feeling cross

for some reason my 6th grade class had a unit where we learned how to cross stitch. i have no clue if this was real curriculum or a teacher on the brink (it was in homeroom, not art!). i actually enjoyed it as a school subject for that week, but never stuck with it because, A: it took too long, and B: even in my style-infancy at age 10 i knew that the basic designs available for this medium were butt ugly (my opinion).

now that i am an adult i have a word to put to the style of traditional cross stitch: KITSCH. like grandmas love it and we've all seen it and it's kind of just says "Old Fashioned" to even see something cross stitched these days.

here's a sampling of some of the most "classic" designs that come to my mind when i think cross-stitchery ...along with their real titles and where to buy (dont you dare) and my revised titles. 

Gold Collection Petites - Patriotic Angel - Cross Stitch World
"Patriotic Angel" source
"Four Score and Seventy Years Ago...Uncle Sam Totally Hit That."

Dimensions - Three Bird Watchers - Cross Stitch World
"Three Bird Watchers" source
"Carnivores Premeditating"

Mirabilia - The Petal Fairy - Cross Stitch World
"The Petal Fairy" source
"Chaste Fairy Tempted by Stamen"

Design Works - All Steamed Up - Cross Stitch World
"All Steamed Up" source
"Teddy Gestapo Loads Up"

so imagine my surprise to find myself unwittingly in the needlecraft aisle of Joann this past wednesday, shopping compulsively for a cross-stitch starter kit...for myself! at first i attributed it to the new perfume i bought at banana republic. it smelled delicious on me in the store but when i bought a little bottle and wore it the next day, i kept getting distinct "Nana" undertones from it. like i'd look around for the elderly woman and then realize i was all alone with my granny-smelling wrist (no one else seems to agree with me about this, so i continue to wear it. grammy be thrifty, yall!).

so assuming the "Eau du Nana" did NOT seep into my bloodstream and age my style 50 years, what could have induced such a reversal? lemme tell ya: one single Etsy owner and her gorgeous modern designs! (p.s. this isnt a review and i wasnt given a single thing to write this).

i was gamboling down an instagram rabbity hole, stalking one of my followers when i saw that she had a photo of what i thought at first was a cool graphic print of tokyo. upon closer inspection i was shocked to find that it was cross stitch and that i was NOT repulsed by it! i did a little more digging and turns out this was one of many modern cross stitch patterns by the genius @craftnik who was selling a whole collection at her shop Satsuma Street.

in one fell swoop, this chick changed my perspective on cross-stitch as 100% lame and played out. her colors and designs and the way she displayed them (not a single lace-ruffled padded pillowy sign saying "bless this house" or something of the like) utterly freshened up the entire medium in my eyes and made me actually say I MUST HAVE.

she has a handful of adorable international city designs: 

little paris, little italy, little london.

but the one that got me INSTANTLY was the Pirate Ship:

Voyage - Modern Pirate Ship cross stitch embroidery pattern PDF - Instant download
the voyage pattern by satsuma street.

i LOVE the style and colors and knew that it would go perfectly with judah's medieval quilt.  

for less than $13 i had everything i needed to finish this project (starting out with NOTHING...sewing and cross stitch dont share a lot of the same tools beyond scissors) and will have tons left over if it catches on. the only thing not reusable was the $4 black cloth background. 

another pro: cross stitching takes about 60 seconds to learn. i got a quick run down with great pics from this site

so the 10 year old keight was definitely wrong about ALL cross stitch being totally not my style. she just hadnt found the right pattern designers. but she WAS right about one thing: it does take forever. it was disillusioning at first for an impetuous, rushy crafter gal like me to have invested about 4 solid hours into something and to only be this far:

and there are tons of mess ups, whatever. 

this is definitely not a "I NEED THIS ON MY WALL NOW!" sort of project (though i do!). its a labor of love. i mean youre basically painting a picture pixel by pixel. it's a much more relaxed do-it-while-watching-TV sort of craft than sewing a dress or something (nana would NEVER stitch abe lincoln's face with walking dead on in the background...but i would!) and its definitely more relaxING (balancing out the zombie panic in my psyche). and the type-A excel freak in me adores following a gridded map with color coded legend for where each and every stitch goes. that's just plain yummy.

so i dont know if this is a beginning of a beautiful and long cross stitching romance, but i WILL finish the ship and sail it over to judah's wall. if i do keep churning out this sort of thing, i feel like i have to be careful not to have it be EVERYWHERE in my house, you know? i just dont want people coming in my house and thinking, "THIS CHICK LOVES NEEDLEPOINT!" right off the bat. i'm not that far into my conversion yet. 

three cheers for the internet and cool, creative people ransoming an old-fashioned craft and making it blisteringly awesome!


  1. Kimberly Walker11/8/13, 1:28 PM

    Oh you make me laugh out loud while reading! Thank you! Cross stitch is a lost art these days. Most of the patterns are lame, old fashioned things. You can always make your own design up too on graph paper. You think you'll be done after that cool pirate ship but don't you think the little miss will want one too? I have a Victorian bride I started many years ago on taupe Irish linen that I should finish before my eyes get any older! Take my advice and stay away from linen. It looks beautiful but it takes FOREVER! Especially if it sits in your craft box for years! :)

  2. Thanks for sharing this shop! I've bought some patterns from the Wee Little Stitches shop on etsy (https://www.etsy.com/shop/weelittlestitches?ref=shop_sugg) for nerd-themed needlecraft. I am certain that "Pretty Little Paris" will end up in Hamiltot #2's nursery. I'm eager to see if you take up learning minuets on the harpsichord or become an elderly woman's companion on European travels soon.

  3. I used to cross stitch a TON in my younger years! and I LOVED IT! You may make me want to start again :)

  4. Be careful! It's totally addictive!