Stitching with Electroluminescent (EL) Wire


So, you may remember my EL project from a few years ago. I mentioned it on social media and it sounds like a lot of you are interested, so I’ll share what I remember–mostly I remember that it was hard to find things and put it together!

There are a few resources out there that explain what we’re working with here. Basically, you’ll need to find some kind of grid to stitch on (or some people use this on their clothing at raves and whatnot). Then, you’ll need a sound activated EL kit (I’ll list some resources below).

First up, a little basic info from ellumiglow:

What Is EL Wire?
EL Wire is a thin copper wire that is wrapped in a colorful plastic coating. Inside the plastic coating is a copper wire that is dipped in the powder form of the element Phosphor. This is what makes EL Wire glow. Wrapped over the top of the EL Wire are two of the smallest wires you have ever seen. We call them “Angel Hair” wires. They are about the size of a human hair, so the term is pretty fitting.

How do I make EL Wire glow?
EL Wire does not contain its own magical powers, but once you get it up-and-running, you will see that it does create its own magic. EL Wire needs a power source to glow, and for that you have a couple different choices: ready made kits, plugging it into a wall outlet, or hooking it up to a battery pack. EL Wire doesn’t run on a common household power, because it uses a special high frequency alternating current which enables the wire to glow.

You’ll need an EL kit (which includes a battery pack) on Amazon or numerous places. Here’s a good example of what you’re looking for–don’t forget to buy one that responds to sound – is sound activated.

But wait — what are you going to stitch on? I really can’t remember where I found my wooden grid, but you could also pick up some pegboard from a local hardware store. Most larger home centers carry it unfinished and in pre-finished white. Woodgrain and other decorative panels can be found, and you can also buy metal pegboard panels (how cool would that be?). Standard size holes are 1/4″-dia. and spaced in a 1″-on-center grid. That’ll work!

I was going to say you should make sure that the width of the wire will fit in the hole (I had an issue with this), but if you use standard pegboard with quarter-inch holes you should be fine.

So, once you have these materials together, you just need to decide on a simple pattern (at least to start, but someday you can make a big installation with several colors–send me photos!)

An important thing to be aware of as you “stitch” with EL wire: it doesn’t like sharp angles. So, when your brain tells you to tighten the stitches, don’t! In fact, if you make a crease in EL wire, it may cause that crease to lose color on the bent part. 

So proceed with caution. And be sure to tag us on social media (#subversivecrossstitch), I can’t wait to see what you do! Here’s what I did for my mom:

All of our free PDF Cross Stitch Patterns in one place!

If you’re familiar with Subversive Cross Stitch at all you know that we love to create and share free patterns whenever we can. We’re big believers in encouraging everyone to slow down and make something and if our free patterns can be a gateway drug to more stitching in your life you know we’re here for it. You can find every free cross stitch pattern we have ever created right here. That’s over 25 free patterns! Here’s some of what you’ll find there:

Sure the pandemic is starting to slow down and we’re all coming out of our houses more now. But do we really need to? Seems like staying home may still be the best strategy and this pattern feels timeless. Just relax and home and don’t answer the door!

Ruth Bader Ginsberg was an icon and a legend and we’re still not over the fact that she’s gone. This RBG cross stitch pattern pays tribute to this amazing woman who spent her lifetime fighting the good fight for all of us. A sweet reminder.

Another woman we tend to celebrate a lot around here is Amy Sedaris. If you haven’t watched her latest show At Home with Amy Sedaris what are you waiting for? She’s a comedy genius and Ronnie Vino is one of our favorite characters on the show. Here’s a clip so you can see for yourself why we had to make a Ronnie Vino cross stitch pattern. BONUS: Amy herself accepted our offer of the finished piece and it now resides in her home with her rabbits!

You’ll also find free font patterns, an optical illusion snake pattern, and as always some fun snarky reminders.

Go get ’em!

New Halston Patterns – Pick Your Palette!

Halston Cross Stitch Patterns

Surely you’re watching the new Netflix miniseries about Halston, right? I’ve been jotting down little bon mots from the show because they inspire new patterns (I wonder how Halston would feel about being immortalized in cross stitch?). And since Halston would definitely want you to have choices I made this pattern in both Spring or Fall 1970s palettes for you to choose from. Both available in our PDF shop now! ❤️

Spring palette–very carefree in Paree!

Fall palette–for shopping trips in NYC.

There’s sure to be more quotes soon… stay tuned!

Chris Hemsworth – Sexy, sexy cross stitcher

Pardon my bad Photoshopping, but MY OH MY I couldn’t believe that the best of the Chrisses (besides my Chris) talked to W Magazine about his love for cross stitch:

“I remember doing cross stitch and for whatever reason, anything for me as a kid, I had a lot of trouble kind of focusing on one task and sitting still. I was pretty active. But anything really detailed where I had to sort of physically and mentally be involved and anything could hold my attention was a big plus for my parents, in particular. For some reason, cross stitch was one that I enjoyed.”

Yas! Cross stitch is good for all of that, you’re so right. What were you saying again? I feel faint.

As Michelle N. said on our Facebook page: “wonder how many times he got a Thor finger.” ZING!

Fall and Halloween Designs

We have so many options for fall and Halloween. The most popular, taking the internet by storm, is this one – based on the hilarious McSweeney’s article.


But there’s more! Available as kits and PDFs. Check the NEW page for all the latest.

And in PDFs:

Quite a collection! Get to it, time’s a wastin’!

Cross Stitch “Bombing” in Spain

I don’t know much about this except what little I could find online. Apparently it’s a cross stitch bombing in Valencia, Spain:

“Lope de Vega of Valencia Square is located in the heart of the city, between Plaza de la Reina and Plaza Redonda. Although it is small, has a significant flow of neighbors and especially tourists, they walk through the old town in groups. For several months, also it has a new attraction: a facade decorated with cross stitch.

It is the work of Raquel Rodrigo, Valencian designer, 30, who last November participated in the Festiva Intramurs. Her work decorated the facade of the store of a bar/restaurant, Ocho y Medio, in Lope de Vega square. And there it has remained since. Hundreds of tourists and locals pass by Lope de Vega square every day. And many of them are amazed at how unusual to find cross stitch decorating a wall.”

Oh, and here’s a video!

Needlepoint and Cross Stitch

Great article from Yahoo DIY today about Needlepoint here.

You know, any of my patterns can be turned into needlepoint. For example, the two pillows above that Urban Outfitters produced a year or so ago — these came from cross stitch designs of mine. You can always add more in the foreground if you don’t want to stitch a lot of the same color background. Experiment, jazz it up! See what happens! And send me photos if you do. Happy New Year!