Changing the Perception of Cross-Stitching - One Stitch at a Time

It's time to lose the kitschy granny stereotype



Why do you bother with that? How much did it cost? I couldn’t be bothered with all that, What’s the point? Wow how old are you? granny crafting… old lady hobby … my grandma used to do that … I didn’t think anyone young did that anymore ……

These are just some of the comments I and many other cross stitchers have heard so many times when we say I like to cross-stitch never-mind the surprised or puzzled looks and smirks.

Yes cross stitching and embroidery are “traditional” skills. It was originally used to teach homely skills to young girls to learn alphabets and patterns to be used in household sewing. Motifs and initials were often stitched on items such as handkerchiefs or just to decorate plain cloths to be used around the house. I often feel when I say to people that I cross-stitch that this is what they assume I mean but cross-stitching has come along way and is not just about alphabets and shapes anymore, although there is nothing wrong with these and a lot of people still enjoy doing them, including me occasionally !

Why do you do it - I could say I do it when I feel the need to stab something many times but that makes me sound a bit scary. I do it for me because I enjoy it, it is a way to unwind and relax and at the end you have something beautiful to show for it that will last for years or something to give away as a very personal gift.

Cross stitching has always been around but it hasn’t always been “cool” but there does seem to be a resurgence with younger people becoming involved with the hobby especially with the subversive cross stitch movement. Cross stitch to shock your granny, maybe. The ironic twist of creating something pretty and traditional looking and adding a tongue-in-cheek, shocking or insulting phrase to it.


Pattern available here - Subversive Cross-Stitch

Opps I’m talking about stabbing again, maybe I do have a problem!

The availability of fan art and typical “geeky” charts showing movie characters/phrases or video game characters has also broadened the the appeal of cross stitching. My teenage son has actually asked me to teach him stitching as he wants to stitch his favorite video-game character! Again the fun ironic twist of combining pop culture with a hobby traditionally associated with grandma so there is a whole new up and coming market and new demographic of cross-stitchers joining the hobby.

Websites such as Pinterest have endless crafting inspiration and are responsible for me having tried so many hobbies, some I’ve stuck with others not so much but when some random crafting project pops up on your feed it is hard to ignore and you opens up a website you may never have thought to search for but you have an interesting picture pop up on pinterest and you are off down the rabbit hole of links and googling usually followed by a trip to the craft store.

The only way to change misconceptions is to show people how detailed and artistic cross stitch can be. There are now many companies licensing actual artwork and converting images to cross-stitch charts some of which are on a very large scale and incredibly detailed - no hard lines and jagged edges of years past, now modern and anti-aliased images and many are so detailed they do not require the dreaded backstiching.

A lot of people I have explained this to and shown what I’m actually working on have been very surprised and impressed with the result.

This is an example of the one I’m currently working on:

Blue Dragon

At the end of the day there is nothing embarrassing about cross-stitching if something gives you pleasure and is a relaxing hobby just do it - it doesn’t matter what people think

Own it, enjoy it and show it off and if people make fun just channel your inner honey badger

honey badger

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