Thread Bare

Cross-stitching and needlework

The Secret Truth Behind Cross-Stitch Chart Design

Understanding how chart designing works

Ok, the headline maybe a little overhyped - I’ll tell you right now that there’s no alien technology involved (sorry). I know this article might even be a little controversial* but we’ve seen a lot of misleading comments about the process of designing cross-stitch charts and at the same time, there also seems to be a lot of curiosity about the process but not a whole lot of information available to explain it.

At one time, we were a little “in awe” of the charts that people produced and figured there must be some amazing secret process to it all but after working on a cross-stitch pattern making tool which required learning a lot more detail about the process, I feel like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz … finally seeing the Wizard behind the curtain who’s busy trying to pretend there is more to it all.

So, I’m going to explain some truths about the process to creating great cross-stitch charts and why we need to begin with a clear definition of what “great” really means.

chart-design pattern-maker stitch-maker patterns design

What they don't tell you about chart design

Tips for Tackling Large Scale Projects - Part 2

Preparing to make that first stitch

In our Tips for Tackling Large Scale Projects - Part 1 article we discussed setting the correct expectations for beginning a large project along with purchasing your supplies. Here we will look at how to prepare your supplies and getting organised along with planning where to begin stitching.

fabric floss tutorial tips

How to begin your project...

Tips for Tackling Large Scale Projects - Part 1

Don't be intimidated - it's worth the effort

Like many people I began cross-stitching by purchasing pre-packaged kits with relatively simple, smaller designs with only a few colors. It can seem daunting to go from stitching small projects that were purchased as a kit to a large scale project that you have to kit up yourself.

I’ve seen many people comment on Facebook groups that there is no way they could ever tackle a large scale project such as a Heaven and Earth Designs as they would not know where to start. Here we will offer some suggestions to hopefully make your first large project more manageable and slightly less overwhelming…

fabric floss tutorial tips

Continue reading for tips on starting your first large project....

Cross-Stitch: Body vs Mind

Balancing the physical demands vs relaxation

Cross stitching, physically demanding? No really, it is a real thing that a lot of people may not realize can be a problem. Issues such as eye strain, neck / back pain, hand and wrist repetitive strain or just the problems that can arise from sitting for long periods of time. Here we will discuss these issues and offer suggestions to help reduce them. But it is not all doom and gloom there are many positive benefits to stitching so we will also look at those too !

cross stitch


Click here to learn more....

Tips for Stitching on Black or Dark Colored Fabrics

Unique challenges but distinctive results

Projects stitched on black fabric look amazing and really tend to make the colors within a design ‘pop’. However stitching on black or dark colored fabrics can be particularly hard on your eyes and in my experience is much more difficult than using the light colored fabric we’re more familiar with. Here we will discuss some tips for success and how to avoid frustrations when using dark fabric …

black aida fabric

fabric tips tutorial

Continue reading for tips on using black fabric....

Discontinued and Sometimes Hard-to-Find New DMC Threads

Alternative replacement thread colors to use

DMC don’t often release new colors but the last batch that they released in 2013 still seems to be difficult to find in stores. I have only managed to find them as a pack online at 123 stitch and also directly from DMC via their website, and they are not available at all in Europe/UK I think possibly due to EU regulations because of the dyes used.

new dmc floss colors

dmc floss

Numbers and their alternatives are provided here....

Tips For Stitching With Variegated & Metallic Floss

Adding an extra dimension to your cross stitch projects

Specialty threads such as variegated and metallic floss can add a fun and interesting dimension to your projects but there are some things to keep in mind when using these types of floss to ensure success and avoid frustration!…..

sugar skull header pic

tips techniques stitching dmc floss

Read more ...

Washing & Ironing Your Finished Cross Stitch Project

It's scary, but it has to be done

Congratulations! You have finally finished your pretty cross stitch project, but all those hours of handling the fabric and stitching have left their mark. No matter how careful you are the fabric will inevitability become a bit grubby and marked due to the natural oils in your skin and just being handled for that length of time and if you use a hoop or snap frame you will have some pretty obvious creases

The thought of washing a project that you have invested hundreds or possibly thousands of hours of work in can be daunting: What if the colours run? What if the iron ruins the stitches? What if it shrinks?

I will give you some tips on how to wash and iron your finished pieces …


Learn how to safely wash your cross-stitch

Happy Independence Day!

Free chart designed by Thread-Bare to mark Independence Day

Happy Independence Day to all our American friends !

We are releasing this free chart to mark the occasion based on the image below:


pattern chart free

Download the free pattern from this page ...

Happy Canada Day 150 !

Free chart designed by Thread-Bare in honor of Canada Day

In honor of Canada day 150 we are making a free chart available for download based on this wolf image

canada day 150 wolf image

The same pattern is available in 3 different print sizes. These charts were created using the new thread-bare pattern making tool that we’re working on and hope to make available online very soon. If you stitch it, we’d love if you sent us images of your completed work!

chart pattern free

Download the free pattern from this page ...