Thread Bare

Cross-stitching and needlework

Happy Christmas from Thread-Bare!

Enjoy our free festive pattern

We started this blog just 8 months ago in April this year initially as simply a place to share information about cross-stitching and as a resource for people to learn from. Since then it has quickly turned into a much bigger project than we ever imagined or originally envisaged with the design and launch of our online pattern maker to make it quick and easy to create your own high quality charts from your images at a reasonable price.

pattern chart

Celebrate Christmas with our Free Beginner Pattern

Loop Start - Tutorial

An alternative way to begin your stitches

Most people learn to start stitching by anchoring and burying the tail of the thread under the stitches as they go, the loop start is an alternative way to secure your floss as you begin stitching and is particularly useful if you are stitching in a confetti heavy area as it reduces the bulk on the back that can otherwise build up if anchoring numerous starts with multiple color-changes in the traditional way.


learn how to do a loop start ...

Review of CXC Branded Floss

Less expensive than DMC, is it worth the money?

Although the image of cross-stitching may be one of “home needlework” and thrift, it can quickly become an expensive hobby (especially for us “serial starters”) so it is always good to discover another way to make your crafting budget go a little further. DMC is an established company that has quality product and it has also over time become standard in the market with regards to chart designers and kits - pretty much every pattern uses the codes and colors that they define. However it is becoming more and more pricey kitting up a large full-coverage chart, especially if you are in Europe or Australia and many people are not aware that there are other options out there. One increasingly popular option is CXC branded floss that is made in China.

There seems to be a lot of curiosity along with no small amount of scaremongering and misinformation on Facebook groups regarding CXC and other cheaper brands, coincidentally though this often seems to originate from groups associated with stores that sell DMC based kits ! hmmm. However, the people who actually just stitch really seem to love CXC and highly recommend it, so when you hear someone claiming it is not a quality thread, not color-fast or any other “reason” make sure you are aware of their possible motivations. This is a common tactic within the IT industry to spread “FUD” about competitors to put people off using them - fear, uncertainty and doubt, stick with what you know … keep paying us.

But let me be clear, this article is in no way meant to discourage people from using DMC, at the end of the day it is all personal choice and many people will prefer to stick with a tried trusted company such as DMC or Anchor and they are very accessible with distribution channels through many large-name and local stores but it is always good to consider your options and have the extra information especially when on a budget or kitting up a large project. After all, few of us can really ignore what could be a difference of $20 vs $220 to purchase the floss alone for a single project!

Here I am going to do a comparison of a few brands and a review of my first experience stitching with CXC compared to DMC and I will also document washing a sample show that they are indeed also color-fast


find out what CXC is like to use ...

How To Match Colors From Image To Cross-Stitch Chart

Finding the "closest" color isn't always as easy as you might think ...

Have you ever wondered exactly what is happening when you convert an image into a cross stitch pattern? It’s a lot more complicated than you might think and one of the easiest pieces to get wrong is figuring out which colors are the best match. Here’s what we learned from developing our own image to cross stitch converter app.


find out how color matching works ...

The Problem with Cross-Stitch Pattern Previews

What you see may not be what you get

Whatever size or style of cross-stitch pattern you do, it represents a cost in the form of equipment, material and threads as well as time and effort. For smaller samplers it’s usually very clear what the final piece will look like so there is little chance of surprises and often the promotional image may be of an already completed piece.

matt and hilary's wedding sampler (detail)

samplers rarely look different to their previews so aren’t an issue

As we move toward larger, full-coverage patterns though this becomes a little impractical. It often takes just minutes for an operator to create a cross-stitch pattern from a photo or artwork image but that pattern could take years to actually stitch. It wouldn’t be practical or cost effective to expect every pattern to be stitched before it was sold, so instead we have to rely on the mockup or preview image to see what the final result looks like.

Unfortunately, these can sometimes be misleading usually showing a “better” result than you will actually get which is disappointing considering you may spend $ hundreds on materials and years working on them. A cross stitch pattern isn’t like a jigsaw where an original photo on the box is appropriate.

Shouldn’t pattern previews be WYSIWYG - What You See Is What You Get?

pattern technical

why some pattern mockups are inaccurate

Lost Your Stitching Bug? Ways To Get Re-inspired

Rekindle your love of cross-stitching

Oh no your stitching bug has decided it needs a vacation! It happens to all of us from time to time for various reasons, small kids to look after which tire you out and don’t allow much “me” time, boredom or frustration with your current project, depression, illness or simply life getting in the way so you don’t have the time.

peace out ant

It can be quite frustrating to be making good progress and then suddenly lose interest in a project, especially if you are working on something with a deadline and you just cannot motivate yourself to work on it.

Here we will offer some tips to try and reignite your interest in your projects…

find ways to get your creative juices flowing again

My Stitching Journey - Gallery of Finishes, the Early Years!

Well, the ones I actually finished anyway ...

I have been stitching since I was about 16. I don’t seem to have my very first cross-stitch piece anymore maybe my parents do, but it was one of those free gifts you get with cross-stitching magazines, a little kit of a duck and I don’t think I finished the back-stitching, starting as I meant to go on! This article will show some of my early cross-stitching and finishes from purchased kits, I’ve included details where I could but some a very old and I can’t remember the brands or names…


finished pieces I've stitched over the years

Creating Cross-Stitch Charts with Consistent Colors

Why is it so difficult?


What color is that thread? Is it the exact color you need in your pattern?

Doesn’t that sound like such a simple question?

What may surprise you is that a craft that is so totally dependent on color doesn’t really have many clear answers. To show how much things can vary, I looked at how different apps, stores and websites represent the thread 3746 shown above:


Quite a difference eh? And that’s just one thread of hundreds. BTW: If you’re thinking you can match up the best one based on the photo above then read on, it’s not that simple …

dmc threads technical

the challenge of capturing and communicating color

Computer Image File Formats for Cross-Stitchers

which file format is the right one to use

Whether it’s choosing which format to use when importing photos from your camera, downloading images from the internet or saving a picture from and editing program, you may be given the choice between what can easily seem like a bewildering list of options.

BMP, GIF, PNG, JPG, WEBP, PDF, PSD, RAW, TIFF & more - why so many? Don’t they all do the same thing and just let us save a picture? Well, they all have their strengths and weaknesses and some are more or less suitable to use than others in different situations.

technical patterns

find out which image format to chose and why

Cross-Stitch Chart Design How-To Tutorial Videos

Hints and tips for creating cross-stitch patterns

We’ve made a number of videos that you may find useful to show some of the options available in our app to convert images to cross-stitch charts plus some general hints and tips around color selection, dithering and correcting photo exposure.

Let us know if there is a tutorial you’d like to see us to cover in any future videos!


see the complete video tutorial list