Archive | Stitching

Review | The X-Zone Cross-Stitch iPhone Case Kit by Coats & Clark

A new cool cross-stitch iPhone case kit that allows me to personalize my iPhone case is the latest trend in iPhone related crafting products.

iPhone Cross Stitch Case Case by Coats & Clark

Coats & Clark offers a fabulous one that lets me decide how I want my case to look.

First, lets review what comes in the box:

  • A silicone iPhone case (fits iPhone 4 and 4s)
  • An assortment of embroidery thread in six colors
  • An embroidery needle
  • An instruction and pattern book.
iPhone Cross Stitch Kit Contents from Coats & Clark

The kit offers enough supplies to create one of the designs offered in the pattern book.

iPhone Cross Stitch Kit Coats & Clark Pattern Chart

The pattern book itself is pretty straight forward.  It offers a short tutorial on how to do the various stitches, and how to read their patterns.  This is helpful for a novice crafter who is new to cross-stitch. The four patterns are very easy to read.

The silicone case is what I really like.  I liked the texture of the case.  The stitching holes are placed strategically to make cross stitching a design quick and easy.

iPhone Cross Stitch Kit silicone case from Coats & Clark

The instructions offer two blank templates so that you can create  your own cross-stitch or embroidery design for the iPhone case.  Some embroidery stitches would not work on this case but if you stick to the simpler ones, it can be done.

I chose the black design because it reminds me of “Blackwork” stitchery.  Since everything is included in the kit (except scissors),  it was pretty easy to take the kit with me to work on while waiting to pick up my daughter from one of her activities.  I made some changes from the Coats & Clark design to suit my personal design aesthetic.

iPhone silicone cross-stitch case kit from Coats & Clark

I showed this kit to my teenager, who loved it and wanted one of her own.  She has not shown a real interest in doing cross-stitch before, but the chance to create her own design won her over.  I personally liked the kit and would recommend it to anyone who wants to create something unique for their iPhone 4 or 4s.  There are several other iPhone stitchery case kits available from different manufacturers but this one is the one that impressed me the most.  The instructions are clear, concise and easy to follow which makes creating the cover fun to do.


  • The instructions are well written and easy to follow.
  • There are enough supplies that if you make a mistake, you still have enough thread to finish the project.
  • You can personalize it and make up your own design.


  • Sadly the name that the manufacturer chose for this kit makes it very difficult to do a Google search to find the product at the best price.  There is nothing in the product title that will pick up on a search for a personalized cross-stitch iPhone case kit. So you would have to search by it’s name  “X-zone” instead of “cross-stitch cellphone” case kit.  Even searching by the “X-zone” name will pull up a lot of unrelated sites.  That can be frustrating when trying to find a vendor to purchase it from.
  • The embroidery colors offered are mostly pastels, which conflict with the color of the silicone covers.
  • The instructions were not completely accurate on the pattern I choose but I easily adjusted it to suit the number of holes available on my cover.

So what do you think about the trend to personalize cellphones? What method do you prefer?


DMC Glow-in-the-Dark Embroidery Floss

Reported by Susie Ziegler


This is another installment in my investigations of specialty embroidery flosses by DMC. Last spring I tried DMC Linen Embroidery Floss which I liked quite a bit. I was decidedly less enthusiastic about shiny and slick DMC Satin Embroidery floss. Up here where I live in the cold northern USA, these are the coldest and darkest days of the year, so I was inspired to test DMC Glow-in-the-Dark Embroidery Floss. This floss is part of the Light Effects specialty thread series which includes fluorescent shades and pearlescent colors. Although there are many thread colors to choose from in this line of flosses, Glow in the Dark only comes in this white:

This is a polyester thread, not a cotton like their traditional flosses. The first thing I noticed was that the cut ends loosened and frayed, and it was difficult to thread my favorite type of very small eyed needle. I had to dig around my sewing box to find a needle with a larger eye. You might not have this issue, as most people embroider with these needles already. As with all embroidery flosses, Glow-in-the-Dark Embroidery Floss separates into 6 strands. I stitched my little project with three strands. I did find the floss difficult to thread through the needle as the polyester fiber didn’t moisten as readily as cotton or linen floss.

Also, the threads really want to stay separated, although they weren’t nearly as wild and unruly as the satin floss I’ve used before.

This is a small tea towel project. Here at my house, we are bracing for another overnight snowstorm, so I thought a wee nighttime snowflake would be appropriate. Stitching on this went pretty smoothly, although I did find that the thread has a bit of a mind of it’s own. Since the threads want to separate from each other, I did have trouble with some knotting and slipping. Also, y’all, I make really perfect french knots. I don’t know what it is, but these sit up strangely and don’t look nearly as cute as I like.

Okay, but here is the real test. Does this stuff sufficiently glow in the dark? I was skeptical. But look! It really does! Even enough for me to get a fairly good photo in the pitch dark!


  • Polyester thread is sturdy
  • Glow-in-the-dark products and projects are fun
  • Thread has nice “body” and fullness
  • Really glows!


  • Threads separate
  • Not made from a natural fiber, so it has a synthetic feel
  • Only one color: white

I found DMC Glow-in-the-Dark Embroidery Floss at my local craft store in the embroidery section. Not all stores carry it. It is, of course, available at as well. It retails for about twice as much as other specialty flosses.

I can think of so many fun things to stitch with little glowing thread details! Are there any other specialty flosses I should test?

DMC Linen Embroidery Floss

I’ve been investigating the specialty embroidery flosses that are available. In my last article, I played with the shiny, modern satin embroidery flosses by DMC. This time I went traditional with the lovely linen threads offered by this popular manufacturer.

Linen is one of the oldest textiles in the world. It is a sturdy natural fiber from the flax plant, is stronger than cotton, and has a lovely natural luster. Linen is highly absorbent, and gets softer with washing. Linen does not “pill” as do many other fibers. The fibers of linen have a low elasticity. They do not stretch and are resistant to damage. You may have noticed this characteristic when ironing out stubborn wrinkles in your linen garments or table linens.
During my research for this review, I found that the United Nations declared 2009 as the International Year of Natural Fibers. I am not quite sure what to do with that information, but as Craft Critique Fabric Crafts Specialist I thought I should share that nugget of trivia with you.
This DMC floss comes in 24 beautiful colors, all coordinated, but limited to muted “natural” tones. I purchased a multipack at Michaels. The full price was $17.99 for 12 skeins. Two multipacks are available. I chose the one with more color variety… and pink. I like pink.
The multipack I purchased came with 10 cross-stitch patterns using their line of linen embroidery threads. I don’t have enough time as a Craft Critique reporter to finish an epic cross-stitch pattern like these, so I’ll keep these pretty patterns in my stash for some time in the future when my urge to cross-stitch returns. Still, it might be fun to try one of those butterflies or a single flower as an embellishment somewhere.

Instead I opted to use a pattern from this lovely book, Doodle Stitching by Aimee Ray. The muted tones and simple, whimsical designs in this beginning embroidery book will look lovely on the linen fabric I purchased for this project.

It is simple to trace a pattern onto your fabric. Since you will be covering up your lines, you can use a pencil, but if you make a mistake tracing, you might always be able to see your pencil marks. I prefer to use a disappearing ink marker and trace in a sunny window. The water soluble markers are preferable to the air soluble ones. You don’t want to lay your work down overnight only to find that your pattern lines have disappeared. Don’t ask my how I know this, but sometimes I am a slow learner.

It is not necessary to follow your lines exactly. No one will know that you improvised your stitching a little bit because the lines will disappear with a little spritz of fresh cool water.

My favorite stitch is the chain stitch, but I worked on some other stitches in this design like satin stitch and the long and short stitch. I found that this floss worked these stitches easily.

Sometimes the floss showed little thick slubs. They did not occur often and did not seem to show up in my work. This thread frays a bit as you work, so it is preferable to use short lengths (about 18 inches is what I prefer) when you stitch and not run the needle up and down the thread tail too often. In this photo you can see the little slubby “flaw” in the floss.

Unlike the slick satin floss I stitched with before, I found this floss to be sturdy and reliable. It behaved nicely and laid just where I wanted it to. My satin stitches were lined up nice and flat. I think it was even more cooperative because I was stitching on a natural linen fabric from the fabric store.

It took me two days to stitch this project for you and it looked perfect when I finished it, but I thought it was important to see how this floss stands up to the laundry. Into my regular washer and dryer it went with all my kids socks, kitchen towels, and other household laundry. I am happy to report that my piece laundered beautifully. All the fibers have the luster they started with. In fact, ironing enhanced their subtle shine.


  • Natural, premium fiber is perfect for heirloom stitching that will last generations.
  • Beautifully coordinated colors.
  • Sturdy, cooperative threads with a soft natural sheen.
  • Launders like a dream
  • Multipack comes with inspiring, easy to read, large patterns
  • Expensive compared to regular floss
  • Limited array of colors
  • Not easily found at all embroidery retailers
I found this package of floss at Michaels for $17.99. Individual floss skeins are available for about $1 each. DMC Linen Embroidery Floss is available online at, JoAnns, or directly from DMC.
I still love my regular cotton embroidery floss collection. I set aside my slick rayon flosses for some time in the future when hell freezes over. I determined that these linen flosses are lovely for heirloom work, and I might purchase the second set color pack so I have the complete set of colors.