Since March both the Cross Stitch Crazy magazine and Cross Stitch gold magazine, both rating highly on our cross stitch magazines review, have been on pause due to the recent stay at home events. However, their owner Immediate Media has now announced plans to close 12 magazines, including those titles.
We first heard about the possible plans back in July, however independent sources within the company have now confirmed that positions are being made redundant and the last issues will be 268 (Cross Stitch Crazy) and 162 (Cross Stitch Gold).
The cancellation of some of the best-known magazines in the cross stitch area is estimated to impact roughly 28,000 users, with Cross Stitch Crazy having a readership of 24,400. Redundancies were made on Friday 7th August, and no official announcement has been made to either readership.
In the last few years, we’ve also seen the likes of F&W Media collapse, the owner of The Cross Stitcher, however, this allowed a new owner to come in and take control of production. We’ve learned that this will not be the case with either magazine owned by Immediate Media and they are looking to close them permanently.
The publisher has said that “In order to the protect the long-term future of Immediate we have embarked on a cost-saving project across the business, which unfortunately will include some redundancies and the closure of some brands in our craft and homes portfolio and the phased closure of some of our youth and children’s titles.”
You buy a cross stitch pattern or kit, you stitch all day and night, you embellish, fix mistakes and wash your cross stitch (or maybe ask yourself do you need to wash your cross stitch) and you finally finish. You step back and admire your work and then… and then… and then you’re not sure what to do with it.
This is sadly something that people often think. As you stitch more and more, your pile of completed cross stitches steadily rises. But what do you do with all of them once you’re finished?
For many its a case of ignoring them in a corner, but you can use complete cross stitch in a whole slew of ways. We round up the best we know, and a few submissions from our followers.
We’ll start off with some of the more obvious, and then explore the more interesting.
Yeh, that’s right; frame it. I know a lot of people that cross stitch, but not that many that cross stitch and then frame their work. To me, if you’re going to spend hundreds of hours on a piece of art (or craft), you might as well show it off.
You have two options when it comes to framing, you can either frame your cross stitch yourself, or go to a framer. A framer will do a nice job, but it’ll cost a fair bit. Framing yourself is almost free, but it takes a little more effort to get looking perfect, for example, you need to work out if you should frame your cross stitch with or without glass. But whatever route you choose, framing your work allows you to show it off (even if it’s just to yourself), and relish in your work.
However, also like me, you may have cross stitched so many things, and filled up so many frames, that there is no longer a place on any wall in your house. This is when I go back through my frames and update them. This might be harder for those of you who prefer to get their cross stitch framed at a framer, but for self framers, it gives you the option of always having something new up.
Let me answer a question that might have just had; people buy completed cross stitch. Sure, there isn’t a massive market, but people part with their cash and buy finished pieces a lot. In fact, so often we made a post on how to sell your completed cross stitch.
You can recoup the cost of production, and actually make yourself a fair bit of profit. You do have to part with your cross stitch though; however for many, that’s not too much of an ask.
This may seem like a crazy one at first, but hear us out; store it. Unlike every other option on this list, if you store it, you don’t get to see it, but it keeps it in perfect condition (so long as you store your finished cross stitch correctly). If you want to make a piece an heirloom, or at least keep it to frame at a later point, you need to store it in a safe place.
Make a Quilt
So let’s get to making. We covered in a recent post other hobbies a cross stitcher would like and one of the biggest was sewing. The great thing about sewing is you can add cross stitch into it. One way is to make a quilt.
One of the first projects may hobby sewers learn is how to make a quilt. It’s traditionally done with patches of T-shirts, but you can change it up and add completed cross stitches without any fuss!
Make a Table Cloth
the second idea for a sewing project is a table cloth. It’s fairly similar in design to a quilt, but you wouldn’t stuff it. If you’re really creative you can make sure each seat at the table gets their own cross stitch, and if all of the designs are similarly themed (like Christmas) you can get it out on special occasions!
Make a Cushion Cover
Although you can buy hundreds of cushions and cushion covers, they’re rarely personal. However, with a simple sewing job, you can turn any cross stitch into a killer cushion. Add a backing piece of fabric, sew up the sites, and shove in a cushion and you’re sorted.
Make a Pencil Case/Sewing Case
Another idea I would suggest is the sewing case or pencil case. Depending on what you want to store (a project travel case would be larger) you can either use small or large finished cross stitch for this. Simply follow a sewing guide, but instead of using fabric, you use your cross stitch. You can have multiple designs or just the one, and make yourself something really handy.
Make a Glasses Cloth
If you’re a glasses wearer like me, you’ll know just how darn handy a glasses cloth is. But have you ever thought about a cross stitched one?
I’ll start by saying that you need to be selective here. Not only do you need a small cross stitch, but it needs to be on a soft cross stitch fabric like linen, and not aida (which will scratch the glass). But, embroidery on a glasses cloth actually helps clean the glasses.
Be aware though, that glasses cloths get a lot of wear, and are likely to be covered in grease (washing is a must here!) and likely to be washed often, so your cross stitch may not last forever.
The sheer volume of coaster kits in cross stitch and craft stores should give you a heads up that cross stitch works perfectly for coasters. Once again, you need a smallish cross stitch, but the great thing here is that the cross stitch is held within the coaster, meaning it’s protected from all but the sun. You get to keep your cross stitch safe, whilst seeing it all day, every day.
You could also add some banding to the edge and just use the cross stitch itself, but I’d be worried about spilling tea…
Make Pins/Needle Minders
Going right down into the small cross stitch now, you can make pins and needle minders. You can use plastic canvas cross stitches (in fact you can finish plastic canvas a whole load of ways), small cross stitches, or (dare I say it) cut apart a sampler. This will destroy the whole thing, but if you can make something out of the smaller parts, but not the whole design, it might just be worth it.
There are a few different ways to make pins and needle minders, including some kits, so we won’t say how right here, but instructions aren’t hard to come by.
Considering we use them so much, cross stitch needles or tapestry needles to give them their rightful name, are staples for our craft. Therefore, when I spoke about the best types of cross stitch needles in a previous post, I thought I had all of them covered. For a while, I thought there were no others. But when we started investigating who makes the best cross stitch needles we fell upon another type of needle. One we had never heard of before; double eye needles.
What Are They?
In essence, they are exactly what you expect, a standard tapestry needle with two eyes for threads. If we’re getting specific they actually take the standard eye and split it in two. This means that you probably have to use a needle threader to put the thread through the smaller eyes, but otherwise they act just like a normal needle.
The reason they exist, however, is slightly more interesting. The double eyes are meant to carry two different threads, allowing you to either blend threads, or add in metallics without putting friction on the fabric. This should result in a neat almost railroaded blended thread look.
How To Use Them
So how do you use them? In short, you put one thread in each eye and stitch like normal. As they are blended, you need to think about the ends of your thread (no using the loop method), but otherwise its just like you’d expect.
Are They Worth Getting?
So now you know what they are, and how to use them, let’s talk about their worth. Or more specifically, are they worth getting. We don’t shy away from speaking our mind here, and we’ve previously asked ourselves if self-threading needles are worth it, but double eye needles are different. They’re just for blending.
If you don’t blend, and you have no intention of doing so, don’t get these needles. They just aren’t for you. But what if you do blend?
In my mind, these needles make blending separate threads no easier. In fact, I tend to find the threads spin around each other much more, resulting in a worse look than a standard needle. BUT then we come to metallic threads. Without a doubt, it’s hard to use these threads and anything that can make using metallic threads easier, I’m game. And that’s where these needles really shine.
The extra eye means the effort associated with metallic threads is mostly avoided, making it a much nicer experience. In my mind, if you use metallics at all, even if you aren’t blending, these things are worth their weight in gold.
Where To Get Them
So, where can you get them? The fact that I wasn’t even aware of these needles, despite Bohin, Clover and Hemline making them just goes to show they aren’t easy to find. I prefer looking for them on Etsy as you can always find someone selling them, but other than that, local brick and mortar stores should be able to stock some in, even if you have to ask.
I’m a big fan of keeping your craft space neat, tidy and organized. At any time, you might just want to go through your kit to find that one item you brought 5 years ago and will get around to using. In the past we’ve covered how to store cross stitch threads, and went into some length about why its important, and we’ve covered how to store your cross stitch needles too.
But there is always one thing we’ve shied away from. And frankly, if you’re anything like me, this will be the messiest part of your craft space. Cross stitch patterns.
Unlike any other tool in cross stitch, cross stitch patterns pose a unique issue. Firstly, you have tonnes of them. You see a pattern, be it a free cross stitch pattern or paid, and you just have to pick it up. In addition, you have all of those patterns you’ve completed, but want to hold onto. This is only exacerbated if you design cross stitch patterns as well, adding a third layer to your cross stitch collection.
And secondly, they aren’t the easiest things to store. Much like storing finished cross stitch you want to keep them in a good enough condition that they last, but they’re made of paper, which tends not to last.
So, we’ve scoured the internet and tried a whole series of storage methods to round up the best for you.
We start with an obvious one, but one that doesn’t get that much recognition.
We would strongly suggest making a copy of any cross stitch pattern you have anyway, as the life of a digital file will be far longer than even the best-kept paper document. In addition, many of the patterns you see in places like Etsy are downloaded files, meaning many, if not all, of your patterns, are digital anyway. So why keep around the printed versions?
Don’t get me wrong, I also prefer a printed pattern when I’m actually using it, but with a great printer for cross stitch patterns, you can always print new sheets on demand (and depending on which printer you get, cheaply too).
Large volume of patterns
Long term storage (and a saftey net)
Storing free/downloaded cross stitch patterns
Viewing cross stitch patterns
Easily using cross stitch patterns
Cross stitch kits
The second method we’re going to suggest is binders, portfolios or binder notebooks. The great thing about these babies is that you can store printed patterns in clear sheets, so you can see them (or at least the first page). They’re cheap, and if you use page protectors you can keep the patterns for a long time. You can store them in a filing cabinet too.
I personally keep all of my completed cross stitches in these too, meaning I can keep a copy of the pattern with the cross stitch itself.
There are downsides though. The biggest being what you do with digital patterns. With digital stores taking over the cross stitch world, and no sign of them slowing down, its likely that your digital stash is going to grow to massive levels. Unless you plan to print them all (think of the trees!) you’ll have to keep printed and non-printed patterns separate. And a smaller issue is epic patterns. Our epic all generations pokemon cross stitch pattern racks 210 pages. That’s bigger than a lot of novels. If you like epic patterns, you might want to stay away from this method.
Printed cross stitch patterns
Viewing cross stitch patterns
Easily using cross stitch patterns
Cross stitch kits
Long term storage
Storing free/downloaded cross stitch patterns
Epic cross stitch patterns
A new one on us until we started this post, was hangers. Yes, you read that correctly. Get yourself a hanging rail (or use a wardrobe), get some trouser clip hangers, and hang your cross patterns. You can even use clear pouches to keep them a little neater (and store threads if you have kits). You need to be a little careful you don’t overweight the hangers (some epic patterns are too heavy), and this only works if you have a smaller collection of patterns too. However that said, it’s also a great way of keeping track of patterns you’re halfway through!
Smaller cross stitch patterns collections
Viewing cross stitch patterns
Easily using cross stitch patterns
Cross stitch kits
Large cross stitch patterns collections
Storing free/downloaded cross stitch patterns
Long term storage
What’s your preferred way to store patterns? We’d love to hear of ways we might have missed!
I rarely talk about tools of the cross stitch world on this blog; we try to stay impartial at all times, however, that changed last year when I just HAD to tell you about tiny travel scissors. You can get them from loads of brands, so we weren’t playing favorites, but since then we’ve had a few people ask about different tools of the cross stitch world. Normally, those tools that people tend not to buy. Tools like identification cards.
The first identification card we’ll look at is an aida gauge. Prior to knowing these things existed, I’d swear blind at a normal ruler as I counted stitches on a random bit of aida I hadn’t bothered to label correctly. Yes, I know you’ve been there!
You buy some fabric, bring it home, and it goes in a pile. Those piles somehow merge and you’re lost as to if its a 16 or 18 count. Well, that’s where the aida gauge comes into play.
Without even having to count, you can check the size of your aida, use the stitch markings to see how big a pattern of a certain stitch size will be on various fabric counts or even check your design is positioned correctly before you start stitching (that’s got me on more than one occasion).
The fact that these things are less than $5 and check aida from 11 to 40 just goes to show how awesome they are, and just how much you need one.
Next up we have needle identification cards. These things use established sizes of tapestry needles so you can compare your needle to a set list of sizes. In principle, its a great idea, however if you’re anything like me, you’ll make sure you store your cross stitch needles properly. In that case, it might not be that helpful.
We like needles here, and as a result its probably no surprise that we’ve come across gold plated needles before. In fact, we even mentioned them in our post about choosing the perfect cross stitch needle for you. However, a lot of people are skeptical of gold plated needles. There’s a good reason for this; they cost a lot more, and they’re often viewed as a luxury that doesn’t can you anything. But they can actually be fantastic needles, and we want to convince you to try them out.
So we start with a simple question; why gold? Simply put, you’ll find claims about gold needles from improving your cross stitch, to stopping wrist injury and even more crazy claims. In short; they’re all lies. There are two reasons you might want a gold plated needle; allergies and smooth passing of threads. We’ll go into more details on those later on, but as a warning; don’t believe the crazy lies.
Type of Gold Needles
So now we have that out of the way, let’s talk about types of needle. Most people expect a gold needle to be solid gold, and I’m afraid that’s not the case; they are gold PLATED needles. But not only that, some aren’t even fully plated.
A lot of gold needles you’ll find are only gold on the eye. This is mostly to keep the price down, but the idea that the eye of the needle is the largest part, so you only really need to plate that. In my mind, I don’t agree and find these needles are normally the ones that aren’t worth the money. However, if you like the idea of a gold plated needle, but don’t like the cost, they can be a good alternative.
So let’s hit the biggest issue of gold plated needles on the head right away; cost. Gold is expensive, and yes, gold plated needles are more expensive, but they do vary in price. Realistically they can be anything from a few cents more expensive per needle, to double the price, depending on quality (which we’ll speak about later). This seems OK to start but bear in mind that gold plated needles don’t last as long as nickel-plated needles, meaning you go through them faster. I’m a big fan of getting rid of old needles, but let me tell you, you’ll be going through gold needles at a rate of knots (once again, we’ll say why later).
So now we have that out the way, let’s talk about positives. The first is a nickel allergy. It actually affects more people than you think and can go undiagnosed for a while. You might get stiff fingers after stitching, slight swelling and redness. And for those people, gold needles are the only way they can stitch. You either have an allergy or you don’t, so that’s pretty much all there is to say about this.
For the rest of us non-allergic cross stitchers, the advantage of gold plated needles is the smoothness of stitching. Specifically, gold is a soft metal, but nickel is harder (but still fairly soft). This means as you push the needle through your cross stitch fabric the gold moves. Yes, you heard that right, the gold actually moves out of the way. We are talking tiny tiny tiny amounts here, but this allows you to have a smoother feeling stitch.
It might sound a little stupid, but it’s genuinely a great stitching experience. This is why I want you to try gold plated needles. There is simply nothing that compares to how nice it is to stitch with gold plated needles. I know a lot of people that swear by thread conditioners but gold plated needles are MUCH smoother.
But all this fancy gold does come with a downside; corrosion. Gold reacts far faster to things like hand oils that nickel, and thanks to the way the gold reacts to you passing it through the fabric, the gold plating does come off. In fact, it comes off far quicker than you think, realistically it starts being a problem at about 6 hours stitching. Gold plated needles in general last maybe 30 hours. This can be improved to 40 to 50 hours if you store your needles properly, but your gold needle will quickly become a steel wire before long.
We rarely have to speak about steel when it comes to cross stitch, nickel needles usually break before you expose the steel core, but steel does terrible things to your cross stitch. Its biggest problem is the tarnishing that can stain your work, or even rust it. And trust us when we say cross stitch stains can be a pain to get out. So you will throw needles out quickly.
Variations in Manufacture
But it’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, the differences in supplier can be massive when it comes to gold plated needles. We’ve spoken before about the best cross stitch needle brands and we really mean it when it comes to gold. For example, most people plate their needles with 1 micron of gold, but cheaper manufacturers supply less than 0.2 microns of gold. The thicker the plating, the longer they’ll last. The best we’ve found are the cross stitch guild gold plated needles with 2 microns of gold.
Are They Worth It?
So now we’ve spoken about the differences, price, feel and how hand oils can impact them, the question remains; are they worth it? And that’s a hard question to answer. In short, it depends on you.
If you have an allergy its a no brainer; try them. But if you don’t they still might be worth getting. Everyone’s hands vary and the oils they produce do too, so for some, they won’t have the corrosion problem, for others, the smoother feel is worth the high price tag. But you won’t know, until you try them.
What About Platinum Needles?
I’ve had a few people mention platinum plated needles to me while I was putting this post together, and yes, you can buy platinum plated needles. But having tried them; they gain nothing more than a gold needle does. In fact, platinum is a softer metal so corrodes faster, and the price is 4 times more than a standard needle. If you want our advice; just stick with gold.
When you’ve finished a cross stitch you have a few options on what to do with it. You can frame it for display or just store it. Traditionally, these are the only two things people think of doing with cross stitch. But there is another way; sell it.
Now, before we start, I’m not going to suggest you can make a business out of selling completed cross stitches, but you can get some extra cash to fuel your hobby. And after all, with all of those cross stitches in storage, never to be seen again, you might as well do something with them. So here is how to sell your completed cross stitches.
I’ve said before that Etsy is a good thing for the cross stitch world and I’ll say it again. As not only is Etsy the powerhouse of cross stitch pattern suppliers, but there are loads of people selling completed cross stitch too. In fact, of all the options on the list, we found the highest prices on Etsy, even though there weren’t as many actual pieces for sale.
Just sign up, list your item (cost is 20 cents) and set your price. Etsy takes about 5% of the whole transaction price.
eBay is the second on our list and is by far the largest of the market places for completed cross stitch. The one big benefit of eBay over something like Etsy is cost. eBay doesn’t charge to list your item, meaning you can keep the listing up for however long it takes to sell.
Sign up, list your item (free for personal users) and set your price. eBay take a beefy 10% of the transaction price though.
If those transaction fees seem a little steep, how about setting up your own store? You can use online tools like Shopify to make a store or make your own. People like Shopify can take from 2% to 10% depending on your set up, but you can get an online store through SquareSpace for about $15 a month.
Find your preferred store, make a website, list your items and market your website.
Away from the internet, how about craft fairs? Most cities and some towns host monthly or yearly craft fairs, and usually, you can get a free stand. You have to think about costs here though, as they quickly rack up. You need to cover your transport, booth fees (if there are any), booth decoration, lunch on the day, etc.
Look in local papers for upcoming events, reach out to the organizer to get a booth, work out your costs, set your prices and sell!
Take Custom Orders
Finally, we’re going to talk about custom orders. This is a slightly different ball game, as you don’t get to stitch what you want; you stitch what someone else wants. The prices are usually 1-2 cents per stitch, meaning on something 6×6 on 14 count, you can earn $140. This is by far, the best in terms of profit of anything on our list. If you’re lucky you can even find jobs going for up to 5 cents per stitch.
Getting these gigs is harder than the rest as well. You’ll have to reach out to cross stitch designers directly. Most designers create patterns to sell on platforms like Etsy and eBay, but don’t have time to stitch them up. However, they’re all very much aware that having a photo of the completed piece helps you sell cross stitch patterns.
When it comes to starting a cross stitch, other than gridding, most people just start. But if you’ve found your fabric fraying whilst stitching, you probably mean to do something about it next time; but never do. Stopping fabric fraying, especially aida and evenweave, seems like a daunting task, but we have 7 ways to stop that fabric fraying, regardless of what cross stitch fabric you’re using.
Hand Sew The Edges
The first thing for many when it comes to fraying is to stop it using some type of sewing method. For most people, this is the blanket stitch, but honestly, any edge stitching (or even backstitch) will stop fabric fraying. The one issue is that it takes forever. This is twice as bad if you sew on a large piece of aida, and then cut it down once finished, meaning you have to stitch it twice.
Machine Sew The Edges
However, sewing machines exist for a reason. Lots of cross stitchers also have other hobbies like machine sewing, and therefore a sewing machine at hand. This can be super useful for winding bobbins but also stopping fabric edges fraying. It’s super-fast and generally works better than hand-stitching anyway.
The most common stitch is a zig-zag, but many sewing machines can also do edge stitches specifically made for this. And if you have a serger, even better!
But what about a no-sew method? We start with a commercial option, fray check (other brands available) which is like a thick glue. It sticks the edges of the fabric together, giving you a stiff edge to your fabric, that will never (and we mean that) fray.
But the commercial glues do cost a lot of money. And so there are two options using less expensive options.
The first is a thick super glue (note; you can get different thicknesses) which is basically the same as fray check. Fray check tends not to stick to human skin as easily as super glue, but it works just as well and is much cheaper if you can avoid sticking it to yourself.
The second option is PVA glue, or ‘craft glue’ as its sometimes called. This requires you to wait for it to dry, but PVA glue will hold the edges of your fabric just as well. It doesn’t stick to skin, it’s non-toxic (although we’d suggest never eating glue), and if the worst happens, you can just wash it off.
The way I personally prefer to edge my fabric, however, is tape. If you wanted the cheapest option, sellotape works, but masking doesn’t leave any residue. It’s fast to apply, is super cheap, and works just as well (if not better) than the other options on our list.
Next up, we have pinking shears. That might sound like a fancy new term to you, but in all likelihood, you’ve received aida with pinked edges. Simple little shark teeth like cuts. Thankfully a pair of scissors does this for you, meaning all you have to do is cut your fabric out. We should say however that whilst this is a common method used to stop fraying, it doesn’t actually stop it. Instead, it reduces the impact of fraying. If you intend to really get hands-on with your fabric, this technique might not work too well.
Finally, we have fringing. This technique works wonders, and the fact that it’s been around for hundreds of years is a testament to that, but it’s also very visual. More often than not it’s used as a decorative edging rather than to stop fraying. However, if you don’t like the look of fringe, you can crochet the edge.
I often see people talking about stitching on linen, evenweave or monk’s cloth, and people in the comments are quiet. It took me a while to work it out, but people aren’t aware you can cross stitch on other fabrics. Most people see just the standard cross stitch fabrics like aida and evenweave, but you can pretty much cross stitch on any fabric out there. You have to change the way you go about stitching sometimes, but there really is a world of fabrics out there to cross stitch on.
When it comes to cross stitching, you probably learned with aida. It’s the go-to fabric to use for cross stitch as its uniform in size and shape, comes in different counts and makes nice cross stitches. In all likelihood, you know how to stitch on aida, so I won’t dwell, but if not, check out our guide on how to cross stitch.
What I will say, however, is that cross stitching on aida requires you to go through the closest hole to the one you started with. In short, 1 over 1.
Before we start, let’s talk about the differences between Linen and Evenweave. In fabrics like cotton and Aida, the vertical threads (Weft) and the horizontal threads (Warp) (see our cross stitch terms guide for more info) are evenly spaced out, meaning you get nice square blocks to stitch on. Linen is NOT like this. In most cases, linen is bigger in one direction than it is the other. There is nothing stopping you stitching on linen, but be aware your cross stitches may be a bit irregularly shaped. Evenweave however, is linen that is specifically made to be nice and uniform.
Can You Cross Stitch On Monk’s Cloth?
Yes. Monk’s cloth is another name for evenweave, and you can cross stitch on it the same way you would evenweave.
Now we have that out of the way, let’s talk about actually stitching on it. Unlike aida, you have to stitch 1 over 2. Pull your needle through the first hole, jump a hole, and then put it in the next one. The reason we do this is that unlike aida that is woven together with starch, linen and evenweave are loose weaves, meaning threads can move from one row to another by jumping over/under threads.
By doing this you reduce the overall count by half, however with a 28 count evenweave you can get a 14 count cross stitch, with a nicer background fabric.
Whilst aida, linen and evenweave are the most common fabrics to cross stitch on, you can also stitch on others. One big one people often forget about is cotton fabrics, polyesters, and general clothing fabrics. Unlike the other examples on the list, you actually need something else to stitch on; waste canvas. It works very much like aida when stitching, however once you’re done you wet it, and pull out all the fabric threads. This leaves you with cross stitch in neat shapes, despite the fabric under it.
What about knitting, or crochet? We mentioned that knitting and crochet is a great additional hobby to cross stitch, so you may already do one of them, and you can cross stitch straight onto it! It works the same as aida, so it does make your knitting one sided, but you can really make a piece stand out by adding a bit of cross stitch.
Pretty Much Anything
We wrap up this list with, everything. Yeh, everything. Thanks to things like waste canvas you can stitch on any soft material, but by using a drill you can actually cross stitch on any hard surface without waste canvas.