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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you wanted to check out some other Star Wars cross stitch I have a book out too.
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.
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.
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.
This we missed one-off, or want to submit your own? Hit us up with an email or link!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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:
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. It’s all about how to use the comic book style in pattern making.
Title: Mega Ring
Date Completed: February 2017
Design: Lord Libidan
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!
Title: Spirited Away
Date Completed: February 2017
Design: Richard J. Evans & Lord Libidan
Anime: Spirited Away
MotoRuxin, a Twitch streamer who cross stitches, has been doing some sweet stitches recently on really bright background aida, and it got my fingers itching for something similar. I haven’t really done much with exciting colored aida, other than my red aida background gengar Japanese print cross stitch. At first, I tried finding a bright purple, my favorite color, however, I settled for orange.
I had a quick google online, and after seeing Adam Savage’s My Neighbour Toronto costume, I got on a bit of an anime binge. And lo and behold, a Spirited Away stitch. The design is by Richard J Evans, who does pixel art of loads of anime films.
I’ve already written a few blog posts in the past on how to make a cross stitch pattern perfect however it was written from the point of view of improving a pattern you’ve already made. But what about starting from a blank piece of paper?
Every post I’ve written about cross stitch patterns starts the same way. Story.
Comic books have story in spades and can really boost an image, but stealing some of their magic, but just thinking about the composition or the background can make a cross stitch pattern perfect.
The Rule Of Thirds
The above image is one of the best composed images I’ve even seen recreated in cross stitch. Its perfect balance of blank space to stitches, and its fantastic sense of scale allows it to own that title on its own. But its fantastic us of the rule of thirds (a well known photography trick) make it even more special.
The rule of thirds stipulates something every simple, but it’s often not that easy to actually do it. The eye is naturally drawn to the cross over points marked in blue. I know that blue lines make it clear on the above image, but normally it happens too. It doesn’t even matter if the image is rectangular, circular (or even star-shaped), your eye naturally goes to these areas. Combining them like the above Journey one just makes the eye pick them up perfectly.
There’s no getting away from it, but the theme of a cross stitch pattern is the thing that makes or breaks it. Is it an in-joke? Or is it something everyone is talking about?
Ironically depending on what your theme might be, the pattern changes drastically. It might be a good idea to check out the biggest trends in cross stitch for 2017 to see what might be a good starting position, but remember one thing; make something memorable.
Taking a fun Harry Potter image might be a great start to a cross stitch pattern. Its got a story, it fits with positioning, it has a fantastic and nerdy theme, but there are 7 movies. I can’t tell you how many Potter cross stitch patterns I’ve seen that have bright colors like the first film. But if you’re stitching up something from Harry as a child, how about choosing color palettes from the film that reflect that time?
@CINEMAPALETTES is a fantastic place to find movie colors.
Cross stitch needles ARE allowed on planes. The TSA advise;
You may place your knitting needles and needlepoint tools in carry-on or checked baggage.
However, there is a wider question here, and that’s;
Can You Cross Stitch On A Plane?
There are two things to think about here, the needles and the scissors. Even though an initial thought is no on both counts, you can take both on, so long as you prepare for it.
We’ve already established that you can take needles onto a plane, however, in practice, things aren’t as simple.
Firstly, they MUST be embroidery needles, as they have rounded ends. In addition, you should be able to show this.
Secondly, they MUST be enclosed in a hard shell.
The best approach here is to buy something like John James Pebble, as it’s clear, so the agents can see, they’re enclosed, and they stay they’re embroidery needles. Limit the amount you bring though, you’re not taking an arsenal.
I will add a caveat there, that sometimes needles can be confiscated. If this is the case, all airports carry sewing kits, which can be picked up for $2-3, and contain a needle (oh, the irony). In some cases, these are even embroidery needles. Just be careful with the point.
This is slightly more complicated. You aren’t allowed to bring sharps, which include almost all scissors. If you can find a pair that are less than 1 inch from the pivot point, and are rounded off on a 1/1 curve, then you can take them, however not only was I not even able to find a pair like this in my research, but they don’t strike me as very useful tools for cross stitch.
There is an alternative though; threadcutters. At the moment you can take two different kinds, the DMC thread cutter pendant(which can be questioned on some airlines), or the Thread Cutterz Ring. I have used both, and I would STRONGLY recommend the ring.
Now you have everything prepared, place both needles and scissors (if you have them) in a clear bag, and treat them like liquids.
On a final note, I would suggest in all cases you should phone the airline before taking them aboard, and NEVER hide them. Also, as a tip, use shorter lengths of thread than usual, you don’t have as much space on a plane.
Frankly, there are hundreds of cross stitch books out there. However which are the best books? That’s a little hard to answer on its own, but I’ve broken up the cross stitch world so you can find out which cross stitch books are best for you. Here we have the top 10 modern and contemporary cross stitch books.
1 – Subversive Cross Stitch
By Julie Jackson
Rude. Lude. But oh so funny. The cross stitch community wouldn’t be what it is today without subversive stitch, and this book only goes to prove that. A quick look at their website will probably give you more stitches to try, but it makes you understand the sub-culture so much better.
2 – Cross-stitch Super Collection
A fantastic book particularly for beginners, with hundreds of mini stitches to try, it won’t take long to see a pattern, start a stitch and finish. I have more than a slight feeling that this book got people into cross stitch.
3 – Game & Stitch
This is a little hard to find now, and its all in Japanese… However, the design of the book just oozes awesome. Makoto has also come about the stitches in a way unlike others I’ve seen, with outline only space ships from space invaders (worth it just for those). Its major drawback, however, is its lack of content. There are maybe only 30 stitches, and each is less than an inch.
And the language barrier doesn’t help to be honest…
4 – Star Wars
By Rhys Turton & John Lohman
Written by my very own hand the Star Wars cross stitch kit features loads of patterns for beginners and more advanced stitchers alike, but also offers parts so you can construct your own patterns! And it massively helps that its Star Wars…
5 – Stitch People
By Lizzy Dabczynski-Bean
I’ve never been one to stitch people, however one quick glance at this book and you can see just how easy it is. There are outfits, hairstyles, faces, and accessories in abundance so you can mix and match your subject with ease. To make it even better the style makes it easy for you to customise with your own work in a flash. The book is clear, and every page is a beauty to read.
6 – Supersize Stitches
By Jacqui Pearce
BIG STITCHES! The great thing about Jacqui’s book isn’t that the stitches are big, but are instead well thought through. Some use large aida, some use the negative space well, and others are plan and simple well designed.
7 – Storyland Cross Stitch
By What Delilah Did
What Delilah Did is a powerhouse in cross stitch. And no wonder her books are too. I like this one best for two reasons; firstly its cute, every stitch makes you want to say “awwwwww”. And secondly; its also a kit. Unlike other kits that come in a big box, each pattern has a page where the supplies are attached so you can pull off and do one at a time.
8 – Manga Cross-Stitch
By Helen McCarthy & Steve Kyte
2007 wasn’t a big year for cross stitch, it was before the rise of the contemporary scene as seen in our cross stitch history post, however I think a major part to its rise may have been this book. It comes with a questionable cross stitch pattern maker, and a set of instructions for panel ideas. What it doesn’t do is tell you what to stitch, but instead tells you styles you can emulate, and takes you on a journey to make your own patterns. A great book for beginners, and frankly, a great resource for comic book style stitches.
9 – Mega Mini Cross Stitch
The newest book from the author of “Cross-stitch Super Collection”, he attempts to pack more detail into ever smaller stitches. I picked up a copy the first day it was out, and the space stitches are frankly amazing.
10 – Twisted Stitches
By Phil Davison
My major concern with this book is the lack of finesse. Each stitch has unclean lines, and dead stitches. However that’s its charm. The stitches are horrific, and weird at the best of times, and it pulls no punches in being an adult book, however its one of the best selling cross stitch books out there.
Bonus – Push Stitchery
By Jamie Chalmers
OK, this isn’t specifically a cross stitch book, and its content of cross stitch is fairly low, however our mate at MrXStitch.com has been able to compile some of the best stitchers in the world. This is my go to place when I want a bit of out of the box stitching.
I recently finished the last piece of Fallout 4 DLC, and with a pending 3-5 year wait until the next one, I thought I would round up the last of Fallout until then with 5 Fallout cross stitches to tide you over until Fallout 5.
Can you see that? I mean…wow. Just… wow. This amazing (and epic) piece was inspired by the Nuka Quantum of Fallout 3, using a fan made poster to create a great cross stitch.
All those years squired away in a soul-less, possibly dangerous vault. What else would there be to do than cross stitch classic samplers? This fantastic example combines a few simple stitches as well, making not only a fantastic cross stitch, but a fantastic bit of Fallout fan art.
Made for the annual spritestitch charity quilt, user SonnySplendor created this amazing cross stitch inspired by Fallout New Vegas. It was so impressive that I also featured it as the title cross stitch for the SpriteStitch Round Up on Mr X Stitch that month.
This fantastic cross stitch is so good I’ve even used it before in my post Clever tricks to make cross stitch patterns pop. Its clever neon glow in the dark thread really brings the HUD of the pipboy, to showcase a VERY cleverly put together project.
And of course, where would I be without a killer Fallout piece by myself?
There are two reasons you might be reading this; either you’re currently sitting over a ruined stitch, or you’ve made a few too many mistakes in the past. The good news is at some point everyone has made the same mistake, so don’t fret!
First things first
Take a breather. If you’ve just noticed your mistake, don’t fear there is ALWAYS a way out. So let’s get into the list:
Knots on the back
I should state now, you need a smaller bit of thread. As standard, you should look for about a lower arm’s length.
If you have a small knot pull on the knot and pull towards to hoop. Then pull all the following threads tight like a shoelace.
If the knot is big (or there’s no hoop) then this won’t do. Instead, start chopping. Make sure to only cut threads involved in the knot and leave as much “free” thread as possible. Once the knot is gone and you have a series of loose strands, start stitching the surrounding area, and stitch over the loose threads. By the time you’ve finished the surrounding areas, the threads will be all stitched up. Alternatively, you can push the loose threads under the backs of the stitches like you would end a thread.
You’ve spilt something on it
Yeh, normally tea, right? Well this is super simple, just wash it. However, as you haven’t yet finished, make sure you don’t iron it.
This happens a lot. I don’t know of anyone that hasn’t managed to do it. You should really look into future ways to avoid this, like thread breaking, and fabric pens, however, you have two possible solutions.
Let’s say we have a missing stitch marked on our Pikachu performing iron tail, with a blue blob.
You could then think about removing the lines from that point on towards the end of the piece, marked with dark blue lines.
This means you have to be prepared to edit your pattern in a big way, but sometimes is the only way to get it to work. The Pikachu still looks fine:
Depending on the stitch in question, it might not matter a whole lot, much like the Pikachu pattern, you could easily fill it with yellow and no one would ever know.
Well, sometimes that’s the easiest way…
Wrong stitch placement
The whiteout technique about might be a good idea here, however, for the most part, you probably want to unpick what you have. But let’s say its a massive area, its obvious and you can’t do a whiteout. Cut it out.
Now, this seems harsh, but if you cut out the offending area, and stitch a new small piece of aida on top it’ll be totally hidden by the time you finish. Easy!
Know of any other stitching disasters? Throw me a line and I’ll help!