

Skill

Here’s where those naysayers are slightly right. When stitching the lack of mess on the back of your works usually means you’re more economical. Some take this to mean skill. However, we circle back around to the original statement; sometimes you can’t make a clean back. I know people might be nervous about their work, so I’ve taken an example from Shutterstock that shows the back is sometimes just messy, and its all thanks to the pattern. This pattern has colors all over it, with floating confetti stitch plenty, meaning you just won’t be able to make it neat.

Shutterstock cross stitch backside example (source: Shutterstock)
Shutterstock cross stitch backside example (source: Shutterstock)

If you’re still bothered by the comments though, be rest assured that your back will be cleaner as time goes on and you learn those little secrets about cross stitch. But don’t be surprised when sometimes your back is a mess! It happens.

So where does the rumor come from?

When the Japanese first came across cross stitch when a samurai accidentally brought cross stitch to Japan we started seeing neat backs. Backs that were far neater than European examples and the idea that the backs should be similar to the fronts came with it. However, that’s simply down to culture. Japanese people have a rich history with embroidery, and in particular, sashiko, which includes a stitch called ‘cross stitch’. You can see what when counted cross stitch came to Japan is was obvious that they would follow the same rules they did for their sashiko. One of these rules, in particular, is that the front should look like the back. This is mostly down to how they stitch sashiko, but when the European’s started seeing Asian cross stitch the rumor came about that they were far more skilled and everyone should try to make their backs neat.

Hitomezashi sashiko (source: sakepuppets.com)
Hitomezashi sashiko (source: sakepuppets.com)

 

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Fine Art Cross Stitch Book

Once again, I have awesome news to tell you all! I’ve got another kit book out!

Fine Art Cross Stitch Box Cover by Lord Libidan (source: amazon)
Fine Art Cross Stitch Box Cover by Lord Libidan (source: amazon)

This time we delve into the classic paintings of the past, with a Fine Art Cross Stitch kit, complete with 12 patterns from Mondrian to Da Vinci.

Cross Stitch Creations: Fine Art turns your needlework from a craft to fine art by showing you how to recreate the classic masters’ finest works.
Take your needle art to the next level and recreate some of the finest masterpieces in history! Cross Stitch Creations: Fine Art presents to you a myriad of patterns that will channel the master artist in you. From van Gogh to Klimt to Munch, the projects and artists found in Cross Stitch Creations: Fine Art represents a wide range of art movements in the painting world as a whole. The clear, step-by-step instructions and full-color photographs for the 12 included projects allow you to decorate your walls with the master’s most iconic works of art in the classic medium of cross stitch!
Cross Stitch Creations: Fine Art includes a 64-pg instruction book which shows you how to create works originally painted by van Gogh, Klimt, Matisse, Hokusai, and many others.

Fine Art Cross Stitch Book Cover by Lord Libidan (source: amazon)
Fine Art Cross Stitch Book Cover by Lord Libidan (source: amazon)

You can get your copy from Quatro (the publisher) now!

I’ll be posting some of the completed peices over the next week, so keep your eyes out for them!
 
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

 

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Emoji Cross Stitch Book

Two bits of news in one day? Yep! I’ve got two kit books out this month!

Emoji Cross Stitch Box Cover by Lord Libidan (source: amazon)
Emoji Cross Stitch Box Cover by Lord Libidan (source: amazon)

12 fun and simple emojis to stitch your heart away at, with enough thread in the kit to stitch up to 4 emojis (but definitely at least 2)!

Stitch 12 Iconic Patterns to Communicate with Your World!
Even when you can’t find the right words, you can always find the right emoji! Frame these sweet and sassy little symbols as art or embellish clothing, linens or a throw pillow!
Emoji Cross Stitch includes the patterns to craft twelve of the most popular emoji, along with all the materials to make to finished projects. The 64-page book offers clear step-by-step instructions and full-color photographs, suitable for beginners and experienced stitchers alike.

Emoji Cross Stitch Book Cover by Lord Libidan (source: amazon)
Emoji Cross Stitch Book Cover by Lord Libidan (source: amazon)

 
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

 

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Cross Stitch Gridding Techniques

Gridding isn’t often talked about in cross stitch, its often seen as an ‘if you want to’ kind of task, however, gridding is actually one of the best things you can do.
Simply put, counted cross stitch requires (you guessed it) counting. The time you take to count can not only be massive, but you can, and often do, miss count requiring mass unpicking. Gridding stops all of that. In fact, one of the products we’ll talk about says it can cut stitching time by one third!
 
So with that in mind, what exactly is the best way to grid your cross stitch? Well, it’s all a matter of choice. We’ve taken the most popular ways and detailed them out so you can give them a shot.

Easy Count Guideline

cross stitch grid lines in Easy Count Guideline by A satisfied spirit (source: asatisfiedspirit.com)
cross stitch grid lines in Easy Count Guideline by A satisfied spirit (source: asatisfiedspirit.com)

You’ve probably seen gridded cross stitch on the internet, with red lines crossing. The likelihood is that its Easy Count Guideline, which works as a thread, but instead of being made from cotton is a thin wire. The advantage of this is that is doesn’t get caught up in your stitches and when you’re done you can simply pull it out. It is, by far, the most common gridding technique and I personally use it myself. However, its also the most expensive with costs of about $6 for 10m. It’s also technically a ‘secure object’ in the EU, so you must be 18+ to buy it.

Single Threads

Thread grid cross stitch by medlow studio tapestry needlepoint (source: thehappycross-stitcher.com)
Thread grid cross stitch by medlow studio tapestry needlepoint (source: thehappycross-stitcher.com)

I hear you all saying to yourselves “so why can’t I just use thread instead?” well, you could, I just wouldn’t suggest it. The issue with single threads is that you can stitch through them, meaning when you go to pull out your thread; you can’t. Not only that but as its part of the stitch now, you can’t cut it out easily. This means that your guideline, which is normally a bright color can’t be removed, ruining your stitch.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t use it, in fact, for backstitching projects its a fantastic idea!

Fishing Line

“Fine, but are there cheaper options? I’ve heard people use fishing line?” True, you can use fishing line, and the fishing line is often cheaper than the official stitching alternative. I’ll even let you into a secret; Easy Count Guideline is actually just fishing wire. The difference, however, comes in thickness of the wire. There are a lot of fishing wires that would work OK, but the thinner, the better. Look for wire rated less than 8 pounds.

Easy Count Pre Grided Aida

Zweigart Easy Count Grid (source: sewandso.co.uk)
Zweigart Easy Count Grid (source: sewandso.co.uk)

Easy Count aida, is made by Zweigart and simply has lines built into the fabric. This line is when washed away once you’re finished. It is more expensive than standard aida, and doesn’t come in as many colors. To make things a little worse, the lines take up the space of a stitch, and not in between the lines like patterns are marked.

Magic Count Pre Grided Aida

Very similar to Easy Count, DMC make their own, called Magic Count, which has the advantage of being a little easier to see, but holds the DMC price tag to boot.

Erasable Pens

Pen grid cross stitch by pull the other thread (source: pulltheotherthread.blogspot.com)
Pen grid cross stitch by pull the other thread (source: pulltheotherthread.blogspot.com)

Finally, there are erasable pens. Whilst erasable pens were my first stab at gridding, you soon realize there are a few issues. The first is that they don’t wash out as easy as you’d like, meaning you sometimes need to give your cross stitch a hot bath once you’re finished which does impact the threads, especially metallics. Secondly, much like the pre-printed aida, you can’t stitch on the lines, meaning you have to take up a line of stitching, which could possibly throw your count off.
 
Once you’ve decided on your gridding technique check out this video from Peacock & Fig on how to grid: