The advancement of cross stitch design and printing techniques over recent years has not only seen the industry expand like never before, but reach previously unsought plains. Going beyond simply what people enjoy embroidering, the real big innovations can come from how you make your finished pattern. Ideas like sparkling aida, button sequins and metallic thread are all wonderful, but the most recent trend to steal our crafting hearts is the advent of 3-D Cross Stitch Kits.
Whilst the odd indie crafter and Etsy seller will dabble in this heightened form of needlecraft design, the main provider of this most modern of cross stitch kits (at least on our site) is The Nutmeg Company. Based in Reeth in the Yorkshire Dales, their range includes miniature houses, keepsakes, Christmas decorations, gift bags & boxes and more greeting card designs to supply a lifetime of best wishes. Whether the cross stitch in question can be dangled on a tree or has a practical purpose, the questions are always the same: how do you make them? Are they hard to put together? What are they made with?
Virtually all the 3-D cross stitch kits we stock, from the standing cards to the immaculate model houses, use the standard inclusions like counted Aida fabric, thread, a needle, the chart and instructions, but they also come with felt, and a pre-cut plastic canvas. The whole process of combining these together, turning several interrelated cross stitch patterns into a startling miniature, is a fairly basic technique: stitch the design on fabric, mount the stitching on the plastic canvas, sew the pieces together whilst forming the finished shape.
Now this in theory would be very simple for something like, say, a set of cubed shapes. But when making more complex shapes, it can be more complex and might require a little more practice. Whichever cross stitch kit you go with, each comes with instructions that should be more than adequate in walking your step by step through the process. Beyond that, there's numerous publications and pattern guide books authored by The Nutmeg Company's own Meg Evershed.
If the thought of extravagant cottages and little jewellery boxes sound just a little too far above your current level sewing, their card collection should be an easier yet still stand-out project idea. The effect doesn't require any construction, and is achieved just by cutting and folding as carefully laid out in the instructions. Each comes with an envelope, and in many ways are a superior way of harbouring a heartfelt message or season's greeting.
3-D cross stitch kits are a hugely inspiring venture, not only for casual crafts, but particularly for designers. Part of what helps an industry such as this thrive is new ideas, and new changes to the paradigm of what most embroiderers like to work on. We highly recommend doing what many designers have done, and try out a few 3-D cross stitch kits and then look to see how you can take the idea further. With a quick change of perspective and a few tricks of the eye, you can take cross stitch to some strange new places!
If you have any particular tips or common pitfalls in making 3-D cross stitch kits, you can tell us about how best to work around them in the comments below, or by posting on our Facebook page, sharing them via Twitter or through Google+.