What’s the best cross stitch pattern software?

PCStitch Cross Stitch Software (source: PCStitch.com)

I often get asked “What’s the best cross stitch pattern software?” , and it shouldn’t surprise you that there are lots of options. This post details the most used cross stitch programs on PC, Mac, Online and iPad with online polls and feefo review scores. Updated January 2020.

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Best PC cross stitch pattern software:

WinStitch ($40 ($35 with discount)) – 10/10

Based on 3921 reviews
Use this link ($) or this link (£) to save yourself $5 when you buy!

 

WinStitch, and its Mac-based brother MacStitch, has a lot going for them. With a massive 30 thread types and great ease of use, it’s a fantastic competitor. However, it’s not been widely picked up due to its fairly young age (5 years), so it does not have as much following as PC Stitch. Also, the yearly upgrades are chargeable (although not required). Also, you can move the pattern from MacStitch to WinStitch with ease.
It can also open a lot of PCStitch files (not all) which makes it the most user-friendly of all software programs.

Demo: Yes
Threads: 30 brands
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Yearly


PC Stitch ($50 ($20 with discount)) – 9/10

Based on 3283 reviews
You should also use the code “PCS11UPG” to save $30 when you buy!

 

PC Stitch is a full program with all the trimmings. Its base ease of use is great, however, it’s real advantages lie in better color picking (but I would still cast an eye over them to make sure), and 2000 pre-programmed patterns. It does have its negative though, as PC Stitch uses its own unique pattern files that can’t be opened without using PC Stitch’s separate pattern viewer. However, recently many competitors have unofficially included the ability to open, view and edit PC Stitch files.

Threads: DMC, Anchor, others
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Yearly; additional cost


KG Chart ($35) – 8/10

Based on 2349 reviews

KG Chart has a fantastic set of stitches, incredible ease of use, and a lot of regular, and worthwhile updates. It’s been created by a non-stitcher, but their understanding of our needs is great. There are also forums and an email for support and issues. It’s the second most used program out there, and for £24 is a steal. There are however two things to note; firstly the colors can sometimes be a little red-based so require manual picking. The second issue is its a little buggy; it used to be our best pick, but as PCstitch started to improve, KG Chart just couldn’t keep up.

Threads: DMC & Cosmo
Print to PDF: No, you can download another (free) program called CutePDF to do this
Updates: Quarterly


BlendThreads (FREE) – 8/10

Based on 542 reviews

Built off the back of Ryijy, this pattern creator has come a long way. Initially, it’s much like any other pattern creator, with some advanced features in the printing sections. However, where BlendThreads stands out is the greatest two additions I think we’ve ever looked at. Firstly the thread selector program allows you to either pick a close fit thread based on what stock you have, but also allows for the blending of threads to get super accurate colors (I LOVE this). Secondly is its unique backstitch portion, which allows you to ‘trace’ the image with a transparency, meaning you can get super clean back stitches. However, it’s untested on Windows 8/10.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Monthly


Istitch 2 ($30) – 7/10

Based on 42 reviews

Jane Greenoff’s latest pattern maker. Unlike the previous versions that were overly complicated for new users, the new Istitch has been built with simplicity in mind. Also, there are video guides (if you purchase the DVD version) to help new designers. As a result, it’s the easiest to get into at first, however finding more advanced features is a little difficult, meaning a serious designer might consider another program.
You can either buy the DVD version with guide videos, or the download without videos for the same price. The main issue, however, is that there are no updates to the program, and based on Istitch2 being a paid update of the previous version, I’d imagine you’d have to buy a new one every time Windows updates…

Threads: DMC & Anchor
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Every 2 years; additional cost


HobbyWare Pattern Maker for cross-stitch ($60) – 5/10

Based on 72 reviews

HobbyWare is very much like STOIK it’s pretty much identical. However, there have not been any updates for 3 years (despite often website updates), which seems a little odd. However, their customer care team is one of the best around, which is something a lot of the competitors don’t have. Also, they have the best color blending options out there, and whilst this only really applies for larger patterns or professionals, its regarded by many as the best pattern maker commercially available.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Every 2 years; additional cost


DP Software Cross Stitch Pro Platinum ($89) – 4/10

Based on 57 reviews

This is very similar to the old Jane Greenoff pattern making software, however, it’s updated yearly, has a limited selection, is complicated, and is VERY expensive considering its closest (and arguably a lot better) alternative is a quarter of the cost.

Threads: 20 Bands
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Yearly, additional cost


StitchCraft ($155 to $830) – 4/10

Based on 227 reviews

Recently thought to be dead, StitchCraft has come back on the scene with MUCH higher prices and no improvements. It is a good program, with a nice set of tools on the advanced versions, but they ramp the price up to crazy levels; no one is willing to pay $830 for a cross stitch program that not only isn’t the world standard but isn’t that relevant anymore.

Threads: 33 different brands
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Unknown


STOIK Stitch Creator ($51) – 4/10

Based on 121 reviews

You don’t hear much about STOIK programs, and I’ve never understood why. They do a great job and are reasonably priced. They are a larger team, so updates are regular, and there is good support. The only reason it doesn’t come higher on my list is its lack of backing from the community. If you have an issue, many would suggest you change to KG Chart or PC Stitch, where there is a wealth of help and guides from the stitching community.

Threads: DMC, Anchor & Maderia
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Yearly


EasyGrapher Home ($99 to $299) – 4/10

Based on 27 reviews

A pretty good pattern creator in principle EasyGrapher is a program being sold and updated since 1988, however, sadly the last update was in 2009. They are still taking orders, and it’s not a bad piece of software, but there are much better ones out there.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Not since 2009


Stitch Art Easy! (FREE) – 4/10

Based on 242 reviews

The only free fully fledged program on the list. Well, it’s free, and with that comes limited use. However, if you’re looking to spend as little as possible, Stitch Art Easy! will do the job. It’s got everything you might need and helps you get your head around making patterns. If you want a little more, you have the opportunity to purchase one of the other programs, so it’s a great starter program. If you do upgrade, WinStitch or MacStitch is most similar in design.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: No schedule


Stitch Painter Gold ($199) – 3/10

Based on 49 reviews

Stitch Painter Gold does a lot and is a nice alternative, but after 3 months of using it, I still can’t understand why the price is so high. It’s complicated to use comparatively and doesn’t have enough image editing capabilities. The biggest issue however is you have to use a USB stick supplied by them to use the program on your computer; meaning you have to have it plugged in constantly.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Yearly


Ryijy Stitch Designer (FREE) – 3/10

Based on 23 reviews

The first fan built pattern making software, Ryijy is named after a Finnish rug, which the program can also do. It’s not been updated in a very long time, and only works with DMC threads, however, the base code is the starting point of almost 90% of the other cross stitch pattern generators out there.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Not since 2003


ILSoft Stitch R-XP ($99) – 2/10

Based on 26 reviews

ILSoft used to be a major player in cross stitch generation programs, however in early 2008 they sold out to a larger owner, and since then the program has been all but ignored. It’s still an OK program, however, the lack of quality updates makes it a little lackluster compared to alternatives. Due to the lack of updates and no support, I would ALWAYS go for something that’s updated regularly, like PCStitch or WinStitch.

Threads: DMC & Anchor
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Last updated 2009


StitchArtEasy ($15) – 2/10

Based on 9 reviews

A fairly well thought out program, but lacking in modern features that other software has, Stitch Art Easy failed in our reviews due to its cost (considering its so basic), but also due to its apparent nature to confetti everything.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Monthly


Crosti (FREE) – 2/10

Based on 12 reviews

A pretty good program in principle, and whilst it can output in loads of files, accepts pretty much any image file going and has loads of thread options, it just lacks substance.

Threads: DMC, Anchor, Gamma, J&P coats, Madeira, Paterna, Cosmo & Silk Mori
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: 3 years ago


Scheme Maker (FREE) – 1/10

Based on 4 reviews

A basic cross stitch pattern generator that simply isn’t up to scratch. Many online generators are far superior and make much better results.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Sporadic, but recent


Cstitch (FREE) – 0/10

Based on 7 reviews

All of the other reviews on this page are developed programs, officially released into the world. Cstitch, however, is slightly different. It’s open source. This means that no one owns the program. If you want something added to it, code it and add it yourself. Due to this, and its complicated nature to install (you have to compile it yourself) its scored the worst score possible in our reviews.

Threads: 15 Brands
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: None; open source




Best FREE PC cross stitch pattern software:

BlendThreads (FREE) – 8/10

Based on 542 reviews

Built off the back of Ryijy, this pattern creator has come a long way. Initially, it’s much like any other pattern creator, with some advanced features in the printing sections. However, where BlendThreads stands out is the greatest two additions I think we’ve ever looked at. Firstly the thread selector program allows you to either pick a close fit thread based on what stock you have, but also allows for the blending of threads to get super accurate colors (I LOVE this). Secondly is its unique backstitch portion, which allows you to ‘trace’ the image with a transparency, meaning you can get super clean back stitches. However, it’s untested on Windows 8/10.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Monthly


Stitch Art Easy! (FREE) – 4/10

Based on 242 reviews

The only free fully fledged program on the list. Well, it’s free, and with that comes limited use. However, if you’re looking to spend as little as possible, Stitch Art Easy! will do the job. It’s got everything you might need and helps you get your head around making patterns. If you want a little more, you have the opportunity to purchase one of the other programs, so it’s a great starter program. If you do upgrade, WinStitch or MacStitch is most similar in design.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: No schedule


Ryijy Stitch Designer (FREE) – 3/10

Based on 23 reviews

The first fan built pattern making software, Ryijy is named after a Finnish rug, which the program can also do. It’s not been updated in a very long time, and only works with DMC threads, however, the base code is the starting point of almost 90% of the other cross stitch pattern generators out there.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Not since 2003


Cstitch (FREE) – 1/10

Based on 7 reviews

All of the other reviews on this page are developed programs, officially released into the world. Cstitch, however, is slightly different. It’s open source. This means that no one owns the program. If you want something added to it, code it and add it yourself. Due to this, and its complicated nature to install (you have to compile it yourself) its scored the worst score possible in our reviews.

Threads: 15 Brands
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: None; open source


Best ONLINE cross stitch pattern software:

stitchfiddle.com (FREE) – 10/10

Based on 2341 reviews

A super easy to use pattern generator with some great features. This is all I need to say about this app, other than its free. It has DMC and Anchor threads and a larger 2000×2000 stitching area. Our first choice for patterns online.

Threads: DMC & Anchor
Print to PDF: Yes


Thread-Bare ($10 per pattern) – 10/10

Based on 641 reviews

Whilst Thread-are isn’t our first choice online pattern creator, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some great abilities. It’s far superior to any other online pattern creator, thanks to its well-built interface and great toolset. The only two downsides are that it can be a bit daunting to use at first, especially when trying to get the best out of the generator. And its biggest issue, it that $10 price point, per pattern, which if you’re making a pattern a month, can cost more than the most expensive options.

Threads: DMC & Riolis
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Monthly


patterncreator.com ($7.50) – 7.5/10

Based on 654 reviews

Patterncreator.com is a great online option. It has everything you need but limited to a maximum of 250×250 stitching area, which considering the price point is a MAJOR issue. Too expensive, and with other better alternatives out there, its a surprise this cross stitch generator is still in use.

Threads: DMC, Anchor & Venus
Print to PDF: Yes


patternsforyou.com (FREE) – 6.5/10

Based on 1129 reviews

All online pattern makers have one big problem: limitations. With a large 300×300 stitching area, quite good image editing and color selection, patternsforyou should be better, but its just not that great at making patterns..

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes


myphotostitch.com (FREE) – 6/10

Based on 394 reviews

With a limited 150×120 stitch area there are problems with myphotostitch, but the real beauty of the cross stitch generator is the ease of use. Select your image, and it does it all for you. The only options you get are changing the size (it defaults to maximum), but it’s the easiest of all pattern makers around. However, that said, I would suggest using the advanced version (also free), which gives a few more options. It still has that pesky size limitation, but so long as you’re doing something very small, it’s OK.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes


FreePatternWizard (FREE) – 6/10

Based on 26 reviews

Photo2CrossStitch, or FreePatternWizard as it’s now known has developed a lot since it first came onto our list. It started as frankly worthless, but as time went on, its feature set evolved, and its price point was removed totally. It’s now a great program. To see the advanced features you need to become a member (it’s also free), but its a great program all the same.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes


pixel-stitch.net (FREE) – 6/10

Based on 125 reviews

A simple image upload and export pattern creator, pixel-stitch is a great tool, with very good color picking and no size limits. The only issue is it doesn’t allow for image editing, or image creation, giving it a slightly lower score than it may otherwise deserve.

Threads: DMC & Anchor
Print to PDF: Yes


StitchingJoy (FREE) – 6/10

Based on 17 reviews

You upload your image, set the colors and size, and it makes a pdf output of your pattern; it is that simple. The only downsides are that the pattern maker struggles with dithering sometimes, and only creates symbol patterns; which can get complicated if you have a lot of colors.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes


stitchyourphoto.com ($5 per pattern) – 6/10

Based on 14 reviews

A nice editor, with quite a few options, however weirdly has a size selection only in inches. Due to the low cost of the per pattern fee, it ranks better than other more advanced online pattern makers, but its simple functions and poor patterns make it a worry to use sometimes.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes


The Folklore Company ($9/FREE per pattern) – 6/10

Based on 21 reviews

You don’t hear much from this pattern creator, but unlike its competitors, it has another something; like DMC’s Snap & Stitch you can purchase the whole kit, thread, aida, and needles included. The only bad sides are a lack of color on their patterns and there are fixed sizes.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes


DMC Snap & Stitch ($10/FREE per pattern) – 6/10

Based on 127 reviews

The new online photo converter from DMC lacks some of the finesse of other online converters, giving a questionable result, however, the unique feature of being able to buy all the threads for the pattern and then getting the pattern for free made it rate well with our testers.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes


PictureCraftWork ($12 per pattern) – 6/10

Based on 13 reviews

Costly is the first thing I can say about PictureCraftWork. If its less than 1000 stitches, it’s free, but anything more and it’s very costly. It has the added benefit of quite an advanced pattern creation toolset, but color picking is a little off, and, the biggest turn off for our testers; the patterns don’t come with gridlines, so you have to manually count.

Threads: DMC, Anchor & Madeira
Print to PDF: Yes


craftdesignonline (FREE) – 5/10

Based on 53 reviews

As a craft pattern app maker, you would expect craftdesignonline to be quite good, and it is, however its make for the younger market, with very limited image editing and a 100×100 stitch area. It does have a cool feature of sharing your patterns though!

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes


Pic2Pat (FREE) – 5/10

Based on 218 reviews

Pic2Pat used to be used so much. It was the only real option online for a long time, and the fact that it was free made it even better. But since then, it hasn’t improved. While other programs have advanced giving great outputs and super customizable patterns, Pic2Pat languishes in the past.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes


StitchBoard (FREE) – 5/10

Based on 42 reviews

A simple program, with a few options you can play with, and 4 different thread brands. It has a few options that work in its favor, however, you cannot do any image editing. To score lower than most of the costly online pattern creates just goes to show that StitchBoard doesn’t rank well with our testers, and they would much prefer to be using other systems.

Threads: DMC, Anchor, Maderia & Red Heart
Print to PDF: Yes


Best MAC cross stitch pattern software:

MacStitch ($40 ($35 with discount)) – 10/10

Based on 3921 reviews
Use this link ($) or this link (£) to save yourself $5 when you buy!

 

This is the Mac version of WinStitch, our first place PC option. It’s the same great program but written from the ground up so it works perfectly on all Macs (something other apps struggle with). Also, the key feature is that if you own PCStitch, you can move the pattern between the two. It’s simple to use the program, it has loads of options and works super smoothly.

Demo: Yes
Threads: 30 brands
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Yearly


stitchfiddle.com (FREE) – 10/10

Based on 2341 reviews

OK, I tricked you. Stitchfiddle is an online program, however, with a tonne of great features, it easily competes with paid software. With some of the prices of Mac software being through the roof (see below) being free helps StitchFiddle’s case. An easy interface, DMC & Anchor threads and a very large (2000×2000) stitching area.

Threads: DMC & Anchor
Print to PDF: Yes


DP Software Cross Stitch Pro Platinum ($130) – 4/10

Based on 57 reviews

This is very similar to the old Jane Greenoff pattern making software, however, it’s updated yearly, has a limited selection, is complicated, and is VERY expensive considering its closest (and arguably a lot better) alternative is a quarter of the cost.

Threads: 20 Bands
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Yearly, additional cost


Stitch Painter Gold ($199) – 3/10

Based on 49 reviews

Stitch Painter Gold does a lot and is a nice alternative, but after 3 months of using it, I still can’t understand why the price is so high. It’s complicated to use comparatively and doesn’t have enough image editing capabilities. The biggest issue however is you have to use a USB stick supplied by them to use the program on your computer; meaning you have to have it plugged in constantly.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Yearly


Crosti ($13) – 1/10

Based on 5 reviews

Better than the free Windows version, Crosti for Mac is just in need of a good update in feature set. It also struggles to work on newer Macs, despite a few updates.

Threads: DMC, Anchor, Gamma, J&P coats, Madeira, Paterna, Cosmo & Silk Mori
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Yearly


Best iPad & iPhone cross stitch pattern software:

Magic Needle (FREE) – 9/10

Based on 318 reviews

A new entry to the world of cross stitch generators, Magic Needle is effectively a ‘point and click’ pattern generator, however, its simplicity and user-friendly interface are what makes it so well-loved. As the only true free cross stitch generator for iPad and iPhone is worth a shot anyway and is a great entry point for any beginners.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: NO


StitchSketch ($8) – 8/10

Based on 274 reviews

StitchSketch is created by the maker of KG Chart and improves on many features KG Chart does not have. It’s a fantastic program, which works almost as well as any desktop program. The only downside, however, is the cost (but what’s £5 compared to the highest-priced review of £137?).

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes


Cross Stitch Creator ($10) – 8/10

Based on 26 reviews

Cross Stitch Creator does a good job at converting images into pattern and has recently been updated to edit patterns after generation, but its real features are how it allows you to mark up the pattern as you go, the only pattern maker on the list that goes beyond just making patterns.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes


Cross Stitch Camera ($4) – 3/10

Based on 41 reviews

Cross Stitch Camera works, you guessed it, with your camera. It takes a photo (which can be from your phone’s memory) and makes a pattern based on the largest dimension you set. It does not have the number of colors to pick, it doesn’t allow for post-editing, and it doesn’t produce a pdf, however, its color selections are very good. It’s a bit of a quirky app, and a little lacking in features.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: NO


Cross Stitch Saga ($11) – 2/10

Based on 24 reviews

Sadly, the Cross Stitch Saga for iOS isn’t the same as the android app. The android app is feature-packed, super useful and a frankly great addition to any cross stitcher’s arsenal. The iOS app is not. It has only a tiny amount of features, it doesn’t even support PDFs and its slightly lower price point doesn’t make up for that.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes


Best ANDROID cross stitch pattern software:

Cross Stitch Saga ($13) – 10/10

Based on 1164 reviews

Its great feature set goes beyond just making a pattern, however, without a doubt, it’s the fullest, most feature-packed app going for mobile or android. Its new higher price point, however, means trying a cheaper alternative first might be the name of the game.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes


eCanvas for cross-stitch PRO ($3) – 8/10

Based on 176 reviews

A fantastic app, with fantastic reviews from anyone that uses it. It’s easily comparable to the likes of paid PC software, however, makes use of touch screen android devices to give really good usability. The only real negatives are that it doesn’t come with instructions or a tutorial, and isn’t updated as often as other apps (yet still once a quarter).
They also constantly add to the apps core features, so it will continue to develop and get better over the near future.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes


XStitch Designer ($1) – 7/10

Based on 225 reviews

For only a dollar it’s hard to say anything bad about this app, however using this app for the last 3 months, I know its pattern making ability is great. However, without the ability to print or transfer the patterns to PC it’s not a fantastic part of your pattern making arsenal. You can share it via integrated social media, however, you also have to have the app to access the file, and you can’t lock it down.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes


Best LINUX cross stitch pattern software:

KXStitch (FREE) – 6/10

Based on 12 reviews

As the only Linux pattern program out there, KXStitch might be your only Linux choice; but that doesn’t make it a good program. It’s lacking in special stitches, more thread sets, and it’s a drain on CPU. However, its easy to use does help it out massively, which is why its score is higher than you’d expect.

Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes


Unsupported Software Replacements:

Sew and So Cross Stitch Designer (PC)

REPLACEMENT: WinStitch ($40 ($35 with discount)) – 10/10
For cheaper than the old SewandSo product, you can upgrade to WinStitch, an easier to use, and all round better program.

Jane Greenoff’s Cross Stitch Designer (PC)

REPLACEMENT: Istitch 2 ($30) – 7/10
Very similar to Jane’s previous design software, Istitch 2 is the next generation, and has a lot of improvements on the original.

Photoshop Swatches (PC)

REPLACEMENT: Ryijy Stitch Designer (FREE) – 4/10
The only usable free alternative, Ryijy is open source and works independantly from Photoshop, but with a very similar process.

MyriaCross (PC)

REPLACEMENT: WinStitch ($40 ($35 with discount)) – 10/10
MyriaCross gave some of its code to WinStitch, so they could replicate their features. As a result, its the best, and closes alternative

Easy Cross (PC)

REPLACEMENT: WinStitch ($40 ($35 with discount)) – 10/10
Slightly less easy to use, but a full software option

PixelCraft (ONLINE)

REPLACEMENT: stitchfiddle.com (FREE) – 10/10
A slightly improved version of PixelCraft

StitchCraft (MAC)

REPLACEMENT: MacStitch ($40 ($35 with discount)) – 9/10
A similar, but much more advanced program

Spriter (MAC)

REPLACEMENT: stitchfiddle.com (FREE) – 10/10
Just as simple to use, but without the need for installation. In addition has slightly better editing tools

Cross Stitch 2 Go HD (IPAD)

REPLACEMENT: StitchSketch ($8) – 8/10
A slight improvement on Cross Stitch 2 Go HD, with a higher price tag

X-Stitch (IPAD)

REPLACEMENT: StitchSketch ($8) – 8/10
A better app, but comes with a beefy price too

Cross Stitch Saga (IPAD/IPHONE)

REPLACEMENT: StitchSketch ($8) – 8/10
Following Cross Stitch Saga’s removal from the apple store, the best alternative is StitchSketch a paid alternative from the makers of KGchart.


I’ve also created a great infographic on which is the best cross stitch pattern software for easy selection. The android edition of Cross Stitch Saga is still available.

 

Super Miniature 3D Ecruteak City Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Miniature 3D Ecruteak City Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

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Title: Ecruteak City
Date Completed: May 2016
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Video Game: Pokemon
 
After playing with a miniature arcade cabinet that tested my small plastic canvas creations, I wondered just how small I could go. I settled on trying the smallest scale possible, make one cross stitch one meter (or 1:500 scale if you’re interested).
I’ve been throwing a lot of ideas around following a trip to Japan in late 2014, and I started by making a torii gate. I left it unfinished and when I went back I started putting pieces together and thinking ‘oh, maybe a tree would look good’, etc. It eventually evolved from there, and it turned into the Pokemon Ecruteak City.
 
Ecruteak City is actually different in the anime, manga, and games, and so this is a combination of a series of images and videos to make the most generalized city. 
The bell tower (tin tower originally) is the main feature of the city, designed in the traditional way, with accurate angles, which has 9 floors with purple roofs, complete with a golden stand on top, which is meant to draw the legendary Pokemon Ho-oh to it. The opposite side sits the ill-fated burnt tower, with only 2/3 floors left, where the legendary Lugia used to reside. Both are on raised land masses to add to their height, which is shown in most iterations of the city.
 
You can also find a Pokemon center, gym, PokeMart, zen garden, two red bridges, a pagoda, cherry tree, a blank house tile (which has always featured in both games and anime, I have no idea why), and trees surrounding the whole city.
It’s 3.5″ by 3.5″, and 4″ tall.

Inspiration: Asano Takeji's Moon Light In Yasaka Pagoda (left), Pokemon Tin Tower (middle top), Ho-Oh in Pokemon anime (top right), Tin Tower over Ecruteak City (bottom right)
Inspiration: Asano Takeji’s Moon Light In Yasaka Pagoda (left), Pokemon Tin Tower (middle top), Ho-Oh in Pokemon anime (top right), Tin Tower over Ecruteak City (bottom right)

Is Cross Stitch Dead?

Google searches for cross stitch and embroidery over the last 10 years (source: Google Trends)

A horrific thought, I know; but with many cross stitch forums suffering with low engagement, and the size of haberdasheries getting smaller in all the major stores, is it time to face facts?

The stats

I know, a graph straight away! How mean of me. But its the best way of showing the facts (and there’s only one, I promise!). I’ve used google trends to create a report since 2005, showing cross stitch and embroidery.

Google searches for cross stitch and embroidery over the last 10 years (source: Google Trends)
Google searches for cross stitch and embroidery over the last 10 years (source: Google Trends)

The first thing to note is that they’ve both dropped since their initial high (more on that later), but it also shows that cross stitch has JUST dropped. Other than monthly variance, the general trend is down.
But does this actually show you a true story? I don’t think it does. There are three main reasons for this:

  • Initial guide surge
  • Category dip
  • Knowledge

Initial guide surges: Back in the earlier days of the internet, you went to find out how to do something. And whilst there are loads of great guides out there for cross stitch now; there wasn’t back in 2005. Now-a-days with the rise of cross stitch, (almost) everyone knows how to stitch. As a result, less people are searching in google for it.

Category dip: I used to work in category analysis, so I’ll keep this brief. Following the economic dip, craft, in general, got a major boost, and cross stitch rode the wave. However as recession comes to a close, and the average person has more money, craft is starting to decline. So the question here is actually, is cross stitch dipping faster? And the answers no. A big fat no. Craft, in general, is dropping out at a massively fast pace, mainly due to the rise of baking.

Knowledge: I know. Not what you expected. However, as all cross stitchers know, cross stitch is a form of embroidery. With people pushing the envelope when it comes to new ways of stitching, the lines are being blurred a bit. Embroidery is a better term for it sometimes.

So is that a yes?

I’m sad to say that the popularity of cross stitch is definitely dropping. Whilst this is sad to hear from the die-hard community, it’s definitely far from dead. I work in a company turning over £10 million a year, and our keyword gets maybe half as many views as cross stitch. And we’re growing faster than we can count! So no, it’s not dead.

Will it make the slightest bit of difference?

No. No, it won’t.

Actually, that’s one of the best things about cross stitch. Throughout history it’s gone through peaks and troughs of interest, and despite that, it keeps coming back. Why should now be any different? In fact, most recently I’ve seen cross stitch in museums, been published (and again), and without meaning to brag, my site views are through the roof. So long as amazing pieces are still being produced, we have no issues!

How To Make Cross Stitch Patterns

KG-Chart import screen shot (source: KG-Chart)

So you understand how to cross stitch, but now you want to make your own patterns?
I’ll start by saying; you rock! Making patterns is half the fun of cross stitch, so you’re onto a good start.
Depending on what you have in mind, there are a series of ways to make a cross stitch pattern, and so without using a specific program, I’ll go through them all here. However, if you’re looking to make video game cross stitch patterns you may want to look at our specific guide for that.

First things first

To start, you need to work out what image you’re trying to make. Depending on what it is specifically you want, you change the way you make the pattern.

  • I have a photo – Definitely the easiest pattern creation. All you need is pattern making software.
  • I want to make an image – Brave. But rewarding. You need an image package (MS paint will do), and that might be all.
  • I want to edit an image – If you need a large amount of edits to your image you need to edit the image before making the pattern.
  • I have a pixel image – If you have a pixel image in hand, you have a few options, but you need to make sure your image is right first.

I have a photo

With a photo you have a load of quick, easy options to making a pattern. However, all of them require you to have the image on your PC. If you’ve already got this, skip the next paragraph.

In order to get the image onto your PC, you may be able to simply send the image from your phone, or insert your cameras memory card, but in some circumstances, you may only have a printed version. If you have one of these, you can scan the image through a regular scanner.
Don’t have a scanner? There’s still an option for you. If you have an iPhone/iPad try out the app Cross Stitch Camera, which allows you to take a photo and make a pattern all on your phone. It’s a lot more automated on this app, so you should just follow the app guide.

You’re ready, the image in hand, ready to make a pattern, so what’s the hold-up?
Size. Any photo you’re likely to have on your PC will be HUGE and will make an equally huge pattern. So the first thing to do is work out how big you want the pattern. Start by working out (in inches) the size of the largest edge. Then work out what count aida you’re using. Time the inches by the count. This figure is important, so write it down.

If the overall number is less than 500, you could use an online pattern maker, such as patternsforyou.com, but if you’re brave enough to edit your image, you may need a downloaded pattern creator. Usually, images tend to come out too dark, could scan in weirdly, might have scratches, etc, and so I would suggest downloading a pattern. You can find the best one for you here.

With the pattern software downloaded (or loaded online), you need to upload the image. It’s usually called “import” on downloaded software. You’ll be hit with a series of options. First off is size; remember that number from earlier? You should input this in the “ct” box, making sure its the largest edge. The smaller size will update automatically.
The next choice is the number of colors. I would always suggest using as many colors as you can with a photo, but if you want to make it easier you can lower the color count. What I would say is the detail will be reduced with fewer colors.
Finally, you may have options about names, color palettes, and authors.

KG-Chart import screen shot (source: KG-Chart)
KG-Chart import screen shot (source: KG-Chart)

The software will then create a pattern for you. You can start stitching with this straight away, but if you want, you can also edit the pattern to your needs.
Don’t you like the color? Swap it out for a different one.
Want more colors? Repeat the import with a larger number.
Something hasn’t come out, right? Try increasing the size of the project.
Once you’re super happy, just hit print (if you’re on Mac you can save this to a pdf, or if on PC you might want to download cutePDF) and stitch to your heart’s content!

I want to make an image

This is definitely the most rewarding way to make a pattern. It does have its limits though. The first thing I would say is to pick your medium. Sometimes drawing something out then scanning it in would be the best option, other times you may want to paint, create in photoshop, or even make pixel art. However, whatever you want to make, pick what you feel comfortable in. For those of you looking for video game sprites, I have a specific guide for you.
Assuming that you want to create your image on the PC, and you’re happy to work in pixels, you could either use something like MS Paint or even create something within a pattern creator itself. The advantage of this would be you’ve set your sizes, and you can pick colors the way to make sure its perfect, but not all pattern creators have this ability. You can see a few options on our post about the best pattern making software.

I want to edit an image

Depending on what this image is, you may be able to edit the image with ease, however, I would always suggest photoshop for photos, and a simple image package like MS Paint for pixel images.
If you’re editing a photo, you can edit to your heart’s content, but do it outside of a pattern editor. Once you’ve imported it, it gets very complicated. Once done, just import as a photo by following the “I have a photo” guide above.
If you’re editing a simple image/pixel image you could always consider importing it into a pattern creator first. The advantage of this is you already set out what size image you want, and the number of colors. You can then re-position/recolor/etc on the fly to make sure the image is perfect. This is especially helpful if you want specialized stitches. If so, I would follow the “I want to make an image” as best as possible.

I have a pixel image

Sweet! I love pixel art! But before we get down to making a pattern, you need to work something very important out. Size.
Pixel images can be very small, or very big. You need to make sure that the pattern you’re going to make isn’t too big (or too small) as you can’t resize the image.
Work out what count aida you want to stitch on and times this number by the largest edge of the pixel image. This will give you the inch size of the image. A rough judge is an inch square in one color will take an hour, 2 colors will take 2 hours, etc.

  • My image is fine – Great! You can follow the “I have a photo” guide.
  • Its too big/small/needs edits – With a pixel image you might not have too much option, I would suggest contacting the person who made the image, but if you’re brave you can edit the image yourself.

How To Cross Stitch Like A Pro

How to end a cross stitch thread illustration (source: DMC)

The world of cross stitch can be someone daunting for the beginner, with a whole new dictionary of words and terms to learn (Aida, floating stitches, etc), but stitching is actually pretty simple. This how-to cross stitch guide will help you through your first project and beyond!

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

What you need

The first step in any cross stitch rock star’s future is getting the right tools for the job. This guide runs on the assumption that you have all the below items either collected yourself or as part of a kit.

  • Scissors – These can pretty much be any scissors, but embroidery scissors work best, or even better; quick clips
  • Aida fabric – You can also stitch on other fabrics, but aida is the best place to start. I would suggest 14 count (its the most popular kind)
  • Needles – Embroidery needles are blunted needles, and usually a little shorter. They come in sizes too. If you’re using 14 count use a size 24 needle
  • Threads – Embroidery thread is what you need here. Its a little different to other thread, which we’ll go into in a minute
  • Hoop/Frame – You’re going to need something to hold your cross stitch taught. A hoop works best, and it usually the cheapest option
  • A Pattern – You need a pattern, otherwise you don’t know what to stitch! My how to make a cross stitch pattern post will be able to help you make one.

Getting your fabric ready

Now you have everything, you need to get your fabric taught. We do this so that its easier to see the little holes in the fabric, but also so the stitches are nice and neat in the end. Depending on if you have a hoop or frame you can see the two ways below.

Hoop:
If you’re using a hoop, you need to measure out the required size of fabric (it should be on your pattern), and you need to add 2/3 inches on top of each dimension. once done fold your fabric in half, and then half again, pressing firmly on the edges.
Open the folds up and there should be two lines denoting the center of your fabric (you need this for later).
Place the smaller of the two hoops on the table, and place the fabric over the top, so the center is in the middle of the hoop.
Loosen the larger hoop slightly by unscrewing it. Place it over the top of the fabric and bottom hoop. Tighten the screw on the top of the hoop without lifting it.

Frame:
You’re going to need a little more fabric when using a frame, so bear that in mind when purchasing. You’re looking at 2 or 3 inches more in one dimension, and 6 to 8 inches in the other dimension.
Once you’ve cut your fabric, fold it in half and fold it in half again. Open up and you’ll have two folds marking out the center point.
Taking the shortest edge, put the fabric on top of the frame, and push over/screw the edge of the frame to it (you can also get some you have to stitch). Twist the frame so that fabric only just covers the far side of the frame. Repeat the process of clipping/screwing the edge of the fabric to the frame. Twist the frame once again until you have the center point in the center of the frame.

Getting your threads ready

Whilst you just want to jump right in with stitching, getting your thread right is one of the most important parts of this instruction guide.
Look at your pattern, and you should see two triangles at the top and side of the pattern denoting the center. Work out the color of this thread and choose that one.
The first thing to note is the length of your thread. We’ll go into ending threads later, however you will need extra. In addition, you’ll need enough. But (and this is the important bit) you don’t want too much, as it catches, twists, knots, and splits.
The accepted standard for thread length is by using your own arm. Hold the end of the thread in your thumb and forefinger, and pull the thread down your arm, around your elbow, and back to your fingers. Cut the thread where the two ends meet.
Whilst using the thread you’ve probably noticed how thick it is. Well, unlike other threads, embroidery thread is actually a composite thread. That means its made up of multiple strands that you can separate. If you take the end and roll it in your fingers backward and forward it will split into six separate strands:

6 stands of a standard embroidery thread (source: DMC)
6 stands of a standard embroidery thread (source: DMC)

Depending on the count of aida and fabric you are using, you make need more or less of these, however, for 14 count fabric we use the 2 over 2 method (two stands). But wait! starting the thread is slightly different in cross stitch to other sewing, so for now, split the 6 strands into 6 separate threads. A good way to do this is by pulling one away an inch, then holding the single end, and the remaining threads, pull your finger down the entire length (the threads may spin after this is done, let them spin themselves out).

Starting the stitch

Take one of the strands you’ve created and held the two ends together. This will create a loop of thread. Carefully insert the two ends into the eye of the needle, and allow the ends of the threads to fall halfway down the length of the hoop.

The stitch

That took long enough, didn’t it? Well, we finally get to start a stitch!
I’ve repeated the top image again, as its a very good guide on what you have to do. To start, find the middle of your fabric by locating the position the two folds lie. Looking closely you’ll see the fabric has many holes. Pick the closest hole to the center, allowing the thread to pull through about two-thirds of the way. Take the thread and insert it in the hole to the top right. This is movement 1 and 2 of the below image.
The first time you’ll have to turn the fabric over and insert the needle through the small hole in the thread. Pull it taught.
You can now repeat movement 1 and 2 for 3 and 4. You’ll note on the image below that this is next to the original stitch, meaning you don’t yet have a full X. Don’t worry. That’s normal. Doing it this way you use less thread, and your finished product will look better. Repeat this until you have a full line of stitches you need to make (you can skip a single stitch if the pattern requires it, but I wouldn’t skip more than two). You then have to repeat the same process but in reverse. This means you finally complete the full X.

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

Once you’re back where you started you may need to end the thread (see below) or do another line. Go either up or down, but make sure the first line of stitches is in the same direction. For this example, bottom left to top right. If you change the direction the finished item looks a little wrong, and people’s eyes are often drawn to the imperfections.

Ending the thread

So you have had to end your thread, or used most of it up, but either way, you need to end your thread. The most important thing to remember though, is you need at least 1 inch of thread remaining to end a thread.
Ending a thread is very simply done, by turning over the fabric to see the underside. The top has X stitches on it, however, the back has straight lateral lines of thread. Take the needle and slot it through these lines of thread. Done. Cut off the end and start a new thread.
You could always not it, however, this tends to leave bobbles on the back which won’t allow you to frame your project very well. In addition knots can come undone and the stitches could fall out (which no one wants!).

How to end a thread (source: DMC)
How to end a thread (source: DMC)

Floating Stitches

There aren’t many things that daunt a cross stitcher, but the one sticking point is floating stitches. A floating stitch is when there is a solitary stitch on its own, without anything around it. The problem with these is you can’t end the thread without either tying a knot, or crossing thread over a large area.
But there is a trick.
Pull a large knot in the end of your thread, insert it into your cross stitch top-down, one row up from your floating stitch, but in a large body of stitches. Make your floating stitch and once again pull your thread one row away (I would suggest down) in a block of stitches and tie another knot at the top of the work.
Keep stitch away, and when you end, cut the two knots off. This will mean there are no knots on the back, and the loose thread is held by the stitches, without it showing through. Easy!

I’m finished, what next?

This is the first part in the how do guide, but once you’re finished you need to Wash & Iron, then Frame (or store) it. You could also look at the after care guide too, to make sure your finished project stays perfect forever! But here’s a guide to save any if not.

Download

You can download a simple A4 cheat sheet for how to cross stitch below:
how to cross stitch printable guide

Why I always put cross stitch on my CV

Central Limit Theorem cross stitch by Greg Snow (source: Google plus)

As a marketer, I’ve always wanted to stand out from the droves of CVs an employer gets. Eventually, I tried outputting cross stitch on there. I never looked back. Since it went on my CV I’ve had 200% more interviews; it comes up in every interview, and frankly, I think I owe my job to it.
But why did it work?

The CV

In short; I stand out.
As a professional I’ve gone through the employment process from both sides, and I’ve seen hundreds of colleagues go through the same. As I want to be clear here; its always the same.
The CV’s either come flooding in, or they trickle at a rate which makes you want to give up. Regardless of the situation, the need to stand out against the crowd.
As much as I don’t want to admit it, not that many people know what cross stitch is. It sounds simple, but they just don’t know. The likelihood is whoever is reading it will look it up online straight afterward. And whilst going away from your CV might sound bad; they will now always associate cross stitch with you.
Well done, you stood out from the crowd, your future employer read the whole of your CV instead of skimming it. You just massively increased your chances of getting an interview.

How

CVs are roughly split into two camps; the visual (normally marketeers) and the written. In both situations, you’re likely to have a quick 2 sentence bio at the top. That’s the place to put it.
But you need to make it obvious. As people skim past the page it needs to stand out. Put it on a new line, and make it snappy “My main hobby is cross stitch”. That’s enough. Interest has been peaked.

Additional Skills

I’m of the personal belief that cross stitch can show proof of any skill. I’ll go into more detail on how in a moment, but lets first talk about additions to your CV you can make without directly referencing your hobby.
Do you have a website? Etsy? Maybe you write for a blog? Put it on there. Put it under voluntary work (otherwise it looks like you have two jobs at once), and you can push whole new set skill.

The Interview

So you got the interview. Well done.
But cross stitch doesn’t stop there. Firstly, if brought up, I can guarantee they will ask what is it. You can find a good description here, but if you don’t take my advice, at least have an answer up your sleeve.
So now you have a choice. And I would personally play this by ear. Do you bring it up, or should they?

Bring It Up

The first choice is you being it up.
They’re likely to ask you to go through your CV. This is opportunity number 1. Mention it towards the end, and, if it’s part of volunteering in your CV, you can tack it on the end “And I also volunteer to blog for a cross stitch website”. Instant engagement. This is where they’ll ask you what it is.
The second opportunity is the safer bet. Every interview contains competency-based questions. I said earlier that cross stitch backs up every skill; well I wasn’t joking. Detail-oriented, logical, creative, devoted, understands a small impact can change the end product, the list really goes on. This is where I usually bring it up, you can’t go wrong…

Let Them Bring It Up

So maybe you’re a little unsure about bringing it up; that’s OK. They’re also likely to bring it up. Once again, you need to know what to say once they do, but remember; back up your skills with it, you are still in an interview after all.

And that’s it. why I bring up cross stitch. It makes me stand out from the crowd, it increases the likelihood of an interview, it increases engagement in the interview…
But there is one last piece of advice I would give you: bring a business card. I can guarantee that at one point in the process, they’ll check your website out.

A Definative History of Cross Stitch

World War 2 sampler by imprisoned POW Major Alexis Casdagli

Cross-Stitch has been a staple of embroidery for nearly 2000 years, and in that time has gone through multiple dips and resurgences through the last two millennia.
However, the story starts back in Egypt.
You can view this post as an infographic by scrolling down!

500AD

The first known embroidery
In around 1860 a dig in a remote corner of Egypt found 3 tombs. Inside one, of what is believed to be a wealthy slave owner, was a series of well-preserved linens with embroidery of coins and wall paintings. In addition, there were frescos detailing tapestries and other embroideries; proof that this was not a one-off.
You can read the official journal paper here.

618 – 900AD

The first record of the movement of embroidery
Oddly, the first known evidence of embroidery is unknown, however during the 6th to 8th century’s records from both the Chinese and the Russians began to detail a vast movement of embroidery in both directions. Ledgers of the time detail that tea was often traded for produce, including embroidery.

900-1100AD

The Bayeux tapestry
Unlike most tapestries of the past, the first western embroidery known is the Bayeux Tapestry, depicting the events of 1066AD in Britain. Whilst in Britain this tapestry is highly regarded, it featured many new forms of stitch, including the over-under, or cross stitch.

1100-1492AD

The invention of counted cross stitch
Whilst up to this point crossed stitches had been used, there was no specific reason to use them. However, in the Islamic states, traditionally made hemp cloth cross stitches were used to create a small repeating pattern in a grid.
This quickly moved across Europe and the Baltic States. You can follow a timeline of pieces in the Victoria & Albert museum on their website.

1509AD

Cross Stitch brought to Britain
Whilst counted cross stitch had grown in popularity in Europe over the last few hundred years, England had stayed out of it, focusing on other embroideries.
However, Catherine of Aragon brought black work, and cross stitch to England where she stitched on Henry VIII’s shirts. As the height of style at the time, this launched England’s love affair with cross stitch.

1524AD

Counted Cross Stitch Books started to be published
The first known counted cross stitch was published in England. Whilst there is no surviving copy of this book, we do have many references to its existence.

1600-1800AD

Printing presses working overtime
Cross stitch books started to become one of the first mainstream publications within England, with many books such as this one from the Smithsonian Library being released and distributed.
DMC and Anchor were also founded.

1840AD

German wool imports
Whilst embroidery was incredibly popular up until this time, the German wool trade was suffering from lack of internal demand, and so started exporting. The English market was flooded with cheaper threads, which in turn lowered the desirability.

1700-1800AD

The invention of domestic sewing machines
Struggling to overcome mass imports, cross stitch suffered another blow as domestic sewing machines lowered the desirability for cross stitch even further.
During this time, the arts and crafts movement developed within England, however, cross stitch was never taken up within this movement.

1914AD

First World War
The breakout of the First World War caused cotton prices to soar worldwide, and thread was classed as a luxury item, not to be used by the mass public.

1918AD

Women given the vote
In Britain, women were finally given freedoms, including the vote. However, with this came an increase in working hours, and less time spend on leisure activities. Cross stitch at this time had a small resurgence, but prices meant access for the mass public was limited.

1939-1961AD

Second World War
WWII brought strict rationing in England, limiting cotton once again. In addition, women moved into the land army, where hobbies were not in the national interest.
Interestingly, during this time prisoners of war were often finding themselves with nothing to do. Cross stitch and embroidery became a pass time in PoW camps.
A very interesting example of a cross stitch made from threads of his bedding was made by an English PoW. It featured pro-Nazi imagery, and as a result was taken to other PoW camps as proof of obedience. Little did the Nazi’s know, but stitched within the boarder were pro-English, and anti-Hitler sentiments.

Sampler by Major Alexis Casdagli (source: V&A website)
Sampler by Major Alexis Casdagli (source: V&A website)

A fantastic in-depth article can be found on Make, with an interview by the PoW; Major Alexis Casdagli.

1960AD

The 60’s resurgence
For 300 years cross stitch had been battered in Britain, and popularity wavered, however in the post-war 60s, time-saving tools came to average households, allowing women more free time. Cross stitch saw its largest ever resurgence.

1986AD

New fabric invented – aida
Plastic canvas and waste canvas were invented as desires for new products launched within the hobby sewing market.

1990-2000AD

Rise of the counter tradition
An increase in sub-cultures prior and during the millennium allowed a new, modern cross stitch to form. Video games, pop culture, and subversive samplers were in stark contrast to tradition. The counter tradition once again brought cross stitch to a male hobby with a subculture known as the manbroiderer In addition the increase in home PCs allowed for home pattern making software to be developed. You can find out how to make a cross stitch pattern here.

2009AD

The great recession
In early 2009, I developed Lord Libidan’s Video Game and Pop Culture Cross Stitch.
The great recession hit, and although this brought a strain on personal finances for some, it also brought with it a renewed interest in home craft, with retailer John Lewis reporting a 17% increase in craft sales over a year.

cross stitch history infographic

So, What is Cross Stitch?

Fine Cell Work - A prisoner cross stitching in his cell (source: mrxstitch.com)

As every cross stitcher knows, that question is all too common amongst your friends, family, and colleagues, and I’ve never been able to answer in a simple, succinct way. I usually palm it off as a bit of a granny hobby (which is usually followed by a really weird look). I then try and palm out a rough idea of what it is, whilst also trying to show how I do it differently from everyone else, and it just leaves people confused and grabbing for the conversational parachute. I finally relent and show them a picture; which always sparks the obligatory request for a piece just for them (if only they knew how long it took).

But truly, what is cross stitch?
I plan to answer that question in a way that a cross stitcher would find interesting, a friend might understand, and a way that doesn’t confuse the person being told.

Confused Mark Wahlberg
We’ve all seen that face before…

The Definition

Dictionary.com kinda calls it like it is:
“a stitch in which pairs of diagonal stitches of the same length cross each other in the middle to form an X”
Well, yeh, that’s it, right on the head. But you tell someone that, and all they can think of is diagonals, and they have to mentally (or possibly physically) draw out what you mean. Try doing that in an interview and then going back to quadratic quantitative analysis in a hurry…

So maybe the beloved wikipedia has the answer?
“Cross-stitch is a popular form of counted thread embroidery in which X-shaped stitches in a tiled, raster-like pattern are used to form a picture.”
Great, so now you have to tell someone what a raster image is first.

And don’t get me started on the history. Unless you have 30 minutes to talk through nearly 2000 years of embroidery?

The Real World Definition

The true definitions clearly aren’t able to clear anything up for the layperson, and so you struggle to explain yourself. Maybe you make images in the air, explain in detail how you spend countless hours sat in front of a bit of cloth and then file it away in a drawer somewhere when you’re done. Maybe you get a little annoyed that they belittle that slightly… regardless, they just don’t get it.
Using references, quoting it like a grandma hobby, giving them an impromptu and a little too detailed history lesson, being too brief, or maybe just avoiding the question altogether. I’ve heard all of these being attempted, and honestly, sometimes people get it; but most of the time they nod along and then google it when there’s a quiet moment (normally falling upon one of the aforementioned definitions).
Cut it however you want, you still aren’t making yourself clear. But you want to. You need to. After all, you spend all this time, effort, and a little too much geekiness; you want the world to know. And let’s face it; it’s more addictive than crack cocaine.

The Answer

“I create art using thread and needle.” Simple. They don’t NEED to know how its little squares, or how you make little Xs, and they definitely don’t need to know that the material you stitch it on has a whole sub wiki.
If you have more time, or they genuinely want to know more, add to it “It usually takes 10-100 hours to finish a piece, and you can make it 3D, flat, basically anything form of art, but it’s tactile”. They think ‘wow, they’re devoted’, or detail-oriented, or have a creative edge. With this as a basis, you can add and embellish as you want. Once they’ve got the IDEA you can tell them anything and they’ll be able to make sense of it.
I mentioned earlier that cross stitch has come up in an interview before, in reality, I bring it up in every interview. It engages, it brings a bit of difference, and you can use it to your advantage to back up almost any skill. But you need to be able to tell them what it is first.

The Image

Or, if you’re in a hurry; just show them exactly what you make. But expect them to want one… But you can’t blame them…

Miniature 3D Joust Arcade Cabinet Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Miniature 3D Joust Arcade Cabinet Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

joust arcade cabinet
Title: Joust Cabinet
Date Completed: April 2016
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: Plastic
Colors: 7
Video Game: Joust
 
While researching a different 3D project (which later turned into the micro Nintendo64 3D cross stitch console) I came across a Joust arcade cabinet by SunQueen1 on Imgur. She’s done a few others before, but this was a perfect rendition of the Joust game, and I knew in cross stitch it would be a third of the size she created, which would challenge my miniature plastic canvas ability (which later came in handy on my super miniature 3D Pokemon city cross stitch a few months later). How could I say no?
 
What I didn’t realise at the time, was there was a Gamers Delight cross stitch competition being run by the DeviantArt group stitchingpirates. They asked if I’d like to enter, and I won!