Why Your Cross Stitch Patterns Aren’t Selling

the ultimate guide to selling cross stitch patterns on etsy

Following our highly admired post on how to sell cross stitch online and our massive ebook guide on how to sell cross stitch we’ve been asked for some more targeted advice on what to do if your cross stitch isn’t selling.

Wake up and Make Money cross stitch by pxdstitchshop (source: etsy)
Wake up and Make Money cross stitch by pxdstitchshop (source: etsy)

At first you might think you should give up, but don’t. It’s probably something simple you can fix without much issue.

You just opened your store

If you’ve just opened your store, you think sales will rush in, but sadly, they don’t. In fact, the rise to the top is a slow road. This doesn’t mean you should be disheartened though; you can quickly help yourself get the best footing by creating a killer store. You can find how to do this in our free guide on selling cross stitch on Etsy. Alternatively, check out the options below, to make sure you’re not also making other mistakes.

You only have a few items selling

If you have one item in your store, you have one chance to sell. If you have 2 you have double the chance to sell. Simply put, having more items in your store will help you sell more and on a more consistent basis. The numbers vary here based on your price points, however, if you have 50 items in your store, I would be very surprised if you didn’t get one sale a week. This means that if you only have one item, you’re likely to sell only one a year.
The fix: If the idea of making a load of patterns scares you, try making one new pattern a week. As you make more, you’ll sell more and get into a great habit of making patterns on a regular basis (see below).

You haven’t added new items in a while

Etsy is a strange beast, and one part that store owners have known for a long time (but Etsy refuses to comment on) is that you’ll rank higher in searches if your store has had new items added to it recently. This means that if you haven’t added anything to your store in the last month, you’re likely not getting as many views as you used to.
The fix: Set up a product calendar and stick to it. If there’s a new item every day, or every week, or every month, it doesn’t matter, so long as you keep adding new patterns over time.

You’re not testing

Having an Etsy store means work. It doesn’t just happen on its own, and you’ll find that the more time you spend on Etsy testing things out, the higher your sales will be. Your logo might look great, however, does it resonate with your customers? You don’t know unless you test an alternative. Testing everything on your site allows you to create the perfect store for your patterns and makes a real difference.
The fix: Test new titles, new images, new descriptions, new banners, our logo; everything.

Your SEO isn’t up to scratch

Connected to testing, is SEO. Playing with your tags, titles, descriptions, and categories all has an impact on SEO (how likely you are to appear when someone searches a term). If you don’t have all 13 tags used, you’re suffering. If you haven’t added material tags, color tags, and tags for who the pattern is for, you’re likely to rank less well than someone that has. Make sure everything is filled out, and then start to play to get the best combinations.
The fix: Have fun, play with your tags, titles and descriptions until you find a perfect combination. Just make sure you wait long enough after a change to get a good idea of if it’s worked (things like this don’t work overnight).

Your products are a bit random

A more substantial issue is your product line. Most people actually buy on Etsy by finding a style of pattern they like, then searching the store for a specific pattern. This means you have a captive market, however, if your patterns are all over the place, they’re likely to go to a different store. If you’re got flower cross stitch patterns mixed with heavy metal cross stitch patterns, it make a confusing list.
The fix: Make sure your patterns are all in keeping with your store, you can either put a different type of patterns into categories or open two different stores.

You’re trying to be professional

I’ll hold my hands up to this and say I made this mistake in a big way. I thought that if I had a shop, I should be super professional with everything I do. However, the reason people shop on Etsy is they want a human face. They want the personality. Changing my writing style, banner and logo increased my sales by 6 times. Making that human connection is what Etsy sellers love!
The fix: Make sure your profile is up to date and uses a photo of you. Add a story to your store, fill in the about section, and make sure you let your personality come through.

You forgot to include dimensions + details

A simple mistake, but one that can make all the difference. The pattern details. Adding the dimensions, colors, etc is information every buyer needs to know. A simple mistake I see a lot is people copying and pasting descriptions without checking them first. You might talk about a different pattern, confusing a buyer, or have a wrong measurement. This is small, I know, but will make the difference between a sale and no sale.
The fix: Check all of your descriptions to make sure they have all the information needed, and they aren’t talking about different patterns.

You aren’t thinking about your customer

You’ve probably heard this sales pitch before; it’s all about the customer. And it is. What this means is you need to think about what the customer wants. If you’re trying to sell a Game of Thrones cross stitch to a flower fan, it’s not going to happen. Think about what your customer is going to want, and supply that product.
The fix: Sit down and think about your customers and what they want, and if you’re supplying this. If not, you might need to rebrand to get different customers, or change your product line.
If you’re looking for a super detailed guide on selling cross stitch online, including trouble shooting, try out ultimate guide on selling cross stitch on Etsy.

Consider signing up to our weekly newsletter!

Ultimate Guide to Selling Cross Stitch patterns Online free ebook

Download Guide


Consider following us on social!

  Instagram   Twitter   Facebook   Pinterest   DeviantART   RSS Feed

An Interview with Makoto Oozu the Japanese Cross Stitch Master

Makoto Oozu (source: oozu.jp)

It’s super rare that the cross stitch master Makoto Oozu does an interview outside of Japan, however, we were able to speak to him one on one to get a glimpse into his world.
A lot of people outside of Japan already know who you are, but the story on how you became a cross stitch master is an interesting one. Can you tell us how you came across cross stitch and how it changed your life?
In my early twenties, when I was working at a liquor store, my friend gives me a book of cross stitch. It was my first encounter to cross stitch too. Normally, cross stitch books are written for women, with designs like flowers or pretty things. But I thought cross stitch is close to 8bit, which I have loved from childhood. Then I started to design original ones. Then a publisher asked me for some books to be published. However, there were two things they wanted. One; it was made for men who like embroidery. Two; mothers who have little boys liked my design. If I had not come across cross stitch, I would be a liquor shop manager.
How and where did you learn you learn how to stitch or sew?
I’ve learned embroidery in a beginner’s book such as ‘Cross stitch A to Z.’ It was completely self-study, so I can have a kind of inferiority complex, but that also works to my advantage allowing me to do anything.
What does cross stitch mean to you?
Both a hobby and a job. I work for clients in most of my work recently, but I always want to create something new in embroidery.
Where do you like to work?
I like to work in my empty studio after everyone has gone home with the radio on.
As a fellow manbroiderer (male embroiderer) how do you look at the market, and what changes are you trying to bring in?
The embroidery market has grown due to the internet. The internet gave us the ability to show, buy, or sell products. I wonder if I just had interested in cross stitch a little bit earlier than other manbroiderers.
How do people respond to you as a male embroiderer?
I’m a tall and big guy, so people assume I’m not into embroidery. Everyone usually surprised.
Over the years you’ve created a lot of cross stitch. What’s your favorite piece and why?
A bracelet shaped like a ROLEX, which is called “OLEX”. (“OLE” stands for “me” or “I” in Japanese, so it has a meaning like my ROLEX). When KAWS came to Japan, he bought it! I could believe my products and the way I have walked is right at that time.

OLEX by Makoto Oozu (source: oozu.jp)
OLEX by Makoto Oozu (source: oozu.jp)

As one of the only well-known Japanese cross stitchers outside of Japan, how do you think traditional Japanese culture influences your work?
I had no idea that I was well-known outside of Japan lol.
I’m 37 years old now. Video games, that I have played when I was a child, influenced my work a lot. And my assistants are methodical, but that may kind of unique to Japan(?).
When you design patterns do you try to create patterns for Japan, everyone, or do you create things you like to stitch?
These days, I work with clients, so themes (patterns) are decided due in meetings with them. I used to create patterns that I liked such as insects, dinosaurs, and cars, kind of boyish patterns.
With that in mind, where does most of your inspiration for patterns come from?
I have no idea. But, when I am traveling, or shopping, sometimes I think “what if I made these things like cross stitch patterns?” those things become great.
What are or were some of the strongest trends and influences you had to absorb before you understood your own work?
Japanese casual fashion between the middle of the 90s to 2000s, when I was around 18 years old. I like Nike Air Jordans, Air Max, G-Shock, Ape, etc… even now.
Makoto Oozu (source: oozu.jp)
Makoto Oozu (source: oozu.jp)

In 2016 you opened TOKYO PiXEL, and moved slightly away from cross stitch. May I ask why you decided to move away from cross stitch and focus on pixel art?
Cross stitch is one of “pixel art”. And I’ve been a fan of video games. The difference is only one thing; using needles or mice.
Do you intend to open up more stores, and make an Oozu empire? I know many people would be interested in a store in Europe or America…
Talking about TOKYO PiXEL, I really hope that our products are sold overseas from the bottom of my heart. That’s why a shop is near Asakusa where many tourists come.
I hope some company will help us to sell our products overseas as a partner. There are two reasons. One; as a designer, there are many things you can create. Two; I’m not talented enough to sell or manage it lol.
Finally, let’s talk about your new book. After a series of successful books, most of which are super hard to get outside of Japan, you’ve decided to come out with a compendium of your patterns. Can you tell us what makes “Fun Cross Stitch Book” different, and tell us why you were so strongly devoted to making it full color?
Three books that I have published became out of print. I’ve got many requests for reissue. So I add some new designs to these three books as one new book.
I think the full color is easy to view. There was a hard problem of costs printing in full color, but the publisher cooperated with me.
We reviewed Makoto’s new book Fun Cross Stitch!
fun cross stitch book cover by Makoto oozu (source: amazon)
fun cross stitch book cover by Makoto oozu (source: amazon)

Any future projects you’re especially looking forward to?
Some big projects are in progress. I think we would release them in 2017. Please look forward to it. I would love to hold an exhibition overseas sometime, please come there at that time and when you come to Japan, Please visit our shop.
Do you have any secrets in your work you will tell us?
I designed 3D embroidery where you wear red and blue 3D glasses, but actually it doesn’t work. lol.
You can find Makoto’s work on his website, or you can purchase his kits, porcelains and geekery on his TOKYOPiXEL store.
3-14-13 Kotobuki, Taito, Tokyo, Japan.
Open on every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Japanese national holidays.
12:00 – 19:00 TEL 03-6802-7870


Consider following us on social!

  Instagram   Twitter   Facebook   Pinterest   DeviantART   RSS Feed

Fun Cross Stitch Book by Makoto Oozu Reviewed

fun cross stitch book cover by makoto oozu (source: amazon)

The Japanese cross stitch master, Makoto Oozu has produced a series of books in the past, such as “Makato’s Cross-Stitch Super Collection” which is found on the shelves of most cross stitchers worldwide. That’s why, when he released a new book in Japan, I had to get myself a copy!

fun cross stitch book cover by makoto oozu (source: amazon)
fun cross stitch book cover by makoto oozu (source: amazon)

This super compendium of miniature cross stitch patterns is 200 pages thick, with new content from 2017 such as an A4 world map, and country specific stitches, as well as the reprints of three of Makoto’s previous books; the Japanese only out of print “My Stitch Book”, “Makato’s Cross-Stitch Super Collection” and “Mega Mini Cross Stitch: 900 Super Awesome Cross Stitch Motifs“.
Makoto decided to put together this new book as he’d been requested by hundreds of people for copies of his out of print books. This means that the book contains over 2000 patterns! Many of which you would have seen before in his previous books, but he’s put together 100 new patterns and there are 300 from his Japanese only book too, meaning this is still a fantastic book to pick up.
fun cross stitch book by makoto oozu (source: oozu.jp)
fun cross stitch book by makoto oozu (source: oozu.jp)

For Makoto, one of the biggest issues with his previous books was the lack of color, and frankly, I agree. For a beginner, in particular, patterns need to be easy to read, and the dizzying array of icons on a black and white pattern is super confusing. In this new book, not only is every pattern printed in full-color glory, but the patterns are too, meaning an easy to follow pattern for beginners.
However, the book is mostly in Japanese, meaning reading the instructions for beginners might be a bit complicated. However there are pictures, and in a book of 200 pages there are a total of 9 in Japanese, so it really isn’t a problem for most people and is still a great collection of patterns.
fun cross stitch book full color preview by makoto oozu (source: oozu.jp)
fun cross stitch book full color preview by makoto oozu (source: oozu.jp)

If you fancy picking up the book, you can currently get a copy on the Japanese Amazon for about $20 (as of September 2017). I’m afraid to say we’ve got confirmation from Makoto that it won’t be published outside of Japan, so this is currently the only way you can pick one up.
In fact, we spoke to Makoto about a few things, such as the Japanese cross stitch trends, you should check out my interview with Makoto Oozu.
And finally, I leave you with a quote from the author himself about his new book:

If you compare it to rice, it’s like a book with raw egg, red ginger and miso soup in a special rice bowl.

Makoto Oozu


Consider following us on social!

  Instagram   Twitter   Facebook   Pinterest   DeviantART   RSS Feed

DMCs 35 New Threads

Collectors tin for the new 2018 DMC color threads (source: sewandso.com)

DMC new threads

For the first time in 14 years, DMC threads are launching new colors. We were able to get a preview set, and so we’ve decided to help out and go into detail with the 35 new colors.
Firstly, the new colors range from code 01 to 35, and no colors are being replaced; these are all additional only. This brings the total range up to 500. They’re out in late October/early November (dependent on where you live).
Based of the new colors is clear that DMC have really listened to what customers wanted. Without further ado, lets look at each of the new colors.
New DMC Thread range 01 to 35
01 to 04 – Greys
DMC threads color 01DMC threads color 02DMC threads color 03DMC threads color 04
The first set is numbers 01 to 04, all grey. The current grey selection is a bit lack luster, with very popular colors such as 415, 318 and 414 being slightly purple hued. The new set effectively replaces these colors by removing the purple, making a fantastic run of 762, 01, 02, 03, 04, 317, 413, 3799, 310. We’ve made up this color swatch up below. Honestly, of all the new threads, we think these four will be the most popular by far, and will stop that weird purple hue on grey scale projects like our Canabalt piece.
dmc greys

05 to 09 – Browns
DMC threads color 05DMC threads color 06DMC threads color 07DMC threads color 08DMC threads color 09
The second set, 05 to 09, are all brown. At first glance they’ve very similar to the 453, 452, 451, 3861, 3860, 779 line, however that has historically been muddled and lacking in a progressive shading. Instead, the new line makes a pure brown, something that’s been missing for a while from the traditional line.
10 to 18 – Greens
DMC threads color 10DMC threads color 11DMC threads color 12DMC threads color 13DMC threads color 14DMC threads color 15DMC threads color 16DMC threads color 17DMC threads color 18
Initially it seems a little odd to have so many greens in the new threads, especially considering green has always been a strong point of DMC. However, if you think about the greens available, they either transition into blue, or brown. Hardly any move into yellow. This is where the new green threads come in, offering fairly pale greens that transition into yellow. In addition color 13 sits as a lighter 3849 to allow blue to green blending a little easier at pale ends of the spectrum.
19 – Orange
DMC threads color 19
We then have the solitary 19, a peachy orange. This is clearly made to fit within existing 3823, 3855, 19, 3854, 3853 line. I must admit, I’ve never really seen much use of these colours, however unlike most other color ranges featuring at least 5 colors, it shows DMC are devoted to making their existing line perfect. (The images don’t do it justice.)
dmc peachy oranges
In addition this orange could be included within the next set of colors; flesh tones.
20 to 22 – Flesh tones
DMC threads color 20DMC threads color 21DMC threads color 22
Skin tones have ALWAYS been an issue with threads, and whilst there are some good shades out there, the darker white skin colors have been missing for a while. Colors 20 to 22 solve that issue.
23 to 35 – Purples
DMC threads color 23DMC threads color 24DMC threads color 25DMC threads color 26DMC threads color 27DMC threads color 28DMC threads color 29DMC threads color 30DMC threads color 31DMC threads color 32DMC threads color 33DMC threads color 34DMC threads color 35
Finally, we look upon the final section of new threads, colors 23 to 35. These compromise a series of purples, mostly light hued, without any runs of progressively darker threads. For a long time purple has been a big issue, with only darker purples being an use, as lighter ones were just way too pink. The new threads offer both lighter purples, but also a series of purples that merge into other colors, such as 28 and 29 which blend into a grey line 415, 318 and 414, which now feels a little orphaned with the new greys. 30, 31 and 32 blend into blue. And 33, 34 and 35 blend into red well, something there currently isn’t any of.
A word on compatibility
It’s worth noting that with all new threads, pick up is a little slow going at first. Most pattern makers will updated yearly, meaning the next update using these threads could be some time in mid 2018. We reached out to WinStitch/MacStitch which will send an update in the coming week. No update on when PCStitch will update, we’ll update this when we hear back.
In addition the DMC shade card, despite earlier reports, it being updated with the new threads.
Where and when can you get them?
Officially the new threads go on open sale in November, with a few select retailers getting their hands on them early. One of these is SewAndSo.com where you can buy each thread with 25% off, or get a collectors tin with all of them included, in the middle of October. In Canda you can pick them up from StitchItCentral. We expect this will be the only place you can pick them up this early, with the DMC website, Hobbycraft and Michaels to carry the line once they’re officially out in November. We’ve got confirmation that Walmart will NOT be carrying the line at all.
Collectors tin for the new 2018 DMC color threads (source: sewandso.com)
Collectors tin for the new 2018 DMC color threads (source: sewandso.com)


Consider following us on social!

  Instagram   Twitter   Facebook   Pinterest   DeviantART   RSS Feed

The Tasty World Of Cross Stitch Cakes

awesome cross stitch cake by ana salinas (source: pinterest)

When you think cross stitch, you don’t normally think cakes. However, the relationship has been out there a while. We’ve done the hard, tasty work for you, by finding those cross stitch cakes and cake cross stitch.

Cake: Ana Salinas

Originally showcased at the Americas Cake Fair Ana Salinas took the cross stitch world by storm with her fantastically realistic cross stitch cake.

awesome cross stitch cake by ana salinas (source: pinterest)
awesome cross stitch cake by ana salinas (source: pinterest)

The thing that really made the world go crazy was the sheer detail. There’s realistic aida, with cross stitch perfectly spaced, and its just so awesome!

Cross Stitch: Sirinth

Cake don’t always have to be fancy to be tasty. Check this sweet Minecraft cake out by Sirinth who even made the pattern avalible for free on her website.

minecraft cake cross stitch by sirinth (source: spritestitch.com)
minecraft cake cross stitch by sirinth (source: spritestitch.com)

Cake: Zoe Clark

Cross stitch cakes look hard, however once Ana Salinas took the world by storm, people started to emulate her. Most are poor emulations, however Zoe Clark has perfected a very simple method, which she even teaches on her website!

Zoe Clark Cross Stitch Cake (source: zoeclarkcakes.com)
Zoe Clark Cross Stitch Cake (source: zoeclarkcakes.com)

Cross Stitch: TinyLizard

These simplistic cupcakes are super sweet. What makes them even better, is you can pick yourself up a kit from EtsyStudio

cake cross stitch kit by tinylizardgifts (source: etsy)
cake cross stitch kit by tinylizardgifts (source: etsy)


Consider following us on social!

  Instagram   Twitter   Facebook   Pinterest   DeviantART   RSS Feed

The Samurai Who Unknowing Brought Cross Stitch To Japan

Hitomezashi sashiko (source: sakepuppets.com)

I was once told a story of how a Samurai brought cross stitch to Japan without knowing it. Like many tales about cross stitch I firmly ignored it, however, as time has gone on, I found out the story was true. So, without further ado, here is the story of the Samurai that brought cross stitch to Japan by accident.

Edo Period (pre-1868)

Our story starts in the Edo period of Japan, a time of economic growth and strict social order. With a wealthy Imperial Court, it was a common practice for Ladies of the Court to have costumes decorated in a traditional Japanese embroidery (nihon shishu). However, during these stages, Shishu was only available to a select group of the highest ranks of society due to high costs for its creation.
The Edo period continued until its fall, which brought about mass social change.

Keiō Era (1865 – 1868)

One of the largest changes following the fall of Edo was the restructuring of the military. Gone were the days of samurai classes ruling over their territories. Many joined up the new military, whilst others set up businesses. One of these samurai, from Fukui in Echizen decided to bring in sanada string as a clothes accessory.
Taking many artistic cues from nihon shishu, sanada string was a more affordable option for many Japanese.

Traditional Sanada string (source: fashiontribes.typepad.com)
Traditional Sanada string (source: fashiontribes.typepad.com)

Meiji Period (1868 – 1912)

Unlike nihon shishu however sanada string lacked artistic flair and left many Japanese wanting a more artistic clothing option. In this wake, the samurai changed his business model and instead focused on sashiko embroidery, a regimented embroidery featuring crossed stitches as part of its design, originally used to reinforce garments and as a means of repair.

Modern Sashiko Japanese Embroidery (source: pinterest.com)
Modern Sashiko Japanese Embroidery (source: pinterest.com)

Taishō Period (1912 – 1926)

As the popularity of sashiko increased its art form became more free, with regional differences resulting in a varied series of patterns and structures. One of these, was extremely similar to modern day cross stitch, Hitomezashi. However, still out of reach by the average Japanese person, the thread brand DMC entered Japan and offered a high quality, affordable thread.

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

Modern Japan (1926 – present)

Post-war interest in Japan started a revolution of sorts, resulting in ‘handicraft’ or craft as westerns know it, becoming a national pass time, with specialty stores becoming well known all over the country. As time passed, handicraft stores became the largest stores in Japan.

Samurai Jack cross stitch by reddit user Mrs_Hudson (source: reddit.com)
Samurai Jack cross stitch by reddit user Mrs_Hudson (source: reddit.com)

My thanks to the Japanese store echizen-ya who not only corroborated this story but was also the original store the samurai opened in 1867.


Consider following us on social!

  Instagram   Twitter   Facebook   Pinterest   DeviantART   RSS Feed

The Best Simpsons Cross Stitch

Lisa Simpson Cross Stitch by Fox On An Island (source: foxonanisland.com)

With 21 seasons under its belt and still going strong, The Simpsons have a massive following (even if some of them hate the newer episodes), however, there isn’t a great deal of cross stitch out there devoted to it.
As I pointed out in my trends of 2017 post-pop culture like The Simpsons is on the rise. Here are the best so far…

Springfield: Home Sweet Home

Before we begin, please be advised this post is sponsored by Hank Scorpio (evil genius) and the Globex Corporation.

the simpsons cross stitch home sweet home (source: pinterest)
the simpsons cross stitch home sweet home (source: pinterest)

The Almighty Donut

Talking of Homer, where’s my donut love?

the simpsons cross stitch do or donut there is no try by jimjamcrafts (source: etsy)
the simpsons cross stitch do or donut there is no try by jimjamcrafts (source: etsy)

You can pick the pattern up of this awesome pattern on Etsy.

Old Man Yells At Cloud

But when it comes to the press, Grandpa Simpson has the record…

the simpsons cross stitch old man yells at cloud (source: knowyourmeme.com)
the simpsons cross stitch old man yells at cloud (source: knowyourmeme.com)

That’s a Paddlin’

Talking out of turn? That’s a paddlin’. Lookin’ out the window? That’s a paddlin’. Staring at my sandals? That’s a paddlin’. Paddlin’ the school canoe? Oh, you better believe that’s a paddlin’.
― Jasper Beardly

the simpsons cross stitch thats a paddlin (source: pinterest)
the simpsons cross stitch thats a paddlin (source: pinterest)

Lisa Simpson

the simpsons cross stitch you are lisa simpson (source: twitter)
the simpsons cross stitch you are lisa simpson (source: twitter)

Pretty sure I’m not…
Lisa Simpson Cross Stitch by Fox On An Island (source: foxonanisland.com)
Lisa Simpson Cross Stitch by Fox On An Island (source: foxonanisland.com)


The Couch Gag

And finally, what kind of roundup would it be without a couch gag? Attempted a few times, PDX-stitch has got the furthest so far, with a 3 year stitch time…

the simpsons cross stitch couch gag by pxdstitch (source: pxdstitch.com)
the simpsons cross stitch couch gag by pxdstitch (source: pxdstitch.com)


Consider following us on social!

  Instagram   Twitter   Facebook   Pinterest   DeviantART   RSS Feed

How To Cross Stitch Faster

How to cross stitch animated gif illustration

I regularly get asked how I can cross stitch so fast, and whilst it probably has a lot to do with how many hours I stitch in, there are various ways to speed up your cross stitching. We’ll start off with some different techniques to try, before going into some tips for speeding up your cross stitch.

The Danish Technique

Traditionally there are two ways to cross stitch, the English technique and Danish technique. Generally, people use the Danish technique, where you lay down a line of stitches in one direction, and then go back with the other direction. We use this technique in our how to cross stitch guide for a reason; it makes things far faster.

How to cross stitch animated gif illustration
How to cross stitch animated gif illustration

If you want to find out more about the differences between both, peacockandfig has a great guide.

Two Hand Technique

The two-handed technique requires you to have a hands free frame. This means that instead of flipping the frame over to find the needle, you simply grab the needle with your other hand and push it back up through the fabric. This means that you don’t have to put the needle far to straighten the thread or take your eye off the fabric holes.

Double Sided Needle

One of the best ways to achieve the two-hand technique is to change your needle to a twin pointed or double-sided variety. Its basically a standard needle that you don’t have to swing around, cutting even more time off.

Double-ended cross stitch needle (source: Reddit)
Double-ended cross stitch needle (source: Reddit)

You can pick some up at 123stitch.

“In Hand” Technique

Sometimes referred to as the ‘sewing’ method, this technique requires you to not use a frame. For smaller projects, this is fine, however just not workable for larger ones. The idea is to pucker the fabric so you place an in and out hole in one go. The below video explains this process very well:

General Tips:

Have the right equipment

Whilst you can change your stitching style, or using fancy needles, there is always a need to have the right equipment, and regularly, without realizing it, many people don’t have what they need to stitch fast.

  • Needle
    • Should always be the correct size for the fabric
    • Consider using a petite needle or one size smaller
    • Should always be a blunt embroidery needle (there are sharp ones)
    • Use gold plated needles if possible (they slide through better)
  • Frame
    • Should always be as taught as possible (unless using the “in the hand” technique)
    • Should be appropriate the fabric size (no hoops on massive projects)
  • Scissors
  • Fabrics count

    There are loads of different fabric types you can use to cross stitch on, and due to their differences, some are easier to stitch on. If you want a fast project, use aida.
    In addition, the count can drastically change the speed of stitching. Try using a larger count for faster stitching.

    Stick with the same color

    Another great tip is stitching with one color as long as possible. Firstly, this means no awkward thread changes, but also means you have lots of nearby references for where to stitch next (so no pesky counting).

    Pre-thread needles

    One way to help yourself when sticking with color is to prepare lots of needles. I regularly set up 8 needles with 8 threads ready to go, so I don’t have to keep start stopping to rethread. It saves far more time than you realize and makes use of all those needles you collect.

    Use the correct thread length

    Many new cross stitchers make the mistake of having a very large piece of thread hanging off the needle. In theory, the larger the thread, the less needle preparation. However, in reality, the larger the thread, the more tangles. Instead, you should have a smaller piece of thread. A good guide is measured from the tip of your middle finger to the tip of your elbow.

    Organise, organise, organise

    Finally, you have to organize. Whilst it can seem a bit tedious, this actually saves you massive amounts of time. I would suggest taking all of your skeins off and onto thread cards. By doing this your not only making it easier to grab the thread you need, but you’re untwisting the threads, making sure they don’t knot on the skein, and making selection easier. They also look super pretty.

    Full set of DMC threads
    My full set of DMC threads

    So there you have it. Now you have everything in your disposal to cross stitch faster. However, as a final note, I would say that sometimes taking your time can have added benefits, such as curbing stress.


    Consider following us on social!

      Instagram   Twitter   Facebook   Pinterest   DeviantART   RSS Feed

    The Best Cross Stitch Forums

    cross-stitching.com cross stitch forum (source: cross-stitching.com)

    Following our super popular post on how to show cross stitch offline we’ve received a few comments about the best forums to display your work on. On the last count, there were about 30 forums, and so we’ve reviewed and ordered the list from the most active community to least active community, based on a test every day for 28 days.


    Reddit /r/crossstitch
    In a stark contrast to cross-stitching.com’s forum, Reddit’s /r/CrossStitch is far more contemporary (although there is a fair share of traditional in there), and MUCH more international. There are roughly 50 people logged into the forum at any time, and whilst that’s much smaller in size, the participation is much greater, and often this is where the cross stitch masters hang their hat.
    There’s a bit of a learning curve needed though, as each time you post, you have to add a code to the start of your message, but once you’ve picked it up, it’s actually super easy to navigate.


    cross stitch forum
    Starting to get on the less busy side now, we have the CrossStitchForum, who’s the whole purpose in life is a forum for cross stitchers. Whilst it was extremely popular back in 2007, it suffered from low figures for a while, and I think we may see the end of it soon. However, in those archives are some of the best cross stitch question and answers you’ve ever seen. Whenever I have a question I look up the answer here first.


    craftster cross stitch
    A much larger forum, is Craftster, which in itself is a massive beast, however, the cross stitch and needlepoint section seems to have dwindled in the last 5 years. Whilst it’s a great place to show off your completed projects and WIPs, the community isn’t really there, and there isn’t much participation past the occasional “well done”.

    The Cross Stitch Guild

    cross stitch gold
    The Cross Stitch Guild, unlike all our other entries, has never been a busy forum. However, the one saving grace, is anyone posting is likely been stitching for decades. This means that any questions you have will not only be answered but be answered by someone who has gone through the exact same things thousands of times before. Not too busy, but worth its weight in gold; pun intended.
    If you know of any good forums, even if they’re specific to certain parts of cross stitch, then drop me a line and I’ll review them!


    Consider following us on social!

      Instagram   Twitter   Facebook   Pinterest   DeviantART   RSS Feed

    The Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch Book Review

    Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch Cover (source: mrxstitch.com)

    Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch Cover (source: mrxstitch.com)
    Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch Cover (source: mrxstitch.com)

    It’s rare that I review a cross stitch book, and I know many of you want them, but there is rarely a reason. Most books are either mass patterns, which you will love or hate based on personal taste, or a historical tome, which either appeals or doesn’t. But this book review is different. Other than being written by my good pal Mr X Stitch (Jamie), the Mr X Stitch Guide To Cross Stitch book is not a normal cross stitch book. In my mind that should give you enough information to want to read it anyway, however, we got our hands on a pre-published copy, so onto the detailed review!
    Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch Inside Pages 58-59 (source: mrxstitch.com)
    Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch Inside Pages 58-59 (source: mrxstitch.com)

    So the first thing to say is it has 20 patterns. These are all in the modern and contemporary style, such as small pixelated Mona Lisa, or a pineapple (actually three pineapples). The idea of the patterns, whilst being great projects, is to help explain the craft. And that’s because this book is about EVERYTHING cross stitch. It starts simple, instructions for basic patterns, and moves on to more and more complicated parts of the craft, including pattern making. But instead of stopping there Jamie goes from the very humble beginnings of cross stitch to some of the most extreme stitching around, with four key outliers of the craft (myself included), who push the boundaries of the craft. This is all backed with tips and tricks from decades of expert advice, add combined into one of the best looking cross stitch books around.
    Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch Inside Pages 8-9 (source: mrxstitch.com)
    Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch Inside Pages 8-9 (source: mrxstitch.com)

    Jamie has always been someone to push cross stitch as an art form, and I’ve gone into some detail about is cross stitch is art or craft before (which includes a picture of Jamie stitching the Mona Lisa from the book), but instead of focusing on how people think about cross stitch, Jamie actively changes your mind. His tips of color blending and using materials such as glow in the dark threads shows you how being a little braver with your own stitches can bring a cutting edge twist to your art.

    For many, cross stitch conjures up images of cute kittens and country cottages, but this book shows people that there’s a different side to cross stitching that it’s an art in its own right, and will encourage them to be a little braver with their art.

    If at this point you’re not super excited and convinced by the photos, then I don’t know what will get you excited. Frankly, I think this might be the best cross stitch book in existence.

    You can pick up a copy from the publisher searchpress or your local book store.