Cross-stitch therapy |


A LITTLE SUBVERSIBLE: Abbie Pickrill is doing her part to derail cross stitch with her Stitchology cross stitch kits.


A LITTLE SUBVERSIBLE: Abbie Pickrill is doing her part to derail cross stitch with her Stitchology cross stitch kits.

Cross-stitch has spent many years languishing in a sort of design wasteland populated almost entirely by teddy bears, hearts, and spooky, faceless children wearing hats and holding hands (or whatever passes for hands but really looks more like stumps). Then, all of a sudden, cross stitch gave up on teddy bears and got a serious study.

When craftsmanship experienced its resurgence, cross stitch underwent a hell of a makeover. Cross stitch patterns these days come in all shades of funky – from witty lines to downright risky.

There is a whole industry dedicated to showing the world that cross stitch can be sharp.

So what is cross stitch? It is a form of “counted thread” embroidery. You do tiny x-shaped dots over and over and over and over again until you end up creating an image (or lose your mind trying).

To me, cross stitch is math barely disguised as a craft – you spend all your time counting to make sure your stitch goes to the right place – but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the skill of creating something that could so easily take you to the brink of insanity.

On the international cross stitch scene, it is impossible to surpass Julie Jackson by, one of the first to lose the cross stitch. She’s designed a plethora of models, published a book, and has something of a cult following.

Closer to home, graphic designer and Christchurch daughter Abbie Pickrill is doing her part to derail cross stitch with her Stitchology cross stitch kits (

Abbie says, “My mom and grandmother taught me cross stitch, but I gave up when I was 13 because it wasn’t cool. one of mine was supposed to come back to live in London, but I didn’t, so I started sending her funny hate messages.

“I found an abusive model for my friend in Julie Jackson’s book and made a few more of her models and then decided to start designing my own.”

The process of designing a cross stitch pattern is a laborious and time consuming task. Going to whoa, Pickrill estimates that she spends between one and three months putting each of her kits on the market.

“When I started doing this for fun, about three years ago, I was designing patterns on grid paper. Today I use software that speeds things up, but it’s still a slow process.

“For starters there are the challenges of making an image work in a grid. It doesn’t all easily translate into a lot of little squares and sometimes you have to do a lot of tweaking to make sure your pattern really looks like it does. is supposed to represent.

“Then I have to sew the pattern. I have to make sure that it, along with the instructions, are correct and the only way I can be sure is to go through it, stitch by stitch, line by line, and everything. do it myself. “

When it comes to inspiration, Pickrill’s approach is simple: “My designs are the kinds of things I want in my home. “

Think abusive Scrabble and 80s arcade games. She also likes to make rap lyrics downright respectable.

One of the great things about this is that you don’t need an Embroidery Guild qualification to do this. Once you have completed the basic X point and you know how to count, you can do it.


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