Finding the right skin tone threads can be VERY hard, normally resulting in a super pink face, or a washed out face. However, with the sheer volume of threads out there, its not actually that hard to create really realistic skin tones.
We’ve created the above table so you can look up the skin tone you want to stitch and see both highlight and shadow thread colors for DMC to go with it. Equally, you can go down the table to see darker skin tones progressively.
With this, you can edit existing patterns to match skin tones you want, or you can make your own patterns with quality skin colors.
Title: Pokemon National Map
Date Completed: June 2017
Design: Lord Libidan
Canvas: Pale Blue
I like maps. In fact, in the past, I’ve created a few map pieces, including the cross stitch map by SuckUK, and I’ve been intending to create a cross stitch map from the ground up for some time, however, I never settled on which game. I tried a fallout vault, a hitman map, even looking into final fantasy for a while, however, I realized that there was one game I always went back to, that shared a map between all its games; Pokemon.
This is the national map, meaning it doesn’t contain Unova, Kalos, or any of the ranger games. However, even then, there is a large number of made-up parts. The Pokemon games have never revealed how the world looks. I used hints and comments from the games to create a unified design that looked good to me.
Who holds the iron cross stitch throne? We’ll it will take less than 8 seasons to find out, beleive me. However when you see how awesome these Game of Thrones cross stitches are you’ll be itching for the new season in July!
What round up would be complete without a map of Westeros? This is a map that’s been recreated a lot on the internet, but I tracked down the first version.
However, that isn’t to say other versions are bad. This Mario Game of Thrones mash up is just brilliant!
Another mash up in the form of this Pokemon stitch, back when we thought Jon and Khaleesi would fight it out… *fingers crossed for them getting married*
Speaking of alliances, hows this banner based cross stitch, done on linen to make it look older and more in fitting with the lore of Game of Thrones.
Hodor hodor hodor hodor. Hodor.
And finally, some way off from Christmas, I know… but its so darn clever.
There are loads of cross stitch magazines out there, and with magazines like Cross Stitch and Needlework and Cross Stitch Collection coming to an end, I felt it was a good time to go through some of the most popular cross stitch magazines out there and give a bit more detail so you can pick the best one for you.
Updated December 2019.
Currently the second most popular cross stitch magazine out there, but on the rise, CrossStitcher focuses on modern cross stitch. The contemporary, bright, bold designs are better suited to a 16-50 age bracket, with great finishing ideas, and loads of freebies every issue. Its also the only magazine to offer a digital only option, which at $2 is a steal in itself, although with a physical copy for only $6 it might be worth getting that, as you get the digital copy for free.
Many prominent artists have been featured, including myself back in 2012, 2013 and 2015
Score 9.4/10 Full CrossStitcher review
The World of Cross Stitching (or TWOCS as its sometimes known) is the longest-running cross stitching magazine in worldwide production, and you can see why quite quickly; its very mainstream. If this is what you’re looking for then its a great magazine, full of patterns, and the largest in size on the list. It plays upon being British for the American market, and so as a Brit, you might find it a little unrealistic, but it has lots of other animals, teddy, flower, heart, etc based patterns. The theme on seasons heavily, to the point where every issue is a holiday of some kind. They include free items, but these tend to be knickknacks and not pattern stitching items, however, they do include waste canvas often, which can be hard to get your hands on. In recent years its started to struggle as people have moved to other magazines on the list, however, it still commands a massive following.
Score 9.2/10 Full The World Of Cross Stitching review
Made by MrXStitch this Kickstarter based magazine was created as a direct opposite to the girly magazines the scene is full of. Its simple message, is bringing cross stitch up to date, with very modern patterns, and features that a lot of magazines don’t have; such as everyone gets to print and online versions, with larger patterns to see better, a podcast of songs to go with all the patterns, an online community for further support and showing off, etc. Unlike the rest of the entries on the list, XStitch is not full of patterns by one main designer, but instead, each issue has 12 different designers from around the world (including people like Jane Greenoff and myself), specifically chosen for the themes, which are must more radical than the usual.
Cross Stitch Crazy is a very similar magazine to The World Of Cross Stitching, however, it tends to appeal to the English market better, with less American holidays, less playing up to being British and more kit giveaways. However, its main drawback, which people are very vocal about is its Christmas period. For the three months leading, all the magazines are devoted to Christmas. This tends to get on people’s nerves a bit. Other than that, it’s a good magazine, but it might be worth a flick through before buying each month as its a bit hit and miss.
Cross Stitch Gold appeals to the established stitcher, with sometimes VERY complex and large patterns, focuses towards traditional. All the patterns are from established designers, such as Joan Elliott, and most of the projects will take you more than a month to finish. There are no freebies, and most patterns are focused on landscapes, portraits, houses, fairies, samurai, etc much like traditional cross stitch patterns.
$7 per month; print; USA only
$7 per month; digital
The only US print magazine on the list, Just Cross Stitch has been going just over 30 years and has had a bit of a rocky start since it was sold last year. The patterns are sometimes inspired, but can occasionally look tired. It has a modern design, and most patterns follow this ideal, and it features lesser-known internet cross stitch celebrities. Its big pull is the Christmas ornament issue (not to be confused with the Christmas issue coming out the month after), which includes a large supply of free things, and features nothing but unique ways to make cross stitch ornaments. It’s worth looking into if you’re US based, but they currently don’t have any plans to supply the rest of the world.
I personally don’t rate Stoney Creek that much, however many are avid fans. They are a US traditional style magazine. They used to offer subscriptions, but their new sales model is to purchase issue by issue, one a quarter. This has the advantage that you can see all the patterns you’re getting before you buy, however the magazine only contains patterns, no articles.
On our series covering the best cross stitch magazines we review the biggest world wide cross stitch magazine, The World Of Cross Stitching.
To do this review we’ve compiled a series of reviews from industry leaders, as well as feefo reviews and at least a year of continuous subscription to the mag.
When people think of cross stitch magazines, the first one they think of is The World Of Cross Stitching. Its one of the longest-running magazines and has over 44,000 monthly readers, making it the largest international cross stitching magazine. As a result, when flicking through, you see mainstream patterns; tailored to make sure they are as accessible as possible. Whilst this can appeal to an average cross stitcher, the younger or male cross stitchers tend to feel very underwhelmed by the teddy, flower and heart patterns that adorn most issues.
The teddy was just so cute, it even got my daughter into cross stitching!
In regards to the content itself, almost all of the patterns are by the four editors/designers who aren’t known for being big players in the field. At least 20% of the magazine is devoted to full-page adverts for various companies. The patterns themselves are mostly small (under 5 hours stitching time), with one 24+ hour piece in each issue.
Its market share shows that cross stitch clearly isn’t on the way out, however with its slightly overplayed British vibe and traditional patterns, its lost market share recently to alternatives like the CrossStitcher which appeals to a younger crowd.
$6 – $12 per month; digital and print
✓ Loads of patterns ✓ Lots of mainstream patterns ✓ Large readership
╳ Not many modern patterns ╳ Expensive outside of the UK ╳ Not many freebies
On our series covering the best cross stitch magazines we review the more modern cross stitch magazine, CrossStitcher.
To do this review we’ve compiled a series of reviews from industry leaders, as well as feefo reviews and at least a year of continuous subscription to the mag.
As the main competitor to The World Of Cross Stitching magazine, the CrossStitcher takes a different angle to the world of cross stitch, with a much more modern take. The patterns are modern and feature unique ways of finishing stitches, framing, and witty new takes, which allows it to be the main cross stitch magazine for the younger and more modern crowd. They tend to vary patterns inside from 60-90 equally spaced between small, medium, and large patterns. Unlike many other magazines, they tend to advertise using actual content, suggesting a site to get a frame, etc instead of full-page adverts.
If you like very modern and contemporary designs then that’s probably your best bet. They use lots of bright, bold colours, fun finishing ideas etc
They are also well known for the free stuff you get, allowing you to at least complete 2 patterns each issue with the freebies provided, although it should be noted the freebies aren’t the highest quality. Its by far the cheapest magazine on offer at the moment, and there are no high fees to pay for postage, especially so with the digital versions.
Today we have an awesome post by KathleenCG who’s giving us an insight on keeping stress free with cross stitch 😀
In times where I am stressed, I’m glad that I took up cross stitching as a hobby. Everyone has their own ways of dealing with stress – exercise, writing, spa day, etc. For me, it’s cross stitch. I’ve been doing cross stitch for just over a year now. It has become a bit of a escape for me, as I’m able to submerge myself in it and forget my troubles. Read on for the ways cross stitch helps me keep my stress levels low.
Cross stitch keeps me focused
With cross stitch, there are many variables that come into play. From figuring out the pattern to counting how many squares you need to stitch, you need to make sure you’re paying attention at every step. It can be very easy to make a mistake. I like to take my time when I stitch. By keeping focused, my attention to detail has grown pretty greatly. I’d rather get it right the first time than have to restart everything all over again.
It keeps me distracted
Similar to keeping focused, cross stitch helps distract me from whatever I have going on in my life. I look forward to being able to sit and cross stitch at the end of my day. Cross stitch is a top ‘downtime’ activity for me. Usually I like to catch up on some TV shows while I stitch. Between those two activities, I don’t have much space to think about anything else because I’m focused on finishing the project at hand. I also find that watching TV while I stitch helps me work faster.
There’s nothing cooler than sitting back and looking at what you’ve made. You spend hours, days, sometimes weeks on projects that seem never-ending. But when you’re done, you can’t help but get a sense of accomplishment. The stress seems to disappear when you look at what you’ve finished and think, “Wow, I made this all by myself.” I love this feeling because it makes me feel proud of myself. It’s a great self-esteem booster and I find it pulls me out of a rut whenever I’m feeling down or stressed.
Above all, cross stitch helps me out the most because I love doing it. There’s no better way to de-stress than to do something that you thoroughly enjoy doing.
One of the first things any cross stitcher gets is a frame, and as they develop their craft, they start looking at other options. We show the best frames out there, with detailed pros and cons so you can pick the right frame for your project, if you’re looking for a way to cross stitch faster or finish your project in a frame.
Embroidery hoops are probably the first types of frame any stitcher gets. They come in multiple sizes, they’re cheap, and they can be left in the hoop for as long as you like (even for framing). However, the very fact that you’re reading this post probably suggests you don’t want to stick with one. They’re a bit clunky, hard to hold, and can’t accommodate large stitches.
However, before we move on, there are loads of types of hoops that might help. Whilst most start with wooden hoops, that can be quite heavy, plastic ones are far lighter, and whilst not as strong, are much easier on the wrist.
✓ Cheap ✓ Can finish the piece in one ✓ Come in varying sizes ╳ Hard to hold ╳ Need to keep buying different sizes ╳ Cannot use for medium/large pieces
Basically a standard embroidery hoop, but instead of an internal wooden ring, they have a wire you slot in. They have a nice and easy install, however they don’t have as strong of a pull than the wooden kind. They also tend to come in a little more expensive too.
✓ Mostly cheap ✓ Super easy to set up ✓ Come in varying sizes ╳ Hard to hold ╳ Need to keep buying different sizes ╳ Cannot use for medium/large pieces
And so scroll frames were invented! Solving all the problems an embroidery hoop has (even if they cause some others) scroll frames are the go to frame type for anyone moving on from a hoop. They allow you to sew/tape/staple in your aida and you can stitch to your hearts content. There are a few draw backs though; they’re heavy, really heavy, however you can attach them onto holders so you don’t have to hold them. In addition they’re quite expensive, and due to having to sew in your projects, wear quite quick. You also need to loosen the frame when you’re not stitching to stop it pulling unevenly. And finally, you have to attach them to the frame, either by stitching them on, tape or stapling, which pulls at the edges of the aida and takes forever to set up.
✓ Come in hundreds of sizes ✓ Perfect for large/extra large pieces ╳ Heavy ╳ Quite expensive ╳ Cannot “hold” stitch
So if you read the above review, the main issue with scroll frames comes from the fact that you have to stitch them in. However with an easy clip frame you instead clip the aida in, solving all these problems. Sure, scroll frames, even easy clip are heavy, but they hold the aida tight when not stitching, they don’t wear, and they’re just as versatile. Most serious cross stitchers move onto an easy clip frame sooner or later, they’re the best long term investment.
As an update to my original post, you can now get plastic easy clip frames that are much lighter.
✓ Come in hundreds of sizes ✓ Perfect for large/extra large pieces ✓ Best long term price investment ╳ Heavy
Speaking of long term investments, bar frames are sold as exactly that. They’re sold in 4 to 6 inch bars which clip together to allow you to extend the size of your stitching area. It means that instead of having to buy progressively larger and larger frames, you can just add a few cheap bars. However, this does come with a few draw backs. Firstly, they’re not light, although still lighter than scroll frames (although the plastic ones are lighter). Secondly they’re really bad at holding large pieces, the plastic variety is even worse at this. Thirdly, you can’t hold your aida in one when not stitching, they warp the shape due to being square frames; which is a real problem baring in mind you have to staple your aida in.
✓ Much cheaper long term than other frames ╳ Quite heavy ╳ Cannot “hold” stitch ╳ Cannot use for very large pieces
This is a new type of frame, made to try and combine all the above frames into one super frame. I’ve tried them a few times, and whilst they do live up to a bit of the hype, I still find myself going back to a easy clip frame. They’re made up in a similar way to a bar frame, but made of a special interlocking rigid plastic so it holds large pieces better. In addition you then clip in spikes to the edges to hold the aida. You’re meant to wet the aida pull it across and it holds the aida perfectly, which does work VERY well, especially the tension it holds, however it requires at least 30 minutes of building, then getting your aida all wet before you can put it together, and then a further 4-8 hours to let your aida dry completely before you can use it. They also have a “Grip-n-Frame” product too, which allows for fantastic framing of finished pieces.
✓ Cheap ✓ Light ✓ Perfect for small/medium pieces ╳ Cannot “hold” stitch ╳ Can be uncomfortable to hold ╳ Takes hours to set up each time
Universal Craft Frame
Unlike the rest of the reviewed frames, this one you can create at home. Simply put, its a series of PVC pipes. You can buy kits to make your job slightly easier, however its adaptability is the real seller here. You can swap out lengths for shorter or longer pieces depending on what you’re stitching, and you can very easily put your project into the frame. They tend to loose their hold so you need to put them back in each time you stitch, however it takes seconds. They don’t pucker or flatten the area stitched areas, and they’re lightweight. The only one downside is as the projects get larger, it can get a little unwieldy.
✓ Cheap ✓ Light ✓ Perfect for small/medium pieces ╳ Cannot “hold” stitch ╳ Not suitable for larger projects
May the 4th be with you on this festively Star Wars themed round up!
To start us off, we have an awesome dark side composite image, making up Vader’s face out of Empire goodness. Frankly, this would be awesome if it was made in any medium, but to condense all that into cross stitch is truly brilliant.
Sometimes however simplicity wins. This storm trooper, utilizing a hoop and white aida to create most of the piece is genius!
No list of Star Wars would be complete without mentioning this epic Star Wars tapestry, that is a chronology of the first 6 films in the series. At 30 foot long, and frankly some of the best films ever created, its definitely going to give the epic Pokemon cross stitch a run for its money.
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. It’s 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?
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 is down to the definition of an 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 it’s 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 artwork, so surely the original must be art too?
For many, cross stitch conjures up images of cute kittens and country cottages, but there’s 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.
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.
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.
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.