Cross stitching has experienced a surge of popularity in recent years with few signs of slowing. What was once perceived as an old craft with rich history is being explored and updated for the modern era. Social media sites are filled with colorful pieces and skilled artists showing off new designs, sewing tips, styles, and trends. If your own projects could use some freshening up, or you’re just excited to expand your stitching skills, here are just some of the trends you can explore in 2019.
1. The Rude, Subversive, and Offensive Cross Stitch
If you’ve kept an eye on cross stitch and embroidery trends at all in recent years, chances are you’ve already noticed the pattern of “offensive” sayings stitched onto a number of popular projects. They may be surprising for the cross stitch veteran, but these phrases and swear words in beautiful, elaborate fonts add a touch of humor to any stitcher’s collection. The offensive meter ranges from the simple swear word to expletives that are sure to make you blush. Everyone loves a little offensive cross stitch. Even those with little to no experience have become excited by this twist to more traditional forms of the art.
2. Succulents and Cacti
In the last few years, plants have become more and more popular in prints and home decor trends, so it’s no surprise that those vines and roots have slithered into the world of cross stitch as well. Succulents and cacti in particular have become darlings of social media, and proud plant parents are more excited than ever to display stitched versions of these plants in their homes. Cacti and succulents are known for being easy to keep alive, so what’s better than a stitched version you don’t even have to water? Along with a green color palette, pops of purples, blues and pinks make these projects more dimensional and pleasing to the eye.
Another social media darling, the mandala has been seen evolving across art forms for several years now. From tattoos to crochet patterns, from coloring books to jewelry, mandalas have made a splash in popular culture. Rife with symmetry, careful detail, and distinctive color, it’s no wonder these symbols appeal to experienced cross stitchers. While there are plenty of patterns available, a custom mandala design could be relatively simple to customize. Various pattern programming options could make designing beautiful new mandalas a fun and creative project.
4. Pretty Lettering and Calligraphy
If you’re on Facebook, chances are you’ve seen video after video of soothing and satisfying calligraphy demonstrations. The different pens, nibs, and inks mean plenty of room for originality, and as calligraphy has seen a surge, so has the decorative lettering in cross stitching (never mind that your own cursive needs some work). Popular in the offensive cross stitch trend, these swooping font styles are also popular for names or other humorous projects. If you want to design something for yourself, check out some font sites for inspiration.
5. Colored Backgrounds
While the typical white aida cloth has long been a cross stitch standard, more and more artists are experimenting with different backgrounds. Playing with color in this unexpected way adds new dimension and freshness to familiar designs. Black cloth in particular adds striking contrast to lighter thread colors, making designs pop. For something really unexpected, stitch your design onto a patterned fabric.
6. Loose Threads, New Textures, New Stitches
The typical cross stitch pattern utilizes the standard cross stitch, but new pieces of art are playing with different techniques with beautiful effects. Loose strands can mimic textures like flowing hair, which makes for a fairly easy but effective attention-grabber. Adding a mixture of different stitches draws the eye and adds more complexity to artistic composition. This might not be a trend for a beginner, but an expert stitcher looking to mix things up could certainly enjoy a change of pace. Try using new stitches for plants, clothing, and other areas you want the texture to pop.
7. Beads and Sequins
The typical cross stitch piece creates a certain uniformity, but like different stitches, introducing new materials to a project can elevate your designs to a whole different level. Even a small number of reflective beads or iridescent sequins can expand your color palette in a slight way with big impact, especially on offensive cross stitch. Used as a border, flower petals, or even as the body of an insect, these fun new additions will certainly draw “oohs” and “aahs” from friends and family.
Stitched portraits have become a fun and unique way to commemorate the joining of families and other celebrations. While running a photo into a program for a detailed pattern isn’t new, more simplified portraits have become popular custom orders for artists on Etsy and other art platforms . These tiny portraits may seem cartoon-like in nature, but a wedding portrait or even one for a new dog adds a bit of charm to a new home. Speaking of pets, pet portraits have also soared in popularity.
Like portraits, pictures can be run through a pattern-making software program, but giving creative control to a stitch artist can result in some pretty incredible transformations of precious moments. Use a picture program, but try a new, unexpected color palette, or crop the photo into an interesting shape. This can also be done as offensive cross stitch!
In the golden age of video games, the pixel is still going strong. Retro game fans in particular love an art project throwing back to some of their favorite games. Members of popular fandoms fawn over pixelated versions of their favorite characters. Pictures and portraits can be pixelated further for quicker projects, and with the popularity of perler beads, there’s plenty of inspiration and patterns available for free.
This year, don’t be afraid to experiment with color, new techniques, and material. Find all the cross stitching supplies you need at CraftOnline to experiment with these fun trends. For the beginner, articles like this one can help you get started understanding threads, cloth, and making your own patterns. The one thing all these trends have in common? Let your creativity reign!