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Cross Stitch Tips - Choosing a Pattern

Choosing a Cross Stitch Pattern or Kit





 If this is your first cross stitch project, I suggest buying a small kit.  Kits come with all the necessary materials (fabric, floss, needle, etc.) other than a hoop.  Most kits also include some basic cross stitch instructions.  Kits come in varying degrees of difficulty.  There are even kits designed especially for kids and beginners by Dimensions and Permin.  Some of my favorite kits come from Dimensions,  Permin of Copenhagen,  Thea Gouverneur, Riolis, and Lanarte.


For more experienced cross stitchers, pick out your own pattern and fabric for a more unique piece.  There are many, many, many different cross stitch pattern designers to choose from.  Patterns come in varying degrees of difficulty, and are often labeled as such.  For tips on working the more difficult patterns, please see the bottom of this page, "Tips for working a large pattern". 


There are various methods for keeping track of where you are on your pattern or chart.  Some people use a highlighter and mark off the section they are stitching on their pattern as they go along.  Some chose to laminate their pattern before beginning and use an erasable marker to  mark of the areas they have already stitched.  More experienced stitchers generally just “eyeball” their work and know where they left off. 



Cross Stitch Pattern Designers

Heritage Crafts  patterns and kits.  Heritage Craft kits and patterns come from England.  They are some of my favorite patterns.  They are easy to stitch, yet they have amazing detail in the face and eyes that make the designs almost come alive. Several designers fall under Heritage crafts like John Clayton, Dave Shaw, Phil Smith, Peter Underhill, Susan Ryder, Sue Hill and more.

Blackbird Designs.  (from their blog)  Barb Adams and Alma Allen began this company in 1999 to share our love of color, pattern and fiber. Our books and patterns are available at your local quilt and cross stitch shops. Julie:  "I love Blackbird Designs.  I stitch their designs as gifts for friends often. The patterns use a lot of the hand dyed, varigated floss from designers like Weeks Dye Works, The Gentle Art and Classic Colorworks (formerly Crescent Colors),  The finished product is amazing with the different kinds of floss and the great color choices they make. Some of my favorites are "From me to Thee", "Loose Feathers", "Wildberries"  and their stockings.


Mirabilia  and Nora Corbett cross stitch patterns are designed by an artist named Nora Corbett in Ohio.  She creates original water color paintings and turns them into cross stitch patterns.  Her subjects are generally angels, mermaids, queens, fairies, mothers and lovers along with timeless women.  Mirabilia is one of my favorite line of patterns.  They are generally quality pattern that often use beading and metallic threads to highlight the design.  I carry all of the Mirabilia patterns that are available at Julie's X Stitch.

If you are into collecting, Mirabilia makes a line of "Holiday Fairie" kits that include fabric and all the supplies you will need to complete the project including quality linen fabric.  She also has a line of "Christmas Trees" every year for Christmas that include all the beads and treasures you will need to complete the piece. 

 Nora Corbett patterns include series like Letters From Nora, her Pixie Couture Collection,  Christmas Eve Couriers, and her Spring Garden Pixie Couture Collection.  Muse Collection, Snow Globe Village Series, and Stitching Fairies.

Nora Corbett has also come up with a gorgeous line of fabrics to go with her more recent patterns.  The colors are very unique and soft.  Currently, they come in 16 count Aida and 32 count Linen.  The line of cross stitch fabric  is called, Hand Picked by Nora.  

Told in a Garden, Lavender and Lace and Butternut Road cross stitch patterns are designed by an artist named Marilyn Levitt-Imblum who lives in Main. She just happens to be the mother of Nora Corbett.  You can see the family resemblance in their designs.   The Lavender and Lace patterns are some of my favorites.  The inspiration for many of her designs came from living in the country near many Amish families.  Her designs include many angels, brides, traditional women, Native Americans, Christmas themes and the Amish.  Her patterns are classy and turn out lovely. Some of my favorites are "The Wedding", "Angel of Grace", "Celtic Christmas", and the entire  Celtic Series.  One of the most popular patterns every by Marilyn was of one of her grandaughters called   "Isabella's Garden".


Kustom Krafts started creating cross stitch patterns in 1999 in a small Northern Ontario, Canadian town. Cross Stitch pattern designer, Dyan Allaire was very interested in fantasy and wild animal themes, which inspired her to create her own cross stitch charts.  Kustom Krafts  charts are very colorful and life like.   They have a wide range of patterns to choose from.  We have 150 of their pattern on our site and add more every time they release a new design.  Some of my favorites by Dyan are "Ghost Wind" (horse), "Defiant", and "Tender Loving Care"-girl.


Heaven and Earth Designs  (HEAD) was created by Michele Sayetta and her husband Bob, both cross stitch pattern designers.  They previously owned a hand dyed fabric shop, but decided to switch to cross stitch patterns.  They chart the artwork of many talented designers into counted cross stitch designs.  Their designs are not computer generated.  They graph each image using engineering software  Their designs are very intricate.  They suggest you stitch them on 25 count Lugana or Dublin over one to preserve the detail.  Their designs have a "fantasy" feel to them. See my tips about stitching large patterns at the bottom of the page if you want to tackle a HEAD design.


Glendon Place is a cross stitch pattern design  company started by a great lady name Cheryl Granda.  She lives in Florida with her husband and dogs.  Her favorite past times when she was a child were art and sewing.  Her grandmother taught her to sew, as mine did.  Cheryl has been designing cross stitch patterns for over 2 years now.  She has many themes that focus on the holidays.   Some of her greats are "We Three Kings" , "Sociable Scarecrow" , "Witching it was Halloween" , and  "Santa's North Pole"


 Pinn Stitch Art and Technology, Inc. is another great cross stitch pattern designer.  They are a company in Chiang Mai, Thailand that has been in business since 1992.  They do mostly classical Thai and unique Oriental designs in cross stitch.  They are some of my favorite patterns.  Very colorful and beautiful.  Some of their designs are "Two Thai Dancers", "Thai Parasol Paintings", and "Loy Krathong".  


 Mar-nic designs  is owned and operated by Maria E. Cipp. She lives in the picturesque city of Waterloo, Ontario. This area of Canada is steeped in a rich multicultural heritage. Her cross stitch designs are inspired by the abundant world around her. Her home is shared by her husband Nick,  Doran and Aaron, her sons, and her canine, Spencer the Boxer.


Cross Eye Kat is owned by  Kat who loves crafts and taught herself cross stitch at a young age.  She created her first original design for Latin class in middle school.  She has been designing original needle art and cross stitch patterns for her company, Cross Eyed Kat since 2004.  I like her designs "Post Modern Cats", and "Post Modern Dogs".


Imaginating and From the Powder Mill. Our company was established in 1979 by my former partner, Marilyn Clark, and myself. We began in our homes and graduated to more and more space. Marilyn retired a number of years ago, but still designs a few pieces each year. Some of her most popular pieces were those that had words and paper clips (Rules of the Office). We began our company with needlepoint patterns and now have cross stitch, embroidery and a quilt line.   (from Imaginating's website)  Their designs are very whimsical.   I like "Candy Cane Christmas", and "Bubble Your Troubles".  Imaginating are also some of the most affordable patterns there are in cross stitch. 


 Art-Stitch specializes in uinque counted cross stitch and needlepoint designs in the art nouveau, arts & crafts,    and art deco styles. Inspiration for my designs comes from countless artistic sources from the turn of the century through the 1930s, including poster art, stained glass, tilework and ceramics, book illustrations, jewelry and architecture. I have been an avid stitcher for many years, and for just as long have loved art of this period. But, to my disappointment, it's never been easy to find needlework patterns with turn of the century themes. So, I decided to change that, and Art-stitch was born. (excerpt taken from Art Stitch website).  Some of my favorite pattern from Art-Stitch are, "Chat Noir", "Feline Queen" and "Noel".


The Sampler House was started by  Eileen Bennett, designer, teacher, author of needlework books and patterns based on historic samplers.  My retail needlework shop, located in Grandville, Michigan, closed in 1986 when my design career began.  "Home Is Where You Hang Your Needlework" was my first charted design and commercial endeavor.  Since then, over 100 sampler designs and related accessory items have been created by me for the retail market.  Most of The Sampler House designs use a variety of old sampler stitches and from these designs came four books of stitch diagrams.  (excerpt taken from Sampler House website).  "The Flowers of the Field" is one of my favorite samplers by Eileen. 


Bobbie G. Designs evolved from my love of art, color and a passion for stitching. I began by designing for cross stitch magazines and transitioned over to designing, manufacturing and distributing my own cross stitch kits, charts and quilt patterns. The business has grown steadily as I continue to do what I love doing.  My daughter and I work hard to produce a great product that you will enjoy. (taken from the Bobbie G. Designs website)  Some of my favorite designs by Bobbie G. are "Jolly Ole St. Nicks", and "Coffee".


 Images stitchery design is  a family-run business that has been designing stitchery patterns for the past 30 years and specialty frames for the past 16 years. We are located in beautiful downtown Mineral Point, Wisconsin just 45 minutes west of Madison.  Our designs are compositions by Wayne Banaszak, whose love of architecture and nature are demonstrated just beautifully in his pictures of historical landmarks, samplers, and novelty subjects. Using multiple stitching techniques, Wayne "paints" a picture with a variety of fibers and fabrics.  (taken from the Images website)


 Nancy Spruance Designs.  Victorian House Designs for Counted Cross Stitch  We hope you will enjoy browsing in our gallery of finely detailed Victorian house designs in the California Northcoast Collection and Victorian America Collection.These cross stitch designs are all faithful reproductions of the houses that inspired them, and houses in both collections are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  (take from the Nancy Spruance front page).  Some of my favorites are The Abbey,  Carson Mansion,  and the newest is Country Victorian Cottage.


Character Creations"Before starting Character Creations, I was working in an embroidery and patchwork shop. While there I did several private commissions creating cross stitch designs from personal photographs using computer charting software. The success of these lead to me starting out as an independent designer. My first charts were created from personal photographs and she later moved on to using art in the public domain. After deciding to concentrate on designing full time, I contacted a number of artists both in New Zealand and overseas, gaining the licence to chart their artwork." (taken from Character Creations website).


 Debbie Draper Designs.  "I have always wanted to design [cross stitch patterns] and for many years I took liberties with designs, changing up the design and/or the colors.  Then one day shortly after being introduced to Vikki Clayton’s silk floss by a wonderful friend and designer, Mary of Ozark Sampler, I thought I would try my hand at designing.  I was inspired by Vikki’s silk colors and came up with my first three designs.  They are simple enough for the beginner and even the more advanced stitcher will find them fun to work up." (taken from Debbie Draper's website).  Debbie Drapers designs include many felines and silhouette patterns.


Country Garden Stitchery.  "I began cross stitching when my children were tiny and I would stitch while they took naps and at night time. I started stitching on stamped fabric as I wasn't confident to do counted cross stitch yet!    I also discovered I enjoyed drawing about the same time. My husband and I would take the kids out into the desert to explore and I would draw the old rock houses, old structures, old gnarly trees and whatever else I could find. I decided to try my hand at designing my own patterns, putting my drawing interest with the cross stitch interest." (from Country Garden Stitcheries website).  Her newest design is called "Lady Scarecrow".


Rosewood Manor Designs"I formed my company Rosewood Manor  in 1998 while we were living in Maryland and started publishing my own charts.  Karenbecame interested in counted cross stitch in the mid 1970's while employed by Better Homes and Gardens.  Although I had always embroidered, I had never worked in counted cross-stitch. Once I learned how to cross-stitch I was hooked and soon began to design my own charts.  I am inspired by my surroundings, quilt blocks and Mother Nature when creating my designs. Whether I am designing or stitching, I create designs that I enjoy and hope, you, my customer will "ENJOY! and "BE CREATIVE!" " (Rosewood Manor website)  Some of my favorite designs by Karen are  "Inspiration"(30 pgs), and "And A Garden Grew".


 Cross Stitch Collectibles patterns are designed by Kathy George.   She has taken famous works of art from designers like DaVinci, Monet, Picasso, etc. and converted them into beautiful patterns. 


 Ellen Maurer Stroh.  Ellen is a designer from Austria.  Excerpt from her webiste about her designs:  "We offer high quality counted cross stitch patterns and machine embroidery designs. We specialize in floral designs and are the home of the famous Animal Babies and Bears at Work designs.  EMS Cross Stitch Designs are available at needlework shops worldwide".  

Cross Stitching Art.  Cross Stitching Art specializes in creation of high quality cross stitch patterns based on original digital illustrations and artworks. Our cross stitch collection features romantic and feminine cross stitch designs that have high level of detail and realism. Elegant ladies, fairies, mermaids clothed in luxurious gowns which sparkle with metallic threads and precious beads. In appreciation of our valued customers, we have also added many free counted cross stitch patterns. Visit our free counted cross stitch patterns page to download your gift .Every design is custom made with our clients in mind! Happy Stitching! (excerpt from their website)


X's and Oh's. X's & Oh's is a needlework company that began with cross-stitch, and has since branched out into counted needlepoint and Hardanger!   Designer Joanne Gatenby is the owner and operator, ably supported by her husband Bill and their family. Their goal is to bring new and original designs to market, and to that end Joanne has been working with artists for many years, licensing their work to convert to cross-stitch along with her own artwork - to the delight of both their fans! (from the X's and Oh's website).  My favorite designs are "Spooky House",  and "Shall We Dance".


Cross Stitch Kit Designers

Bucilla Cross Stitch  kits.  Bernhard Ulmann, a European emigrant to New York, founded Bucilla in 1867. He originally sold silk-screened embroidery on doilies, napkins and handkerchiefs from a push cart. Bucilla has changed hands several times over the years, but they have always been know for the quality of their needlework kits. (


 Maia kits. I still have a few of these discontiniued kits in stock. They are the original, more quality kits in the hard plastic case.  Maia is the Goddess of spring, growth, life, rebirth and love.  Maia kits are some of the most beautiful designs I have seen in cross stitch kits.  Each kit includes carefully sorted Anchor thread, quality fabric, and easy to follow charts and instructions.  Themes  of the cross stitch kits include Oriental ladies, fancy ladies, Africa, New York,  animals, fantasy, scenic, etc    Some of the designers include Thomas Kinkade, Mark Harrison, Karl Bang, and more...

Erte was born in St. Petersburg in 1892.  Romain de Tirtoff is his given name.  He is famous for his magazine covers and fashion designs for Harpers Bazaar.  His style can be described as Art Deco.  He died in 1990. "Black Rose Lady"  is among his many designs for Maia.

Karl Bang was born in Shanghai and trained in the 1940's by master artist in Chinese painting and European traditions.  He is considered the "Master of contemporary Eclecticism".  His subjects include many beautiful women.  Some of my favorites by Karl are "Lady w/ Fan",  and "Winters Majesty".


 Thea Gouverneur , "I grew up in the village of Sassenheim in The Netherlands, surrounded by bulb fields. When I looked out of my bedroom window in spring and summer I could see row upon row of flowers, stretching as far as the eye could see. My brothers, sisters and I would help in the bulb fields during the spring and summer holidays, harvesting the flowers in readiness for export to the UK, Germany and the USA. First it was the daffodils, tulips and hyacinths, later the irises, dahlias and gladioli. We would cut the flowers by hand using a blade, working up and down the rows, and piling the cut flowers in one corner of the field. It was backbreaking work, but we enjoyed it."

"My love of designing led me to the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, where I completed a teaching course in drawing and fashion design. It was while I was teaching that I began to deign my own cross stitch flower design. Some years later I made charts from these initials designs and a friend suggested I should sell them, so I approached a department store in Amsterdam who immediately offered to sell them for me. I set up in business designing and selling kits, which is what I have been doing for the past three decades, with great enjoyment." (from Thea Gouverneur's website)


Dimensions Kits.  Dimensions has been around for a long time.  They are currently distributed by Notions Marketing (not my favorite place).  We carry the full line of Dimensions cross stitch, needlepoint and embroidery kits.  The Gold Collection is their top of the line kits. All of Dimensions designs are beautiful and the kits come with everything you will need to complete the project.  


 RIOLIS is a Russian handicraft kits producer.  Among its products there are over 700 items of cross-stitch, bead work, ribbon, hemstitch kits, unusual handicraft methods (hardanger, holbein) and ready-made kits.  We offer the kits of various difficulty levels for any taste and budget.

Tips for Working a Large Pattern

Some cross stitch pattern designers make some very intricate designs.  They are often very large designs as well.  Designers like Heaven and Earth (HEAD), Kustom Krafts, Cross Stitch Collectibles, and a few others, split their patterns into several pages.  The patterns are to be worked in 10 x 10 grids, starting in the left hand corner of the fabric.  The best way to figure out where to start a gridded design is to take the stitch count of your pattern and divide it by the stitch count of your fabric.  Example:  Say the pattern is 240 x 240 stitches and the fabric is 16 count Aida.  Divide each side by 16.  In this case 240 divide by 16.  That means your design will be 15  inches square or 15x15 inches.  Find the center of your fabric by folding it in half lengthwise, then in half again by the width.  Get a tape measure.  From the center you will measure from the middle  to the top of the  fabric, half of the design height (in this case, half of 15 would be 7.5 inches).  Then measure  from that point (center/top)  again to the left,  half of the  width of your design.  (in this case also 15/2=7.5 inches)   That is where you should start the first block of 10 x 10 stitches.  Measure from the center up first, then from that point to the left side to figure out where to start your first grid of stitches, starting in the upper  left hand corner of your fabric.