Rocket Cross Stitch Pattern Spotlight

Space Rocket Cross Stitch Pattern by PRINTandDECOR (Source: Etsy)

With commercial space flight now a reality, with Virgin Galactic apparently taking everyday citizen’s into space this year, there is a lot going on in space. Obviously that means there’s loads going on with space cross stitch patterns, so to narrow things down a little, today, we’re talking about cross stitch patterns that focus on rockets and space shuttles.

Space Rocket Cross Stitch Pattern by PRINTandDECOR

Space Rocket Cross Stitch Pattern by PRINTandDECOR (Source: Etsy)
Space Rocket Cross Stitch Pattern by PRINTandDECOR (Source: Etsy)

As the spotlight was narrowed down in choice, we got a late contender in the form of PRINTandDECOR’s space shuttle pattern. Initially this looked fairly simple, but as you look further, you can see just how complicated and interesting this pattern is. With the solat system diagram in the back, with actual planets super imposed on top, the super stylised Mars the shuttle is taking off from and the sashiko cloud like smoke coming out of the engines shows that this designer really knows what their doing.
Most cross stitch patterns are as simple as you can see, but by making objects progressively smaller, and making the solar system diagram almost hidden in the deep background, this pattern is truly a special kind of clever.
 
This pattern was found on Etsy.

The Best Animated Cross Stitch

Stitchy Cat Cross Stitch by The Wild Stitch (Source: thewildstitch.blogspot.com)

For my most recent project I made an animated cross stitch, specifically an animated Pikachu cross stitch. The idea for it came from the Xstitch Mag which featured a zoetrope by Tom Katsumi. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it and new I had to give it a go, but with a geeky twist. However, that was far from the first animated cross stitch I’ve seen, so I decided to round up some of the best the web has to offer!

Tom Katsumi’s Sewtrope Cross Stitch


Of course, I have to start with Tom Katsumi’s space cat, which is actually a cleverly made zoetrope using 12 different images to make a moving picture. Not only is this a fantastic example of animation but the cross stitch goodness was a massive inspiration.

The Wild Stitch’s Stitchy Cat Cross Stitch

Stitchy Cat Cross Stitch by The Wild Stitch (Source: thewildstitch.blogspot.com)
Stitchy Cat Cross Stitch by The Wild Stitch (Source: thewildstitch.blogspot.com)

However, I think I may know where Tom got his own inspiration, as back in 2015 The Wild Stitch created an earily similar, and just as trippy, animated cross stitch cat.

Lord Libidan’s Running Pickahu

Animated Pokemon Pikachu Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
Animated Pokemon Pikachu Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

OK, this is mine, but in fairness, this list was put together by someone else, so I think that’s OK.

RuPaul Cross Stitch Animation Workshop

RuPaul Cross Stitch Animation Workshop (Source: brookehatfield.com)
RuPaul Cross Stitch Animation Workshop (Source: brookehatfield.com)

The RuPaul cross stitch animation workshop is probably the best known animated cross stitch out there, as not only was it created with 35 cross stitchers, but also asked for creative coloring of RuPaul\s face. Originally planned by Aubrey Longley-Cook, who has created a whole slew of animated cross stitch himself, this piece was everywhere on the web back in early 2013.

Jennifer Norm’s Dance Dance Revolution


Jennifer Norm isn’t a name you hear in cross stitch a lot, and frankly, finding her work is hard at best, but one video she created back in 2011 is the earliest example of animated cross stitch I can find anywhere. Unlike the others on our list is actually a combination of cross stitch and some very clever photoshop work, but it grabs the essence of Dance Dance Revolution perfectly.

Thereminista’s Duck Hunt


The first 100% stitched animated cross stitch I could find however, was back in 2012 with this awesome Duck Hunt by thereminista, who we sadly haven’t heard of since. A shame too, as this was an idea that has inspired so many…


So many, including music video producers. Specifically, animators Jonathan Chong and Clem Stamation who made a whole music video in the cross stitch style, all be it digitally, for the band Husky’s single Ghost.

Marvel Cross Stitch Pattern Spotlight

Marvel Thanos Gauntlet Cross Stitch Pattern by xstitch4love (Source: Etsy)

With an overwhelming amount of cross stitch patterns on an ever increasing list of websites, we’ve decided to help the cross stitch community out by searching the web to find you an awesome pattern from one category a week. These cross stitch patterns will be picked based on their style, creativity and most importantly; their quality. In fact, we’ll only post patterns that we’ve seen stitched examples, seen the pattern, and we know they’re free of copyright.
The best news? These posts are in addition to the once a week post we usually post.
 
This week we’ve decided to start with Marvel. Afterall, the new Marvel movie comes out tomorrow; its an end of an era and the start of a new, so its about time we looked back at those superheroes who made cinematic history.

Marvel Thanos Gauntlet Cross Stitch Pattern by xstitch4love

Marvel Thanos Gauntlet Cross Stitch Pattern by xstitch4love (Source: Etsy)
Marvel Thanos Gauntlet Cross Stitch Pattern by xstitch4love (Source: Etsy)

When it comes to Marvel, there are so many patterns out there; thanks to the sheer volume of films, that its hard to make a choice. However when we saw xstitch4love’s gauntlet design we knew we had to feature it. The gauntlet is simply put; THE symbol of the Marvel movie universe so far.
Featuring every main character from the previous films in black and white with the bright stones standing proud really makes you realise just how poignant the recent movie will be, how far we’ve come, and what will become of the Marvel universe in the future!
 
This pattern was found on Etsy.

Why is cross stitch an obsession?

In this issues XStitch Magazine I wrote about love, specifically love of cross stitch, and how there are different levels of love. Everyone here probably loves cross stitch, but to what degree?

But then someone asked me “but what is it about cross stitch that you love”? And I honestly didn’t know. It’s not that theres nothing to love, there is loads, but what exactly is the thing I love?

So I start to think about my cross stitch tasks. I know that when I first started the thrill was in the finish. I still think back to my tiny highland cow cross stitch, my first ever, and the thrill of finishing was amazing. But if this was the thing that I loved, I would do tiny stitches over and over, but I find myself regularly doing massive cross stitches such as my Moon Light In Yasaka Pagoda Cross Stitch.

My first cross stitch
My first cross stitch

So could it instead be the pattern making? After all, now-a-days 100% of the stitches I create are of my own design. Well, honestly, I only create patterns as I can’t really find something I want to stitch. I’m also a massive advocate of pushing boundries in cross stitch too.

So maybe its just that ‘on more stitch’ feeling? Maybe. We’ve covered how cross stitch is great at reducing stress, but I don’t have a super stressful life (although I wonder if that is because of the cross stitch…).

I’m honestly not sure if its one of these, all of these, none of these, maybe even the fact that there are simply so many things to love. However I do know one thing; the thing I hate is frogging. Thankfully frogging has gotten easier lately.

What’s the best mark up app for cross stitch patterns?

cross stitch mark up app ezpdf (Source: youtube)
A lot of people like to keep track of cross stitch patterns on their computers, ipads, tablets or phones, but what are the best ways to mark up your cross stitch patterns? We’ve reviewed the biggest solutions on the market to help you pick.

Jump to Android
Jump to iOS
Jump to Windows & Mac

Best ANDROID markup software:

ezPDF ($4) – 10/10

Based on 321 reviews Frankly ezPDF has everything you want from a markup app. Its light weight (doesn’t take up too much space on your tablet/phone), can open any pdf with ease, and its mark up tools appear to be designed especially for cross stitch. You can undo incorrect markups, even if they were from weeks previous, and the app saves as you go, meaning no mistake app closing loosing your work.



XODO (FREE) – 9/10

Based on 185 reviews   Free, and therefore right up there with favourability, XODO is a good alternative to ezPDF. Its not as easy to use, and that’s why it gets a worse score, but there is one advantage XODO has over ezPDF; it can be used across devices. All you need to do is set up an account and you can use the android app or go online (through your computer, iPad, phone or any internet enabled device (including your smart TV)) and you can pick up where you left off. Great for those who want multiple devices.

Foxit (FREE) – 8/10

Based on 82 reviews Foxit is a great app for editing pdfs on the go, however its built with that purpose, and therefore doesn’t easily control cross stitch markups. It still works, its free, and its great at opening any PDF, however the app is considerably larger than the alternatives, and its just not as good on our tests.

Best iOS markup software:

iBooks (FREE) – 10/10

Based on 1091 reviews iBooks probably wasn’t what you were thinking when you read this list, but as a built in app, it does everything you need a cross stitch mark up app to do. Not only is it built in, therefore free, but is lightweight, has a easy to use format, and saves as you go. Its not fantastic at loading times, but will open anything you throw at it.



Cross Stitch Markup (FREE) – 9/10

Based on 78 reviews   The new app from Ursa software (the makers of WinStitch and MacStitch) is a dream to us, and is the ONLY app on this list specifically made for purpose. It’s frankly, brilliant. But there is one big issue, and that’s its dependancy on .chart files, a file format specifically made for the app. One day I’m sure they’ll be everywhere, but at the moment, finding a .chart is actually kinda hard.

Goodnotes ($12) – 8/10

Based on 27 reviews Goodnotes is a brilliant app, its on its 4th generation, its been made to do pretty much anything you can think of to a pdf with ease, and its a dream to use. But its also the most expensive app on the list. If you’re aching for a great app that’ll be supported for decades to come, Goodnotes is it, but with many free alternatives, I wouldn’t go with it for my first choice.

GoodReader ($8) – 7/10

Based on 18 reviews GoodReader is pretty much a carbon copy of Goodnotes, so the same applies from a review perspective, but with the lower cost comes less innovation. They’re always playing second fiddle to Goodnotes.

ezPFD ($2) – 4/10

Based on 312 reviews ezPDF reviewed with our android users as the best app by far, but with the iOS app, everything is different. Hard to install, barely works, late updates, large install file, and not as easy to use as the android version. I’m afraid ezPDF just lets the side down on iOS.

Best WINDOWS/Mac markup software:

WinStitch ($52 ($48 with discount)) – 10/10

Based on 1834 reviews
Use this link ($) or this link (£) to save yourself $5 when you buy!

WinStitch is expensive for a markup app, but its not a markup app. In fact, its a fantastic bit of software for making your own cross stitch patterns, it even reviewed as the best windows cross stitch pattern software. What makes it helpful however, is its also able to mark up cross stitch patterns. Unlike its iOS app brother, it can do it on all pdfs too. The issue; they should be made from within WinStitch to start.



XODO (FREE) – 9/10

Based on 185 reviews   XODO is a great app, its a great online platform, and therefore, its great on PC or Mac. You see, so long as you have a login, you can access your patterns on any computer and pull up its great markup software. Its easy to use, free, and fast.

How to keep up motivation while tackling a big cross stitch project

pokemon epic all generations cross stitch by samarin6 (source: spritestitch.com)

We’ve spoken at length about how to get cross stitch inspiration and how cross stitch can help you destress but there is one problem we hear a lot about, especially as we give away epic pokemon cross stitch patterns and that’s burnout.
If you’re a youtube watcher, you’ve probably heard about recent videos on content burnout, where youtubers are constantly having to churn out video content, and it takes away the fun. Well, that happens with cross stitch too. Sure, you might not have an audience to satisfy, you’re probably your own worst critic, but keeping up your cross stitch mojo, especially when you’re tackling a big project, can be hard. Real hard. But there are ways to solve that problem!

eat sleep stitch repeat cross stitch by stitchkits (Source: notonthehighstreet.com)
Sometimes this ISN’T what you want. Eat Sleep Stitch Repeat cross stitch by stitchkits (Source: notonthehighstreet.com)

Stitch up some small projects

One of the greatest ways to get through a big project, or even a rut you might be having, is to pick up small stitches. Thoses small stitches might take you a weekend, and you might not even be super into them, but they acomplish two things. The first, is it gives you that completion high all cross stitchers know, and secondly, it gives you renewed enthusiasm for what you’re currently doing. Yeh, you might be stitching away at the same page for 3 months solid, but doing a throw away project gives you that perspective that actually, what you’re stitching right now is going to be awesome.

Look for inspiration

We mentioned cross stitch inspiration at the top of this blog, but actually, inspiration is one of the best things for you. Yes, you might come away with a list as long as your arm of things you want to stitch, and might even have a few patterns to boot, but it’ll remind you why you like stitching, and why you like stitching that epic you’re on currently.

Go on a cross stitch holiday

Tried that? Not helping you out? OK, then stop stitching. I know, I know, it sounds stupid, especially if you’re half the way through to just drop it, but seperation from cross stitch might actually be exactly what you need. You don’t have to sit there thinking about it either, go out, pick up another hobby, knit, sew or just read a book. I personally play computer games. That break helps you renew, just like a holiday. Not only that, but you might find yourself wanting and wanting to revisit it, and once that happens, you know the rut is over.

Don’t beat yourself up

You’re thinking to yourself “but I’m X of the way through, I can’t stop”. Well, I’m here to tell you its OK. You can stop beating yourself up. I’m the type of person that likes a plan, and I like to stick with it, so if I can’t stitch as much as I planned or the project is taking longer than I expected I tend to beat myself up. But there’s no reason to. It’s OK to be late.

Failure is always an option

And in fact, its OK to give up. One of my personal heros is known for a simple notion; that failure is always an option. Sometimes things just don’t work, and giving up is not only an acceptable thing to do, but sometimes, its the best thing to do.

Anagraph Mass Effect Morality Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Mass Effect Paragon Renegade Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Mass Effect Paragon Renegade Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
Mass Effect Paragon Renegade Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Title: Red/Blue Mass Effect Paragon & Renegade Cross Stitch
Date Completed: March 2019
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: White
Colours: 2
Video Game: Mass Effect
 
I have always loved 3D glasses and ever since my 3D Pokemon choice cross stitch I’ve wanted to do more, but unlike that one, I wanted to look into the idea of putting two seperate images on top of each other, so that when viewed with red alone, or bllue alone you would see two seperate images. However, after playing around with a Fallout idea failed, I left the idea in my ideas book and didn’t think about it again.
Until I saw someone else’s cross stitch. It was a Stormtrooper crossed with a skull, and whilst I loved the idea, the actual way about making the red/blue image work is what impressed me the most.
Red Blue Stormtrooper Cross Stitch by Tad Tafelsky (Source: flickr)
Red Blue Stormtrooper Cross Stitch by Tad Tafelsky (Source: flickr)

Red Blue Stormtrooper Cross Stitch Close Up by Tad Tafelsky (Source: flickr)
Red Blue Stormtrooper Cross Stitch Close Up by Tad Tafelsky (Source: flickr)

By combining one thread of each color (and in his case also black) he was about to give each color its own placement, and make each image work perfectly. I stole his idea but with only two colors, and I think it came out well. So here is the Mass Effect paragon and renegade images on top of each other. Check it out with red/blue glasses to see the full effect!
Mass Effect Paragon Renegade Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
Mass Effect Paragon Renegade Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Wait, What Are Cross Stitch Counting Pins?

Yellow and Aqua Handmade counting pins (Source: Etsy.com)

One of our most popular posts is about cross stitch gridding techniques and when I wrote the post, I thought it was the only real option. Either you grid or you count. But that isn’t the case. In fact, there is something else; a counting pin.
I had frankly never heard of these before, so not only did I have to look up what they were, but I had to buy some myself to check just how handy they were. And honestly, I was suprised how awesome they are.

Plumeria Counting Pin by GinasUniqueBoutique (Source: Etsy.com)
Plumeria Counting Pin by GinasUniqueBoutique Etsy.com)

In short, counting pins are just blunted pins, but longer and they normally have a cap so you can leave them in the fabric for a while. They solve the problem of recounting. If you don’t grid, you know you’re going to have to count, but thanks to those oops moments in the past, you keep recounting. Counting pins help do that:
 

The most common way to use them is when moving from one stitched area to another spot where you want to start stitching. For instance, if your next stitching point is 12 stitches left and 15 stitches down from completed stitch “A”, using the counting pin to count 12 stitches to the left of stitched point A. Insert the counting pin into that hole, bring it back up 2 or 3 stitches away and put the nut on the pin to anchor it. Take a second counting pin and count down 15 stitches from where the first pin was inserted. Insert the second pin at that point and anchor it. Then you can thread your needle and start stitching.

Tommye J Bunce (aka TJB Designs)

 
In addition you can use them to count out a long line of stitches. Instead of having to go back and count out how many you’ve stitched every so-often.
 
But are they any good? Well, yes, I think they are. I start most of my stitching in the middle, as is the norm, and as a result I tend not to need to grid things, but if I’m stitching a long line, or a phrase, placement of the next stitch, if its apart from the main body of the work, is always a worry-some moment. I count and count and count again. But with counting pins, I feel safe in the knowledge that I counted right. Considering you can pick them up for a few dollars, its worth having one on stand by.

Yellow and Aqua Handmade counting pins (Source: Etsy.com)
Yellow and Aqua Handmade counting pins (Source: Etsy.com)

Animated Running Pikachu Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Animated Pokemon Pikachu Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Animated Pokemon Pikachu Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
Animated Pokemon Pikachu Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Title: Pikachu Running Animated Cross Stitch
Date Completed: February & March 2019
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: White
Colours: 7
Video Game/Pop Culture: Pokemon
 
As you may know, I’ve been designing patterns for the Xstitch maazine for sometime, however I have always felt like I wasn’t the best designer there. I mean, there is no chance I am, its full of awesome cross stitch talent, but there is one specific cross stitch, Tom Katsumi’s sewtrope, that I fell in love with. It was an accomplished piece of cross stitch, but that wasn’t the thing that made it great. It was alive. Thanks to an online animated GIF maker, he was able to reproduce its effects, and it truly looks like the cat is running. Well, I knew I had to do something in the style.

I had originally planned out a whole screen, with a sky, grass and pikahu unfurling from a pokeball into a run, however when I actually looked at how many cross stitches it would need (42) and the size, I quickly rethought my plan. I toned it down into 6 frames (and 6 completed cross stitches) with a very small pikachu running. However, then I came across this animated GIF and knew I had to copy it. So I scaled up in size of cross stitch, but thankfully, down in frames, to just 4.
Running Pikachu GIF (Source: giphy.com)
Running Pikachu GIF (Source: giphy.com)

It took a while to stitch them up, and it was actually a pain to line them up for the GIF, but once made, I slowed it down a touch, and hopefully made a cross stitched Pikachu look like he’s running.
Animated Pokemon Pikachu Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
Animated Pokemon Pikachu Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Its Time to Improve your Backstitch Game

Star Trek Voyager Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan Zoomed in Section of ship

Backstitch is often the thing at the end of a cross stitch, and whilst you know it can make a big difference, you’ve not really thought any further than that, right? Well, it turns out that whilst backstitch is super simple, there a lot you can do to improve it. The smallest of changes in your backstitch can have a massive impact, and its as simple as changing the thread thicknesses.
 
In my recent Star Trek Voyager LCARS cross stitch I took backstitch to the extreme, and thanks to a few zoomed in shots of it at my Portal 2 Gun cross stitch, I can show you a few tips.

Thickness of different threads

On the example below you can see a series of different backstitches, and whilst stitching everything as 2 stands would have been fine, I decided to stitch the grid with a single stitch. Why? Because it makes the ship stand out more. The subtle change here hasn’t taken anything away from the cross stitch, but its clear that when looking at this section, the ship is the most important bit. Obviously you could go the other way around here, stitching the ship with 3 or 4 strands of thread.

Star Trek Voyager Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan Zoomed in Section
Star Trek Voyager Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan Zoomed in Section

Thickness of the same thread

Yeh, its a thickness thing, but this time we’re speaking about the same thread. In the example below I’ve taken wires coming out of my portal gun and instead of using the 2 stands it called for, at the tips, split it into one. The effect it has is super small, but anyone looking at the cross stitch quickly can see that they start off as two seperate wires, which come together, then split off again. Something small like this has added another layer of detail to a simple cross stitch.

Portal Gun Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan Zoomed in Section
Portal Gun Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan Zoomed in Section

Layering

Going back to Voyager here, I’ve taken to combining both thicknesses of threads, and layers. When you look at this image, the first thing that comes out is the outline of the ship, then the decks, and then the details. This was achieved not only by laying the stitches in the opposite order (details first), but also by making the thread thickness larger as I when up. The over all effect has now changed so that the image as a whole is a ship, then the details, and not a super detailed hot mess.

Star Trek Voyager Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan Zoomed in Section of ship
Star Trek Voyager Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan Zoomed in Section of ship

I’m not saying any of the above examples are perfect, however layering is an effective way to change the focus of your cross stitch, and might just be worth practicing.