The Best Geeky Cross Stitch

Lord Of The Rings Mines of Moria Cross Stitch by Jamie Sesslin (source: pinterest.com)

Cross stitch is inherently geeky, however with more and more people releasing their inner geek; we’ve had some epic cross stitches.

Star Trek Sampler

Star Trek Sampler Cross Stitch by samapictures (source: samapictures.com)
Star Trek Sampler Cross Stitch by samapictures (source: samapictures.com)

Star Trek has long been in the realm of geeks, but with recent movies its become more and more popular, however its still firmly geeky. This sampler shows everything geeky about the series, with all its cross stitch glory!
This pattern actully came from the Star Trek Cross Stitch book myself and John Lohman put together:
Star Trek Cross Stitch Book Cover by John Lohman and Lord Libidan
Star Trek Cross Stitch Book Cover by John Lohman and Lord Libidan

Game Of Thrones Pokemon Mashup

Game of Thrones Pokemon Cross Stitch by Beki710 (source: mrxstitch.com)
Game of Thrones Pokemon Cross Stitch by Beki710 (source: mrxstitch.com)

Game of Thrones brought geek to the every day with the awesome books and TV series, however back when it was just into its first series this amazing piece was made. Sure, it doesn’t subscribe to the R+L=J theory, but its great use of a pre-existing Pokemon set makes it geeky in the extreme.

Harry Potter Crests

Harry Potter Crest Pillows Cross Stitch by Carlydx-x (source: Instructables.com)
Harry Potter Crest Pillows Cross Stitch by Carlydx-x (source: Instructables.com)

The Potter books and movies are great, but their attention to detail is what makes them really stand out. The production team even managed to create perfect house crests, which were quickly picked up, pixelized, and cross stitched. However, their HUGE size stopped people in their tracks, but making 4 of the things and then making pillows; there must have been magic involved.

Epic Pokemon

Epic Pokemon Cross Stitch by Eponases (source: eponases.com)
Epic Pokemon Cross Stitch by Eponases (source: eponases.com)

I’ve mentioned Pokemon above, and I use it a lot in my work, but the sheer size of this piece is mind blowing. The pattern was made over on the SpriteStitch forums, it’s been started (and even finished) a dozen times, but the image above was the first, and gives a great idea of its huge 4.5 foot size.

Star Wars Tapestry

Star Wars Coruscant Tapestry by Aled LewisStar Wars Coruscant Tapestry by Aled Lewis (source: boingboing.net)
Star Wars Coruscant Tapestry by Aled Lewis (source: boingboing.net)

Talking huge; hows a 9 foot long cross stitch of the entire original Star Wars trilogy? OK, its not actually a tapestry as its purely cross stitch, but damn its cool.

Glow In The Dark Spiderman

Spiderman Glow In The Dark Cross Stitch by stitchFIGHT (source: mrxstitch.com)
Spiderman Glow In The Dark Cross Stitch by stitchFIGHT (source: mrxstitch.com)

This Spiderman stitch deserves a place on this list anyway, however with its clever use of glow in the dark thread it really pops.

Portal 2 Lemon Rant

Portal 2 Lemon Rant Cross Stitch by benwermers (source: spritestitch.com)
Portal 2 Lemon Rant Cross Stitch by benwermers (source: spritestitch.com)

DEMAND TO SEE LIFE’S MANAGER!
This just makes me itch to play Portal 2 again, one of my all-time favorite games EVER.

Doctor Who

Doctor Who Tardis Cross Stitch by elfstitch (source: Buzzfeed)
Doctor Who Tardis Cross Stitch by elfstitch (source: Buzzfeed)

Ooh-wee-ooh…
Just looking at this makes me hum the theme tune. Doctor Who, the geekiest of 70s TV, is still loving strong today with awesome stitches like this.

Ohm Sweet Ohm

Ohm Sweet Ohm Cross Stitch by Adafruit (source: adafruit.com)
Ohm Sweet Ohm Cross Stitch by Adafruit (source: adafruit.com)

Home sweet home sampler + pun + electronics + cross stitch = the best geek inspired cross stitch ever!
I mean; this is just so geeky its hilarious. And damn that’s a good pun.

Lord Of The Rings Gateway

Lord Of The Rings Mines of Moria Cross Stitch by Jamie Sesslin (source: pinterest.com)
Lord Of The Rings Mines of Moria Cross Stitch by Jamie Sesslin (source: pinterest.com)

You don’t need to say anything about this. Its just pure amazing. Not only that, but this stitch came out before the movies. Very very impressive.

Adventure Time’s Everything Burrito

Adventure Time Everything Burrito Cross Stitch by LadyBeta (source: reddit)
Adventure Time Everything Burrito Cross Stitch by LadyBeta (source: reddit)

I admit, I’ve watched all of Adventure Time, and I’m still not sure if its a kids program or not… But its my guilty pleasure, the thing I hide from friends… It’s so reminiscent of old school geek is great. And so is the everything burrito…

Space Invader School

Space Invader School Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
Space Invader School Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

No geeky cross stitch list is complete without a smashing of retro gaming, and my Space Invader School cross stitch is a perfect example of that geekiness.

WARNING – RUDE WORDS

Alien Cross Stitch

Alien Cross Stitch by ScarlettStitches (source: Etsy.com)
Alien Cross Stitch by ScarlettStitches (source: Etsy.com)

I don’t like to post rude stitches on this site, but the cult classic Alien has to be on the list. It’s summed up the tone of the film perfectly.

 

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Free Pokemon Home Sweet Home Cross Stitch Pattern

Pokemon Home Sweet Home Free Cross Stitch Pattern

How does a totally free pokemon ‘home sweet home’ cross stitch pattern sound?

Pokemon Home Sweet Home Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
Pokemon Home Sweet Home Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

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Pokemon Home Sweet Home Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
Pokemon Home Sweet Home Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Or add a pikachu even…
Pokemon Home Sweet Home Cross Stitch by umlauts (source: @xstitchmag)
Pokemon Home Sweet Home Cross Stitch by umlauts (source: @xstitchmag)

Pokemon Home Sweet Home Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
Pokemon Home Sweet Home Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Pokemon Home Sweet Home Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
Pokemon Home Sweet Home Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

 
Looking for something else? Check out our list of free cross stitch patterns for more.

 

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Journey To A Complete Set Of DMC Floss Threads

Full set of DMC threads

“I’ve been stitching now for more than 5 years, and in that time; I’ve amassed more than 230 threads, but is it worth getting the complete set of DMC threads?”

That was a year ago, and now, with the full set of DMC threads, I can finally answer the question. However, as always, it’s not that simple.

Full set of DMC threads
My full set of DMC threads ordered by number

The story starts back when I picked up a small inch square kit from the local hobby store. I had nothing, yet instantly fell out of favor of the standard kits. So I started making my own and buying threads up.

The early years

At first, you buy a thread here. A thread there, and maybe you buy 10 or 20 for a big project. But it never really goes beyond that. You never finish a thread, resorting to reusing the same color next time, even if it isn’t a perfect fit.

Cross stitch is my main hobby

But things start getting better. You start larger and larger pieces, and you’re getting picking about the right colors. Sure, you still make changes to reuse old ones, but you have 5 reds to choose from, so its OK!

But you realize buying 1 or 2 threads isn’t effective. You get batches, and you start having over-spill from your storage boxes…

I’m serious about this now.

So you get new storage. Maybe you get the DMC Thread Storage Box.
But that makes you realize how few you have.

But you just keep getting through those blacks… So you buy a cone or two. And that’s where things hold.

You have so much selection you can always find 1st or 2nd choice threads.

Purchase

And that’s where I caved. Now, to be clear, I didn’t go out of my way to buy all the threads. I had actually got an offer from a store to buy a kit at a discounted cost.
And I turned it down.

And regretted it instantly.

I made a new pattern and pulled up a list of colors to find I didn’t have any of them, which was rare in itself. I searched my thread book for a good alternative and didn’t have the second choice.
Or third.
Or fourth.

So I finally splurged on a full 447 set, complete with variegated threads for £250.

DMC thread number wraps
So many DMC thread number wraps…

Post purchase

Whilst initially I started using a few new threads, I quickly found another problem. Over-spill. I had worked with 230 threads for the better part of 3 years, and when I brought my new set, I also got those 230.
So I had to work through all 230 threads first.

It took 9 months, and a load of stitching, but I got through it all. Now, I can use any color. Now I have so much choice every piece uses a new thread just for the hell of it.

And you know what? I finally have a choice when it comes to skin color. Skin tone threads! Ahhhh!

Is it worth it?

Yes. Oh, my word yes.

Even though it doesn’t seem it at first, a complete set means you can always pick the right color. Hold it up to your screen to check its perfect, or put multiple threads next to each other and pick the best.
And it really shows in your work…

You can pick up a set yourself on at Etsy.com
I don’t have that illusive Limited Edition Golden Skein though…

 

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Where to get cross stitch inspiration

Lord Libidan's 3D Cross Stitch at the Mr X Stitch Exhibition in Bedford (source: mrxstitch.com)

Regardless of where you are in your cross stitch journey, you will find a time where you want to stitch, but don’t know what. Unlike the same feeling with reading a book, it’s not as simple as to just walk into a bookstore, and so I’ve compiled a list of the places I most frequent to get some cross stitch inspiration.

Online inspiration

General

Degree Artwork

You can buy degree artwork online, for less than £500. Whilst many of these artists have great skills, they’re still exploring their creative side and style. This means the wealth of content from varied styles is staggering. The link above has 1 million pieces in it, all gallery level quality, simply from lesser-known artists. This is where the trends for the next few years come from, so get in early.

Online Museum Collections

Quality art from the world all packaged up and easy to digest. Exactly what you wanted 😀
The best two I know of are the MET and the British Museum.

Etsy

Etsy is a fantastic place to pick up patterns, completed pieces, and frankly, anything. But its also great at inspiration. The above link looks at just cross stitch within Etsy worldwide, however you can also look at all art (be it cross stitch, paintings, illustrations, etc).

Stock Images

Stock images are quality images created for all kinds of purposes, however, they can also serve as inspiration. They’re well put together images from a series of styles and offer a sheer volume greater than even google images. The link above goes to Shutterstock, but they’re all as good as each other.

DeviantArt

There are loads of artists on DeviantArt that specialize in cross stitch, and most of those find groups like the stitching pirates. They have a whole heap of artwork by previous artists, ranging from super contemporary to standard kits.
If that doesn’t fill your inspiration bottle, then you can look at all of DeviantArt’s content, or narrow it down on specific words.

Contemporary

Mr X Stitch

When it comes to contemporary sewing, Mr X Stitch is the place to go. It has everything from my own column on video game cross stitch, to not safe for work clothing elements. You can find 7 years of daily posts all lined up and ready for you. Alternatively, you can also check out their twitter, which posts a large volume of images too.

T-Shirt Daily Sale Websites

There are loads of websites out there that sell t-shirt designs for one day only. This means you get great quality images, filled to the brim of pop culture references on a daily basis. Now, the great thing about these, is they put all their old t-shirt images on their websites to review. So people like dayoftheshirt have compiled all of the shirts in one big repository.

Etsy Pop Culture

I really wasn’t joking about how perfect Etsy is for inspiration. The above link looks at just pop culture pieces, in all categories.

Etsy Contemporary

This link, on the other hand, looks up all “contemporary” items within the art category. I prefer this as its more narrowed and doesn’t give me something like a teapot, which is inevitably un-cross-stitch-able.

Pinterest

The great thing about Pinterest is it’s built on being contemporary, and whilst there will be some traditional stuff on there, most of it is purely modern.
The top three contemporary links I follow are:
Cross Stitch Explore – 1,000,000 pins
Cross Stitch board – 13,000 pins

Video Games

Artist Portfolios

All cross stitchers have their own style and topics, and if you can find one with similar interests, you should check their profiles and past work out. After all, they’re in the same world as you. However, I would also suggest contacting them, speak with how they’re getting their own inspiration.

SpriteStitch

SpriteStitch is a craft website built upon the sole purpose of great video game cross stitch inspiration, and whilst it’s changed a bit to include more usual crafts, it’s still mostly cross stitch.

GeekCrafts

Fair warning: not everything on this site is cross stitch. In fact, a large section is cosplay, however of the content that can inspire, it sure does.

DeviantArt

Want something just video game centric on DeviantArt? Well we have you covered, with a team from the makers of SpriteStitch who only post video game cross stitch.

Etsy Video Game

With little to no effort (just click the link), you can see some of the best curated video game art anywhere on the web, gratis of Etsy.

Pinterest

There are a lot of communities out there looking to fill the video game arena on Pinterest, but the above link features some of the best work possible, and it’s curated by cross stitchers, so everything you see is possible.

Makibird Stitching DeviantArt

Makibird has some of the best free pokemon patterns out there. No joke. They are simply inspired. Not only that, but she has a slew of other games, and comes out with at least one new pattern a week. Always worth a stop for a free pattern, or some great composition ideas.

Real world inspiration

Museums

Victoria & Albert, London, UK

The V&A in London not only has a large selection of historic samplers among its ranks (including the piece we looks at in the history of cross stitch post), but it’s constantly rotating exhibitions make it a fantastic source of new ideas from other art mediums.

Tate Modern, UK

Whilst some of the art can be well over the top, the Tate Modern galleries in England are a great source of unusual ideas. Whilst the average piece might not be to taste, that one random idea pops out of nowhere.

Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA

Maybe an option only for the modern/contemporary art movement, the MoMA is a great source of inspiration due to its sheer volume of art. Just let it soak in…

Smithsonian, Washington DC, USA

No list of museums would be complete without the Smithsonian. Simply put, if you can walk around these museums for longer than a few hours without getting crazy inspired then there’s something seriously wrong. The one thing I love in particular about the Smithsonian is the volume of printed material backing up each exhibit. A space shuttle is one thing, but it comes with reams and reams of posters, NASA manuals, detailed specs, blueprints, etc all on display alongside.

Other

Affordable Art Fair, Worldwide

The affordable art fair offers the largest collection of purchasable art I’ve ever seen. There are thousands of paintings, thousands of sculptures, and even a few cross stitches. The great thing about it though is its been treated like an aspiring artist gallery for decades. The tickets are about £20 each, and that’s all you need. The sale conversion rate is super low (1% max), so you’re in the great company of others just walking around. The artists are all there, talking about their own pieces and inspiration, and they enthuse you just by talking to them! I’ve even set up collaborations with artists here before.

Local Art Fairs

Much in the same way that the affordable art fair in the UK works, but on a much smaller scale, local art fairs showcase the best of the local area. The amount of work is likely to be much smaller, and they try to sell in these, but you still get a lot of work to see and inspire you.

Brand documents

An odd idea, granted, however, every brand has at least a brand book or guidelines to work from. In turn most push this content out on the web. Whilst some times you may want to copy the style of a brand it can be helpful, but sometimes the visuals are just amazing from these guides. I love NASAs 1970s brand guide for example; pure distilled 70s style.

Competitions

Sometimes the greatest issue with inspiration is the ability to do ANYTHING, and you just can’t work out what. That’s where competitions really shine. They focus the mind on a set task, usually with some rules to follow, meaning you’re pushed to do the best you can. And if you win you get recognition/free stuff!
I’ve done loads of competitions in the past, and the simple fact of it being a competition always pushes me. After winning with my Transformer Cross Stitch and Arcade Cabinet Cross Stitch I’ve come away with ideas up the wazoo, itching to stitch more projects.

Book Shops

Yeh, you heard me. Book covers go through many design phases with designers and hold images and text. Depending on what you like to stitch, walk around a book shop and check out some covers, I guarantee some will pique your interest (and in the worst-case scenario, you can always buy a book!).

Books

Cross stitch books are a great place to start with a project. I’ve had a few pieces start from designs in a book, to end up looking nothing like them. I tend towards more pop culture books as they push boundaries a bit, I have a Star Wars Kit and a Star Trek Book out that you can try!

Travel

This is a bit of a two-part inspiration. The first is that travel, and unique experiences change the way you think about things, they add another point of view and help create a large set of reference material in your head.
That all helps MASSIVELY, however whenever I travel I always pop into a museum or gallery. Not only do they have different stuff, but they’re opinions are different. I went to a Japanese museum that painted America as the aggressor in WWII, and taking opinions out of the matter, they displayed things differently, took the other point of view, and in doing so made me look at a uniform or map in a totally different way.

Films

Movies can be a great source of inspiration for two reasons; style and graphics. Some movies have a signature style, with red hues over the whole thing, maybe a set color palette, but also film scenes in a unique way, which could be great cross stitched!
The second reason is the graphics involved in films. In sci-fi, in particular, you get fantastic set pieces with objects in them, like harry potter posters, the martian computer screens, or styling of moon’s habitat. You could use them directly, or indirectly for inspiration.

Video Games

Well that’s not much of a surprise, is it? Video games tend to have rich graphics, full backstories, objects not in the real world, and they create pop culture references that can be used to your advantage.

University Art Sales

Did you know at the end of the school/uni term all the art created that year gets sold? Well, now you do. This is a great place to pick up a sub £500 bit of unique and quality artwork, however, they always feature a wide variety of art styles, more so than any museum or gallery, due to the experimental nature of study, and so have a great source of unique content to feast your inspiration hunger on.

Go For A Walk

Not exactly what you were expecting? Well, when I’m stuck the first thing I do is go for a walk. I tend to know where I’m walking by now, however, just the act of walking clears your head. Once you’re back, look at some of the other inspiration sources and something normally comes. And the old adage of one the doors open, the flood comes is true for inspiration.

 

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How do I remove cross stitch stains

Washing cross stitch (source: peacockandfig.com)

Something has happened! You spilled something, there’s a mark, or even worse; you ripped a bit. Well, fear not, as its ALWAYS savable.
I would start by saying though, that if you wash and iron your work, and store it properly, most of the below issues are fixed by washing it again.

top gun
Coffee spills – a common cross stitch problem for top gun pilots

Brown marks

This is a common issue with cross stitch that’s not been washed correctly. The oils from your fingers discolor in sunlight, making brown spots.
If you haven’t ironed the piece, you can just wash it in cold slightly soapy water for about 6 hours and you’ll be golden.
If you have ironed your work, then I’m afraid you’ll have to pick the stitches and redo them. There’s a quick guide on this at the end of the post.

Rust marks

Fairly uncommon on cross stitch, however, if you’ve stored it in the frame somewhere you may get rust.
Get ready for science! You want to find some Oxalic acid. You can find it online (it’s used by Beekeepers) or specialist cleaning stores. In short, it bonds with the iron of rust and makes a water-soluble solution. Mix a small amount (10g) with a tablespoon of water, and rub in. Wash it out under a tap after 15 mins and it should be as good as new!

Scorch marks

Happens ALL the time. This is most common in old samplers as they had candles around all the time.
Straight from the Smithsonian museum, the best way to clean them is bicarbonate of soda and water. Just rub it on and it will remove the spot by removing the topmost layer of threads.
Or you would use white vinegar (very small amounts) which will remove the burn color from the stain.

Blood

This usually happens during the sewing, following nose bleeds, however, the key here is speed. You want to be cleaning it the SECOND it hits thread/aida. The longer you leave it, the harder it gets to clean.
Salt. I would use a 3:1 salt to water ratio, and just rub it in. Once the salt has gone brown, wash it off. If the stain is still there, repeat.
In rare cases, the blood will have dried into the aida and you either can’t access it, or it won’t come out. In this situation get a bowl of warm water and add salt until it doesn’t dissolve anymore. Sit the piece in the water and let it sit. I would suggest covering it with something non-transparent to stop evaporation too.

Pen

Yeh, we’ve been there…
Cut a lemon open and drip it onto the pen mark. It should wipe straight off.
But limit the lemon juice, and make sure to give it a good clean afterward, as over time the lemon will bleach the threads.

Tea

As a stern tea lover, I’ve had this issue more than a few times. Coldwater works well, but if you have soda water/carbonated water that works best. Just pour it over, letting it bubble on the surface until its all out.

Thread bleed

This is actually fairly rare, normally as a result of incorrect washing, or a cleaning fluid.
This will take time. Be prepared.
The first step is a big flat pan. Lay it down face up, and add ice on top. Let it melt, add more. Repeat for at least 3 days, if not a week. The colder you keep the project the better, so you can keep it in the fridge or freezer if you want too. After this, wash it in cold water only. Dry it so its touch dry, but not perfectly dry. You need to iron it, stopping any bleed happening in the future.

Too late to save?

Sometimes it’s just too late. Maybe you only noticed something weeks after it happened, or the above cleaning doesn’t work. It’s OK, as there are ways around it.

Remove a stitch

If the area affected is small enough, then you can remove the stitch and put a new one in. This is actually quite common, and even if you need to remove a whole row, the effort it takes is often less than cleaning.
If the piece has been out in the sun a while, the threads can be a little bleached, and so sit the new thread in lemon juice for a few hours and it should match better.

 

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