Skeleton Crew by The Cross-Eyed Cricket

A spooky design for a rainy dismal day (well here in Melbourne at least).  Skeleton Crew by Vicki Hastings of The Cross-Eyed Cricket‘s The Cricket Collection, chart number 260.

Cricket Collection - Skeleton Crew Cover

From the Designer


You swaggering soul
who ventures forth this night,
with the sea an eel-y green
and the moon a sickly sight.

Heed the mournful breath that
barely stirs your sail.
Dread the clammy mist that
drifts in icy trails.

Though brave you think you are;
it’s sorry you’ll be instead!
Beware!!! You foolish soul who
should be home in bed.


Why this chart?

Who doesn’t like a haunted pirate ship?  Some thing to stitch while watching the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise …

The Cross-Eyed Cricket really got into the pirate theme for Skeleton Crew. As well as the poem and a lovely acknowledgements area, they renamed all the DMC floss with theme names like Bleached Bone White,  Witching Hour Purple and Cauldron Brew Green.

I stitched on a friend’s version of Skeleton Crew as part of a Round Robin a couple of years ago.  This is a really fun design to stitch. Laura changed the white threads in the sails and skeletons to Glow-in-the-dark floss and it looked awesome at night!  It worked so well, I immediately bought some DMC Glow-in-the-dark floss for my project.  I haven’t started mine yet though ….

Skeleton Crew is primarily composed of whole cross stitch and backstitch.  Although recommended for 30 count linen, this design can easily be stitched on Aida or evenweave.  I recommend this design for an adventurous beginner to advanced lover of hauntings and pirate themes alike.

Cricket Collection - Skeleton Crew


All of the The Cross-Eyed Cricket‘s designs, including Skeleton Crew, are only available as printed charts.

Skeleton Crew is printed as a large tri-fold cardboard leaflet.  The leaflet is equal to three US Letter pages side-by-side folded to look like one page.  The leaflet is printed on both sides.

The outside side of the unfolded leaflet is printed on a glossy white surface and has the front cover, back cover and first main page when folded.  The inside of the unfolded leaflet is printed on the matte surface of the cardboard.

The front cover has a large image of the framed model stitch. The large image gives us a good feel about how our project will look once stitched.

The chart itself is printed in pieces; the top half on the inside of the unfolded leaflet, the bottom half on the outside of the leaflet. The Jolly Roger Flag, a skeleton and the head of the water serpent are given individual slightly larger charts to help with stitching the back stitch on these motifs.  These individual charts are printed in differing places on the 10 x 10 grid, so use them for backstitch clarity only.

The witch’s hat (prow of the ship) is also printed in a separate chart as it did not fit on the main two chart sections.

Unfortunately there is a slight, easily missed sign of the seven-row overlap between the top and bottom charts. There is no indication of the size of the overlap between the main charts and the witch’s hat (prow).

My round robin was composed of friends with many years’ stitching experience.  Each stitcher pretty much ripped out and stitched again at least half of the earlier stitcher’s work because it did not line up. I highly recommend making a working copy of this chart and taping or gluing the sections together so that you are working from one chart.  This can be unwieldy, but it is from my group’s experience, valuable.

Another option is mark a working copy of each segment of the chart, and highlight or mark the overlap sections for yourself.  These suggestions both take extra time before you begin stitching but they can save you so much time later on.

The designer must be aware that there are issues with the way the chart is presented as they offer instructions for the “creative page layout solution” on the inside front cover.

The chart is printed large enough to stitch from and mark off, but some of the symbols, especially the four-dot symbol, are printed very  light and difficult to see on the white background. I would slightly enlarge and darken the image when making a working copy.

The stitch count, model fabric and design size on a number of standard fabric are printed on the inside front cover.

The Floss list in both DMC and Anchor, and the symbol keys are printed twice, so they can be easily seen from both the upper and lower portions of the chart.

Unfortunately none of this information is printed on the back cover of the booklet so you have to open the chart pack to kit it up.

The witch’s eye and the sea serpent’s eye both contain quarter or three-quarter stitches; if you have trouble with stitching these on Aida, you may wish to stitch this design on an evenweave or linen.

Materials Required

To stitch the charts exactly as designed, you will need:

1 skein each DMC 310, 333, 240, 433, 471, 472, 502, 611, 613, 844, 900, 975, 977, 3826.

DMC B5200 - Snow White


1 skein DMC B5200 or White (or try E940 Glow in the Dark)


DMC 3865 - Winter White


4 skeins DMC 3865 (or try E940 Glow in the Dark)


R & R Reproductions 30 count Saltmarsh Green linen  (stitch count 267 x 221). Due to the partial stitches in the witch and sea serpent eyes this design is best recommended for stitching over two on evenweave or linen.

With 3 inch border allowance, recommended fabric size is: 24” x 21”  or  61 x 53cm  or  a fat half (26 x 35″).

R&R - Saltmarsh Green 30ct linen
R&R – Saltmarsh Green 30ct linen

For 14ct Aida or 28ct evenweave (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 25” x 22″  or  64 x 56cm  or  a fat half (26 x 35″).

Approximate cost for Project

Approximate cost to stitch this design using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do  not include postage):

Chart: $   8.00
Floss:  $   8.55

Total: $60.95  ($88.50 AUD  or  $87.95 CAD  or  €69.70  or  £56.35)

Places to Buy

The Cross-Eyed Cricket‘s designs can be purchased via your favourite Local or Online Needlework Store, however if you “are so located that no one can service your needs” then you can contact Cross-Eyed Cricket directly.


Colours Down Under has all the threads and a variety of plain fabrics in stock. Jo would be happy to order in the chart, and offers a 10% discount on the package (chart + floss). Mention this review when ordering.

OzStitch has all the threads and a variety of white and off white fabrics in stock.

Colour Cascade Fabrics has all the floss in stock and a variety of fabrics for you to make this design unique. Caitlin recommends Dark Side of the Moon or Devil with a Blue Dress On.

Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 30 June 2015.

Sewitall offer a range of hand dyed and printed fabrics to suit your needs.


Traditional Stitches in Calgary have other Cross Eyed Cricket leaflets in stock.  They can order in Skeleton Crew and kit it up for you!


Casa Cenina in Italy have Skeleton Crew in stock and can kit it up for you in a variety of alternate fabrics.

New Zealand:

Country Stitch “This one just begs to be stitched on a fabric that is stormy, moody and broody!  Thundercloud, Storm, or even Pirongia Mist (greys and moody purple tones).

Lilac Grove and Walnut would also be possibilities.”

United Kingdom:

SewandSo have Skeleton Crew in stock and can kit it up for you in a variety of alternate fabrics.

Chromatic Alchemy  “I think Skeleton Crew looks great on Maelstrom. This wonderfully quirky design really holds its own on the dramatic background.”

Crafty Kitten has a variety of fabrics and the threads to stitch this project.

Jodyri Designs “Here is the overlay on 28ct opal Brittany which comes out palest of my fabrics.”

Sparklies Such a fun but slightly sinister design needs a slightly moody fabric to really make those skeletons pop! I’ve chosen Moonlighting or Maelstrom as I think they would work well and be in keeping with the theme of the design.

Thread Pickerz Silkz  has a variety of silks you can use instead of DMC.

“it is my 2nd anniversary of thread pickerz and I have a few things going on. I have a sale up on all my threads untill 14th, (with many new colours being added at the start of the week). I am also having a prize draw (being drawn on the 1st may) to win an AAN Butterfly chart. Anyone who purchases from my site in the month of april will get their name put into the prize draw.”

Eileen has been updating the Thread Pickerz Silkz website.  She offers 10% off each silk thread as it is added back into the collection.  For readers of this site, she offers an extra 10% discount if you use the code: Xstitchreview

United States:

123Stitch has Skeleton Crew in stock and can kit it up for you!

Black Cat Stitchery in Illinois has Skeleton Crew in stock and can kit it up for you!

Erica is offering a 5% discount for readers of Cross Stitch Review.  Coupon code: CSRSPRING15. Offer ends 31 May 2015.

Stitches n Things in Michigan has Skeleton Crew in stock and can kit it up for you!

Fiberlicious has a great variety of cotton and silk flosses that could look superb on this design.

Mo’s Sale “My choice of fabric is as follows Opal 14 BA2, Linen 32 A13 or Aida 14 AD6”

Sunny*Dyes Teri suggests any of the following “spookytown, mermaid’s ocean floor, overcast, pacific sunset, sky and surf, tropics, carpe noctem, storm at sea”

Under the Sea Fabrics recommends “Skeleton Crew on Hurricane”


Who is your favourite pirate?

If you like this review, please consider sharing it with your friends, groups, newsletters. etc. Just make sure to include a link back here.

Last Updated: 15 April 2015