7 Awesome Gift Ideas For Cross Stitchers

DMC complete thread card (small)

Finding gifts for the people in your life that like things outside of your normal is hard, and so we’ve put together 7 awesome gift ideas for cross stitchers.

Fun Needle Keeps – from $5

chapelviewcrafts polymer cake needle minder by chapelviewcrafts (source: etsy)
So tasty you could eat it!

The great thing about needle keeps, other than how cheap they are, is the awesome volume of different designs. Pick something their interested in, and BOOM! You’ve got yourself a super personalised gift for under a fiver! They can even become a bit of a hobby in themselves; I have a charizard, a cup of tea, the cake design you see here and a book. I would look on Etsy first as they have a whole wealth of handmade ones.

ThreadCutterz – $12-15

Thread Cutterz (source: threadcutterz.com)
Thread Cutterz (source: threadcutterz.com)

How about something a little more practical? These ThreadCutterz are an awesome alternative to scissors, which sits on your finger like a ring, meaning no more swapping out to go for a pair of scissors. Just for an added bonus they can be taken on international plane flights too!

A Good Pair Of Scissors – $30

Cross Stitch Japanese Style Scissors (source: ebay)
Cross Stitch Japanese Style Scissors (source: ebay)

I know, I just said about replacing scissors, but in reality, a lot of cross stitchers like a good pair of scissors. In fact, I’m a believer that you always need another pair of scissors. You can choose practical scissors, fancy scissors, or even super colorful ones. We’ve even got a guide for finding the best cross stitch scissors if you’re not sure what type to get.

Thread Shade Chart – $20

One of the best gifts I’ve ever recived is a thread shade card. They simply show you how all the colors look, and how they sit together. DMC (the most common thread company) do a version with thread samples ($20) including the new DMC threads, which is far superior. We have a copy of the DMC shade card on our site to see at any time, however we know from experience that there is nothing like the real thing. A steal at $20 too.

DMC Thread shade card with new colors with logo by Lord Libidan
DMC Thread shade card with new colors with logo by Lord Libidan

Magazine Subscriptions – $20-60 a year

CrossStitcher Magazine Cover Issue 317 (source: crossstitchermag.co.uk)
CrossStitcher Magazine Cover Issue 317 (source: crossstitchermag.co.uk)

What about a gift that keeps giving? There are loads of cross stitch magazines out there, including a whole raft of modern, traditional, kid friendly and international ones. The great thing however is it keeps being delivered month after month! They’re fantastic for giving you patterns, inspirations, fiding out about new products and a lot give away free gifts too! Prices vary, $20-$60 a year.

Threads! – $20-200+

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

As a cross stitcher I know too well that there is a super warm fuzzy feeling that comes from owning a full set of cross stitch threads. Now this might seem like a big cost, $200 or more for DMC. However just a pack of threads, such as metallics or the new coloris range are an awesome way to bring a bit of flair into someone’s cross stitch for a really reasonable price. As a bonus, they come in nice gift boxes too!
It’s also worth noting that there is a cheaper brand of threads which are surprisingly good, and can cost as little as $40 for the whole set!

Great Cross Stitch Software – up to $50

PCStitch Cross Stitch Software (source: PCStitch.com)
PCStitch Cross Stitch Software (source: PCStitch.com)

How about something slightly more expensive? A time comes for every cross stitcher when they want to make their own patterns, and whilst you can do this online, they all have their limitations. As a result you often see a cross stitch pattern creation program on the wish list of many cross stitchers. You can choose from frankly hundreds of them, with prices ranging from $20 to over $200, however the ever popular WinStitch or PCstitch are the best bets, for $50. You can find a comparison of cross stitch programs here.

How Cross Stitch Helps Real World People With Real World Problems

Epic Pokemon Perler by mininete by mininete (Nete Hangel) (source: dailydot.com)

Today we’re going to talk about something slighlty different. For two reasons. Firstly, we talking about how craft can help people, how it can enable the worst situations in life to seem a little more acceptable. And we’re not talking cross stitch. Well, we kind of are, you see the thing that made me interested in this story originally, was Nete Hangel, and how she used my free cross stitch patterns.
If you hadn’t worked it out already, we’re doing to be talking about perler beads, which whilst a totally different craft uses patterns the same way.
 
Nete Hangel, or Mininete as she’s known online, is a pretty typical 19 year old from Denmark, with one major exception; she has complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), a rare condition that can cause severe or extreme pain in arms or legs. Because of this, she can’t do much without pain being on her mind. However there is one thing; perler beads.
 

It’s been a coping method and a thing I could do even if I couldn’t think straight because of pain and pain meds

For her, the repetative action of beading has been almost “a form of meditation” and helped with “clearing your head”, which for almost every cross stitcher I know is the same. And whilst we might not stitch to burn through pain, it helps keep us grounded and a little more settled. We’re massively devoted to helping mental health, and we’ve even talked before on how cross stitch helps me destress.

Epic Pokemon Perler by mininete by mininete (Nete Hangel) (source: dailydot.com)
Epic Pokemon Perler by mininete by mininete (Nete Hangel) (source: dailydot.com)

The fact that Nete picked up her largest project to date, our free epic pokemon cross stitch pattern at a time of seriously bad pain, and the fact that she’s able to get up and battle the world now, just goes to show that sometimes cross stitch isn’t such a closed off world, and it helps real world people with real world problems everyday. We’re damn proud to have helped that.
Epic Pokemon perler being constructed by mininete (Nete Hangel) (source: dailydot.com)
Epic Pokemon perler being constructed by mininete (Nete Hangel) (source: dailydot.com)

Why Are Glow-In-the-Dark Threads Green?

Spiderman Glow In The Dark Cross Stitch by stitchFIGHT (source: mrxstitch.com)

xstitch magazine issue 3 cover I write and I make patterns for the XStitch Magazine and found myself writing a companion piece before, such as my blog on when cross stitch almost made it to space. However in the newest issue, we talk about green. My post focused on the weird relationship we have with green, in both love and hate, thanks to ink prices, sour emotions and the green of nature. I had planned to cross stitch something within the theme using glow-in-the-dark thread, as I knew it came in green. But then I though:

Why are glow-in-the-dark threads green?

Let’s start by looking at the facts; glow in the dark thread is green. You can see a few awesome glow-in-the-dark stitches elsewhere on my website, its green. But does it have to be? No. In fact, there are loads of threads out there that are glow-in-the-dark and not green, take these Kreinik ones for example:

kreinik glow in the dark threads (source: kreinik.com)
kreinik glow in the dark threads (source: kreinik.com)

There are two reasons for the green glow. Science, and physcology.
 
Science – The reason the glow comes, or the phosphorescent if you want to get fancy, is mostly down to zinc sulfide. Unlike other glowing chemicals, zinc is non-harmful to humans, and fairly stable. Zinc sulfide, is green. Now, you can add it to other chemicals to make it different colors, hence Kreinik’s threads, however the combining reduces the phosphorescent effect heavily.
 
Physcology – People expect it to be green. Originally green was used as a haunted and eery color thanks to halloween, being represented in alien blood, slime or zombies, and so when glow-in-the-dark colors came into fashion, green seemed the obvious choice. Since then, you naturally associate the color in your head when thinking of glow-in-the-dark, so when its different; you don’t like it as much. Turns out people, just like it that way.

How to use metallic threads – and make it super easy!

dmc light effect threads (source: DMC.com)

Let’s face it, you’ve used metallics at some point, but you’ve not touched it in a LONG time, right? Simply put, speciality threads are hard to use.
But they don’t have to be. With a few simple changes to the way you work, metallics suddenly become super easy and a fantastic way to make your projects more interesting. We spoke to a few major players using metallic threads, including kreinik threads to see what they suggest.
 

Pick the right thread

If you’ve picked up a metallic thread from the shelf, you’ve either picked up a thick thread (like DMCs metallics) or a super thin blending thread. Neither are useful. In face DMCs metallics are so thick they can only be used on 10/12 count and not 14. Instead look to get a thin braid specifically designed for set count aida.

kreinik threads in different thicknesses
Different thread weights. Kreinik Very Fine #4 Braid, Fine #8 Braid, Blending Filament combined with floss, just floss. (Source: Kreinik Threads)

 

Remove the curls

Metallics knot. A lot. So so much… But there is a good reason! As they’re held on the spool the metal parts stiffen into the shape, meaning when you pull it off, there are curls. We tend to want to straighten the thread with twists of the needle, which leads to more knots. BUT if you dampen a small sponge (make up sponges work well) and pull the thread you’ll find it straights right out. No more knots!
 

kreinik threads off spool with a curl (source: Kreinik Threads)
kreinik threads off spool with a curl (source: Kreinik Threads)

Don’t seperate the threads

This is SUPER important with other speciality threads such as glow in the dark threads, where the threads are actually made up differently, meaning you might strip the threads apart. If you’ve picked the right thread, as per above, this shouldn’t be an issue.
 

Don’t stitch 2 over 2

OK, so I know I keep going on about picking the right thread, but if you’ve picked the right thread; stick with it. That means you shouldn’t split the thread apart, and you shouldn’t combine the threads together to make a ‘double thread’. Metallics are made to be used as one thread only.
 

Make the thread ‘slide’

There are parts of the cross stitch world that simply haven’t come to terms with the closure of thread heaven. Simply put, the stuff make working with metallics a breeze in itself, however they are no more. But that doesn’t mean other alternatives don’t work. I personally wouldn’t use the likes of beewax for cotton threads as it clumps up, but metallics slide so easy its crazy. Even better news? Bees wax is super easy to get hold of.
 

Slow down (and calm down)

Finally, with one simple thing you can improve any metallic stitching session; remember metallics aren’t like cotton threads. They’re different in pretty much every way, and whilst they kinda look the same, so long as you take your time, any problems are easily fixed.

How To Sign Your Cross Stitch

I want to belive cross stitch signature by PDXstitch (source: pdxstitch.wordpress.com)

You spend hundreds of hours cross stitching a project, and perhaps a few more making the pattern. You make sure the stitches look pretty, you’ve not made mistakes (or fixed them at least) and you’ve already thought about how to frame it. But there is one last thing. One thing you’re not too sure about.

To sign, or not to sign?

Its a thought that goes through every cross stitchers head, and without a doubt you’ve seen some online like it, but you’re just not convinced. So I’ve decided to wrap up some of the ways you can sign your work that doesn’t look distasteful.

Stitch it on the front

Let’s start off by addressing the elephant in the room; when we mentioned signing cross stitch you automatically assumed we meant stitching on the front of it. Now there is a good reason for this; you can see them online all the time. The simple reason for that is people copying. I have had, just like many other cross stitchers, people take my images and pretend they’ve stitched them themselves, so putting a signature is a nice nod to make sure that happens. However, if you use a watermark on online images, you don’t have a problem. As a result, feel free to add a signature to the front of your stitching, only if you WANT to.

Cross stitch signature by Whatever James (source: whateverjamesinstitches.blogspot.com)
Cross stitch signature by Whatever James (source: whateverjamesinstitches.blogspot.com)

There are loads of different ways of signing your work, from unique pixel blocks, like above, or an initial or two. However, they normally stick out something aweful. But they don’t need to. Take the below example, which has a small “SK 14” hidden in plain site, thanks to a clever use of almost aida matching thread.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cross stitch by Sieberella (source: reddit)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cross stitch by Sieberella (source: reddit)

Write it on the front

There is another way of thinking about this though. You’re an artist. Sign your work with pride! And frankly, you want it to be visable. Heck, make it huge!
But be clever and use a fabric pen/sharpie.

shiroikoumori cross stitch with IGAs signature (source: pinterest)
shiroikoumori cross stitch with IGAs signature (source: pinterest)

Write it on the frame

But lets say you don’t way to shout from the rooftops, and your happy with using a watermark online. Then I suggest putting it on the frame. I choose to attach buisness card size stitchers to the backs of my frames detailing when I made it, the count, etc. As I’m the one that’ll end up enjoying it (or a select few family/friends) then there isn’t a great need to shout about it.
You can even do this in hundreds of ways. I found a great example on reddit:

If I am displaying the piece in a wooden hoop I sign and date the wooden hoop with a permanent metallic marker on the top next to the metal thingy.

Hide it

Before I started researching this article, I thought the above options were it. Simply no choice other than that. But my friend advised me to take the cross stitch he gave me out of the frame. And what do you know, there was his signature. Turns out this is done a lot, as not only does it have a record of who made it and when, but you can hide it behind a frame if you want. It is about time to put that excess aida to good use.

I want to belive cross stitch signature by PDXstitch (source: pdxstitch.wordpress.com)
I want to belive cross stitch signature by PDXstitch (source: pdxstitch.wordpress.com)

So there you have it, everyway I’ve found online and off on how to sign your work. Heard of any other ways? Drop me a line below, I’d love to know!

Why is it called RAILROADING anyway?

railroaded cross stitch (source: craftster)

Railroading is a term used in cross stitch a lot. For some it means the hell of trying to do the technique, for others it means the height of perfect stitches. However whenever I’ve asked about the name, everyone gave me the same answer. Until I finally researched it myself and found out they were only half correct.
 

What is railroading?

Before we go any further though, lets establish what railroading actually is. Simply put, its the act of laying the threads flat against your work in a fashion that allows each thread to be viewed seperately. OK, that’s not that simple, but that’s the correct definition of railroading.

railroaded cross stitch example
Examples of normal cross stitch (left) and railroaded stitch (right). Source: Pinterest

As the threads are placed down, you specifically have to split the two threads apart so they lay flat against the aida like the example above. The example is done with two strands, but you can do it with one to a million if you wanted, its about making them lay correctly.
 

When and how should you use it?

Railroading can be done in a few different ways, however you can also use it slightly differently too. The point of railroading is a good coverage and a neat finish, however you hardly even see the bottom stitch. That’s why unless you’re making something for a competition I would suggest using normal stitch on the bottom, with railroading on the top stitch.
 

A quick guide on how to do it

To railroad you can either use a specific tool (laying tool), or simply change the way you stitch. I prefer altering the way I stitch slightly. When pulling the stitch taught, once you’ve ‘stabbed’ it in, push the needle into the exposed thread and run it up the length of the stitch. This should seperate your threads. When using the same hole for the next stitch make sure you keep the threads seperated. Its that simple 😀
 

Why is it called RAILROADING anyway?

And finally, we get to the meat of the problem, whats up with the name?
Well, there are a lot of rumors where the name came from, and how similar it looks to standard railroads, however its a very specific part of the railroad that gives it the confusing name.
In American in particular railroad crossings have a unique design to them making it look like each rail is actually two rails next to each other (you can see this in the image below). The stitch was created to resemble this style and for a long time was used as a speciality stitch to draw your eye, before it finally became a way of stitching.

railroad crossing (source: pixabay)
railroad crossing (source: pixabay)

Pokemon Mini Map Cross Stitch By Lord Libidan

Pokemon Mini Map Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan

Pokemon Mini Map Cross Stitch by Lord Libidan
Title: Pokemon Mini Map
Date Completed: May 2018
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Canvas: Plastic
Colours: 5
Game: Pokemon
 
Its really no secret that I love Pokemon, and I love maps. I even devoted a whole post to the best cross stitch maps. And honestly, about half of them were Pokemon. However, I wrote that blog after my own Pokemon map cross stitch, and whilst that map was created by me using 15 different reference images, these in game maps of regions stitched up by strangenessisconserved weren’t some of them.

Pokemon region maps by strangenessisconserved (source: strangenessisconserved.wordpress.com)
Pokemon region maps by strangenessisconserved (source: strangenessisconserved.wordpress.com)

Weirdly, the maps in game don’t match up to what we know about the Pokemon world, especially the Kanto and Johto regions (top left and right on the image above). So I decided to combine the images to create an in-style in game Pokemon map of Kanto and Johto.
 
You can see below how my two Pokemon maps compare:
Pokemon Mini Map Cross Stitch by Lord LibidanPokemon National Map cross stitch by Lord Libidan
 
Interested in seeing another cross stitch map? I stitched a retro video game invasion plan cross stitch on pre-printed world aida. It might be worth a look.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Cross Stitch

the simpsons cross stitch (source: google images)

You may have been cross stitching for some time, however like all hobbies, there are always things we don’t know. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about cross stitch.

1 – A samurai once brought cross stitch to Japan without knowing it

We’re big fans of Japan here at Lord Libidan, however a recent story we went into looked at how one samurai accidently brought cross stitch to Japan, all due to a runny nose.

Hitomezashi sashiko (source: sakepuppets.com)
Hitomezashi sashiko (source: sakepuppets.com)

2 – Pattern books are super old

It might seem surprising to modern cross stitchers, but the very first cross stitch pattern books were sold as far back at the 14th century. The oldest surviving one is from 1545AD.

3 – Cross stitch is actually an emulation of Berlin wool work

What!?! I hear you cry. When cross stitches were first brought to the world, the was no set structure. However Berlin wool work, similar to needlepoint today, structured the design by using something similar to aida. The English thought this looked more attractive and stopped using linen, and started using aida to make their own Berlin wool work type designs.

4 – Cross stitch have been found on fabric dating all the way back to the 6th Century

Whilst we look at older embroidery in our history of cross stitch, the first cross stitches ever found were from the 6th Century!

5 – Cross stitch is the oldest form of embroidery and can be found all over the world

On that note, cross stitch is world wide. So much so that even without the internet, cross stitch was the oldest embroidery technique that was found around the globe.

6 – The largest cross stitch in the world is oer 9 million stitches

Think thats big? In our post about the world record breaking cross stitch we see a cross stitch project with over 97 million cross stitches.

largest cross stitch display (source: recordholders.org)
largest cross stitch display (source: recordholders.org)

7 – While most folk embroidery is no longer popular, cross stitch is heavily used in Palestinian dressmaking

Traditionally, before cross stitch became samplers, it was used in traditional folk dress. However, modern Palestinian dressmaking still uses cross stitch heavily!

8 – Cross Stitch crossed social class boundaries

Don’t think that cross stitch jumped from folk to fancy samplers though. Cross stitch has been created from the poorest to richest parts of society. In world war 2 prisoners of war stitched, the 18th century it was fancy samplers, in the 80s it was mine workers. Cross stitch is for everyone.

World War 2 sampler by imprisoned POW Major Alexis Casdagli
World War 2 sampler by imprisoned POW Major Alexis Casdagli (source: V and A website)

9 – Most modern patterns cross stitch an object, but Assisi embroidery the stitches are reversed

In traditional Assisi embroidery, cross stitches are used, but instead of stitching an object or sampler, the background is stitch instead.

10 – There are loads of celebrities that cross stitch

From Thor to M, there are loads of famous people who cross stitch!

judi dench cross stitcher (source: imdb.com)
judi dench cross stitcher (source: imdb.com)

Bonus fact: Cross stitch has featured in games, TV and film!

Whilst we think cross stitch is quite a popular hobby, we don’t realise that cross stitch has been in LOADS of TV, games and films.

the simpsons cross stitch (source: google images)
the simpsons cross stitch (source: google images)

Needles are sized based on thickness, not length https://lordlibidan.com/why-are-embroidery-needles-given-random-size-numbers/

The Best Of Cross Stitch Maps

stardewvalley map cross stitch by Bunia (source: spritestitch.com)

I’ve always loved maps. Bit of a cartophile. However, it looks like I’m not alone, as there are a wealth of awesome cross stitch maps out there just begging for some limelight!

Stardew Valley

The reason I started looking into cross stitch maps was this. Not only is Stardew Valley an awesome game map, but Bunia has recreated the in-game map into a fantastic micro scale map with all the details of the original and more.

stardewvalley map cross stitch by Bunia (source: spritestitch.com)
stardewvalley map cross stitch by Bunia (source: spritestitch.com)

Just to take it one step further, she also offered the pattern for free!

Zelda

Jumping back a step though, sometimes video game maps are awesome on there own. In my mind however, Zelda’s Ocarina of Time map was a little sparse on details. BUT, it looked great from above. This cross stitcher thought so too and make a cracking recreation.

legend of zelda ocarina of time cross stitch map (source: instagram)
legend of zelda ocarina of time cross stitch map (source: instagram)

But lest we forget the awesome Zelda map Servotron created that has been recreated by this stitcher:
Legend Of Zelda Map Cross Stitch by tibtibs (source: spritestitch.com)
Legend Of Zelda Map Cross Stitch by tibtibs (source: spritestitch.com)

Mario

Whilst we’re on the topic of video game maps, lets talk about the weirdly shaped ones. Mario has always had great maps, but this third world map stitch by cross stitch ninja is frankly jaw dropping. The weird shape, the fact that is has a massive III lake, and the deserty finish make it one of my all time favorite maps.

mario cross stitch map by cross stitch ninja (source: spritestitch.com)
mario cross stitch map by cross stitch ninja (source: spritestitch.com)

Game Of Thrones

But sometimes, video games and other things combine. Like this Game of Thrones Mario mashup cross stitch map, which not only having a nice nod to both worlds, but has a shocking amount of accuracy too. Credit to MonkeeCatcher (the stitcher) and titan413 (the designer).

Game Of Thrones cross stitch by RandomlyGenerated (source: Etsy.com)
Game Of Thrones cross stitch by RandomlyGenerated (source: Etsy.com)

But as one of the most watched TV shows in history, its no surprise that the original map got some love too. This design by Randomly Generated reminds me of the book map sooo much.
Game of Thrones Mario Style World Map Cross Stitch by MonkeeCatcher, pattern by titan413 (source: spritestitch.com)
Game of Thrones Mario Style World Map Cross Stitch by MonkeeCatcher, pattern by titan413 (source: spritestitch.com)

Pokemon

But where would a Lord Libidan post be without a bit of Pokemon?
Now, its no secret that I’ve created my own Pokemon maps in the past:

Pokemon National Map cross stitch by Lord Libidan
Pokemon National Map cross stitch by Lord Libidan

And loads of other people, like merichan27 and KDstitching have too:
pokemon johto map cross stitch by kdstitching (source: Etsy)
pokemon johto map cross stitch by kdstitching (source: Etsy)

hoenn pokemon map cross stitch by merichan27 (source: spritestitch)
hoenn pokemon map cross stitch by merichan27 (source: spritestitch)

However, my out and out favorite cross stitch maps? They have to be these stellar mini maps by StrangenessIsConservative. Not only are they super cute, and based on in game sprites most people would have looked over, but they are the only images of the cross stitch world that exist in the Pokemon universe. AND the patterns are avalible for free!
Pokemon region maps by strangenessisconserved (source: strangenessisconserved.wordpress.com)
Pokemon region maps by strangenessisconserved (source: strangenessisconserved.wordpress.com)

Cross Stitch in Games, TV and Film

the simpsons cross stitch (source: google images)

We’re not shy of showing off some awesome pop culture cross stitch on Lord Libidan before, however what about the times when pop culture shows off cross stitch? Here are some awesome examples of when TV shows, games and movies show off cross stitch!

Bioshock

The Bioshock games have a simple premis; the world was too complicated, so people went off to found a better city. In the third instalment of the game, gone were the art deco statues and famous artworks, and in came the simple world of cross stitch.

cross stitch in bioshock (source: IGN.com)
cross stitch in bioshock (source: IGN.com)

What not a lot of people know however is that the game is filled with cross stitches, including in the lighthouse at the end of the game.
cross stitch in bioshock (source: IGN.com)
cross stitch in bioshock (source: IGN.com)

The Simpsons

Marge Simpson, one of our celebrities who cross stitch, is actually an accomplished cross stitcher. In Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder Marge creates a series of samplers for Lenny.

the simpsons cross stitch (source: google images)
the simpsons cross stitch (source: google images)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

A more modern TV show, Brooklyn has a character that cross stitches. She’s even called a ‘stitch skipper’…

Fargo

Whilst a lot of people know Fargo as the TV shows, which used knitting in its promotional posters, had a movie forerunner. And that forerunner had it poster made from (you guessed it) cross stitch.

fargo movie poster (source: imdb.com)
fargo movie poster (source: imdb.com)

Know of any other times cross stitch was used in pop culture? Drop us a line!