Star Trek fans who want to get crafty with their kids will love the new book, Star Trek Cross-Stitch: Explore Strange New Worlds of Crafting. Contained within this 134-page book are 38 projects, 30 of which are considered regular projects as there are pictures of the finished pattern. Eight are considered bonus patterns, as the book only contains the patterns and no picture of the finished product.
Not only does this book contain projects for “regular” cross-stitch — the kind you’d put into a picture frame — but it also contains patterns for bibs, onesies, messenger bags, handkerchiefs, Christmas tree ornaments, pillows, bookmarks, hand towels, and samplers.
Now, don’t be fooled by the project details. Just because a pattern may be designated for onesies or pillows, as examples, does not mean you can’t use them for other purposes. Most of the patterns can be repurposed. If you are moving from Aida waste fabric to regular fabric, and vice versa, you’ll need to adjust the instructions accordingly.
Personally, I think it would be great to sew the “Trouble? (with Tribbles)” pattern on your baby’s onesie. I’m repurposing the Klingon messenger bag pattern, the IDIC, the communicator meant for the onesie, the Tribble pattern and the Federation flag pattern as wedding favors.
The book is divided into three sections based on difficulty level: Ensign, Lieutenant and Captain. Personally, I don’t see a lot of difference, outside of stitch count, between the different levels. However, I’ve been doing cross-stitch since I was 5 — over three decades now — and my own personal level of expertise may be clouding my judgement. Many of the patterns are simple enough for your young children to do. No back-stitching, half stitches, quarter stitches, special knots, etc., are involved in these patterns. Just straight-forward cross stitches.
There appears to be an error on the pattern for the Star Trek badge pillows. It says to cut your waste canvas in 30 inches x 45 inches rectangles. As the pillows — instructions for making these are also included — are 16 inches square, I’m pretty sure the instructions should read, “3.5 inches x 4.5 inches.”
If you are new to cross-stitching, I do have some tips to give you.
1) Never knot your floss! The book gives instructions to do so, while cautioning people against it. Yet, it doesn’t give the proper alternative. Instead of knotting your floss, pull your floss through, leaving about one centimeter tail on the back. With the opposite hand, hold that tail while you bring your first stitch through, stitching over that tail. I probably did a horrible job explaining this — I’m a much better instructor when I can actually show you — so below is a picture that, I hope, will make sense of these instructions. Continue stitching while ensuring the tail gets buried under each subsequent stitch.
2) Scan the patterns and print them. One thing that may be frustrating to both the novice and the expert is that these patterns do not have the center marked. That means, you have to count, and recount, and perhaps recount again, to find the center. Then, you may lose it. If you scan and print the pattern, then you can mark the center, and not have to think two or three times about it.
If you don’t mind marking the book, then you can skip this step. Also, the Captain patterns have a whole lot of stitches and, as a result, the patterns are tiny. You will most likely want to scan and enlarge those patterns. Otherwise it will be hard on the eyes, and it will leave you open to make some pretty major counting mistakes.
3) If you are teaching your child how to cross-stitch, then I recommend you start them on 11-count Aida fabric. It will be easier for their not-so-dexterous hands to find the holes. I’d recommend they use a 1-inch tail, for the same reasons. If you do start them on 11-count Aida fabric, remember you’ll need to adjust your cutting measurements accordingly.
4) The floss colors listed in the book are for DMC. You do not need to use DMC floss. DMC just happens to be the most popular brand in some areas. If you have other brands of floss, or you cannot purchase DMC floss in your area, then use this floss converter to find the appropriate substitution.
5) Depending on where you live, finding colored Aida fabric may be difficult. This book includes patterns for white, black, and tan or gray fabric. I purchase my colored fabric online from Arts and Designs. Don’t let the site design fool you. They have a wonderful stock, plus fast and inexpensive shipping. You can also purchase different Aida fabrics from the DMC shop, but, depending on your location, that may be more expensive.
6) You may be able to purchase 14-count ready-to-stitch hand towels from your local department store. If not, you can purchase them online here.
If you are looking for a quick project to do with your children, then I recommend you start with either communicator badge. It takes me just under two hours to finish one. You only need to cut the fabric 3×3 inches. So, if a mistake is to be made, there won’t be a lot of waste. The IDIC is another great project with which to start them. For reasons beyond my understanding, the IDIC is listed in the Captain section. But, it, too, also takes me just under two hours to finish. Those who are new to cross-stiches will take a little bit longer.
If you are just getting started in cross-stitch, it can be a little expensive. But, if you plan wisely, you should be able to do a handful of these projects for less than $20. However, once you build your floss collection, then cross-stitch is an extremely inexpensive hobby.
Bonus: At the beginning of each regular pattern is a relevant Star Trek quote and, sometimes funny, sometimes interesting commentary or piece of Star Trek trivia.
Once you pick up your copy of Star Trek Cross-Stitch: Explore Strange New Worlds of Crafting, you may have difficulty deciding which thing to make first, because you’ll want to make all the things!
You can take a look inside and purchase Star Trek Cross-Stitch: Explore Strange New Worlds of Crafting here.