Thread Bare

Cross-stitching and needlework

Cross-Stitching to Diamond Painting

Two crafts with lots of overlap

We all love our cross-stitching but it can represent a serious investment of time, effort and materials - although the results are often amazing and well worth it.

Diamond Painting is a newer craft that has a lot of similarities to cross-stitching and can even use the same patterns but produces results a lot faster.

We’ll try to show you the similarities and differences between the two and how to get started with the hobby.


Learn how to get started Diamond Painting

One Year Anniversary of

Our first year in review

We started thread-bare just over a year ago as a husband and wife combo team. It began as a collaboration because I’d developed some blogging software that I was using for my own technical / programming blog and my wife was a stitcher that wanted a project to work on beyond the stitching itself. She was the one that came up with the great name and our blog was born - it’s been quite a journey since then!

Read about our first year blogging

Why a Clear Cross-Stitch Pattern is Important

Format matters as much as the charting

When purchasing a cross-stitch pattern (or complete kit) the thing that people tend to focus on most is the image. It makes sense because it is, after all, really what we’re buying - the completed piece that the pattern enables us to produce that we can hang on our wall.

The pattern is the guide to help us get there and the quality of the pattern can really define how difficult or enjoyable that journey is in the same way that you might get to the same place whether you have a clear and easy to follow map as if you have a confusing and unclear one, but one journey will be far more frustrating with the latter.

There is always the risk that if the map is too bad and leads to us making too many mistakes (taking too many detours and retracing our steps) then we may just give up on the adventure leaving a piece to languish in a draw, a waste of effort and materials.

So what makes a good cross stitch chart?


What to look for in a Cross-Stitch Pattern

Tips for Successful Stitching While Travelling

Making best use of travel time to stitch

For many of us, travelling can be the perfect excuse to spend some solid time on our stitching but it needs to be practical and doable. You also need to ensure you are not going to run into a problem with airport security if you are flying or have any other disasters such as losing equipment or materials or the entire project!

Top tips for stitching while travelling

Tent Stitch Methods

Tent stitching is a good way to speed up your stitching

What is Tent Stitching? Basically it is half of a full cross-stitch. There are a number of ways to do this and while all of them look the same on the front of your design they are worked differently on the back and provide differing degrees of coverage. There are also some pros and cons to the various methods

Overall using tent stitch rather than full-cross is much quicker as you are only forming half of a cross although you don’t necessarily save much floss as you usually need to use extra strands of thread to ensure that you still get the appropriate coverage to avoid having fabric showing through.

tutorial technique

Learn the three methods of tent stitching

Featured Designer: Maria Brovko

Cross-stitch as an art medium

Welcome to a new section of the site where we plan on featuring the work of cross-stitch designers who’s work we think is particularly impressive or inspiring and that we want to share.

Real designers go beyond just converting images and actually create the artwork. The designer we’re featuring first, Maria Brovko, is someone we consider a true designer who is creating delightful, delicate and intricate pieces using cross-stitch as the medium for her art.

See more of Maria's amazing cross-stitch patterns

The Thread Parking Method of Cross-Stitching

How to keep a tidy back to your piece

So after hanging around cross-stitching groups for a while I have decided “parking” is like marmite or vegemite - you either love it or you hate it! Personally I do not park my threads but I can definitely see the benefit of it, especially on a large-scale, full-coverage project.

So what is thread parking and is it for you? We will look at some of the benefits and methods for parking and you can decide whether you want to try it or not.

technique stitching tutorial

Learn Cross-Stitch Thread Parking

Review of DMC Snap & Stitch Chart Conversion Service

What it is, how it works and if you should use it

If you subscribe to the DMC newsletter or happened to visit their website recently you will have seen their announcement of a new “Snap & Stitch” image to pattern conversion service.

Like most online services it promises to convert your image into a custom chart with the added bonus that you can get the chart for free if you buy $5 of thread supplies. The normal pattern-only price is $10 USD with a special introductory price of $5 USD.

DMC Snap & Stitch Photo to Pattern Conversion

So how does it work and should you use it? We’ll try and provide an unbiased review and cover the similarities and differences with other online conversion services including our own.

dmc chart pattern

Review of DMC Snap & Stitch Conversion Service

How to Cross Stitch onto a Garment

Using Waste-Canvas

Adding a cross stitch motif is a fun way to personalize a garment, and is especially fun if you have kids and would like to add a cute character to an otherwise boring plain t-shirt. In order to cross stitch onto a piece of regular fabric you would use a piece of “waste canvas”.

Waste canvas is an aida type of fabric made from woven threads which are heavily starched to hold them in place, you attach the waste canvas over the fabric of the garment to use as a guide so that your stitching is even and consistent.

Here I’m going to stitch a small design onto a child’s t-shirt using 14 count waste canvas. The design is a pattern from “World of Cross Stitching” magazine, issue 258.

waste canvas stitched


Learn how to use waste canvas to personalize a garment

How to Make a Grime Guard

Tutorial on how to make a grime guard for use with your Q-snap

I was always a die-hard hoop stitcher but recently starting using Q-snap’s and am now completely converted! Q-snap covers or “Grime Guards” as many people call them are useful for protecting and keeping your fabric clean while working on a project and also holding the excess fabric on a larger project out of the way. I recently bought one that was Q-snap’s own brand and although it works it was a little too snug and so did not hold the excess fabric easily so I decided to try making my own while I was visiting my mum (and her sewing machine!). They are actually very easy to make as it is only a seam and two long hems.

This is the Q-snap brand of cover for an 11 x 11 frame - as you can see it just fits and doesn’t really have any allowance to hold much excess fabric.

Q-snap cover

tutorial q-snap

Learn how to make your own Q-snap grime-guard