Better Cross Stitch Patterns Blog

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Here's What's New

Don't settle for "almost"


What do you do when you can't find the perfect cross stitch chart? It happens more than you'd think.

Even though we're no longer limited to the patterns we can find in magazines or at the local craft store,
Even though we have cross stitch designs to choose, from as far as the internet reaches . . .

Birth records? Yes. Christmas ornaments? You bet. But where is the pattern for when

  • one dispairs at the loss of a loved one, or
  • the loss of a marriage.
Where is the design encouraging someone who is
  • starting a new journey in life,
  • or bravely meeting a difficult challenge.
Often, we find comfort and meaning in a special verse, a poem, the lyrics of a song. And when we do, it's in our nature to want to share it through a craft we love.

I think that's why cross stitch alphabets are some of the most popular and sought-out designs. That's also why I am so excited to begin designing

a collection of counted cross stitch borders for you.

It's one more design element to help you on your path to creating your own cross stitch patterns. My tutorial, Alphabet 123s , about how to fit text into a design space, is also very popular. So on a similar page, Cross Stitch Borders , I have used this first border pattern to also show you how to

  • change the size
  • change the colors
  • change the design elements
to make this cross stitch border pattern truly your own.

In a website, every page must have a unique file name. I smile when I think about naming my first set of cross stitch letters "Cross Stitch Alphabet." Little did I know then that I would design and publish 34 cross stitch alphabets and counting!
That's what I'd like to do with borders - continue to design a large library of cross stitch borders for you to use. Click to see this first cross stitch border, named "Forever Tulips."

I can't wait to see what you do with it!

"Even if you stumble, you're still moving forward."

In the next couple of weeks, you'll be seeing two big changes to our website:

Menu Location

Currently our menu runs vertically down our left column. It has served us well.

But more and more people are using devices with smaller screens. It's easier for them to simply scroll up and down, instead of scrolling right and left and up and down and back again. We want to satisfy all of you-- on the devices you use today, and on the ones you might switch to tomorrow.

So, we are changing to drop-down menus that run horizontally, beneath our banner images.

You see, websites serve two masters.

  • You are the first and most important--the one we want to reach, to connect with, to share, to educate, and to learn from. When you look for a cross stitch pattern or tutorial, it often begins with a search. And that introduces
  • Our second master, the search engines, like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and a host of others.

Did you know that content isn't the only thing that determines where a website ranks in that list of search results? Search engines, too, have specific likes and dislikes, rules and preferences.

Imagine "Gone With the Wind"in the bottom drawer of a desk in the back of a bookstore's warehouse. The best content doesn't matter if nobody can find it.

If I want stitchers everywhere to have access to our patterns and tutorials, I must comply with these, as well. This brings me to the second change:

Menu Content

Not every page will be listed on these horizontal drop down menus. You'll begin to see more pages restructured like our stitch tutorials--you go to page with all the stitches shown, and from there you choose a specific lesson. Or you'll go to an overview of all cross stitch supplies, and from there you select specific supply pages.

The hard part is two-fold:

  1. Prolific inventor Charles Kettering said, "People are very open-minded about new things - as long as they're exactly like the old ones." Well, I have to admit that I like the old menu structure, I liked having all those individual pages showing up on the menu. (Thank YOU for the emails thanking me for a website that is easy to navigate.)
  2. Now this is where you just might see me stumble--it's not going to be accomplished in one or two days. Realistically it may take a week or two to get all the links updated. You might get lost, you might come across broken links.

I have updated and categorized the Site Map, so you can more easily find the information you need from there. Email if you get stuck.

I want to continue offering information and patterns that are free. If that means I have to jump through a couple of hoops, I guess can use the exercise.

Keep on stitching!

Ask and you shall receive? Well, maybe . . .



Do you know what a WHITELIST is?

Have you ever needed to reset a password? You sit there, on the edge of your chair, anxiously awaiting to receive that all-important email response.

You wait . . . and wait.

Even worse! You're stopped in the middle of a cross stitch project because you've encountered something in the chart that you don't understand. You send a question, using the website's "Contact Us" feature.

You wait . . . and wait . . . and wait.

Well, there's a chance that the answer may be sitting "somewhere" in your email account. I just learned about this, and figured that there might be others, like me, who didn't know.

Here's the scoop. Many email providers presort your mail on it's way to your inbox. They try to identify which incoming mail is spam, scams, pfishing and other types of unwanted communications. They then take those emails and divert them into folders other than your inbox.

"Whitelisting"
is when you tell your email provider that you want to receive emails from a specific email address.

Our "Contact Us" page has information on how to make sure your email service isn't stopping the very emails you've requested. Just click here.

And as always, keep on stitching!

You know, sometimes you're sure

that you've done something. Certain you remember doing it. Absolutely positive.

And then you find out you didn't.

Thankfully, someone nicely brings it to your attention. If you're lucky, not too many people notice. So you fix it quickly and quietly. Under the radar. Except when it's on the internet, potentially seen by a few thousand of your closest friends.

So, I've decided I'm going to embrace it. I'm going to shout it over the internet!

I've just added the counted cross stitch pattern " Love Lasts" in teal colors!

The rose color version of this pattern has been posted for quite some time. If you look closely, the teal design has a slightly different border pattern - the crosses and the hearts are arranged a bit differently. In the background are barely-there opalescent crosses stitched with Kreinik Blending Filament.

If you haven't noticed these patterns before, a lacey border surrounds the words "Love Bears, Believes, Hopes, Lasts" based on the much loved Bible verse from I Cor 13:4-8.

Our philosopy, as a website, is to not collect personal information, even in the form of your email address, in order for you to access either the information or the patterns. Because of this, we don't know how many people use specific patterns from our site.

But I do know that this pattern, and these words, have touched people.

I am surprised at how often I hear from stitchers who are using this chart, not just for couples, but also for cherished friendships and to remember and honor loved ones who've passed on.

Try this: Think of someone other than a spouse or significant other - a sibling, a friend, a parent - and read these words from that perspective:

"Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in unrighteousness, it rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." I COR 13: 4-8.

Like I say on my pattern page, "God knew what He was talking about."

So now you can click here for a printable PDF pattern of "Love Lasts." The pattern now includes both the teal and the rose charts.

Just in case you didn't notice.

Yes! We really do have a Pin Stitch Tutorial

And it might just be the answer to those frustrating confetti stitches!

CLICK HERE for our Straight & Angled Pin Stitch Tutorials.

DO NOT CLICK on the link in my previous post. It says the page doesn't exist. But it does exist. I promise!

In my journey to take over the technical aspects of building and maintaining my website, I've learned four things:

  1. Try to get it right the first time. The technical reason that the prior link no longer works is that I changed the underlying page name of an existing page, without realizing that it would negate the original link.
  2. Be careful when software offers to save you time. When I build a new page, it can automatically generate a blog entry. While that can save time, I unfortunately cannot edit it (er, correct it) after the post.
  3. Practice being humble, because mistakes online might be there FOREVER! (Don't you wish our teenagers understood this?)
  4. I can never thank my husband enough for all of his hard work in handling the technical aspects of building this website for me.
Come to think of it, these lessons apply to my life!

So, if you haven't done it before, check out our tutorial. A Pin Stitch uses very small stitches to begin and end cross stitching, and can be worked from the front of the fabric. They are often hard to see in a video, so we've created a lesson with very detailed diagrams and instructions.

Check it out and Keep on Stitching!

P.S. Thanks again, sweetheart!

pin stitch tutorial for cross stitch

Take the frustration out of frequent floss changes and confetti stitches. Our Pin Stitch Tutorial has detailed diagrams and instructions to make learning quick and easy.

Continue reading "pin stitch tutorial for cross stitch"

Bones Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern

"Bones" is the perfect Halloween cross stitch alphabet pattern and a bold choice for Pirates, Over-40, Dinosaur, Doctors, Nurses, Archeologists, Physical Therapists.

Continue reading "Bones Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern"

Needle Threaders

Needle threaders are a must for your cross stitch sanity. Don't buy a threader without seeing the best choices for the tapestry needles you use most.

Continue reading "Needle Threaders"

The times, they are a changin' . . . and so is BCSP.com!

Watch for changes in our website's navigation, or menu structure.

For example, we used to have every stitch listed on the left menu. Clicking on one took you to the page with step-by-step instructions on how to make that particular stitch.

Now, however, you will click on "Learning the Stitches." That will take you to a "Learn How to Cross Stitch" overview page with a graphic image, like these, of every stitch.

Clicking on one takes you to its instruction page.

Over the next few weeks, we will be consolidating all of our menus in a similar fashion.

"Why in the world would you do that?" you may ask. Especially when one of our most frequent compliments is that our website is so easy to navigate.

Well . . .

People are using mobile devices, like tablets and smart phones, to connect to the websites they used to visit with laptops or desktops.

But, because the screens are smaller and of varying sizes, websites don't look the same. And it's not just appearance.

The information is not as easily accessible.

Because it's not accessible, search engines will not include non-conforming websites in your search results.

That means that stitchers will not have access to all the great information on Better-Cross-Stitch-Patterns.com.

So, as you're looking through the website, and you think you hear a muffled scream in the background, that's just me being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.

Keep on Stitching!

Brand New Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern "Beloved"

Yikes! That was one long week!

When I started my website redesign a couple of months into the New Year, I added an image to my "Free Alphabets" page using a newly-completed alphabet.

I was thrilled to receive emails asking where to get the " 'May you live . . .' cross stitch lettering shown at the top of that page."

Then, using my particular talent for overestimating how much work I can do and underestimating how much time I actually have, I said that it should be up in about a week.

In the mid-80s there was a movie, named "Money Pit," starring Tom Hanks. It was about a couple who purchased a mansion that turned out to be a monumental fixer upper. Despite uncovering disaster after disaster, every time they asked the contractor how much longer the renovations would take, the answer was always the same . . . "Two weeks!"

That first email was in April.

Well, it's August and, finally, "Beloved" Cross Stitch Alphabet 33 is now available. Really!

"Beloved" features elegant black letters outlined in gold metallic, with a red heart tucked into the curves. The chart includes:

  • Upper case letters (some letters have two style options)
  • A taller, slimmer set of lower case letters
  • A shorter, rounder set of lower case letters
  • Two sets of numbers, one with hearts and one without
  • Punctuation (some with and some without hearts)
Click here to see the complete "Beloved" counted cross stitch alphabet. I'd love to see what you do with it. So please send me a photo! I've always wanted to have a gallery where stitchers can share their latest works. I might even be able to finish it, hmm . . . in about two weeks!

Keep on Stitching!

PS: Thank you for the emails you send in appreciation of this website. Time is precious, and it means the world to me! Often, in the midst of a hectic day, it's just the encouragement I need. So again, thanks!

Continue reading "Brand New Cross Stitch Alphabet Pattern "Beloved""

A Cross Stitch Treasure - DMC Color Card WITH THREADS

While building my Amazon store, "Better Cross Stitch Supplies," I discovered some great products to help you in your cross stitch endeavors. One of the finds I'm most excited about is

A DMC Color Card with Thread Samples!

For years, I've seen discussions online about how hard it is to find this product.What is a color card? It is a book, of sorts, with fold-out panels. It contains a list of every floss color that DMC makes, arranged in color families. Beside each DMC number is an example of the color, as well as a mini-chart telling you which DMC thread types are available in that color.

Now here is the tricky part--DMC makes two versions of their color cards.

One has the floss colors simply printed. The accuracy of the color is dependent on how well the printer matched the ink to each specific floss color. From the many reviews I've read, most cross stitchers find that these colors don't match the actual floss well enough for the product to be useful.

The other Color Card uses actual floss threads for the floss color example. This is what you'll find in my store. It costs more than the printed version, but it's well worth the investment.

Do you need a Color Card?

If you only purchase pre-assembled cross stitch kits with the floss included, you might not need a Color Card.

If you are here, though, it probably means that you are branching out, finding your own cross stitch charts and picking your own colors. You want to be able to make some of your own decisions about the pieces you stitch.

If this is you, and you use primarily DMC threads, then this Color Card is a must-have!

Whenever you look at DMC Color Cards, read the description carefully. Depending on when one is manufactured, obviously it will not have any of the colors newly released since the printing of that particular card. But the majority of colors are included.

I use my DMC Color Card so often that the corners get really banged up. Now I cut my pages apart whenever I get a new card. I trim them so they'll fit into report covers and store the pages in a 3-ring binder.

This is such a rare find that I put the DMC Color Card in it's own category in my Amazon store. You'll find it at the top of the menu to the right. This one includes DMC Cotton Perle, DMC Color Variations, DMC Light Effects, DMC Metallic Perle, and is currently priced around $35.

Check it out and Keep on Stitching!

Continue reading "A Cross Stitch Treasure - DMC Color Card WITH THREADS"

Introducing a better store . . .

I couldn't be more excited to tell you that better-coss-stitch-patterns.com has partnered with Amazon to bring you a supply store dedicted to cross stitch!

I've spent the past month on Amazon--finding supplies, pouring over product reviews, weeding out poor-performing sellers, researching the manufacturers--all so that you don't have to.

Your Store for Better Cross Stitch Supplies and 8 Reasons to Buy Your Cross Stitch Supplies Here are the result.

You'll find over 300 cross-stitch products organized into common-sense categories, like fabric separated by thread count; scroll frames, hoops & Q-snaps in their own section; items to help you bring order to the chaos under "Get Organized." Watch for more supplies to be added.

And let me say Thanks! now, in advance. I earn a small commission, and that really helps me to keep bringing this website to you, free of charge.

Keep on Stitching!

Continue reading "Introducing a better store . . ."

Better-cross-stitch-patterns.com Gets a Facelift!

If you've read my "About Me" page, you know that my life is probably a lot like yours.

Work life, home life, family life, spiritual life. It changes, grows, it shifts.

We cheer on the kids with their new found independence. A driver's license and a second-hand car frees up a significant amount of our time. We see our parents age and become more dependent, needing our time, our company, our compassion.

And somewhere in there is a bit of time to reinvest in my website.

Websites have changed a lot since we started BCSP. So first you'll notice...

A New Look and Feel

  • Menus consolidated and categorized for a shorter navigation menu
  • Graphic images for clickable selections

But changes won't just be cosmetic.

We're working on...

NEW Cross Stitch Patterns

  • Alphabets and cross stitch designs posted more frequently.

Help for Budding Designers

  • Cross stitch borders and other design elements
  • Tips for how to design your own patterns
Mobile Device Access
  • Format changes to accomodate mobile online access
Streamlined Text
  • Extraneous text will be edited out so pages can be scanned
  • Critical information will be easier to spot
Video Instruction
  • How-to videos to accompany tutorials and instructional diagrams
We are often complimented on how easy our site is to use, so we'll work hard not to fix what isn't broken. At the same time, we often hear how helpful our information is, so while we cut out the fat, we'll preserve the meat.

That just a glimpse of what's to come. The list is long, but I am very motivated. Your emails always come at a time when I need encouragement most. Thank you for taking the time to write. And if there is something I'm leaving out, let me know that as well.

These changes will come slowly but, I hope, consistently. If something doesn't seem right, it's likely a page that isn't finished. Please check back a little later.

I hope you'll like what you see.