Morning at Hot Spring Resort in Arayu Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Morning At Hot Spring Resort In Arayu By Lord Libidan

Morning At Hot Spring Resort In Arayu By Lord Libidan
Morning At Hot Spring Resort In Arayu By Lord Libidan

Title: Morning at Hot Spring Resort in Arayu
Date Completed: April 2020
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 16
Canvas: Cream
Colors: 27
Pop Culture: Japan
By now you might realize I’m on a massive Japanese print kick. I’ve stitched up Moon Light in Yasaka Pagoda cross stitch, New Moon on Tokyo Tower cross stitch, and a miniature Spring In Daigoji Temple cross stitch too. And I haven’t stopped. For my recent XStitch magazine pattern, I made a new Japanese print, this time all my own, and for it, I had to get inspiration. I normally use the work of Asano Takeji as he’s a modern artist with a style I like, however when looking for inspiration I found Hasui Kawase.
He was working at roughly the same time as Asano Takeji, but was a prolific traveler, with many of his works being from around Japan, and America. He even added Western elements to many of his works, including Santa, however, his works from around Japan really excited me. When I traveled there I took in many of the tourist sights, including many that Hasui had created prints from. One in particular that really interested me was his hot springs at Arayu. Whilst I didn’t go to Arayu, I did go to another hot spring resort, and it was one of the most relaxing days, and possibly one of the best days of my life. The feeling of warmth and the calming ways of the hot springs are a real juxtaposition against the super high tech cities of Japan.
Morning at Hot Spring Resort in Arayu, by Hasui Kawase 1946 (Source:
Morning at Hot Spring Resort in Arayu, by Hasui Kawase 1946 (Source:

This was the first of these patterns that I turned into a cross stitch (yes, there will be more), however, I created it about 6 months before I could start stitching. This meant that by the time I went back to it, I fell in love with it again. However, due to magazines and other life-things, it took 6 months to stitch as well, meaning it may be my longest project to date. Thankfully, due to all the time we’ve been spending indoors lately, I’ve had some more time to stitch and finished it up.


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The Best Online Cross Stitch Stores

Cross Stitch Thread Hanging Board (Source: Reddit)

The cross stitch community is fantastic at supporting local cross stitch suppliers, however sometimes they don’t carry the thing that you want, the prices are a little steep, or you just want a larger range. For most, going to a larger store like Hobby Lobby or Joanns, but thanks to big halogen lights, your threads can be damaged before you’re brought them!
That’s where online stores come into play, which offer home delivery, fantastic service and ranges, but also you can find fantastic cross stitch thread deals. We’re rounding up the best online stores.
All stores were suggested by our social media followers, they all had to supply needles, threads and aida of multiple types and had to pass a few delivery tests. We are not affiliated with any of these stores and do not get kickbacks. Updated April 2020.
Jump to United States
Jump to Canada
Jump to United Kingdom (UK)
Jump to Australia
Jump to Rest Of World

Best online cross stitch stores – US


Whilst many think of Etsy as a great palce to get cross stitch patterns, its also a fanastic place to get threads and tools. With hundreds of small stores across America, they offer great prices, and you always get impectable customer care.

123Stitch is by far the best place to get cross stitch supplies online in the US. Finding cross stitch items online isn’t hard, but 123stitch offers two things that others don’t. Firstly, value; a skein of DMC thread will cost you only 56c! The second is the sheer volume of items available. If you want it, they’ve got it.
Fast shipping, great customer service, and an unbeatable price mean they are the top dog of online stores.

EverythingCrossStitch says everything you need to know about it with their name; they have everything you need for cross stitch. Sure, there isn’t a lot of tools that aren’t purely for cross stitch (no magnifiers and the like), but they have boatloads of everything else; including the largest selection of cross stitch threads of any online company in the US or elsewhere. Prices are just as cheap as others on this list, and postage is also excellent. The one thing I would say is they suffer from a lack of aida brands; they don’t stock Zweigart for example, however that really is the only negative that can be said.

CrossStitchWorld really tries to offer the best out there in the cross stitch world, that much is clear as soon as you step on their site. They have stock of pretty much anything you can think of, and whilst the prices aren’t rock bottom, they’re pretty good too. Sadly CrossStitchWorld doesn’t get as much focus as it should, as it’s far better than the big craft stores.

Our number one online store is Lakeside Needlecraft, and we’re not alone, it is by far the largest UK based online retailer out there. And there is a good reason for this; they’re excellent.
They have a gigantic range of everything you can think of, they supply to your door super fast, they have great customer care, they have a points program, and they’re really good value for money. To give you an idea, you can pick up a DMC skein for 69p, a good £30 cheaper than stores.
Their website can be a little annoying to find your way through, however, their search is superb. They also have a huge selection of patterns from large and small designers and have even started putting their own cross stitch pattern books out.

ABC Stitch (or ABC Stitch Therapy as its currently know) doesn’t have a modern site. But they have everything else. They’re one of the longest-running online stores, and they stock frankly, an overwhelming amount of stitchy supplies, so much that you will never get bored of looking through their catalog. Prices are pretty good, although a DMC skein will set you back 69c.

Best online cross stitch stores – Canada


Thanks to Etsy’s worldwide shipping you can get your hands on tools and threads from across the border, meaning on average everything will be slightly cheaper.

At 69c per DMC skein, StitchItCentral were suggested to me for a great value website, however, that would be unfair to them; they’re more than that. With a frankly astonishing range of cross stitch supplies, including magazines, something often forgotten about by other retailers, they’re a great resource for everything cross stitch. The only downside is browsing can be a bit of a pain due to their depth of range, but so long as you know what you want; they can supply it.

59c per DMC skein is a super great deal. However, Herrschners isn’t just about cut-price cost. Around for over 120 years, Herrschners has developed relationships with every single supplier of anything cross stitch, meaning they have a crazy level of stock. They also have great customer service, including project assistance (which is worth trying just for the novelty!) and a quick dispatch process. They do run adverts on their site as well, which is a little annoying, but that’s the only negative to say.

Best online cross stitch stores – UK


Our number one online store is Lakeside Needlecraft, and we’re not alone, it is by far the largest UK based online retailer out there. And there is a good reason for this; they’re excellent.
They have a gigantic range of everything you can think of, they supply to your door super fast, they have great customer care, they have a points program, and they’re really good value for money. To give you an idea, you can pick up a DMC skein for 69p, a good £30 cheaper than stores.
Their website can be a little annoying to find your way through, however, their search is superb. They also have a huge selection of patterns from large and small designers and have even started putting their own cross stitch pattern books out.

Need to find that special edition thread? A DMC thread shade chart, or another hard to find tool? Etsy is the place to go. With loads of worldwide sellers, finding the item you need has never been easier.

Stitcher is not a website I knew about until recently. I had always been a SewAndSo shopper (before they went out of business) however the other big player was Stitcher. They have a more simplistic website design and it hasn’t really kept up with the times, however, that doesn’t stop them having a great selection and great prices. So much so that their trustpilot score is the highest I’ve ever seen!

Previously known purely for their large modern pattern and kit selection (which they still have a load of), Stitched Modern has started moving into the traditional cross stitch retail space lately. What really makes them stand out from the crowd is the quality of their products. They only choose quality items that they themselves use to design and stitch. Not only that, but they have products that other retailers don’t, like my much loved cross stitch travel scissors.

I personally love Cross Stitch UK, however, I don’t buy everything from them. It turns out that many of our social followers do the same. It’s not that they’re bad in some aspects, although they don’t sell DMC threads, it’s a case of doing a little bit of everything, and we really mean everything. Other retailers on our list stop after the basics, but if you want pins, a magnifier, or even scissor keeps, this is the place to go.

Hobbycraft is the largest craft retailer in the UK, and therefore, it’s no surprise that they’re also one of the best online stores. Hobbycraft have always looked to build their online shop at the same time as their stores, but their preference is on supplying low-cost products. This often means that they have a lot of too-good-to-be-true products, however, if you ignore these, they still have a great selection, and actually boast a better selection than others on this list; but you do pay a premium, and postage is high.

Best online cross stitch stores – Australia

Threaded Needle doesn’t sell a lot of items, and in fact, they basically don’t sell patterns or kits at all. But they’re known for quality, low price basics. You need threads, they have them. You need needles, they have them. You need fabric, they have them. But if you need that specific type of needle or that rare brand of thread or that specific color of aida; they aren’t a great place to go.
This all sounds rather negative, however, ThreadedNeedle is one of the best places you can shop for the basics you need. So long as you aren’t doing something cutting edge or crazy, they’ll have what you need, meaning they’re a trustworthy supplier, with great customer care.

More than just a cross stitch store OzStitch supplies a bit of everything. Closer to a brick and mortar store than any other online store OzStitch has a great direct relationship with suppliers meaning they never run out of the usual suspects (although they often have out of stock cross stitch kits listed on the site), giving you a great place to stock up from, even if they’re a little expensive ($1.10 per DMC skein).
In addition to its great stock, its one of the only online stores anywhere in the world, that will let you come and visit their facility. What makes this more impressive is that its a family business and you visit their family property. If that isn’t a sign of honest and open practices, I don’t know what is.

We all know DMC threads can cost a lot in Australia, however, ItchyStitchy is stepping in to help out. At 99c a skein, they are the cheapest online seller of DMC skeins we can find anywhere in Austalia. This doesn’t mean that’s the only thing they do though. A somewhat small online store compared to others on this list (and very young too) they supply everything you need at great prices, and they put customer care first. No confusing price points, great communication and a small team you can really get behind.

Best online cross stitch stores – World

Whilst we aren’t going to hit on all countries in this guide, most of them do ship internationally. However, even if they don’t ship to you, there is another option; Etsy. It’s a market place made by thousands of sole traders, and they sell everything you could ever want (not just cross stitch). As there are loads of people wanting your trade, it drives costs down, and as a result, you get some great deals.
What makes this even better is they have patterns that are only available through Etsy, and they do have copyright issues, but we did a deep dive and found that Etsy was a good thing for the cross stitch world.


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Where To Find The Best Cross Stitch Thread Deals

Clear Draws for Embroidery Thread Storage (Source: pinterest)

Everyone wants a full set of DMC threads, or maybe you want loads of threads for your next epic cross stitch project or maybe you just want a few and don’t want to shell out insane amounts. Well you’re in luck, as we look at the best places to get great deals on embroidery threads.

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


DMC Six Strand Cross Stitch Cotton 500g Black Cone (Source:
DMC Six Strand Cross Stitch Cotton 500g Black Cone (Source:
Without a doubt, the first thing I would suggest would be DMC cones. These are much easier to find in the USA (only the American DMC factory sells them), but in short, they are big old cones of thread. They come in 35 different colors, but if we’re honest, the only two colors worth thinking about are black and white. The reason they rock however is the size. You can get them in 100g (if you can find them) or 500g cones, which equates to 261 skeins of thread. The real kicker is that you can pick one of these up for $20 sometimes, that’s less than 1 cent a skein. Sure, the price is mostly around the $30 to $70 dollar mark (they’re $70 dollars on the US DMC website, but cheaper elsewhere) however that’s still a deal you can’t beat anywhere else. And you never have to worry about dye lots again. We’ve gone into more detail about DMC thread cones and how to use them in another post, so check that out before purchasing!


But what about all the other 498 colors of thread? Well, you could visit online stores like AliExpress. We’re of the opinion that AliExpress is bad for cross stitch but if you’re super careful you can find some cheaper DMC threads. They tend to be super old stock and are found when a store goes out of business, but there are some good deals to be found (but make sure you realize may deals are too good to be true). However, we suggest something slightly different:

Cheaper Alternatives

We’ve looked into if cheap embroidery threads are worth it before, and honestly, they are a great alternative to DMC. They come in the same colors, they aren’t as bad as some people say they are, and they’re are super cheap. Sure, getting them from China can be like pulling teeth sometimes, but if you’re just starting out in cross stitch I would seriously suggest looking into getting CXC threads instead of DMC. You can get a full set for less than $50, and no one will be able to tell the difference.

Embroidery Thread In A Draw (Source: 1dogwoof)
Embroidery Thread In A Draw (Source: 1dogwoof)

Second Hand

But if you really want DMC, then you’ve probably considered buying second-hand cross stitch threads. This can be an amazing way of getting threads on the cheap, but there are issues:
– Sunlight damage
– Mix of brands
– Unlabeled threads
So if you do intend to get your hands on second-hand threads, just be careful to check their quality; there’s nothing worse than buying loads of threads and having to throw most of them out as they are unusable.

Store Sales

And so finally, we hit the regular ways to buy threads; the big retailers. These can be online, or in-store, but just because they’re a big store, doesn’t mean they can’t offer you a great deal. In fact, I got my full set of DMC threads from a big online store when they were on sale, and I combined a sweet discount code.
When going online, they tend to have sales once a year, around the new year, and if you can combine with discount codes you can get massive discounts on bulk orders. However, I would save these deals for times when you’re buying in big numbers of threads.
Brick and mortar stores are more likely to have sales through the year, and in America you can combine coupons for double the effect, meaning you can get smaller orders. However there is one big thing to be aware of, and that’s how the store has stored their threads. Sometimes you can get a lot of light damaged threads in big stores, so make sure the colors are OK and save the receipt; if the color is wrong, go back and exchange it!


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How To Put Cross Stitch Threads On A Bobbin

Printable bobbins (Source: Pinterest)

In the past we’ve spoken about how to properly store cross stitch threads and why you should put threads on bobbins, but the question still remains; how?
Unlike other storage methods, like chucking skeins in a draw, bobbins take time to wind, and if you have all 500 DMC threads it’s going to take you forever. So today, we’re running down all the ways to put embroidery threads on bobbins, so you can skip the pain, and take the easy route 😀

Hand Wind

Hand-winding a cross stitch thread bobbin (Source: Youtube)
Hand-winding a cross stitch thread bobbin (Source: Youtube)

We start with the standard in bobbin winding, and the one technique that you’ll do regardless of the situation. Sure, later options are faster, but if you only have one or two threads to put on skeins, you’ll do it by hand.
You start by pulling out one end of the skein without it knotting and simply wind around the bobbin.

Bonus: Use A Tin Can

Hand-winding however, really isn’t a foolproof system. Somehow, those threads just always manage to find a way to knot themselves, and believe us when I say its 100x worse when it’s a whole 8m skein knotted up. So we suggest removing your skein’s wraps and putting it over something like a tin can. You can start by either end this way, and it keeps the thread from knotting.

Use A Winding Tool

Embroidery bobbin winder (Source: Etsy)
Embroidery bobbin winder (Source: Etsy)

Hand-winding takes ages though; let’s face it, if you have a load of threads to do, you want something faster. So like many, you look towards tools to do the job. You’ve probably all found one of these things before, and brought one, they’re cheap enough after all, but seriously; THESE THINGS SUCK.
If I could give a single bit advise to anyone, it would avoid these like the plague. However, if you’re so inclined, and have the knack for it that I don’t, they can save you time, and a lot of hand ache.

Use A Sewing Machine

Winding a bobbin using a sewing machine (Source:
Winding a bobbin using a sewing machine (Source:

However, now we’re done with the slow and painful methods, let’s talk about speed. This next technique requires you to have a sewing machine, however, we know a lot of cross stitchers also sew so you might have one. On every sewing machine is a bobbin winder! Sure, it’s not the type of bobbin we use for cross stitch, but with this handy guide on the LoveStitch Blog, you can cannibalize one of those hand winders to help out!

Use A Drill

Winding a bobbin using a drill (Source: Pinterest)
Winding a bobbin using a drill (Source: Pinterest)

But if you don’t own a sewing machine (and hope to farm the job out to someone else), try a drill. Without a doubt, this is the fastest and easiest way we’ve found to bobbin threads. Simply grab the bobbin in the drill chuck and spin away. What’s better is that you could probably bully the nearest male into doing it if you’re not bothered (let’s face it, all men are big kids, and we love drills); double win.


That’s our list of how to bobbin your embroidery threads, however, there is one thing everyone asks; how do you label them?

Write The Number

Simple, right? Not so much. If you have paper bobbins writing the number is easy, but those plastic bobbins (which we would suggest you use) just don’t take pen. You can use a permanent marker, but you need to use a fine tip and write small.

Use The Official Number Stickers

There are official stickers you can get, direct from DMC (although they don’t include the newer 35 threads), but these things are worth ignoring, to be honest. You can get them to stick with some work, I find taping them down works well, but they can fall off.

Place The Label Under The Thread

However, the best way I’ve heard is to place the number label under the thread. You can slip it in there before or after you’ve wound the threads, and the number sticks out, reducing on both the high aount of waste in cross stitch and the effort of trying to write or stick something down.


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Why Bother Putting Cross Stitch Threads on Bobbins?

Embroidery Thread In A Draw (Source: 1dogwoof)

Putting your cross stitch threads on bobbins always feels like a massive and daunting task, so its no surprise people try to avoid doing it. But I’m of the belief that you should always put your threads on bobbins. I know, some of you are in horror at this statement, but proper thread storage is one of the most important things a cross stitcher can do. And hopefully, I’m going to convince you of the benefits of bobbinating your threads.

Printable bobbins (Source: Pinterest)
Printable bobbins (Source: Pinterest)

The Rumors

I’m going to start with the issues, or rather, the issues people believe that aren’t true.

It Takes Forever!

And we start with a big one. This is the number one reason people use to not bobbin their threads. They might not be forthcoming about it, but let’s face it, we’d all prefer to be stitching than sorting threads (although there is a weird sense of accomplishment after you’ve done it). And I’m not going to argue with you either, it does take time. Especially if you have a full set of DMC threads.
But you only have to do it once.
OK, that was a lie, you have to do it every time you get a new/replacement thread too. But when you do one or two at a time, its no issue, so the big bobbin-athon when you start is the big turn off. But honestly, once done, it’s barely any work at all, and you get all the benefits from nicely ordered, stored threads.

It Creases The Threads!

This is a divisive point. I’ve personally never had issues with threads creasing, however, I loosely wind them, they aren’t forced into a box tightly, and I tend to use every thread once a year so they don’t last too long.
But I’ve seen creasing. It was on a second-hand embroidery thread which is already suggestive of something, but it does happen. That said, once cross stitched, it’s no longer an issue.

Bobbins Cost A Lot!

No! They don’t! You can pick up 500 plastic ones for about $15, or paper/card ones for $5. In fact, you can print some yourself, or I’ve even seen 3D printed ones.
If you’re struggling to find them at a good price, I suggest checking out Etsy.

The Tools Suck!

Uh…yeh. I’m in agreement here; the tools suck. I, like most people, got one of those stupid bobbin thread tools that sit on the side of the boxes. Yeh, they suck.
But there are different ways to put thread on a bobbin. I personally love the ‘tin can’ method, but people swear by the drill technique on facebook groups and cross stitch forums too. And if you’re getting the drill out there is a good chance you could get the owner to do all the winding for you (double win!).

The Advantages

OK, enough of the bad things, what about the good?

Easy To Store

Storing cross stitch thread has always been a big problem, especially as you might have upwards of 600 threads (or at least I do), but by putting them on bobbins you’re giving yourself the most space-efficient way of storing threads.

Easy To Find The Thread You Need

In addition to making storage easier, it also makes finding threads easier. You can pull open a box, draw or even bag, and find your thread much quicker. If you’ve chosen to order them by number, even more so.
And trust me, there is nothing worse than having to dig through a bag trying to find a thread that turns out not to be there, so you order a new one and then you find a stash of 5 skeins hiding in a different bag as soon as the new ones come. Talking from experience here.

Looks Super Pretty

I mean, look at those things:

Cross Stitch Thread Hanging Board (Source: Reddit)
Cross Stitch Thread Hanging Board (Source: Reddit)

Doesn’t Get Damaged

Storing threads, however pretty, has one really big selling point; it stops the threads being damaged. I won’t go into too much detail here as you can find more on my post about embroidery thread storage, but light damaged threads. Not just sunlight either, even indoor bulbs (daylight bulbs in particular), and storing them correctly will help keep your threads tip top.

Doesn’t Knot As Much

However, the biggest reason to bobbin your threads (specifically bobbin, not just store correctly) is that they don’t knot. I’ve covered how to pull a skein of thread without it knotting before, but it stands to reason that threads just love tying themselves in knots. But when you put them on bobbins, your cross stitch threads will never knot. Yes, you heard me, I promised they would NEVER knot.

Are There Alternatives?

If you’ve read this far you’re either super convinced, or still think I’m crazy, and you know what? That’s OK. Because bobbinating isn’t the only way to store threads. In fact, despite what I said at the start of this post; you don’t have to put your threads on a bobbin.
But you do need to do something.
You might want to put threads on a bow, store them in color specific bags, or put them on display. Do whatever works for you; so long as its not a mixed gallon bag full of threads *shudders*.

Embroidery Thread In A Draw (Source: 1dogwoof)
Embroidery Thread In A Draw (Source: 1dogwoof)


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How To Properly Store Cross Stitch Threads & Why Its Important

Clear Draws for Embroidery Thread Storage (Source: pinterest)

We’re going to tackle a topic that invites a lot of discussion today; storing cross stitch and embroidery threads.
This, in itself, doesn’t, seem that crazy, but a lot of people struggle to find a good way to store their cross stitch threads. Much like storage of cross stitch needles, it’s great to put something away, but there are two things to keep in mind. Firstly is appropriate storage, like finished cross stitch storage you need to make sure your threads won’t get damaged, but you also want to get at them easily. In addition, you might want to show them off (especially if you have a full set of DMC threads).
So we’re going to look through your options, but to start, we’re going through the reasons its important to think carefully about your options.

DMC Thread Color 318 Old and New (Source: Facebook)
DMC Thread Color 318 Old and New (Source: Facebook)

Why Is It Important?

In our post asking if DMC thread dye lots are an issue, we spoke at length about the rumors surrounding threads. In short, dye lot issues don’t exist. Instead, aging does. Or more specifically poor storage does. You see when storing finished cross stitch, and threads, the biggest killer is sunlight. It bleaches some dyes of out threads meaning you have odd colors forming, and it makes the threads far more fragile. In fact, we even posed the questions if its worth buying second hand threads or not.
Sun kills threads. It’s as simple as that. So we need to make sure whatever we use, that our threads are safe.

How To Store

So, with that in mind, what options are there out there to keep your threads at hand, but also nice and safe? Well, there are none. Yes, that’s correct, there are no ways that are both at hand, and going to keep your threads safe. Instead, you need to pick one a few options that are either less handy, or less caring for your needles.

On Display

The first up is the display method. With all those pretty threads, the instant thought is to display them. And you know what, they always look good on display. But just because they’re out, doesn’t mean they’ll be damaged by the sun in seconds. In fact, so long as you think carefully about placement, you can avoid direct sunlight. This will allow you to keep the threads up there longer, but you do need to keep in mind that your threads will get dusty, and should be used quickly, and not chucked up on the wall for years on end.

Cross Stitch Thread Hanging Board (Source: Reddit)
Cross Stitch Thread Hanging Board (Source: Reddit)

Loose In A Drawer

With that in mind, most people think about chucking threads in a drawer. In fact, this is how most people store threads until they look for a better alternative. But it might not have to be. The draw is protected from sunlight (and indoor lights), dust and dirt. It’s a great way to keep your threads all protected.
And just because they’re in a draw, doesn’t mean they have to be a mess; you can keep them in smaller draws (so long as they aren’t clear) in order or in color groups. Just make sure you don’t keep buying the same threads over and over (although we have a DMC thread inventory spreadsheet to help with that). But threads can get tangled.

Clear Draws for Embroidery Thread Storage (Source: Pinterest)
Clear Draws for Embroidery Thread Storage (Source: Pinterest)

On Bobbins In A Draw

So the draw might be a little problematic but let’s not throw it out yet. If you choose to bobbinate your threads (I know some people don’t like to), you can store the bobbins in a draw. I know you’re thinking they might be a mess too, but 1dogwoof has a great guide on storage using old cereal boxes which allow you to segment the threads up and keep them in order. They might be stuck in that drawer until you can get to them, but they’ll always be neat, tidy, protected from the sun, and dust-free.

Embroidery Thread In A Draw (Source: 1dogwoof)
Embroidery Thread In A Draw (Source: 1dogwoof)

On Bobbins In Boxes

The advantage of this style of storage is that you can put the boxes out and on display, if you want, or you can put them in a draw. You can pull out boxes at your pleasure and they’ll never be tangled. They’ll be in order so you can find them easily, and they pair great with a DMC color chart.
To me, this is the superior way to store threads and its how I’ve stored them since I got a full set of threads back in 2009.

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

So what way do you prefer to store your threads?

In Ziplock Bags

This one actually came in thanks to a reader; ziplock bags, or if you prefer the branded thread-specific versions; Floss-A-Way bags. These bags are airtight plastic bags that no only hold the thread, but are great at holding the long ends of threads you have that are worth keeping. There are two big problems with this approach though; finding a place to store them away from light, but also being able to pick the color you want easily.


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Namaste Paper Fortune Origami Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Origami Paper Fortune Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Origami Paper Fortune Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
Origami Paper Fortune Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Title: Namaste Paper Fortune Origami
Date Completed: August 2019
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: White
Colors: 5
Pop Culture: Origami
You may know, but I often supply patterns for the XStitch magazine. In the past I’ve supplied a pattern for every issue, but not only did that mean I didn’t have much time to make the patterns truly awesome, but I also write for it, meaning I was in everyone multiple times. So recently, I’ve been in fewer and fewer. But that means I can be a little more… adventurous.
My last pattern for the magazine was New Moon on Tokyo Tower cross stitch and it had a lot of blue. In fact, it had a whole lot of stitching. So I knew I wanted something a little lighter on actual cross stitch, but something that was still awesome. So I looked at ‘my book’. Yes, that’s right, I record every idea I have down in a little journal. It has WAY too many bad ideas, but there are some gems in there that just don’t work out.
One of those gems was an origami crane. I have always loved Japan and put it in my cross stitch whenever possible, but there has always been one Japanese thing I’ve wanted to try out, but failed at. Origami. I’ve always loved 3D cross stitch, and like to push boundaries a bit, but there is one thing that always gets in the way when making cross stitch 3D, and its something I worked out when I was making my first transforming cross stitch; angles. Thanks to the structure of aida, 90 degrees is a breeze. In fact, 45 is OK too, but anything else just gets hard. I tried to work around this when I did my 3D Pokemon cave cross stitch, which is at 67.5 degrees, but it made the joint huge. Therefore an origami crane with hundreds of different angles was out.
But as always, I couldn’t quite shake the idea. I looked up as many origami animals as I could, trying to come up with a shape that would only use 90 or 45 degrees but couldn’t find any. Until my niece brought home a paper fortune. It wasn’t a type of origami I was thinking about, but actually, its probably most people’s first foray into origami. I had only just written my post on the best cross stitch toys and loved the idea of something people could actually use. And wouldn’t you know it, it has 90 and 45-degree angles.
After I mocked something up I realized that the design was only just going to work; aida doesn’t fold well multiple times and in different directions, but it worked! In order to theme it better to the magazine issue ‘namaste’, I added different greetings into the insides in multiple languages.
Origami Paper Fortune Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan 2
Origami Paper Fortune Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan 2


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How To Tackle Epic Cross Stitch Patterns

Epic Pokemon Perler by mininete by mininete (Nete Hangel) (source:

When it comes to epic cross stitch patterns, we have you covered. From the slightly smaller, but still epic Pokemon cross stitch pattern to the insanely huge Epic All Generations Pokemon cross stitch pattern. It should, therefore, be no surprise that we are often asked about how to tackle these behemoths. Be that how to prepare, how long they take, or just keeping up the energy to keep stitching. So we’ve decided to help you out, and guide you through the trials and tribulations of tackling an epic cross stitch pattern.

pokemon epic all generations cross stitch by samarin6 (source:
Pokemon epic all generations cross stitch by samarin6 (source:

Be Realistic

Lets hit this guide with a hammer early on. Everyone has seen an epic pattern and thought “yes, I NEED to stitch that”, but actually taking the plunge is a tough thing to do. There are three main reasons its so hard.


Epic cross stitch patterns will take time. There is no question in that. Some of the ones on my site can be stitched in 9 months, others take years and years (I know of one that has so far taken 4 years) so time is a big factor. Now if that idea of giving time to a cross stitch pattern seems OK to you, I’d ask you a simple question; did you work out how much time?
In most cases people try to rationalize the pattern in their head, working out that if they want to finish in a year they need to stitch 2 hours a day. Now, that’s great, but can you keep that kind of stitching up? 2 hours, every day, without stitching anything else, come rain or shine, holiday or work? The answer is probably no.
But don’t give up hope. You just need to be realistic. It might take you a year, but if it takes 2 years, that’s OK. Don’t feel like its a race against yourself to get it finished, or you’ll take all the fun out of it.


Yes. It will cost you. Epics are, considerably most expensive than normal cross stitch. However, if you’re clever, they can be far more cost-efficient than smaller projects. We’ll get into it later on, but just because you’re starting a new project, doesn’t mean you need to buy everything upfront. With a project that will take you a year, you can split the cost periodically over the whole year, meaning its much more manageable.

Is It Worth It?

The final thing to work out, is a hard one. Is it worth it? Now, as someone that loves cross stitch, yes, its probably a great project, and you’ll have fun, no doubt. But epics take time, a LONG time, and as a result you need to work out if it’s worth it to you to keep on stitching with one project for what seems like forever.
Later in this guide we talk about keeping up enthusiasm whilst stitching, and one of those things is stitching smaller projects, but if the epic you want to stitch isn’t perfect in your eyes, is it worth the effort?

Epic Pokemon Cross Stitch by Eponases (source:
Epic Pokemon Cross Stitch by Eponases (source:

Gather Your Materials

If you’re willing to take the plunge, bravo! You’re onto a great project. But you need to get some supplies. As I eluded to above, you don’t need to get all of these things at once, you can split them up across the whole year, especially threads, but be ready to get yourself a serious stash over that year.


You’re going to need something to stitch on. This is by far, the biggest initial outlay for any epic cross stitch pattern, and sometimes can be hard to find. We even made a separate guide on how to find super-sized aida, but the long and short, is that you can get some. And if you can’t you can make one out of smaller pieces.
But as the single thing that will hold together your project, we really suggest investing in a good brand of aida.


It’s no surprise that most epic patterns use a lot of thread. Most use almost the whole range of DMC threads too, with a lot, and we mean a lot, of 310 black. Therefore, we have two suggestions on picking up threads.
The first is a simple one; cheap threads. We asked recently if cheap cross stitch threads are worth it and to our amazement they were. Sure, they aren’t as good as DMC threads in our eyes, but considering they’re a tiny fraction of the cost, they are a great way to save money on a big cross stitch pattern with lots of color changes.
Secondly, we suggest DMC thread cones. Or more specifically, a black cone. They cost about $12, but with over 1000 to 2100 meters of thread that’s a fantastic saving for just one color. Thankfully black and white are the most commonly used colors, so you can use them with this project, and beyond.

DMC Six Strand Cross Stitch Cotton 500g Black Cone (Source:
DMC Six Strand Cross Stitch Cotton 500g Black Cone (Source:

Finally, we suggest working out how many skeins you might need on this journey. We’ve detailed how many stitches you can get out of an 8m skein on the site before, which does need a little practice to work out, but can give you a super accurate idea of how much thread you’re going to need.


Yeh, needles. Not something you initially think about when tackling an epic, but there are a lot of stitches there, and it will play havoc with your needle. We recently went over why it might be time to time to ditch that old cross stitch needle, and in it, we talk about how damaging the needle can be to your cross stitch project after a while, so you need to take it easy on that guy. Instead, look at picking up a nice set of needles, which you change through the project. If you’re interested we’ve rounded up the best cross stitch needle brands for you to pick from.

Grid, Grid, Grid

This one is simple; grid. Counting on a small project can be a pain, but when you’re talking epics, it’s all too easy to screw something up and really ruin your project. The last thing you want is to find out after a year of stitching that you missed a few stitches months ago and now you can’t complete it. Considering there are many ways to grid for cross stitch its just worth doing so much. It might take a day just to grid, but it’s worth investing the time in. Trust us.

Thread grid cross stitch by medlow studio tapestry needlepoint (source:
Thread grid cross stitch by medlow studio tapestry needlepoint (source:


So now you have your materials is there anything else? Well, yes. You need to prepare the pattern, and work out what frame you’re going to use.

Get a Good Frame

The frame will hold your cross stitch for the whole time you’re stitching. You can go with something like a hoop, but using cross stitch hoops leaves marks, so we would go with a Q snap frame or something similar. However, there are loads of options we’ve rounded up in our post about which cross stitch frame is best.

The Pattern

You’re going to actually need the pattern. And you need to understand it. Take some time to get to grips with the pattern, and plan how you want to tackle it. I would suggest printing off the pattern, especially if you have the best printer for cross stitch. You might also want a markup app, or digital pattern, but sometimes using a paper pattern safeguards you against accidents.

How To Stitch

Finally, we get to stitching. You have everything ready, you have needle in hand, and… uh… how do you go about this?
Yes, there are lots of different ways to stitch cross stitch, and we aren’t going to tell you how to stitch, but when it comes to epics, there are only three ways to do it. Now, before I get onto the ways to do it, let me warn you off one day. Block stitching. This is where you stitch block by block, sometimes 10×10, using a parking method. Now, parking is actually a good idea, but try to avoid block stitching for anything less than a page. Once you finish you might see block lines all over the work, which can be hard to wash out.


I’ve never really got on with parking, but some people swear by it. In short, you have lots of active threads on the go at once. It means that instead of block stitching you slowly work your way across the whole pattern bit by bit, completing as you go. Its a great boost as you can see the whole thing coming together under your very eyes, but needs you to keep track of lots of threads at once.

Cross Country

Stitch one color, across the whole piece. And then do the next color. This is a great idea to start a cross stitch, using black as the first color. It will outline almost everything for you, give you stitching across the whole cross stitch pattern and will mean you no longer need grid lines/need to count. I would even suggest using this method to start, regardless of how you want to finish the other colors.

Mix And Match

This is how I stitch. It’s kind of like both parking and cross country, but I stitch large blocks of one color. I might do a quarter of it in black, then do blue for a bit, then do red, then go back to black, etc. It breaks up using one color forever, and is a good middle ground way to stitch. But there is a problem with this; tracking. You need to make sure that you keep an eye on where you’ve stitched, and what’s yet to stitch. Try using a cross stitch mark up app.

Epic Pokemon perler being constructed by mininete (Nete Hangel) (source:
Epic Pokemon perler being constructed by mininete (Nete Hangel) (source:

Keep Up The Enthusiasm

This, is by far, the hardest part of any epic cross stitch pattern. Keeping up motivation when cross stitching can be hard at the best of times, but with a project that takes years, it’s going to be much worse. But there are things you can do.

Take Breaks

Let’s get this straight right away; you don’t need to stitch and stitch and stitch. Take breaks. We said earlier about working out how long you’d have to stitch a day, and things like that are always going to fail. You just can’t stitch for 2 hours every single day. Take a break once in a while. Play a game, read a book, go out or:

Stitch Something Else

You don’t have to be chained to this thing. An epic cross stitch pattern is great and all, but you can stitch something else whenever you like!

Celebrate Small Victories

Epics are huge. And that means there is only one completion. But that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the small stuff. Celebrate every time you’ve finished a page, or with a color, or maybe just every X hours you’ve spent stitching.

Break Up The Boring Bits

Finally, let’s talk about boring bits. In every cross stitch project, there is that bit. The bit that has one color and is a massive section. You just can’t avoid it sometimes. And we’re not going to tell you to. Instead, we’re going to help you avoid it. The first way is thinking about the background. If the “boring bit” is the background, have you considered using a colored aida, or dying it?
Now, if you can’t avoid it altogether, you can avoid it being boring. By breaking it up. Stitch it first, or stitch it in sections. The urge is to leave it right till the end, just when its the most boring, but by stitching it bit by bit, you can stop the boring parts becoming the bane of your life.


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Are DMC Thread Dye Lots Really An Issue?

DMC Thread Color 318 Old and New (Source: Facebook)

You’ve heard the horror stories, everyone has, and you wish upon wish that it just won’t happen to you as you grab a handful of threads from the store. You hope and pray they there aren’t any of those dreaded dye lot issues…
But is that actually an issue?
Today, we look into the rumors of dye lot issues that effect threads and find out once and for all if it’s true or not.
To start, we should say that we spoke with both store owners, thread manufacturers, and cross stitchers who have found threads afflicted with the issue. However, we even went out of our way to try to find these threads, and actually, once you know why it happens, you can find them everywhere!

Are the stories true?

Kind of. You see, the stories of different colored threads despite being the same color, does exist. But that doesn’t mean that dye lots are the issue.
The common thought behind the issue is a fair one; its the same thread, same color code, it should be the same color. However, people do find threads that don’t match up. But in all the examples I could find after I scoured the internet, every single one had a caveat. In most cases, they were old threads. Some were decades old, like the one in the image below that has a paper wrapper, some were only a year or so.

DMC Thread Color 318 Old and New (Source: Facebook)
DMC Thread Color 318 Old and New (Source: Facebook)

In addition to the age thing, there were also some with dubious origins. And by that, we mean they were fake threads. The wrappings didn’t match, they were part of an odd set, or they were clearly suspect.
But in every single case, there was something that was said before they mentioned dye lots. Having spoken to the store owners and manufacturers, they hardly ever see issues in the threads themselves. But they do see it happening…

So why does it happen?

Well, in short, age is the issue, combined with storage. We’ve mentioned how to store finished cross stitch before, and we even mentioned one of the major issues is light damage. However, most people don’t think about the fact that light damage happens to the threads all the time, and not just after you’ve finished stitching something.
Light, especially sunlight, bleaches the colors in threads and changes the colors over time. In most cases, this tends to make it lighter, but in some cases, the lighter colors go first, making threads look darker. In really old threads, it’s somewhat expected, but even newer threads, ones that are maybe only a year old, can still have the issue. This is due to big stores having them on display under bright lights all day (and in some cases nights too).
Of course, there are also fakes out there. With eBay and Alibaba becoming larger in the cross stitch world, you do find fakes. These are poor quality threads though, so there’s no guarantee on their quality.

DMC 3861 dye lot differences (source: Cindi Csraze)
DMC thread 3861 color differences (source: Cindi Csraze)

What can you do about it?

So now you know that dye lots aren’t the issue, but color changes do happen, how do you avoid picking up an incorrect color?

Buy them from a reputable source

First off, buy them from a source you know what you’re getting is actually a branded thread. If you choose to buy them from eBay, or Alibaba, the chances are they aren’t genuine. Those sweet deals like to seem like a great way to get a complete set of DMC threads, but they’re too good to be true.
However, just because you can see the threads in store, doesn’t mean they are the best bet either:

Don’t buy them from the big brick and mortar stores

Now, we don’t want to have a go at all stores here, but larger ‘big box’ stores that don’t specialize in crafts are the real issue. They don’t sell as many threads, meaning the threads that are out, and probably been there a long time. These threads are bombarded all day, and usually all night, with bright bulbs, sapping the color out of the threads. Don’t bother going to those stores.
Other stores that sell just cross stitch stuff, or just craft stuff, tend to have a similar issue, but they do have a better turn over, which means you’re more likely to get a better color. Also, avoid any store that puts the thread near a window.

Store them well

So now you have the threads, is there anything you can do to avoid the color seeping out? Well, yes. Store them well, or more specifically, out of direct light (be that sunlight or indoor lighting). So long as you keep your threads in a drawer, box or cabinet, this should be fine, however, be aware that if you keep threads out on display you need to be careful of light sources.

Know they don’t last forever

But even if you do store them well, just be aware that they might not last forever. The older the threads get, the more chance there is for color to seep out of them. Even if you store them well, it’s worth checking some colors (especially greys) against a color card or a newer thread to check before you use them on a big project.

Buy cheaper threads

Yeh, that doesn’t seem like an obvious thing, does it? But one brand of cheap threads, CXC, make threads with polyester in them. Similar to a t-shirt, these tend to keep their color much longer, meaning they’re more likely to keep.
So there you have it, our investigation, and solutions to not getting the dreaded incorrect color thread.
TL;DR No, dye lots really aren’t an issue, but lights from stores and old threads do change color over time.


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Whats The Best Cross Stitch Aida Brand?

Black aida (Source: Etsy)

Since I started stitching I’ve only really used two brands of aida. A no-name brand that came free with a magazine (and was TERRIBLE quality) and a well-known brand. However thanks to my local sewing store being shut, I picked up someone else’s aida. The problem was the aida was completely different. In the past, we rounded up the best cross stitch needle brands and we decided its time to round up the best aida brands too thanks to me having to try them all out!
Over the last 4 months, we tried 180 aida sheets from a variety of brands, with a selection of colors to see who has the best! We chose a series of factors to test including how starched they are, the uniformity of batches, the range, price, and overall quality. We also ignored things like the uniformity of color and possible bleed; if we found any of these things (and we did) we’ve chosen to not even review them here.

Big Box Store Aida

Finally, the next brand we have on our list is the big box store. What do we mean by that? Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Hobbycraft, Joann’s, Michael’s, etc. These are the own brand aida that lots of stores sell. We actually know they all come from the same factory and we do know the brand name, but it’d just confuse things, so far now, we’ll call them “big box store” aida.
I’ll start with the positives here; the price is great. Its dirt cheap, and frankly for the price, you get a good product, even if the quality itself it’s super. In addition, the range is basically white or black, meaning so long as you don’t want anything fancy, they have you covered. In addition, the volume they produce aida means that you’re likely to get the same aida for a good 6 months which all comes from the same batch; however, the black does differ wildly from batch to batch. That, it’s all there is to say about this aida. It’s cheap, and it’s OK. Sure, it’s not the best (by far), but it’s a great place to start, and by no means worthless. Just maybe not the nicest.

Starch – 3/5
Quality – 2/5
Batch consistency – 2/5
Price – 5/5
Range – 1/5
Total – 2.5/5


DMC Aida

DMC aida is generally a brand most have used at least once. It’s a good aida, and I won’t try to convince you otherwise, however, there are some downsides. The first is that DMC aida is stiff; which isn’t too big of an issue, but makes it less pleasant to use. They also suffer from issues with batch consistency (specifically with their pale blue and cream aida). But they are good! However, as one of the most expensive options on this list, I’m not sure they’re the best choice.

Starch – 2/5
Quality – 4/5
Batch consistency – 3/5
Price – 3/5
Range – 3/5
Total – 3/5


Permin Aida

Permin aida is fantastic, let’s get that’s straight from the outset. However, there are two important things to know. The first is that Permin aida is very soft; which can be great, but for those who freehand stitch (without a hoop) it can be a pain. The second is that whilst Permin used to have a massive selection of aida, they’ve reduced their colors drastically in the last few years with their range mostly being made up of pale colors.

Starch – 1/5
Quality – 5/5
Batch consistency – 4/5
Price – 2/5
Range – 3/5
Total – 3/5


Zweigart Aida

Zweigart is the brand of choice for me. It’s a medium amount stiff, which for most is good, it’s extremely consistent with its batch colors and its a good price. It might not be as nice to use as brands such as Permin, but its consistency, its range and the fact that it’s everywhere make it the best to pick up. They also include a red stripe along the border, meaning you always know when you get Zweigart aida.

Starch – 4/5
Quality – 4/5
Batch consistency – 4/5
Price – 4/5
Range – 5/5
Total – 4.5/5


Charles Craft Aida

Charles Craft Gold Standard aida is a brand most people tend to ignore. I think they’re hard to get hold of most of the time, however, if you ever get a chance to use some; give it a go. Without a doubt, they are the best quality aida on this list. Its starch level is stiff but smooth, they have fantastically bold colors, a great range, and a nice price tag. The price is on the expensive side, but its far from prohibitive. They also take a lot more risks with their colors than other brands, giving you a great choice like grasshopper (which is just gorgeous)!

Starch – 4/5
Quality – 5/5
Batch consistency – 5/5
Price – 4/5
Range – 5/5
Total – 4.5/5

And there you have it, our round-up of the best-known cross stitch aida brands out there which will hopefully help you pick out your next fabric supplier! We should say though that there are lots of smaller brands out there which we haven’t included, but are great. has a great supply for example.
If you wanted to know, our choice is Zweigart aida. Its great quality, but thanks to its fancy orange border, we’re always 100% sure we’ve got the right brand, and someone isn’t trying to pass a poorer quality aida off to us.

Zweigart aida (Source:
Zweigart aida (Source: