Why are quilts so dynamic while cross-stitch remains boring?

Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, ALJune 14, 2011

I've been cross-stitching for about 35 years and am so sick of mushrooms, santas, pastel in general, kitties, samplers, and all that kind of overly sweet, flowers, cutesy, 70's stuff. The selection of patterns available has almost become static. It's a real pain to draw my own cross-stitch patterns before stitching, but that is about all I have done for many years. It started with changing the colors and evolved into entire new designs on graph paper, then on excel spreadsheets the last 10 years or so.

Lately I've turned to my Mom's quilting books for inspiration and am in AWE of all of the vivid colors, new ideas, and abstract artwork available in this genre. Since both mediums are based on geometry, it seems odd that the more difficult, expensive, and space-consuming activity has taken center stage for being eye-catching, modern, and just more visually interesting.

I've shown my creations to many people and after hearing "you should put those in a book" or stuff like that many times, I started thinking about it since I know people like them. I've contacted several publishing companies about the possiblity of having 1 or more patterns published but was told by most they don't do leaflets anymore, and Leisure Arts said (paraphrasing) the style was not in keeping with their usual offerings and didn't think my patterns would have wide appeal to their usual customer base. Well, that's why I made them and thought others might like them, too - because they are different. And how wide is the appeal of something like a football team's mascot? And I'm pretty sure their usual customer base died years ago or has arthritis too bad to stitch anymore. I also don't think they have any idea of what people might like to stitch, only what they like to offer. I've browsed patterns very intensively recently and they still seem like the primary company doing this now. Is there another outlet for publication by magazine or internet that has become more prominent. I feel like I'm "out of the loop."

But seriously, tho, I'd love to hear your thoughts on any of the subjects I've raised. Is anyone else bored to tears with the patterns out there? Have you had a pattern published? Do you think quilt patterns have become much more interesting?

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msmeow

I cross stitch from time to time, but am primarily a quilter. I haven't shopped for any xstitch patterns in a long time, so don't know what's out there.

My opinion on quilting patterns is this. While quilting fabrics currently come in lots of vibrant colors and busy prints, quilt patterns themselves I think are getting more and more simplistic, especially the ones in mainstream quilting magazines. Many of them have you just cut those bright fabrics into great big squares and rectangles then sew them back together. The result of using several busy prints makes the quilt busy and bright, but the actual construction is very simple.

I've been kind of looking in vain for challenging quilt patterns. They are out there, but you have to search for them!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 4:02PM
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macawmom

If you're sick of 70's stuff, including mushrooms, pastels, kitties, and flowers, perhaps you haven't looked at new patterns in the past 35 years. There are tons of great, complex, and intricate patterns available now. Try looking at Heaven and Earth Designs, Kustom Krafts, or a retail site like www.123stitch.com. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Beth

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 11:19AM
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calliope

My husband just finished a 110,000 stitch pattern we got from Scarlet Quince on the inet. It's gorgeous. Believe me....patterns are out there. Counted cross stitch ones are, anyway.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 11:07PM
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lexie1397

I just recently picked up xstitch again after my father in law gave me ALL of his supplies. All the patterns I used to see in craft stores, and all the ones I inherited do have a certain antiquity factor about them.

I don't see why you couldn't publish your own leaflets, at least to start. Any print shop should be able to get good cardstock, double sided (even glossy) printing and clean folds done for you. I would caution you on printing/selling sports team's icons... there's often licensing laws.

I've been encountering more and more companies who can't seem to see outside their own box. Sounds like Leisure Arts may be one who believes that "cute" is all that will sell, not fully realizing that they haven't honestly tried much else. I know I would be very interested in "modern cute"... something along an Ikea floral line?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 12:08PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

I'm not trying to disparage anyone or any particular company. Just relating my experiences and trying to understand what's going on. Thank you each for your input.

If you're sick of 70's stuff, including mushrooms, pastels, kitties, and flowers, perhaps you haven't looked at new patterns in the past 35 years. There are tons of great, complex, and intricate patterns available now. Try looking at Heaven and Earth Designs, Kustom Krafts, or a retail site like www.123stitch.com. You might be pleasantly surprised. I started stitching about 35 years ago. Of course I've looked at new patterns since then. Un-boring doesn't need to be intricate or complex. I did look at a few topics on 123stitch.com and didn't see much of personal interest to me.

My husband just finished a 110,000 stitch pattern Wow! I don't work with patterns that large. It's too hard to hold the fabric. Can't imagine how upset I'd be if something happened to a piece that took that long. Kudos to your hubby's patience! This is another issue I encountered while shopping for patterns. I don't want to spend a year on a single piece. Maybe most people do.

I don't see why you couldn't publish your own leaflets, at least to start. Any print shop should be able to get good cardstock, double sided (even glossy) printing and clean folds done for you. I've investigated this briefly and was very discouraged. You could go broke very fast doing this.

I would caution you on printing/selling sports team's icons... there's often licensing laws. I have no interest in creating or stitching these. What I said above was that they are very prevalent but I doubt they have the mass appeal that some interesting new patterns would have.

Lexie, "Modern cute" is a good description. I like it! I prefer pretty over cute, though. Modern pretty. Samplers are another mystery to me. Why can't they have modern items in them? They also seem to be mostly for girls. There are few samplers or other patterns for a boy's room. If people's tastes didn't change, we'd have the same furniture and appliances our parents did. X-stitch seems to be a medium that's stuck in time.

I did find a site of patterns that are just crude clich�s with foul language. That's taking it too far, IMO, but if there's a market for that stuff, it seems to me the in-between (somewhere between kitty cute/pastel mushrooms vs. foul language) stuff would be incredibly popular. I've never been to an Ikea, so the analogy is lost on me. I went to their website and looked at some of the "new textiles" and very much like the bold colors and patterns. I think you grasped my point.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 9:51AM
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jannaz_gw

Why not have the best of both worlds and cross-stitch a quilt pattern?

I needled-pointed a "goose in a pond" pattern for a pillow top a few years ago and won a blue ribbon for it at our county fair.

I'm not worth a hoot at quilting, but love imagining the various patterns done in a medium I'm competent with.

cheers
J

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 6:26PM
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capcapia

I am starting to cross-stitch again after an 18 year break. During that time, I was only quilting. I've made so many quilts and finally have become a bit bored with it.

I was so thrilled with all the new patterns I've come across while looking for a few projects! The selection is absolutely incredible and I barely know where to start!

I did want to comment that cross-stitching a quilt pattern would be amazing. What a GREAT idea! I designed and quilted a cowboy boot quilt for my nephew 15 years ago and never made another one because it was such a difficult project. So I'm going to scan it into a cross-stich pattern and stitch it!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 4:56PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

jannaz and capcapia, you should try it. It's very easy to convert a quilt to cross stitch. I usually get the graph paper and colored pencils out but also do some of it with an excel spreadsheet. I've stitched quilt patterns to death - other people's and tons of my own. I've stitched them with and without borders, on different color fabrics, I've added beads, made rounds into squares, put several different ones into the same piece, you name it. They are the same geometrical art as cross stitch except when quilts have curved lines in them. My Mom sometimes makes quilts from the cross stitch patterns I create. It's fun to have the quilt on the bed and the stitch on the wall or easeled on a table near it. Another cool thing about them is you can change the colors to any scheme you like. The repetitive nature of the patterns also makes them very easy and you change colors a lot less often, which makes them come together very quickly. I highly recommend it.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 11:27AM
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LullabyF360

I began cross-stitching little less than a year ago. I have a bit of a unique personality, so most patterns aren't my cup of tea. I found an excellent website where you can convert any picture into your own cross-stitch pattern! I love it!! I have tried software & various websites, but they're detail of the final product is not all that great.

www.pic2pat.com

It has custom settings for you to use in order to get the perfect cross-stitch pattern. I have found that the most detailed patterns are produced with the highest stitch count & largest over all size. But it's whatever you want! You download the pattern as a PDF.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 8:27PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

This is the kind of pattern I'd like to find. I made this one, and stitched it for my daughter 2 Christmases ago.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 7:44PM
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bossyvossy

Very nice! I never got into kitties, etc patterns and hv always made my own. have been totally pleased with results. I recently discovered pic2pat and I will post here my next project. I love xstich b/c I can do while watching TV, with a few exceptions. It is not tedious to me but rather soothing. In-out, jn-out a gazillion times, lol

    Bookmark   September 20, 2014 at 2:40PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Yes! I hate changing threads for like 7 stitches. I can take a pic if I want a pic, don't want to stitch one. Just something that looks like something interesting while hanging on the wall, no reading glasses or magnifying glass needed.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2014 at 7:53PM
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ritaweeda

Maybe I've no right to sound in because I don't cross-stitch. (I'm a quilter.) And I haven't a clue what's out there for cross-stitch enthusiasts. But there are a lot of well-known and very creative quilters who started out very small with their own blogs. Have you considered that? I mean, what have you got to lose? I know that trying to publish on your own is daunting, expensive, and can be complicated wading through all the red tape and marketing. But with your own blog you could publish a few of your creations - (the ones you don't mind sharing for free) and if it takes off with a lot of interest there's bound to be someone eventually who might want to contact you about marketing more of your stuff.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2014 at 8:04PM
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bossyvossy

Went to hancocks this afternoon and while looking at bright fabric, thought about this thread. Wouldn't those designs make great needlepoint projects?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2014 at 11:07PM
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bossyvossy

Another

    Bookmark   September 20, 2014 at 11:08PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Rita, TYVM, I appreciate the input. At the moment, it's not something that interests me, but each winter presents a new challenge for staying busy, entertained.

FWIW, if you study the pic I posted, it's far from perfect, in a technical sense. Doubtful anyone would consider publishing it, but anyone who is inspired, feel free to copy it. I'd share the pattern, usually make them on spreadsheets lately, but that one's old school, just a sheet of graph paper colored with colored pencils.

Bossy, needlepoint isn't my area, but I love the bold colors, and simplicity of the 2nd one especially! TY for the contribution!

Here's another one I made up. One of these days I'll fix the mistake on the base (execution of a pattern is a whole 'nother kettle of fish from making one - oops!)

    Bookmark   September 23, 2014 at 2:50PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

It's not all X's, and does have a lot of color changes, but they're not hard to follow (no good excuse for how I messed it up.) This came together so quickly, a few hours in the evening for about a week, maybe 10 days.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2014 at 2:51PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

This is the 1st one I made, in the 80's. Escher-inspired, though I have no illusions that I even entered the realm of emulation.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2014 at 3:01PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

I made this in the 90's, then my Mom made a quilt to match.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2014 at 3:25PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Here's another one I made with some alternative stitches. And some beads sewn on.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2014 at 3:42PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

I can't remember whether I copied this from a quilt or a cross stitch pattern, but did a lot of editing to the original, and added some beads at the bottom.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2014 at 3:47PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

This is a variation of something I found in BHG Cross Stitch & Needlework, April-March 1999, called 'blackwork treasure box.' It only took about 9 hours, so I started another one last night, some diff colors.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2014 at 2:21PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

I liked that so much, I did another, out-of-control version, with layers of colors, some on top of others.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2014 at 11:19AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

A tiny quilt.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2014 at 8:28AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Another.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2014 at 8:29AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

A vase I designed.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2014 at 8:32AM
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LanaRoma

Cross-stitching and embroidery are a big part of folk culture in many East European countries. If you are looking for novel ideas and inspirations, check out Czech, Slovakian, Ukrainian, Russian or Baltic folk designs.

I've got several books on Slovakian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Russian embroidery. I use them a lot in my hobby.

Czechoslovakian folk designs: https://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/books/dmc_cse.pdf (free downloadable book)

Russian and Ukrainian folk patterns: http://patternmakercharts.blogspot.com/2009/07/1877-collected-velikorusskih.html ( and many more pattern books on this website)

Latvian designs: http://folkcostume.blogspot.com/2011_06_01_archive.html

Below is a link to a free cross-stitch pattern website that has novelty designs, as well as a section on Ukrainian cross-stitch patterns

A sample of Russian and Ukrainian folk designs:

Here is a link that might be useful: Gvellostitch

1 Like    Bookmark   November 29, 2014 at 12:01AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Three little ones in a multi-frame.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2014 at 10:26AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

The engine, giraffe and bear heads are published patterns. I added the alphabet cars & elephant head.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2014 at 10:27AM
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brodyjames_gw

Hi Purp! Nice to see you on here! Are these something like what you're talking about?

This one I made:

I did NOT make this one, but I love it! This won third place at our state fair last year. At least 6 feet long! Sorry about the blurriness, it was displayed 7-8feet off the floor!

Disney Villains part 1:

DV part 2:

DV part 3:

Nancy

1 Like    Bookmark   January 28, 2015 at 1:19AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Nancy, those are awesome! I hope u get back on here after the change. I didn't realize something had been posted to this discussion. TY! That stitched piece you did is awesome! I'm blown away. Didn't know u were a stitcher. That rocks!

I'd popped in this morning to share a pic of a quilt my Mom just made for me. I'm going to do a cross stitch/needlepoint to match it.

I designed & stitched these 2 things as gifts:

    Bookmark   February 12, 2015 at 7:01AM
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lovesferns

Here is a website that I have found recently that has a lot of really interesting patterns (some free some paid) and I have found patterns for quilts that I adore.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2015 at 11:03AM
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