Title: Pikachu Pokemon Bookmark
Date Completed: October 2018
Design: Lord Libidan & MokosMakery
Canvas: Pale Yellow
Video Game: Pokemon
I don’t ofen give up on cross stitches, even if I think they’ve failed. My Harry Potter Golden Snitch cross stitch is a fantastic example of this, however with this cross stitch bookmark, I gave up. In fact, I completed it, and then threw it away as it was so bad, and didn’t work as it needed to.
Roll on 3 years; yes, that’s 3 whole years. Every time I looked at my aida stash I kept seeing that dang pale yellow aida and this pattern came to mind time after time. It honestly took me about 2 years before I realised what I had done wrong the first time, but honestly, shame stopped me going back.
The original idea for this stitch actually came from MokosMakery, who make frankly fantastic papercraft bookmarks of many pokemon, and the pattern is taken almost 1 for 1 from their paper model. I thought it was so good that I had to spend a few hours making one myself (even if I use a kindle…)
A few weeks ago we looked at how cross stitch threads are made and surprisingly we were bombarded with comments about discontinuations of DMC threads. So I decided for our second look at threads, we’d look at discontinuations.
There are a few sets of discontinued threads from DMC and there looks like there is a load of confusion over them, so without further ado, here are the sets:
3880 replaced with 223
3881 replaced with 164
3882 replaced with 839
3883 replaced with 722
3884 replaced with 535
3885 replaced with 312
3886 replaced with 3685
3887 replaced with 208
3888 replaced with 3740
3889 replaced with 445
3890 replaced with 3766
3891 replaced with 995
3892 replaced with 740
3893 replaced with 542
3894 replaced with 907
3895 replaced with 646
The most recent additions from DMC come in the form of the 2013 3800 series. A lot is said about these particular threads due to how weird they were. Unlike any other thread sold by DMC these were only ever sold as a package; never alone. In addition they only released in the USA (but also made their way to Canada through resellers).
Most people suspect therefore that these had an issue being sold in the EU, and whilst that is partly true, most people are getting confused with the second set of threads.
You see, back in the 1990s DMC threads were made in two factories; in France and the USA. At the time US threads were considerably more expensive than they are now and one of the reasons was the dye cost, which was taxed heavily at the time. So the US factory came out with new dyes to replace the hard to get dyes. The set sold as a tester to see if they should change some other colors (see below), but poor sales of the packs, thanks to the fact that they were copies of colors already in the range, meant they were scrapped within a year. The factory was shut down not too long afterwards, and now DMC threads are quite cheap in the US.
504 replaced with 3813
731 replaced with 732
776 replaced with 3326
781 replaced with 782
971 replaced with 740
806 replaced with 3760
868 replaced with 801
3773 replaced with 407
Those other threads the US factory considered removing? Wasn’t officially discontinued until 2015, the most recent set of discontinuations. The new EU laws in 2000 stated that no new products could use dyes classes as harmful to the environment. DMC chose to alter the dyes of a whole set of their threads, but for some dyes, they just couldn’t get a good match. Whilst the threads were phased out of all EU stores (and removed from their thread cards), they hung around in the US for some time, who didn’t have the same dye laws. They were officially removed alongside some variegated threads (without alternatives) in 2015.
But what about the new DMC threads? Is this signs that we might be getting more discontinuations?
No. In fact, the new range fills in many of the gaps of the old range, and we think, thanks to the numbering, that we might be seeing a ‘renumbering’ of the old set soon.
Need a DMC thread card with the new colors? We have you covered.
Title: Expired Ramen Coupon
Date Completed: October 2018
Design: Lord Libidan
Video Game: Destiny 2
I started my Star Trek Voyager cross stitch after months of perfecting the pattern, and was shocked that it was so quick to stitch. So less than half way through I started coming up with another idea, most probably a quick stitch.
This all came after I had just finished Destiny 2, along with its expansions. Therefore, it didn’t take me long to jump to the idea of stitching a sweet Destiny piece. I had seen The Crafting Geek’s awesome Ramen icon and my initial plan was to simply stitch hers up, after all, its great!
But that’s when I realised, what if I could do something a little more tangable? The Expired Ramen Coupon is basically an inside joke within Destiny 2 after Cayde-6 is lost at the start of the most recent expansion, and he sends you off to find a free coupon, some decades out of date. And when you get it? Not much happens, you simply get the coupon. So I wondered, how hard would it be to make a coupon?
Hard. Super hard. In fact, this is the ONLY image of it:
Tiny. However, that didn’t stop me, and I put something together in a realistic size using simple black back stitch in varying thicknesses.
A few months ago we looked into needles in some depth. We looked into why cross stitch needles have those weird numbers and we looked at how cross stitch needles were made.
But it turns out that threads are just as interesting. We found this ace video from DMC that not only shows you some of the factory, but gives some awesome tid-bits of info. Like, I never knew DMC were the ones who invented the 6 strand floss…
Looking for a DMC thread card with the new colors? We have you covered.
Title: USS Voyager LCARS Ship Blueprint
Date Completed: October 2018
Design: Lord Libidan
Pop Culture: Star Trek Voyager
The idea for this project started nearly 2 years ago, when I had recently watched ‘The Martian’. I was instantly enthralled by the control screens on the spacecraft, on the Mars base, and in mission control. My initial idea was a reproduction of the ship schematic in smaller scale, however it just looked blocky. I knew I had to redo it, but fear of getting it wrong kept me back for a long time.
That was until I had to create a design for the first Xstitch Mag, which I decided to create a blueprint of the Apollo Saturn V, similar to my Lightsaber blueprint, ZF-1 Fifth Element gun blueprint and my Metroid Power Suit Cannon Blueprints. I realised that the element that I loved the most from The Martian screens was the ship systematic itself.
Move on a few months whilst I had to do some other projects, and I watched the new series of Star Trek Discovery. Finally, the whole design came together in my head. In the same way that The Martian had different screens for different ships/sections, so did Star Trek, with its LCARS programs. I had actually done some work with LCARS before in my Star Trek book, where I designed a LCARS interface, however it had a joke on it, and wasn’t something you’d see in real life. I decided therefore to have a second go, this time creating a fake panel, which you might actually find on the ship.
My favorite Star Trek is Voyager, and when searching came across a wealth of screen used designs I could draw from. I also had a framed Pokemon triptych I had been meaning to update, which has a unique long frame. Therefore I started to design a screen that you might find through out the ship itself of a full ship wide schematic including a mini map, and basic ship updates. Effectively, a quick reference map, which plays into my well known love of maps, like my Pokemon region map.
This is also the first time I’ve used one of the new 35 DMC colors, specifically 03, the grey at the top and bottom.
Everyone loves a good collection of threads, but unless you have the whole set of DMC threads you’re going to need a way to keep track of what you have, and haven’t got. That’s why we created this awesome colored spreadsheet of all standard, metallic, variations, variegated, and Coloris 6 strand DMC threads, so you can keep track.
Just click the link or image and save the spreadsheet. You can access it on your computer, phone, or put it through googledocs!
Direct download link
Christmas is nearly upon us, and we all know how hard it is to buy gifts for hobbies we don’t know much about. So here’s an updated holiday gift guide on what to buy the cross stitcher in your life. They’re arranged by price lowest to highest.
Fun Needle Keeps – from $5
Christmas is mostly about fun gifts you might not buy yourself, and something many cross stitchers never buy is a fun needle keep. You can get them in thousands of different designs, and there are a lot of custom made ones out there like this 3D printed Pokemon charizard for $6 from Etsy. They’re a little bit fun, and you can combine other things together, so if their other favorite hobby is reading, get a book based one, etc.
ThreadHeaven Alternatives – from $5
Sadly this year we lost one of the most beloved cross stitch companies, ThreadHeaven. For those who don’t know, they produced a fantastic thread moisturiser that makes cross stitching MUCH easier. A great gift this season might be the last of the stock avaliable (if you can find it) or one of these ThreadHeaven alternatives.
ThreadCutterz – $12 to $15
Cross stitch takes time, and a great place to stitch is on planes and trains, however with security being tightened all over, ThreadCutterz have come to the rescue with a plane safe alternative to scissors.
They can only currently be brought from ThreadCutterz themselves.
Thread Shade Chart – $20
We have a copy of the DMC shade card on our site to see at any time, however on screen images aren’t always that reliable. As a result one of the best tools I’ve ever picked up is a cross stitch thread card. DMC (the most common thread company) do a version with thread samples ($20) including the new DMC threads, which is far superior. Think about getting a metallic shade card from Kreinik too ($36).
The Perfect Frame – $12 to $30
I know a lot of people thing cross stitch is a bit simple, but in reality RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) is a real issue. The best way to solve this is a suitable cross stitch frame. The best one in my mind is a EasyClip frame ($20), but you can see a roundup of cross stitch frames on my recent post about the perfect cross stitch frame.
A Good Cross Stitch Book – $20 to $30
This year has seen some of the best cross stitch books ever published, and I would personally buy all of them. However, for the cross stitcher in your life books offer both patterns, and a fresh look at the hobby. We’d personally suggest Criss Crossing Paris ($22) but you can also check our run down of the best cross stitch books out on the market.
If you’re still struggling on what type of scissors to buy, check out our guide on picking the best cross stitch scissors.
A Good Pair Of Scissors – $30
Scissors might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but you send a lot of time snipping things, and frankly, a poor pair of scissors get blunt quickly, fraying ends. Get a nice pair of Fiskars ‘snipping’ scissors, or ones like the image (a Japanese embroidery scissor), or another specific pair for embroidery/cross stitch or cutting fishing line and you’ll see the difference straight away.
You can even get a super awesome pair of frogging scissors, which solves the worst thing about cross stitch (frogging is incorrect stitches that need to be removed).
If you’re still struggling on what type of scissors to buy, check out our guide on picking the best cross stitch scissors.
Magazine Subscriptions – $20 to $60 a year
Magazines are fantastic for both giving you patterns, giving you inspiration, finding out about all the new products, and reading up on all the happenings of the cross stitch community. There are frankly a shocking amount out there, so its best to pick one or two you like the most, you can find our cross stitch magazine reviews here, and getting a subscription to those. Prices vary, $20-$60 a year.
Great Cross Stitch Software – $50 to $200
The natural progression for a stitcher is to go from kits, to patterns, to making their own patterns. Most choose online programs, but they all have their own limitations, so spend $20-$200 on the perfect one. I would personally suggest KG Chart or PC Stitcher for $35-50. Or you can check out our cross stitch pattern generator comparison page.
The only thing better than owning a thread shade card is owning the threads themselves. I always kept using the threads I had on hand, and until I got the whole set, I didn’t realise just how much I was making compromise; my colors have definitely got better. You can see how much a full set of DMC threads has helped us with our blog post about our journey to a complete set of cross stitch threads.
Not the cheapest thing in the world, wait until you can buy a whole set in one go on an offer. The price can drop from $450 to $200. Just don’t be tempted by those cheap Chinese deals to see on ebay.
It’s been a busy few months for the DMC thread company, with the addition of 35 new threads back in September, and now, a whole new set of specialist threads for October.
These 35 new threads dubbed the “DMC Mouline Etoile” (star mill) series are 35 new six strand threads with the slightest sparkle added to them. They still work in the standard way a 6 strand thread would, but they offer a smaller amount of interest than the standard threads. I’ve actually been able to get hands on with a small section and confirm they’re rather smooth and stitch well, something which speciality threads have struggled with in the past. They come in these standard colors:
(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
Unlike the 35 non-sparkly threads that came out in September, not much is being made of these new threads, which I personally find interesting. I think timing is probably one issue. I know that September and October is filled with stitching up Halloween and Christmas stitches, so they might have missed the boat slightly when it comes to timing. It’s clear that these threads probably won’t be used outside of specialist occassions, and Christmas and Halloween were the time to use them. Sadly, thanks to this I think the Mouline Etoile range might struggle to sell.
But there is a second, and slightly more interesting reason I think DMC have kept a bit quiet is due to competition, specifically with Anchor, DMC’s traditional rival. Anchor have a small set of Pearl Metallic threads which for all purposes are identical threads. Whilst Anhcor have no where near as many threads in the range as DMC do now (only 6), with cheaper Chinese brands such as CXC gaining traction, DMC are starting to feel the pinch, and they want to be seen as the one brand pushing thread boundries, the ‘top dog’. In fact, the Coloris range from DMC released in early 2018 was for exactly the same reason.
Its clear that this year DMC have gone out of their way to match and exceed Anchor’s threads, and now they have a larger set of classic threads, and speciality. However cheaper brands are really getting some steam at the moment, so I wouldn’t be suprised if 2019 had some new threads too.
I’ve heard a shocking amount of people talk about the backs of the cross stitch, including some of my stitching friends. And honestly; no one cares. At all.
Here’s the thing; the back of your cross stitch CAN be neat, but sometimes it just CAN’T. The reason is all about the pattern.
Let’s explain with some examples. Here, we have a fantastic Mew cross stitch by The Celtic Crafter. Its a pattern made up of about 4 colors and they’re all nicely placed, so the back is nice and neat.
However lets take another example, of a highly skilled cross stitcher, My Poppet Makes, who’s back looks a little less clean. Now this back HAS to be like that, with small stitches all around and colors on both sides of the work, the threads have to jump on the back, with its small size making them look much less neat. But lets be clear; its not better or worse. Just less neat.
So I should never care about the back of my work?
You often hear people talk about the back of your work in terms of two things; framing and skill. So let’s address both.
I’ve heard a few people mention this, even really experianced stitchers, however the back has no impact on the framing of cross stitch. The issue comes from home framing and people not using the correct framing system. You can check out a great guide on framing cross stitch, in which we mention the use of foam board. This foam; super important. It means that any of those little messy blemishes on the back are hidden, and can’t be seen when framing.
Here’s where those nay sayers are slightly right. When stitching the lack of mess on the back of your works usually means you’re more econmical. Some take this to mean skill. However we circle back around to the original statement; sometimes you can’t make a clean back. I know people might be nervous about their work, so I’ve taken an example from shutterstock that shows the back is sometimes just messy, and its all thanks to the pattern. This pattern has colors all over it, with floating confetti stitch a plenty, meaning you just won’t be able to make it neat.
If you’re still bothered by the comments though, be rest assured that your back will be cleaner as time goes on and you learn those little secrets about cross stitch. But don’t be suprised when sometimes your back is a mess! It happens.
So where does the rumor come from?
When the Japanese first came across cross stitch when a samurai accidently brought cross stitch to Japan we started seeing neat backs. Backs that were far neater than European examples, and the idea that the backs should be similar to the fronts came with it. However, that’s simply down to culture. Japanese people have a rich history with embroidery, and in particular sashiko, which includes a stitch called ‘cross stitch’. You can see what when counted cross stitch came to Japan is was obvious that they would follow the same rules they did for their sashiko. One of these rules in particular is that the front should look like the back. This is mostly down to how they stitch sashiko, but when the European’s started seeing Asian cross stitch the rumor came about that they were far more skilled and everyone should try to make their backs neat.
Once again, I have awesome news to tell you all! I’ve got another kit book out!
This time we delve into the classic paintings of the past, with a Fine Art Cross Stitch kit, complete with 12 patterns from Mondrian to Da Vinci.
Cross Stitch Creations: Fine Art turns your needlework from a craft to fine art by showing you how to recreate the classic masters’ finest works.
Take your needle art to the next level and recreate some of the finest masterpieces in history! Cross Stitch Creations: Fine Art presents to you a myriad of patterns which will channel the master artist in you. From van Gogh to Klimt to Munch, the projects and artists found in Cross Stitch Creations: Fine Art represent a wide range of art movements in the painting world as a whole. The clear, step-by-step instructions and full-color photographs for the 12 included projects allow you to decorate your walls with the master’s most iconic works of art in the classic medium of cross stitch!
Cross Stitch Creations: Fine Art includes a 64-pg instruction book which shows you how to create works originally painted by van Gogh, Klimt, Matisse, Hokusai, and many others.
You can get your copy from Quatro (the publisher) now!
I’ll be posting some of the completed peices over the next week, so keep your eyes out for them!
I’ve now been published quite a few times. Check me out in:
Fine Art Cross Stitch Kit
Emoji Cross Stitch Kit
Star Wars Cross Stitch Kit
Star Trek Cross-Stitch: Explore Strange New Worlds of Crafting Book
Disney Classic Cross Stitch Kit
Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch book
CrossStitcher Magazine (twice)
CrossStitcher Designer Stitches Magazine
& XStitch Magazine