This is a guest blog written by Laura of @that_crafty_bitch_.
My name is Laura, the maker and creator behind That Crafty Bitch. Before I take a dive into talking about my new skill (aka my new obsession with cross stitching) I first want to thank Madeline for giving me the space to share about how learning this new skill and exploring as a fiber artist has kept me sane during this period of social distancing and isolation. It is so important during this time where we have the technology to stay connected to connect! We are all doing the best we can and there’s no better time to support each other and build each other up.
Let's start with a little about me. As I mentioned in the first little paragraph, my name is Laura and I am the maker and creator behind That Crafty Bitch (or TCB as I like to refer to it). I currently live in Vermont and love having such a beautiful environment to inspire my fiber creations! I primarily work in earth tones and have a range of pieces that I make, including a recent beanie collection inspired by backyard birds of Vermont. I have always loved to make things and over the course of my life have dabbled in all sorts of making--be it painting or wire art or fibery things. I learned how to crochet in college, to knit and embroider once I got out of graduate school, and recently picked up weaving. I love experimenting, I love the freedom of fiber. Which is why, after being a little nervous, I decided to try my hand at cross-stitching.
While I love being at home with my yarn and knitting the night away, I consider myself an extrovert and was definitely disappointed with the upcoming orders of social distancing. That being said, what better time to learn a new skill than in the middle of the apocalypse!
I went to my local craft store after hearing of the first “stay in place” order and despite having a craft room full of yarn, I knew I would need something else to put my attention on. Making is a large part of how I relax and very much so my comfort zone; I found this cross stitch kit by June Bug and Darling with the message “Safe Space.” Prior to this, even though I have done embroidery and have worked with floss before, I had always been intimidated by cross stitching because it seems so calculated and exact; I like that a lot of the work that I do is more free form. Also, low-key hate counting or needing to pay super attention to numbers. But I really felt strongly that now was the time to give it a shot.
I picked this particular kit because I have a day job that I very much love and bought this with the idea to hang it in my office once it is safe for me to return to work. I quickly became obsessed.
I worked on one color each day. This allowed me to prolong my joy in the making of this project and slowly see the bigger picture. This picture shows where I skipped a stitch, so the bottom of this S is a little wider than it should be, but I am so proud of myself! My first complete letter!
What initially had intimidated me, was something that I really began to love about cross-stitching. All of these tiny squares individually don’t look like much, but when you take a step back and can see the bigger picture, it is truly magical. I was honestly amazed that what my results were looked like the pattern from the kit at all.
I don’t know if I would have tried to learn how to cross-stitch if it wasn’t for the current happenings in the world, but I know that I am glad that I jumped right in.
After I completed this project, I began to do some more research on patterns I would love to try. In my current efforts to continue to support small businesses in my area, I ordered a few more cross stitch kits and some Aida cloth to try out some pattern making of my own.
The second kit I started is also from June Bug and Darling and is called “Coral Flowers.”
For those of you who are makers out there and feel like you’re stuck in one craft, know that there are always opportunities to experiment and try new things, even if they intimidate you!! For those of you who may not be makers, but have always wanted to try cross-stitching--do it!!
I am so happy that I went outside of my comfort zone to learn something new, something that during this time of uncertainty, I can focus on and make something beautiful. I am looking forward to the day when I can hang my Safe Space piece in my office, but until then, I’m going to keep playing with fiber and go stitch up some flowers.