Star Trek Enterprise LCARS Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Star Trek Enterprise LCARS Ship Schematic Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
Star Trek Enterprise LCARS Ship Schematic Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Title: USS Enterprise LCARS Ship Blueprint
Date Completed: August 2020
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: Black
Colors: 9
Pop Culture: Star Trek The Next Generation
 
I called my Star Trek Voyager Blueprint Cross Stitch my magnum opus, but apparently, I was wrong.
 
I started planning my Voyager blueprint years before I started it, with tests in my Star Trek cross stitch book and my LCARS what happens on the holodeck cross stitch, however, it never really worked for me, so I looked at doing a realistic screen accurate LCARS interface, and I chose a blueprint for it. It was one of the only patterns I’ve made to take me over 100 hours, and I was proud as hell. I added in so many details, so many little hints at storylines, and it’s a super-accurate blueprint to boot! However, I kept getting the same question come up “will you do an Enterprise?”.
 
It turns out, that whilst Voyager has always been my favorite Star Trek, for most people, it’s the Next Generation. This has two major problems with it though, problems I had to overcome. Firstly, there are 7 series (178 episodes) and 4 movies, all of which have their own hints at what the Enterprise contains, and what it can do. So I had to watch them. All of them. That’s not really too hard of a task, but my notes during the 200+ hours of watching were extensive, so I had to add that into the design. This is slightly more complicated by the fact that there are no ‘real’ blueprints out there for inspiration.
Star Trek Enterprise LCARS Ship Schematic Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan (Right Detail)
Star Trek Enterprise LCARS Ship Schematic Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan (Right Detail)

The second issue was that of size. The Enterprise D is 2-3 times larger than voyager in all dimensions. This makes it larger, sure, but combined with all the extra secrets I added in there, more complicated. Then, and this has always been a big thing for me, I wanted these patterns to look like real screens that could be used at any time, so I had to make it appropriate for a screen size, used in the series.
 
However, I put all of this together and even managed to reduce the number of colors from 13 to 11, whilst adding in a whole bunch of extras that were still in keeping, but also period-specific (LCARS changed between Next Generation and Voyager, in both colors and design). Then came the stitching, for which I had to buy a new cross stitch frame large enough!
Star Trek Enterprise LCARS Ship Schematic Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan (Left Detail)
Star Trek Enterprise LCARS Ship Schematic Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan (Left Detail)

 

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How Many DMC Threads Are There?

There are officially 500 different colors of DMC 117 Mouliné Spécial thread.

But…

That’s not the whole story. The US DMC website lists only 489, there are some region-specific “exclusive” threads, and there are Étoile, Coloris, Color Variations, Light Effects, and even some Special Embroidery threads available.
 
So let’s dive in and work out what’s going on, and how many threads you can collect.

So Why Does The US Site Only List 489 Threads?

The DMC US website allows you to buy 489 colors separately, but there are still 500 standard threads.
All DMC threads are made in the French factory and shipped around the world (which is the main reason DMC threads vary in price depending on where you live). For some reason, which I don’t know yet, DMC US gets individual threads for 489 of the colors. So while you can get the others in the US, you can’t buy them individually from the US site (although other retailers do sell them).
 
If you’re looking for the missing colors, you need to pick up 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 677, 734, 822 and 988. Sometimes you may also need to source 3856 too.

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

What About Those US Specific Threads?

These 16 threads are mostly considered as discontinued DMC threads, as they are hard to come by outside of the Americas, and they’re rarely used in patterns. However, they are officially still in production.
Many countries have stringent rules on what dyes can be used in manufacturing, however, in America, these rules are slightly more relaxed. In 2013 a new set of 16 threads was made, using dyes that can only be sold in America. Whilst these threads were never brought into the official range (due to them being hard to come by outside the states), you can still pick them up on the US DMC site, and some resellers across the world.
 
3773, 3880, 3881, 3882, 3883, 3884, 3885, 3886, 3887, 3888, 3889, 3890, 3891, 3892, 3893, 3894 & 3895

What About The Other 6 Stand Threads?

Now the official 500 colors are done, we now need to talk about the other 6 strand threads. Whilst there are 500 solid colors, there are other threads that offer you a slight variation in your stitches, which might be worth picking up.

Étoile Threads

The newest threads to be added to DMCs range, the Étoile thread range. These 35 threads (not to be confused with the “new 35 DMC threads” which are included in the 500) are like any other threads in the range, but they have a slight sparkle running through them. Great for adding a subtle touch to any work, they’re a great range to collect too.
 
(C)ECRU, (C)BLANC, C310, C318, C321, C415, C433, C436, C444, C471, C519, C550, C554, C600, C603, C666, C699, C725, C738, C740, C798, C814, C816, C820, C823, C840, C890, C900, C907, C915, C938, C972, C995, C3371 & C3799

New DMC Mouline Etoile Threads In Silver Box (source: sewandso.co.uk)
New DMC Mouline Etoile Threads In Silver Box (source: sewandso.co.uk)

Coloris

Another fairly new set of threads from DMC, the Coloris range is made up of threads with 4 distinct colors in each thread. Like some of the other variations threads which we’ll speak about in a minute, these threads are great for making more interesting solid color patterns. However, unlike the variations, they change to a very different color every 5cm, rather than a complementary color.
 
4500, 4501, 4502, 4503, 4504, 4505, 4506, 4507, 4508, 4509, 4510, 4511, 4512, 4513, 4514, 4515, 4516, 4517, 4518, 4519, 4520, 4521, 4522 & 4523

Color Variations

The color variations range is a series of color-changing threads with each color varying slightly giving a faded effect. There are 36 in total, however, there have been more in the past.
 
4015, 4020, 4025, 4030, 4040, 4045, 4050, 4060, 4065, 4070, 4075, 4077, 4080, 4090, 4100, 4110, 4120, 4124, 4126, 4128, 4130, 4140, 4145, 4150, 4160, 4170, 4180, 4190, 4200, 4210, 4215, 4220, 4230, 4235 & 4240

Variegated threads

The variegated range of threads, which can be hard to find if you’re trying to find them on the official DMC websites, are 18 threads similar in nature to the color variations series, but the change of colors is slower.
In the past DMC have made a lot of variegated threads discontinued, and the arrival of the new Coloris range has made many to suspect they made do the same to these soon too.
 
48, 51, 52, 53, 67, 69, 90, 92, 93, 94, 99, 105, 106, 107, 111, 115, 121 & 125

Light Effects

The final set of 6 strands threads by DMC is the Light Effects range. This includes all their metallic, pearl, neon and glow-in-the-dark threads.
 
E5200, E130, E135, E155, E168, E211, E301, E310, E316, E317, E321, E334, E415, E436, E677, E699, E703, E718, E746, E747, E815, E818, E825, E898, E966, E967, E3685, E3747, E3821, E3837, E3843, E3849, E3852, E980, E990, E940, 5282 & 5283

dmc light effect threads (source: DMC.com)
dmc light effect threads (source: DMC.com)

Are There Any Other Threads?

Whilst those are the standard 6 strand threads cross stitchers can use, there are other 6 strand threads from different DMC ranges that can be used as well.

Satin Threads

The first range is DMCs satin range. Unlike its standard cotton 500, the satin range is made up of rayon fibers (shiny wool) but acts exactly like normal DMC thread. Most people forget these threads, and they really shouldn’t as not only is a project with purely these threads a delight to behold (especially a higher count project) but they are a great swap in for backstitching threads.
 
S5200, S211, S307, S310, S321, S326, S336, S351, S352, S367, S414, S415, S434, S469, S471, S472, S501, S504, S550, S552, S553, S601, S602, S606, S666, S676, S700, S702, S712, S726, S738, S739, S741, S744, S745, S762, S776, S797, S798, S799, S800, S818, S820, S841, S898, S899, S909, S915, S931, S932, S943, S959, S964, S976, S991, S995, S3371, S3607, S3685 & S3820

Diamant Threads

Somewhat different from the others on this list the Diamant range is single strand, but they’re the same as a single strand of the standard cotton. Diamant threads are a great DMC metallics alternative, as they’re softer and in my opinion don’t have anywhere near the same issues as the DMC metallics range.
 
D5200, D140, D168, D225, D301, D310, D316, D317, D321, D415, D699, D898, D3821 & D3852

DMC Diamant Threads in Presentation Box (Source: crossstitchworkshop.co.uk)
DMC Diamant Threads in Presentation Box (Source: crossstitchworkshop.co.uk)

Discontinued Threads

There are also a whole bunch of discontinued threads. There are so many here, from all types of ranges, such as metallics, variations and variegated, but you can still get your hands on good quality second-hand embroidery threads that include these.

So How Many Threads Can You Collect?

In total, you can get your hands on 667 different DMC 500 six strand threads.
 
500 solid colors, 16 region-specific colors, 35 Étoile threads, 24 Coloris threads, 36 Color Variations, 18 Variegated threads & 38 Light Effect threads.
 
You can also get your hands on 60 satin six strand threads, 14 diamant threads and 73 discontuined threads.

Looking for how to track your threads?

We have a great free spreadsheet you can use!
 

DMC thread spreadsheet free download by Lord Libidan
DMC thread inventory sheet free download by Lord Libidan

 

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Subversive Cross Stitch Is Older Than You Think

For as long as I’ve been cross stitching, there have been snarky cross stitches, NSFW cross stitches, postmodern cross stitches, tongue-in-cheek cross stitches, and even just the plain old retro cross stitches. These designs are great, but they serve a purpose; to subvert. But what exactly does that mean, and is it as contemporary as we’d like to think? I say no.
 

Subversive
[suhb-vur-siv]

 
adjective

  • Seeking or intended to subvert an established system or institution.

 
Its important that we start with a definition, or more specifically the definition of the word. Whilst you probably think you know what something is, its actual definition can be wildly different, take the humble cross stitch sampler for example.
So subversion is to undermine the power and authority of an established system or institution. This can take a whole or part of a cross stitch, but as many know it, a sampler of some type.

Modern Trends

In modern times, subversion can be highly varied. It can tackle major injustices, racial freedoms, or it can be a simple subversion of the common cross stitch. For most, this is the vast majority of cross stitch samplers, but even ones that aren’t made to be incongruous or shocking are still subversive.
 
In the below example someone has taken on the home sweet home cross stitch sampler trope, a highly traditional design, and subverted it by pushing a very modern video game aesthetic on top. This in itself does subvert, but the very nature of the work, a vault under the ground where the inhabitants are trapped for hundreds of years, pushes that envelope even further, mocking the original intentions.
 
Whilst this is far from the most subversive cross stitch, it does go to show that subversive cross stitch is very popular. This increase in popularity does mean its more obvious to the everyday cross stitcher, but in order to be a video game cross stitch, it needs to be contemporary.
 
But does it get older than this?

Fallout 3 Home Sweet Home Sampler Cross Stitch (source: reddit)
Fallout 3 Home Sweet Home Sampler Cross Stitch (source: reddit)

Second World War

With our second example, we throwback to the second world war, a time where you probably didn’t expect cross stitch to be popular, but with thousands of prisoners of war across Europe, cross stitch was a popular pass time. In reality, the British government supported this, indirectly, as they sent supplies that were tools for escape, however that didn’t stop POWs having their fill of cross stitch.
 
One such example is the fantastic work of Alexis Casdagli. At first glance this is a very Nazi loving sampler, a sampler so impressive to the nieve Nazis that they took this apparent pro-third Reich sampler around Germany to show off in other prisons. They were at the time, the authority, the established system, and Alexis subverted them in a way they didn’t even know. Around the edge reads simple morse code, familiar to all British troops at the time, with very subversive statements like “God Save The King” and even a swear word; “F**k Hitler”.
 
This is a sampler that not only subverts the authority of those in power but flys under their radar, hidden from view, meaning the Nazis spread the subversive statements to other prisoners of war.
 
But does it get older than this?

World War 2 sampler by imprisoned POW Major Alexis Casdagli
World War 2 sampler by imprisoned POW Major Alexis Casdagli (source: Victoria and Albert museum website)

19th century

The last example we have today is a fantastic cross stitch sampler by a young Elizabeth Parker in 1830, and whilst being one of the most intimate works you might have seen, is also strong in subversion. This was a time when cross stitch samplers were expected of young women when they were intended to show off their skills for a future life of marriage and to strengthen their bond with God. This was a time when young women couldn’t write and mental health was far from understood. Elizabeth subverted this expectation.
 
The opening passage of this sampler reads “As I cannot write I put this down simply and freely as I might speak to a person to whose intimacy and tenderness I can fully entrust myself.” from the very opening passage she is showing a wildly different take on a sampler, something at the time so traditional and expected. She subverts the very position she is put in, not being able to write, yet still about to form words.
 
She goes on, in a lengthy passage, I would suggest anyone reads, stitching about her treatment that is “cruelty too horrible to mention”, her thoughts on suicide and her lack of resolve with God. This all coming from the mind of a 17-year-old girl. But this isn’t pure rambling, this is staged, planned, thought through. Her words are clearly well chosen, and the design clearly planned. Her placement of nothing but red letters on white linen makes the words so much more dramatic, a color that wasn’t well used in samplers of the time. She even ends the whole passage with “what will become of my soul” followed by a large blank space, urging the reader to ponder on what happened to her.
 
This sampler is a diary of such, but I would argue that its one of the most subversive pieces you’ve ever seen, and whilst it doesn’t have that meme-worthy snarky snippet of modern stitching it’s subversive all the same.
 
But does it get older than this?

Linen sampler embroidered with silk, by Elizabeth Parker, Ashburnham Forge, Sussex, England, about 1830. (Source: Victoria & Albert Museum)
Linen sampler embroidered with silk, by Elizabeth Parker, Ashburnham Forge, Sussex, England, about 1830. (Source: Victoria & Albert Museum)

Earlier

Sadly, we don’t have any examples of subversive stitches before the 19th century, but let me be clear; we barely have any cross stitches before this time. The 19th century was a big boom time for cross stitch history where cross stitch became mainstream, thanks to cheap wool and cotton imports. However that to me, leaves the query open, for whilst we don’t know what came before, we do know subversive cross stitch is far older than we imagine.

 

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Cross Stitch Crazy & Cross Stitch Gold Magazines To Shut

Since March both the Cross Stitch Crazy magazine and Cross Stitch gold magazine, both rating highly on our cross stitch magazines review, have been on pause due to the recent stay at home events. However, their owner Immediate Media has now announced plans to close 12 magazines, including those titles.
 
We first heard about the possible plans back in July, however independent sources within the company have now confirmed that positions are being made redundant and the last issues will be 268 (Cross Stitch Crazy) and 162 (Cross Stitch Gold).
 
The cancellation of some of the best-known magazines in the cross stitch area is estimated to impact roughly 28,000 users, with Cross Stitch Crazy having a readership of 24,400. Redundancies were made on Friday 7th August, and no official announcement has been made to either readership.
 

Cross Stitch Crazy Issue 243 featuring Lord Libidan (source: cross-stitching.com) Cross Stitch Gold Magazine Cover Issue 248 (source: cross-stitching.com)

 
In the last few years, we’ve also seen the likes of F&W Media collapse, the owner of The Cross Stitcher, however, this allowed a new owner to come in and take control of production. We’ve learned that this will not be the case with either magazine owned by Immediate Media and they are looking to close them permanently.
 
The publisher has said that “In order to the protect the long-term future of Immediate we have embarked on a cost-saving project across the business, which unfortunately will include some redundancies and the closure of some brands in our craft and homes portfolio and the phased closure of some of our youth and children’s titles.”
 
SOURCES:
Press Gazette Press Release
Immediate Media former employees
Immediate Media Website

 

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The Ultimate Cross Stitch Quiz!

Ever wondered just how much you know about cross stitch? Why not take on our quiz and see what score you get?
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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What To Do Once You’ve Finished Your Cross Stitch

You buy a cross stitch pattern or kit, you stitch all day and night, you embellish, fix mistakes and wash your cross stitch (or maybe ask yourself do you need to wash your cross stitch) and you finally finish. You step back and admire your work and then… and then… and then you’re not sure what to do with it.
This is sadly something that people often think. As you stitch more and more, your pile of completed cross stitches steadily rises. But what do you do with all of them once you’re finished?
For many its a case of ignoring them in a corner, but you can use complete cross stitch in a whole slew of ways. We round up the best we know, and a few submissions from our followers.
 
We’ll start off with some of the more obvious, and then explore the more interesting.

Frame It

Yeh, that’s right; frame it. I know a lot of people that cross stitch, but not that many that cross stitch and then frame their work. To me, if you’re going to spend hundreds of hours on a piece of art (or craft), you might as well show it off.
 
You have two options when it comes to framing, you can either frame your cross stitch yourself, or go to a framer. A framer will do a nice job, but it’ll cost a fair bit. Framing yourself is almost free, but it takes a little more effort to get looking perfect, for example, you need to work out if you should frame your cross stitch with or without glass. But whatever route you choose, framing your work allows you to show it off (even if it’s just to yourself), and relish in your work.
However, also like me, you may have cross stitched so many things, and filled up so many frames, that there is no longer a place on any wall in your house. This is when I go back through my frames and update them. This might be harder for those of you who prefer to get their cross stitch framed at a framer, but for self framers, it gives you the option of always having something new up.

Self framed cross stitch (source: plasticlittlecovers.com)
Self framed cross stitch (source: plasticlittlecovers.com)

Sell It

Let me answer a question that might have just had; people buy completed cross stitch. Sure, there isn’t a massive market, but people part with their cash and buy finished pieces a lot. In fact, so often we made a post on how to sell your completed cross stitch.
You can recoup the cost of production, and actually make yourself a fair bit of profit. You do have to part with your cross stitch though; however for many, that’s not too much of an ask.

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

Store It

This may seem like a crazy one at first, but hear us out; store it. Unlike every other option on this list, if you store it, you don’t get to see it, but it keeps it in perfect condition (so long as you store your finished cross stitch correctly). If you want to make a piece an heirloom, or at least keep it to frame at a later point, you need to store it in a safe place.

cross stitch storage
Lord Libidan’s cross stitch storage

Make a Quilt

So let’s get to making. We covered in a recent post other hobbies a cross stitcher would like and one of the biggest was sewing. The great thing about sewing is you can add cross stitch into it. One way is to make a quilt.
One of the first projects may hobby sewers learn is how to make a quilt. It’s traditionally done with patches of T-shirts, but you can change it up and add completed cross stitches without any fuss!

Childs play charity auction cross stitch quilt 2011 (source: spritestitch.com)
Childs Play charity auction cross stitch quilt from 2011 (source: spritestitch.com)

Make a Table Cloth

the second idea for a sewing project is a table cloth. It’s fairly similar in design to a quilt, but you wouldn’t stuff it. If you’re really creative you can make sure each seat at the table gets their own cross stitch, and if all of the designs are similarly themed (like Christmas) you can get it out on special occasions!

Make a Cushion Cover

Although you can buy hundreds of cushions and cushion covers, they’re rarely personal. However, with a simple sewing job, you can turn any cross stitch into a killer cushion. Add a backing piece of fabric, sew up the sites, and shove in a cushion and you’re sorted.

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

Make a Pencil Case/Sewing Case

Another idea I would suggest is the sewing case or pencil case. Depending on what you want to store (a project travel case would be larger) you can either use small or large finished cross stitch for this. Simply follow a sewing guide, but instead of using fabric, you use your cross stitch. You can have multiple designs or just the one, and make yourself something really handy.

Cross stitch Charizard pencil case by miloceane (Source: DeviantArt)
Cross stitch Charizard pencil case by miloceane (Source: DeviantArt)

Make a Glasses Cloth

If you’re a glasses wearer like me, you’ll know just how darn handy a glasses cloth is. But have you ever thought about a cross stitched one?
I’ll start by saying that you need to be selective here. Not only do you need a small cross stitch, but it needs to be on a soft cross stitch fabric like linen, and not aida (which will scratch the glass). But, embroidery on a glasses cloth actually helps clean the glasses.
Be aware though, that glasses cloths get a lot of wear, and are likely to be covered in grease (washing is a must here!) and likely to be washed often, so your cross stitch may not last forever.

Make Coasters

The sheer volume of coaster kits in cross stitch and craft stores should give you a heads up that cross stitch works perfectly for coasters. Once again, you need a smallish cross stitch, but the great thing here is that the cross stitch is held within the coaster, meaning it’s protected from all but the sun. You get to keep your cross stitch safe, whilst seeing it all day, every day.
You could also add some banding to the edge and just use the cross stitch itself, but I’d be worried about spilling tea…

Make Pins/Needle Minders

Going right down into the small cross stitch now, you can make pins and needle minders. You can use plastic canvas cross stitches (in fact you can finish plastic canvas a whole load of ways), small cross stitches, or (dare I say it) cut apart a sampler. This will destroy the whole thing, but if you can make something out of the smaller parts, but not the whole design, it might just be worth it.
There are a few different ways to make pins and needle minders, including some kits, so we won’t say how right here, but instructions aren’t hard to come by.

cave story cross stitch cufflinks by benjibot (source: pinterest)
Cave Story cross stitch cufflinks by benjibot (source: pinterest)

However, whatever intend to do with your completed cross stitch, just remember to remove your cross stitch from the hoop.

 

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Double Eye Tapestry Needles – Perfect For Blending Cross Stitch

Considering we use them so much, cross stitch needles or tapestry needles to give them their rightful name, are staples for our craft. Therefore, when I spoke about the best types of cross stitch needles in a previous post, I thought I had all of them covered. For a while, I thought there were no others. But when we started investigating who makes the best cross stitch needles we fell upon another type of needle. One we had never heard of before; double eye needles.

What Are They?

In essence, they are exactly what you expect, a standard tapestry needle with two eyes for threads. If we’re getting specific they actually take the standard eye and split it in two. This means that you probably have to use a needle threader to put the thread through the smaller eyes, but otherwise they act just like a normal needle.
 
The reason they exist, however, is slightly more interesting. The double eyes are meant to carry two different threads, allowing you to either blend threads, or add in metallics without putting friction on the fabric. This should result in a neat almost railroaded blended thread look.

Gold Double Eye Tapestry Needles (Source: grovesltd.co.uk)
Gold Double Eye Tapestry Needles (Source: grovesltd.co.uk)

How To Use Them

So how do you use them? In short, you put one thread in each eye and stitch like normal. As they are blended, you need to think about the ends of your thread (no using the loop method), but otherwise its just like you’d expect.

Are They Worth Getting?

So now you know what they are, and how to use them, let’s talk about their worth. Or more specifically, are they worth getting. We don’t shy away from speaking our mind here, and we’ve previously asked ourselves if self-threading needles are worth it, but double eye needles are different. They’re just for blending.
 
If you don’t blend, and you have no intention of doing so, don’t get these needles. They just aren’t for you. But what if you do blend?
In my mind, these needles make blending separate threads no easier. In fact, I tend to find the threads spin around each other much more, resulting in a worse look than a standard needle. BUT then we come to metallic threads. Without a doubt, it’s hard to use these threads and anything that can make using metallic threads easier, I’m game. And that’s where these needles really shine.
 
The extra eye means the effort associated with metallic threads is mostly avoided, making it a much nicer experience. In my mind, if you use metallics at all, even if you aren’t blending, these things are worth their weight in gold.

Standard tapestry needles next to double eye tapestry needles (Source: Pinterest)
Standard tapestry needles next to double eye tapestry needles (Source: Pinterest)

Where To Get Them

So, where can you get them? The fact that I wasn’t even aware of these needles, despite Bohin, Clover and Hemline making them just goes to show they aren’t easy to find. I prefer looking for them on Etsy as you can always find someone selling them, but other than that, local brick and mortar stores should be able to stock some in, even if you have to ask.

Bohin Double Eye Tapestry Needles (Source: stitchitcentral.ca)
Bohin Double Eye Tapestry Needles (Source: stitchitcentral.ca)

 

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How To Organize Your Cross Stitch Patterns

I’m a big fan of keeping your craft space neat, tidy and organized. At any time, you might just want to go through your kit to find that one item you brought 5 years ago and will get around to using. In the past we’ve covered how to store cross stitch threads, and went into some length about why its important, and we’ve covered how to store your cross stitch needles too.
But there is always one thing we’ve shied away from. And frankly, if you’re anything like me, this will be the messiest part of your craft space. Cross stitch patterns.
 
Unlike any other tool in cross stitch, cross stitch patterns pose a unique issue. Firstly, you have tonnes of them. You see a pattern, be it a free cross stitch pattern or paid, and you just have to pick it up. In addition, you have all of those patterns you’ve completed, but want to hold onto. This is only exacerbated if you design cross stitch patterns as well, adding a third layer to your cross stitch collection.
And secondly, they aren’t the easiest things to store. Much like storing finished cross stitch you want to keep them in a good enough condition that they last, but they’re made of paper, which tends not to last.
So, we’ve scoured the internet and tried a whole series of storage methods to round up the best for you.

Digitally

We start with an obvious one, but one that doesn’t get that much recognition.
We would strongly suggest making a copy of any cross stitch pattern you have anyway, as the life of a digital file will be far longer than even the best-kept paper document. In addition, many of the patterns you see in places like Etsy are downloaded files, meaning many, if not all, of your patterns, are digital anyway. So why keep around the printed versions?
Don’t get me wrong, I also prefer a printed pattern when I’m actually using it, but with a great printer for cross stitch patterns, you can always print new sheets on demand (and depending on which printer you get, cheaply too).

Great For:

  • Large volume of patterns
  • Long term storage (and a saftey net)
  • Storing free/downloaded cross stitch patterns

Bad for:

  • Viewing cross stitch patterns
  • Easily using cross stitch patterns
  • Cross stitch kits
Green Lake Reflected Color Cross Stitch Print (Source: solidrop.com)
Green Lake Reflected Color Cross Stitch Print (Source: solidrop.com)

Binders

The second method we’re going to suggest is binders, portfolios or binder notebooks. The great thing about these babies is that you can store printed patterns in clear sheets, so you can see them (or at least the first page). They’re cheap, and if you use page protectors you can keep the patterns for a long time. You can store them in a filing cabinet too.
I personally keep all of my completed cross stitches in these too, meaning I can keep a copy of the pattern with the cross stitch itself.
There are downsides though. The biggest being what you do with digital patterns. With digital stores taking over the cross stitch world, and no sign of them slowing down, its likely that your digital stash is going to grow to massive levels. Unless you plan to print them all (think of the trees!) you’ll have to keep printed and non-printed patterns separate. And a smaller issue is epic patterns. Our epic all generations pokemon cross stitch pattern racks 210 pages. That’s bigger than a lot of novels. If you like epic patterns, you might want to stay away from this method.

Great For:

  • Printed cross stitch patterns
  • Viewing cross stitch patterns
  • Easily using cross stitch patterns
  • Cross stitch kits

Bad for:

  • Long term storage
  • Storing free/downloaded cross stitch patterns
  • Epic cross stitch patterns
A clear page protector art portfolio (source: Google images)
A clear page protector art portfolio (source: Google images)

Hangers

A new one on us until we started this post, was hangers. Yes, you read that correctly. Get yourself a hanging rail (or use a wardrobe), get some trouser clip hangers, and hang your cross patterns. You can even use clear pouches to keep them a little neater (and store threads if you have kits). You need to be a little careful you don’t overweight the hangers (some epic patterns are too heavy), and this only works if you have a smaller collection of patterns too. However that said, it’s also a great way of keeping track of patterns you’re halfway through!

Great For:

  • Smaller cross stitch patterns collections
  • Viewing cross stitch patterns
  • Easily using cross stitch patterns
  • Cross stitch kits

Bad for:

  • Large cross stitch patterns collections
  • Storing free/downloaded cross stitch patterns
  • Long term storage

Homemade Cross Stitch Pattern Holders by Ms_Pebbles (Source scrapbook.com)
Homemade Cross Stitch Pattern Holders by Ms_Pebbles (Source scrapbook.com)

What’s your preferred way to store patterns? We’d love to hear of ways we might have missed!

 

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Are Cross Stitch Identification Cards Worth Getting?

I rarely talk about tools of the cross stitch world on this blog; we try to stay impartial at all times, however, that changed last year when I just HAD to tell you about tiny travel scissors. You can get them from loads of brands, so we weren’t playing favorites, but since then we’ve had a few people ask about different tools of the cross stitch world. Normally, those tools that people tend not to buy. Tools like identification cards.
 

Aida Gauge & Ruler

The first identification card we’ll look at is an aida gauge. Prior to knowing these things existed, I’d swear blind at a normal ruler as I counted stitches on a random bit of aida I hadn’t bothered to label correctly. Yes, I know you’ve been there!
You buy some fabric, bring it home, and it goes in a pile. Those piles somehow merge and you’re lost as to if its a 16 or 18 count. Well, that’s where the aida gauge comes into play.
 
Without even having to count, you can check the size of your aida, use the stitch markings to see how big a pattern of a certain stitch size will be on various fabric counts or even check your design is positioned correctly before you start stitching (that’s got me on more than one occasion).
The fact that these things are less than $5 and check aida from 11 to 40 just goes to show how awesome they are, and just how much you need one.
 
Worth buying – Average cost $4

Cross Stitch Gauge and Rule by Yarn Tree (Source: Stitched Modern)
Cross Stitch Gauge and Rule by Yarn Tree (Source: Stitched Modern)

Needle Identification Cards

Next up we have needle identification cards. These things use established sizes of tapestry needles so you can compare your needle to a set list of sizes. In principle, its a great idea, however if you’re anything like me, you’ll make sure you store your cross stitch needles properly. In that case, it might not be that helpful.
 
In fact, to us, it was helpful at all. Sure, they can check all types of needles per-say, but not different types of cross stitch needle. There was no petit needles, double sided needles, self threading needles or anything other than a standard needle.
 
Not worth buying – Average cost $12

Needle Identification Card (Source: Stitched Modern)
Needle Identification Card (Source: Stitched Modern)

 

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Why You Should Try Gold Plated Needles

We like needles here, and as a result its probably no surprise that we’ve come across gold plated needles before. In fact, we even mentioned them in our post about choosing the perfect cross stitch needle for you. However, a lot of people are skeptical of gold plated needles. There’s a good reason for this; they cost a lot more, and they’re often viewed as a luxury that doesn’t can you anything. But they can actually be fantastic needles, and we want to convince you to try them out.

Why Gold?

So we start with a simple question; why gold? Simply put, you’ll find claims about gold needles from improving your cross stitch, to stopping wrist injury and even more crazy claims. In short; they’re all lies. There are two reasons you might want a gold plated needle; allergies and smooth passing of threads. We’ll go into more details on those later on, but as a warning; don’t believe the crazy lies.

Type of Gold Needles

So now we have that out of the way, let’s talk about types of needle. Most people expect a gold needle to be solid gold, and I’m afraid that’s not the case; they are gold PLATED needles. But not only that, some aren’t even fully plated.
A lot of gold needles you’ll find are only gold on the eye. This is mostly to keep the price down, but the idea that the eye of the needle is the largest part, so you only really need to plate that. In my mind, I don’t agree and find these needles are normally the ones that aren’t worth the money. However, if you like the idea of a gold plated needle, but don’t like the cost, they can be a good alternative.

gold cross stitch needles (source: ebay)
Gold eye plated cross stitch needles (source: ebay)

Price

So let’s hit the biggest issue of gold plated needles on the head right away; cost. Gold is expensive, and yes, gold plated needles are more expensive, but they do vary in price. Realistically they can be anything from a few cents more expensive per needle, to double the price, depending on quality (which we’ll speak about later). This seems OK to start but bear in mind that gold plated needles don’t last as long as nickel-plated needles, meaning you go through them faster. I’m a big fan of getting rid of old needles, but let me tell you, you’ll be going through gold needles at a rate of knots (once again, we’ll say why later).

Allergies

So now we have that out the way, let’s talk about positives. The first is a nickel allergy. It actually affects more people than you think and can go undiagnosed for a while. You might get stiff fingers after stitching, slight swelling and redness. And for those people, gold needles are the only way they can stitch. You either have an allergy or you don’t, so that’s pretty much all there is to say about this.

Feel

For the rest of us non-allergic cross stitchers, the advantage of gold plated needles is the smoothness of stitching. Specifically, gold is a soft metal, but nickel is harder (but still fairly soft). This means as you push the needle through your cross stitch fabric the gold moves. Yes, you heard that right, the gold actually moves out of the way. We are talking tiny tiny tiny amounts here, but this allows you to have a smoother feeling stitch.
It might sound a little stupid, but it’s genuinely a great stitching experience. This is why I want you to try gold plated needles. There is simply nothing that compares to how nice it is to stitch with gold plated needles. I know a lot of people that swear by thread conditioners but gold plated needles are MUCH smoother.

Self threading needles pack (source: Etsy)
Self threading needles pack (source: Etsy)

Corrosion

But all this fancy gold does come with a downside; corrosion. Gold reacts far faster to things like hand oils that nickel, and thanks to the way the gold reacts to you passing it through the fabric, the gold plating does come off. In fact, it comes off far quicker than you think, realistically it starts being a problem at about 6 hours stitching. Gold plated needles in general last maybe 30 hours. This can be improved to 40 to 50 hours if you store your needles properly, but your gold needle will quickly become a steel wire before long.
We rarely have to speak about steel when it comes to cross stitch, nickel needles usually break before you expose the steel core, but steel does terrible things to your cross stitch. Its biggest problem is the tarnishing that can stain your work, or even rust it. And trust us when we say cross stitch stains can be a pain to get out. So you will throw needles out quickly.

Variations in Manufacture

But it’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, the differences in supplier can be massive when it comes to gold plated needles. We’ve spoken before about the best cross stitch needle brands and we really mean it when it comes to gold. For example, most people plate their needles with 1 micron of gold, but cheaper manufacturers supply less than 0.2 microns of gold. The thicker the plating, the longer they’ll last. The best we’ve found are the cross stitch guild gold plated needles with 2 microns of gold.

Tulip Sashiko Needles come in a glass vial (source: sewandquilt.co.uk)
Tulip Sashiko Needles come in a glass vial (source: sewandquilt.co.uk)

Are They Worth It?

So now we’ve spoken about the differences, price, feel and how hand oils can impact them, the question remains; are they worth it? And that’s a hard question to answer. In short, it depends on you.
 
If you have an allergy its a no brainer; try them. But if you don’t they still might be worth getting. Everyone’s hands vary and the oils they produce do too, so for some, they won’t have the corrosion problem, for others, the smoother feel is worth the high price tag. But you won’t know, until you try them.

What About Platinum Needles?

I’ve had a few people mention platinum plated needles to me while I was putting this post together, and yes, you can buy platinum plated needles. But having tried them; they gain nothing more than a gold needle does. In fact, platinum is a softer metal so corrodes faster, and the price is 4 times more than a standard needle. If you want our advice; just stick with gold.