Freakily Asked Questions

Is my satisfaction guaranteed?

Your satisfaction is our top priority - we built our reputation on it. The great thing about having our own little business is that we can make our customers super-happy and we've been doing it for 20 years (as of 2023). There's no one in "corporate" who puts limits on what we can say or do. We always go the extra mile to make sure you're happy with our products and service. We welcome feedback with open ears, too, so please consider us your pals and tell us what you think. We hardly ever get returns, but you can return or exchange a kit as long as it's unopened and in re-sellable shape within 30 days of purchase. 

What happens when I buy a PDF from you?

PDFs are delivered directly via email once you pay and check out. Downloads are limited, so PLEASE download and save each PDF to your computer.  PDFs are delivered through a service called Getsy, so if you don't see yours pretty immediately, please check your spam folder.

As of 6/2020, I will no longer be able to re-send PDF orders. It is very time-consuming for me--I've been a softie about it for a long time, and now I have to put my foot down. My workload has become more demanding and I simply can't send PDFs again after links have expired or files are lost, I get too many requests, so PLEEEEEEEASE!! SAVE THEM to your computer AND an external source if you want to keep them forever. These babies are YOUR responsibility, mama! Lost PDFs will have to be repurchased. 

Each PDF is just like a pattern in any of our kits: one page is a full-color pattern and another page of instructions. You can read the PDF from your portable device or print it out to use again and again. Of course, PDFs aren’t to be shared because they are copyrighted designs sold for on a single-use basis. By not re-distributing these patterns you're keeping my small home business going. I appreciate your honesty and restraint! Who needs bad karma, right?

What's in a kit? How is the Basic Kit different from the Deluxe Kit?

Both kits have a full-color pattern, instructions, thread and material. The Deluxe Kit also includes a 5" wooden hoop and two needles. The material is 14-count silver-grade white Charles Craft, which I have professionally die-cut with zig-zag edges to prevent messy fraying. The thread is DMC six-strand cotton (so you can easily find the colors at any craft store) and the needles are size 24 tapestry. Individual kits are housed in poly bags, so they wear better in stores and you can reseal your work in them to keep things clean. 


I'm buying this as a gift and I have no idea what to choose... help!

The Deluxe Kit is for the stitcher on-the-go, the beginning stitcher or the unorganized stitcher who'd rather have everything they need in one handy place. Basic Kits are for those who already have their own hoops, needles and a stash of thread. If you're buying several kits for one person, you probably only need one Deluxe Kit—they can use the hoop and needles with any Basic Kits. If you're not sure, give a gift certificate!

I'm not crafty, can I do it? Will it take days or years?

Counted cross stitch is one of the easiest forms of stitching because the material is a grid. It's kind of like connect-the-dots. It's enjoyable for crafty types, but also for people who like to do puzzles or solve problems. The pattern and instructions are very clear, all you have to do is read through them and you're good to go. I think you'll be surprised at how quickly you'll finish a piece—it's more a matter of hours than years. A  night or two of stitching in front of the TV should do it, or a cross-country flight. Then you're done—instant bragging rights! Remember: cross stitching is fun for a girl or for boy, young or old, reserved or gregarious. You can stitch in a bar or at home with your cat, with friends or on public transport - don't be shy! It's an equal opportunity pastime. For extra help, check out our animated instructions.  

I got my kit, now how do I transfer the pattern to the material?

Counted cross stitch is not transferred like an iron-on. In the cross stitch world, this happens very rarely, usually for children's kits that are very large and simple. The rest of it is called counted cross stitch because you transfer the image by counting the squares in the material as you work. I know that sounds daunting--you don't have to count ALL of them!--but it's really enjoyable once you get into it, I promise! Try it out and if it's still hard to get started, try looking on youtube for a video tutorial on cross stitch or check out our How-To page. Also, cross stitch can be meditative and very good for your mind.

I'm done - now what?

Slap it in a frame or if you're handy you can make it into a pillow. Look around craft stores for tacky items with cross stitch material built in, like pet bowls, diapers or guest towels. If you’re going to frame your work, I highly recommend Stitchery Tape (available in the Supplies section, where you can also purchase our signature ornate gold frames. Share your creations with us by posting a photo on social media - our links are on our home page, have at it! I really do scroll through everything tagged #subversivecrossstitch on Instagram so you may see a like or an encouraging comment from me! 

SHIPPING SCHEDULE: When will my order arrive, dammit?

Our shipping time has GREATLY improved! If you've got a question, email our Shipping Magnate, Chris! You'll get an email as soon as your order ships. It usually takes a day to three. Please check our current Shipping Schedule for more information. Priority Mail orders ship first and arrive faster. If you're in a TIZZY, email us -- we can always FedEx or I can just start running in your general direction with kit in hand.  

Will signing up for your newsletter make you like me more?

Are you kidding? If you sign up for my newsletter, I will love you forever and ever. Plus, you'll be the first to know about new stuff we'll be best friends. No spam and, if I annoy you, you can unsubscribe and walk right out the door. You won't even have to see me cry. Everyone wins. Well, except me. Obviously.

I want to take our relationship to the next level: do you sell wholesale?

I thought you'd never ask! Sure, I can get it for you wholesale. We're on Faire now, so it's a lot easier than doing it ourselves because math is HARD! Here's the path to Faire - they have deals for new customers like $100 off your first order. Working with them has been pretty flawless and so much easier for you, too!

If you want to carry my 2021 book in your store, contact Penguin Random House Customer Service: Tel: (800) 733-3000 Email:

I want to sell my own stitched pieces of your work. Is that okay?

I haven't developed a licensing program because I don't want to discourage your creativity, but at the same time please realize this is how I make my living. I trust that you will realize my patterns are copyrighted and you shouldn't use my original designs or design elements if you're starting your own company or side gig. But if you want to sell a few pieces based on my patterns that you've stitched, either online or at a craft fair, all I ask is that you credit Subversive Cross Stitch and mention the URL

If you're selling on Etsy, I’d rather you not put  “Subversive Cross Stitch" in your item titles because that is a little misleading since it is a trademarked proper name. Although, I realize it has kind of become a lower-case movement. I feel like there's room for everyone and I don't want to discourage you. All I ask is that we operate on a system of mutual trust and respect. However, if you're talking about recreating my work on a larger scale, then of course we need to talk since everything I do is officially copyrighted. If in doubt, just ask!  

Tell me about your latest book - what's in it and how is it different from the first one?

Funny you should ask, there's an entire blog post about it right here!

Will you sponsor my cause / my craft group / me in AA?

One of the good things about working for myself is that I can contribute patterns or kits to events and fundraisers. I'm particularly partial to animal rescue groups and women's rights organizations. I've also sponsored small craft groups that have had Subversive Cross Stitch theme nights. Pitch me an idea and I'll do what I can. Can't help you on the AA thing, though. I'd be a bad influence there.  

Are these the same kits I saw in Urban Outfitters or a store somewhere?

Yes! My kits have been carried in Urban Outfitters' retail stores, print catalogs and online in 2004-2005 and again in 2013. Urban also carried my first book, notecard sets, and the blue Q products. Oh--I also created three patterns that Urban made into needlepoint pillows in 2013, that was cool! You may also have seen my kits at's Red Hot Shop or BUST magazine's Boobtique, to name a couple of places. And I was a featured vendor at in the beginning. You may see coasters or pouches with my designs on them, those are licensed. And look for some super-fun new products with my designs coming from Fred in 2019!

You can also find my kits at several shops throughout the US and UK. In 2010, Noted produced a posh version of my kits in French, German and British English for museum shops throughout the UK and Europe. Also, Subversive has had a bunch of press that I can’t keep up with anymore, so who knows? If you see me in the press, wave and feel free to tell people you know me personally.  

left to right: buttons from Busy Beaver Buttons, needlepoint pillows by Urban O, gum by blueQ, special kits by Noted Co.

I saw your stuff at a gallery show. Do you sell finished, framed pieces?

I do have some finished, framed pieces available, usually in my Etsy shop, subversiveoriginals. I'm open to taking on custom work in the Subversive style—click on the CUSTOM link at the top of the page to send me a request. I also love large projects like billboards or book covers! Check out my Custom page to see some examples and let me know what you have in mind. It all depends on if I have time but if I don't I can suggest someone else. If you don't hear from me, that means I'm hella-busy. Sorry!

I STRONGLY encourage you to strike out on your own—there are several ideas in my book to get you started. I hope you'll drop me a note and share your stories of subversive adventure! Mi casa es su casa, so please make yourself at home and let me know if you need anything.

Thanks for visiting!