Put simply, it’s the process of stitching a tiny ‘X’ -shape into material, over and over to create rows and columns which in turn become images and words. It’s also highly addictive!
A brief history
Cross-stitch is an ancient form of embroidery that has been used for centuries to decorate clothing, household items, and religious artefacts. Its origins are uncertain, but some believe it was developed in the Middle East or North Africa, while others think it was invented independently in Europe by nuns to create intricate designs on religious clothing.
Either way, during the Renaissance, cross-stitch had gained popularity among wealthy aristocrats and noblewomen who used it to decorate their homes and clothing. By the 17th century, it had become a widely popular form of needlework throughout Europe.
Traditional v contemporary cross-stitch
Traditionally, one could expect to see designs of flora & fauna, quotes from religious texts or whatever else was popular at that time in the world of the stitcher. My own grandmother had one with bumblebees I think.
I was curious about cross-stitch, as the simplicity and repetition appealed to me – it is literally creating a little ‘X’ over and over again, to create lines which turn into images or letters. Even the holes for the needle are pre-made, you’ve just gotta count!
As a high-school teacher in modern society at the time (2016), I was drowning in rules, conformity and bureaucracy. Although cute bumblebees are really lovely (and they definitely have their place) my brain yearned for something creative that went against the grain.
Cue the world of subversive, contemporary cross-stitch…
Think funny quotes, slogans and images, designed to make you look, and think, twice. Think risky humour against a floral background. An amazing mix of the traditional & the contemporary that would blend in seamlessly next to my grandma’s pieces… until you stop to read it of course! ‘Cats Before Twats’, anyone?
Itching to get stitching?
Check out my free guide on how to get started in cross-stitch. Whether you’re interested in the traditional or the contemporary, the technique, tools and materials required are identical.
Are you shouting “I want to stitch some subversive humour now!”? Then why check out my range of DIY cross-stitch kits? With all materials, patterns and instructions included, it’s never been easier to give this fantastically fun & simple craft a go.
Got the gear but need the idea? I got you – all my designs are also available as PDF patterns. Winning.