Thread Bare

Cross-stitching and needlework

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 conversion chart pattern image photo

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

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 ...