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Monday 22 October 2012

Not Your Grandma's Cross-Stitch

Cold evenings are a perfect excuse to take over the entire living room with craft projects. If you're anything like me, you'll have a Cupboard of Shame filled with half-knitted jumpers, beaded necklaces missing their clasps, and some sort of macrame thing that you started in a moment of boredom before wandering off to do something more interesting, like defrost the fridge.

May I suggest offbeat cross-stitch as your Grand Craft Project of Winter 2012? Cross-stitch is simple, satisfying, easy to do on the move, and you can do a small kit in an evening in front of the telly. And forget delicate flowers and twee houses - the new cross-stitchers are darker, sillier or swearier than that. These sites all offer PDF patterns that will be emailed to you straight away, so what are you waiting for? If you can count and hold a needle, you can get started tonight.

Subversive Cross-Stitch is the grande dame of cross-stitch, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. It remains pure awesome, crammed full with dozens of kits that mix traditional patterns with disgruntled text to make you do a double-take. 'Don't Be A Dick' is rule number 1 on the internet, or perhaps you want to remind visitors that Home Is Where The Vodka Is, or send Welcome, Tiny Overlord to new parents. Kits with fabric, thread and instructions start from $12, while PDFs are just $5. They're seriously easy, I promise, and immensely satisfying.

Floss and Mischief specialise in taxidermy without that whole dead animal thing. PETA aren't going to be up in arms about their beautiful cross-stitch beetle collection. Pick up a complete kit from £20, or a PDF pattern for just £6. They've got some great 'how to' guides too, like this one on how to frame your finished work in a hoop. Frame your finished beetles on your walls and you'll look like a scientist, or an adventurer, or just a lady who does not scream at spiders.

What Delilah Did has a remarkable range of monochrome cross-stitch kits, handily grouped in starter, intermediate or advanced categories. They've got plenty of gothic butterflies and birds, as well as cakes, crowns and keys. Kits start from £17, cushion kits - like this magnificent magpie - are £45, and PDFs are £3-£5. New to cross-stitch? Their free online guides will reassure and inspire you.

My favourite patterns are these 14 inch high - yes, you read that right - circus letters. You won't get them done in front of a single episode of Downton, but you might have one ready by the time it's warm enough to venture outside.


  1. LOVE this. I've been searching for a cross stitch pattern saying 'NO SOLIDS' to put next to my cantankerous downstairs loo. And my search for mango/anime cross stitch patterns is as yet fruitless...

  2. buttercream betty24 October 2012 at 13:58

    Bahahaha, mango lol my phone does that all the time!
    I love all of these, I'm a struggling craftist, as in I think I can do these things but never bother. I've had etsy and folksy accounts for months without doing a stitch (see what I did there?!)
    I am absolutely definitely going to make a start having seen this. I'm off to the fabric shop- wish me luck!!! :-)

  3. Love subversive cross stitch, have made a few of their patterns for friends they always go down well! X


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