The faint scraping sound of thread being pulled through aida is a familiar and comforting memory from my childhood. My mum and grandma were cross stitch crazy, forever separating threads, threading needles and working up delightful masterpieces. I tried my hand at this craft, notoriously popular with ladies of a certain age, but didn’t seem to have the patience.
In the last couple of years crafts have seen a huge revival, and that includes the practice of cross stitch. After interviewing Sarah Corbett of the Craftivist Collective a year ago (sadly the interview never made it into the magazine I was writing for), I realised there was a whole community of cross stitchers out there who were hip, adventurous and under 40.
This lovely bunch of people even includes men (shock horror!), including the aptly named and super-cool Mr X Stitch. Aside from activism (craftivism), one major reason so many of these busy young people have taken up cross stitch is to relieve stress. A notorious stress-head myself, one year on I decided to finally return to cross stitch and give this stress reliever a go.
I started out with a beautiful butterfly pattern that ended up being far too large and rather too ambitious for a first go, so settled with something a little smaller instead. While up north for Christmas I went into Embsay Crafts and a funny little owl pattern caught my eye. Wittily named ‘Individu-Owl’, as you can see above it depicts a scene where three owls are giving a fourth owl, who is hanging upside down, a funny look, as if to say, ‘what are you doing?!’.
As the piece is no more than 10cm across, it didn’t take too long and gave me the chance to get back into stitching and see some results after not much time. I did my best to keep the back of the sewing as neat as possible – mum always stressed the importance of this – and after a few lunch breaks spent cross stitching I have a cute little picture.
Now the question is, what to do with it. Ideas on a postcard please! I actually just sewed it for the sake of it, and it was a lovely feeling to do something without thinking about the end result, or with a specific goal in mind. I should do things just for the fun of it more often.