A comedy fan, Michelle has been producing cross stitch designs for several years now. With craftsmanship booming during lockdown, we thought it was a good time to focus on some of his UK comedy-related creations.
Take a look at some of her designs below, then keep scrolling to learn more about how Michelle does what she does. If you want a card of your favorite character or spot a design you’d like to sew that would make a great gift, the good news is that she sells them all through her Etsy shop. If you don’t sew, Michelle is always ready to receive commissions at any cost.
The computer crowd
The Gentlemen’s League
Are you Being Served?
The quick show
I am Alan Partridge
The thickness of it
Friday evening dinner
Morecambe & Wise with AndrÃ© Previn
Vic and Bob
The good life
Only fools and horses
The Royle family
Fantastic, isn’t it! We asked Michelle a few questions, to find out more …
How long have you been sewing, Michelle?
I have been doing cross stitch pieces for about five years now. I started with groups from Manchester and grew from there. I made the decision early on to only design the things I love, which is why I ended up with an eclectic portfolio that spans from Nuts In May to What we do in the shadows.
All of my designs can be purchased as greeting cards, digital templates, or finished framed xstitch pieces. It warms my heart to think that someone’s mom gets a Young Ones or Thick Of It card on their birthday rather than the usual hearts and flowers.
How long does each creation last on average?
It takes about three hours to design a new four-character piece, and on average a four-person piece takes about 10 hours to sew by hand. They are definitely a labor of love, fishing the side of obsession. Sewing is also very therapeutic, although my constantly riddled wrist would probably say otherwise. I work full time so I bite into the evening, during my lunch break, and I even tried once on the bus.
What was the most difficult to create?
My toughest pieces are the biggest because they take forever to sew.
I designed and sewn a piece tracing the full members of The Fall, who are my favorite band, and my huge Wicker man sampler, which mixes cross stitch and embroidery, was also gigantic (each took about 60 hours to embroider).
The wicker man The piece was purchased by the CEO of Co-op Food and it was weird to see it hanging on the wall behind her as she was recently interviewed on BBC Breakfast and Sky News.
Sometimes the biggest challenge is getting the tiny details. It took me ages to get the perfect hair for [Vic & Bob] characters Mulligan and O’Hare, and Kurtan’s clothes on my conception of this country just as well. I think I watched an episode three times to make sure I had it, and now they look like they’re all fresh from TK Maxx.
What are you most proud of?
I’m proud of my great Fast Show design, which I made because someone wanted a finished xstitch piece by Renee & Roy. I’m a huge Caroline Aherne fan so I had to make sure it was right. However, my proudest xstitching moment was when one of Steve Pemberton’s friends asked me to embroider The League Of Gentlemen for Steve’s 50th birthday. Sewing Tubbs and Edward’s tiny nostrils is one of the great joys in life.
What are your favorite shows and why?
All of the comedy designs I’ve done are because I love shows. No one in their right mind is going to create a Catterick card / xstitch and expect to make a fortune. I’m happy with that, that’s all that matters.
Comedy is an integral part of my life and always has been. My designs are truly fan art, a recognition of the deep impression they left on me. My tastes are polarized with classics on one end of the spectrum (The Two Ronnies, Morecambe & Wise) to darker, darker humor on the other (Julia Davis & Chris Morris), with the wild inventiveness of Vic & Bob and Garth Marenghi running somewhere in the middle.
Any ideas on who you could do next?
I’ve just designed some new special comedic Christmas cards, which always fall nicely over the holiday season, and I’m planning a huge design featuring actresses from the north over the years that I’ll call Funny Cows as a tribute to the Maxine Peake movie. Basically I’m looking for any excuse to sew Hylda Baker.