Why Cross Stitch?

Totoro

I wasn’t seeking out another hobby when I rediscovered cross stitch – I’d learnt it as a child, but that was a very long time ago.

Five weeks ago I stumbled across the Craftivist Collective, and felt like I’d found a home. I’m passionate about social justice, think it’s important to reflect on big issues, find a state of ‘flow’ when I craft, and would like to be an activist but have yet to find my place as an introvert in that world. The collective seemed tailor-made for me.

I ordered A Little Book of Craftivism and a mini protest banner kit, and realised why embroidery is a great fit for craftivism: it’s such a direct way to communicate – whether the aim is beauty, meaning, or both.

Compared with knitting and crochet, where you create the fabric stitch by stitch, when you embroider you use an existing fabric and embellish it. When your aim is to communicate with your audience, getting straight to the message saves time and energy.

It’s a very beginner-friendly craft: you don’t need a lot of specialised knowledge or equipment, and the results of your labours are visible immediately. Even the more complex patterns require only patience, not necessarily years of practice or skill.

It’s also a great activity for warm weather climates, and very travel-friendly: you can have a whole stash of floss tucked away in one little box.

Embroidery and cross stitch are ancient arts that have been practiced all over the world, so there are centuries of rich tradition to draw upon for inspiration.

As well as all that, it’s fun. And that’s reason enough for me.

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