Title: Portal Cake Is A Lie Reveal
Date Completed: August 2019
Design: Lord Libidan
Video Game: Portal
In the past, I’ve taken a long time to get to grips with some projects. A great example of this is my 3D Pokemon Cave cross stitch which took me 8 tries to get right before I could stitch the final version. This project is similar to that, in fact, its the longest ‘in progress’ project I’ve ever had. But it had a slightly different story.
Let’s go back to the start of this whole thing, LONG before I ever stitched anything. In 2012 I wrote a post on SpriteStitch about an epic portal gift box. It was so epic, that I had to jot the idea down in my journal to come back to at a later date. This is where the project actually starts, 7 years ago. Now, I know what you’re thinking; it just took me a long time to get around to stitching it? Well, no.
In fact, I started planning it almost straight away. I set out the general design, and the changes I wanted to make to the original. That, however, is where it stalled. I couldn’t work out how to get the cake to work at all, which is basically the main part. Roll on a few years and I happen to see the same candle used in the papercraft version. I give it a shot, and frankly, it worked better than I ever thought possible.
I put it in a box, ready to work out the rest, and then it stalled again. This time, I couldn’t work out the design I wanted the rest. It sat in a box. I happened to be looking for something totally unconnected, a glow-in-the-dark thread that wasn’t green and came across it. Well, thankfully, years had passed and my idea had developed a bit. By simplifying what I wanted to do, I could create the whole design pretty quick. It actually took a little longer than I planned thanks to a few on the fly redesigns, but we’re finally here!
Using threads from the DMC variegated range can really make a project, but what happens if you’re a little short, or you want to make use of one color in particular? Well, we have you covered.
Below you’ll find each of the DMC variegated threads, with their corresponding solid colors broken out.
Looking for the DMC variations range broken out or the DMC coloris range broken out?
The new coloris range of DMC threads are some of the most exciting things to come out of DMC for years (other than the 35 new DMC threads), however using them can be a bit daunting. So we’ve broken out all the coloris threads, with each of the solid colors that make up the design.
Looking for the DMC variegated range broken out or possibly the DMC variation threads broken out. We got you covered.
The DMC variation range of threads are some of the most exciting threads DMC have produced to date, but sometimes having the colors change on their own really gets in the way. So we’ve broken out the current range with their corresponding solid colors, so you can keep stitching with the color you want, without breaking the over all look.
If you’re thinking “but the number I want isn’t on the list!”, don’t worry! You’ve probably got one of the discontinued variation threads, which we’ve also broken out for you!
Looking for the DMC variegated range broken out or possibly the DMC Coloris threads broken out. We got you covered.
Sometimes, the discontined DMC ranges really hold some great threads, and the DMC variations range, which was partially disconinuted in 2013, held some great threads. Ever wanted to bring them back? Well as with all of the variations range, they’re made up of seperate block colors. So we’ve broken out each discontinued variations thread with their solid colors, so you can recreate some of the best threads DMC ever made.
If you’re thinking “but the number I want isn’t on the list!”, don’t worry! You’ve probably got one of the current range variation threads, which we’ve also broken out for you!
When it comes to threads, we all want that elusive full set of DMC threads, but for those us who aren’t so lucky, there is another thing you might want; a DMC color card. In fact, those who have all the threads often have one anyway, and they’re so useful! But why exactly?
What Type Of Color Card?
First off, let’s talk about what type of color card we mean. There are basically, three types; online, printed and threaded. We want the threaded one. The online and printed ones are great, but each computer screen shows off the colors slightly differently. In fact, scanners and cameras take slightly different photos too, meaning they are never perfect. We put hours and hours into making the best online DMC thread color chart we could, however, we started with a threaded version. Its the best. You can pick one up on Etsy however if you can’t pick one up right now, an online one like ours will still help you!
When To Use One
Unless you’ve used one before, it might seem like a little costly extra that really isn’t needed for most cross stitchers, however, a thread color card is frankly, one of the most useful objects in cross stitch.
We’ve made a little list, but frankly, there would be LOADS of other reasons too (I pick mine up almost daily):
Designing your own pattern
When designing your own pattern, even if you put an image through an online pattern creator, the colors never, and I really mean never, come out correct. Normally they are pretty good, but hand-picking colors ALWAYS make the pattern better. The shade card not only has every color but blocks them out in color families, meaning you can compare the slight differences in each color with ease.
When you change a color in your cross stitch pattern
We recently posted a blog on changing colors on a cross stitch pattern and the first thing we say, is get a thread card. If you plan to change a color in your pattern you need to pick the exact color from the right family. For example, if your pattern has loads of deep colors, you want to make sure you pick a new color that is also dark, instead of something too bright that will stand out…
When you don’t have the right color and you need to make a substitution
Let’s be honest, we’ve all had to make a substitution in the past. You don’t have all the threads, or the store is closed and you want to finish, well, what are you going to do? Pick a color and hope? A color card allows you to pick the perfect replacement to the one you own.
Changing hair/skin tones
We have two tools on the site a find a perfect skin tone thread guide and a find a perfect hair color thread guide however both of these use online representations of color. If you plan to pick hair/skin tones based on real-world examples, a color chart can allow you to compare the real hair/skin with the threads, so you get the PERFECT color, every time.
When you want to match a DMC color to a different brand
There are loads of online guides on converting one brand from another, in fact, we have a massive 9 brand thread conversion chart on the site, however, picking your color isn’t always as simple as the table suggests. In reality, each brand has slightly different colors, and whilst tables like ours makes the job much easier to compare, your pattern might call for slightly different shades.
Buying threads online
Most people buy threads online now, and whilst that is great if you have a nice list of numbers to buy, it isn’t so great if you need a whole string of shades and you don’t know the numbers. Online representations are never correct, and as we’ve said up above, there are close images, the only way to see it, is a color card.
Matching embroidery threads to embelishments
I personally stick with just cross stitch and backstitch, but I know a lot of people who add beads and other things to their cross stitch. However, no one wants a bead in a weird color taking the focus away from your work. You want something that compliments. Take your shade card to the store and pick the perfect color beads and embellishments.
Matching the threads to something else
This is a slightly vague title, but let’s say you want a specific color aida so you don’t have to stitch massive background areas in, or you want to stitch on top of a painted object or want the threads to be in keeping with the theme of the room. How are you going to match them up? Sadly, the names for threads aren’t the names for aida or paint. Picking the right shade of aida might make your job a lot easier, but only if you get the right shade, otherwise it’s pointless.
I know, this one seems a little odd, right? Well sadly, this is something a lot of people miss out on. You see, not all threads are the same. Many have different care instructions. Whilst DMC have uniform care instructions across their brand, others don’t. This is often why you get rumors of running colors on cheaper embroidery threads. Don’t want your threads to run? Check the care instructions.
Recognition in cross stitch is a hard topic to talk about. For many, recognition is something that rarely comes, for others, it seems like they’re drowning in compliments and for others, it’s still seen as a little bit taboo.
When I first started my cross stitch journey, cross stitch for men simply wasn’t a thing, it was taboo. Whilst I tried to open up the world too men in cross stitch it took a long time to get accepted in the mainstream. Even now, I regularly see posts on cross stitch facebook groups asking do men really cross stitch?. Thankfully, men stitching is now not only fully accepted, but people seek out male stitchers as they bring something new to the craft. But for many men, young people, and even those who aren’t aware of cross stitch communities online, don’t get as much recognition as they should.
So if this is you, or someone you know, how about looking in some of these places?
The first place to look for recognition is an online community. To some extent, on the internet, you’re faceless, and so you can proudly show off your work without anyone knowing it’s you. Alternatively, if you’re happy to be named, you can join the literal hundreds of thousands of cross stitchers who call the internet their home.
We devoted a whole blog post to the best online cross stitch forums however that isn’t the only place. In fact, Instagram’s #crossstitchersofinstagram is one of the largest communities out there. Get sharing, and you will see just how open people are to you.
I recently moved from the city, to the country, and without a doubt, the country loves fairs. In ever one, there is ALWAYS a craft section, with cross stitch normally having its own category. The great thing about this is you also get to hide your face. I personally like camping out by my cross stitch to hear people’s comments as they walk by. But for a more official reason, they also give out awards!
Awards & Galleries
I know what you’re going to say; awards and galleries seem like they’re an impossible dream? Well, the answer will probably suprise you; you can enter a dozen awards right now, and there is no reason not to.
This isn’t about me, but I’m a good example of an award winner; I’ve won about 20 awards now, and I’ve even got a couple of glass awards on my mantlepiece, however, I won most of these in the first 3 years I was stitching. In fact, most of them were won for stitching that wasn’t my own design; I used a pattern.
You see, most people think that awards are only for the best of the best and that access is blocked off for the mere mortals of the cross stitch world. That simply isn’t the case. The most recent award I won (the National Needlecraft Awards) is open to anyone, of any level. I was up against massive companies, but at the same time, simple hobby stitchers. I won one, I lost 2, but there was a trend that emerged; hobbyist were winning just as much as the big players in cross stitch.
But that doesn’t mean you have to go massive either. Try starting with online competitions like the DeviantART group StitchingPirates who have one every month!
I’ll wrap up by saying that the cross stitch community all over the world is an accepting place; we’ve all been a new stitcher, we’ve all kept our hobby secret at some point, and I’ve never seen someone be nasty about someone else’s cross stitch; ever.
Title: Bioshock Bird or Cage Thaumatrope
Date Completed: July 2019
Design: Lord Libidan
Video Game: Bioshock Infinite
When writing up the post for my Nuka Cola Quantum Bottle cross stitch, I spoke about how I was inspired by a thaumatrope and referenced a previous Bioshock heads or tails cross stitch I had previously done. Well, it got my creative juices flowing.
I’m actually halfway through another project, and I’ve already got 2 patterns set aside to cross stitch afterward, but the lure of a good idea got me. I’m attempting to recreate the key from Bioshock Infinite, which you can see below. In reality, the key is only shown from one side, either the bird or the cage, based on a previously made choice in the game. However, in reality, the key is a thaumatrope.
There are two different ways of making a thaumatrope (which is a 1800s toy) you can either spin a stick with two images stuck to the top, in the way the key is done here, or you can make a spinning toy using string.
I was originally planning to do the second before I played the game again and realized what the key was. Needless to say, I knew I had to do that version, however making a bird and a cage that small is actually rather hard. I’m not 100% impressed with my bird, but it roughly looks like the real thing and it’s just a little palette cleanser cross stitch before I finish my current project.
I often speak about changing cross stitch patterns, and how you’d get to a point where you’d see a dress in a pattern and would want to change the color or want to change the skin tone threads or hair threads to something more realistic. However, a lot of people are scared. They don’t know where to start, and often see big designs online and don’t know how to get there. So what should you do first?
I regularly get contacted about where to start with pattern making. Thanks to some advanced cross stitch designing programs, it looks like you need to know a whole tome of information to make a pattern, but that’s not the case. In fact, changing colors on a pattern is not only super simple, but you don’t have to go crazy. We covered changing colors on a cross stitch pattern a few weeks ago, but it can be a super small, super simple change that allows you to do make a pattern unique. Start with a dress color, move onto a skin tone or a hair color. See just how easy it is to make cross stitch yours.
Get more adventurous
By this point, you should understand simple color changes. But you don’t have to graduate straight away to something super complicated. Instead, go crazy with color changes.
The pattern below, by PatternArtCollection on Etsy is a great pattern, but they sell it in two different color tones. This, is something ANYONE can do. By purchasing the pattern, you can edit as you see fit, and by adapting whole color spectrums, even every color on the pattern, you can totally change the tone of the work. The one on the right to me looks like night, and the one on the right like day. Yet despite this, the colors aren’t what you’d see in either situation, no, instead one is purple and one is orange.
Mix items/pattern parts
But then what? This, is what I love.
By taking parts of patterns, and using them together, you can create something truly custom. Something that whilst coming from various places can be 100% of your work. There are even books like Lizzy Dabczynski’s Do-It-Yourself Stitch People Book which allows you to take tiny parts and combine them into one, creating a unique person, ever time. This harks back to some of the previous things you might be doing too. Changing skin colors, or hair colors, or dress colors, are exactly the things you’ll be done. But you’ll also be picking outfits, faces, hair cuts and beyond.
What about copyright?
That said, what about copyright? We cross stitch and copyright is something every cross stitcher should be aware of and frankly, its every cross stitcher’s duty to care about copyright. So how does that impact what you’re doing here? Well, not much.
You see, once you purchase a pattern you have the right to do it as you wish. Want to change colors? That’s fine! Want to chop, change, add, subtract, anything? Sure!
The issue is when you try to sell the pattern (or even give it away free). The pattern, even in its edited state, is still owned by the original creator. If you want to open your own store with your own patterns or give them away free, you NEED to use your own work.
Also, its always nice to give some cross stitch recognition.
Title: Nuka Cola Quantum Keychain
Date Completed: July 2019
Design: Lord Libidan
Video Game: Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas, Fallout 76
I had an idea. Or more accurately; I have an idea. For the first time ever, I’m writing this post not only before I’ve completed the cross stitch, but before I’ve even planned it. Yes, you heard that right; at the moment, this is still, just an idea.
I was struggling for a new, small project to do before my next big one, and I started looking for inspiration. I’ve actually spoken about where to get cross stitch inspiration before, and I have a journal of half baked ideas. In there, I normally cross out things I’ve completed, but as I read through, sometimes I read the crossed-out ones too. And I noticed something. There were lots of mentions of glow-in-the-dark.
This wasn’t that shocking to me actually, I’ve stitched a glow-in-the-dark Assassins Creed cross stitch poster and a Bioshock Charge Vigor cross stitch poster, alongside writing a whole raft of posts like epic glow-in-the-dark geeky cross stitches and is glow-in-the-dark really here to stay?, but there was one post that stuck in my mind. It was a post I did as a follow up to my column in the XStitch magazine’s Green issue, and I spoke about glow-in-the-dark thread is green.
I won’t spoil that post for you if you want to read it, but in short; it doesn’t have to be. But its easier. That makes sense and all, but that got me thinking; what if I wanted a different color?
In my mind, when I think glow-in-the-dark, despite all of those posts I’ve written, isn’t cross stitch at all. Its Nuka Cola Quantum, a fake radioactive drink from the Fallout series. And it’s blue. So far, I’m 9 different supposedly ‘blue’ glow-on-the-dark threads down, but I think I’ve found a solution. I think I’ve found a way to make a Nuka Cola Quantum cross stitch glow, just like the game shows.
The trick is its implementation. Officially, its a thaumatrope, which is a fancy way of saying a spinning toy. A plate with one image on each side is spun, making it look like the two images are one. It’s been used in a few movies and games including Hugo, The Prestige, Sleepy Hollow and Bioshock Infinite. In fact, I referenced that last one in my Bioshock Infinite Heads or Tails cross stitch.
The idea of my Nuka Cola keychain is to do a similar effect, where one side is simply cross stitched in blue, and the other side is stitched in blue glow in the dark thread. It then spins on your keys, making it look like the bottle is both glow in the dark, but also gently moving around in the glass bottle. There is also a secondary effect caused by the clear plastic canvas, where you can see the glow in the dark through the blue stitched on the other side too!
Finding the blue glow in the dark thread was a lot of pain, but thanks to learning how to use metallic threads I used the same tips to great effect.