It’s cozy season, and I’m done going out. So, for those of us who haven’t fully succumbed to handcuff season, I suggest another way to spend hours letting off steam on netflix: cross stitch!
Listen to me: the cross stitch is simple. It involves stabbing objects with needles thousands of times, so it’s awesome to get out all the frustration you are holding back. You can create some really cool designs, creating a great juxtaposition between the supposed tradition of craftsmanship and all the wild things you come up with. It’s a great agitation to channel anxiety for those of us who can’t sit still watching TV. It is also extremely inexpensive when it comes to craftsmanship, involves no fancy equipment, and you can have hours of successful craftsmanship for under $ 10.
Inspired by one of my favorite Kristin Russo t-shirts, I developed a super simple and super queer pattern to share with all of you.
There have been a bunch of previous cross stitches here on Autostraddle, and we’ve posted tons of tutorials on how to do it, so if you want a good basics, check out Hansen’s roundup and stitch. Truly glorious subversive cross Model and instructions Vapid Fluff. The Subversive Cross Stitch how-to page is also very comprehensive. If you want to get comfortable this week and create the Queer and Forever Here cross stitch pattern I created for you, here’s what you need to get and what you need to do.
- Fabric: 14 point Aida fabric. The number refers to the number of small squares per inch – you can absolutely do it with a different size if you want, but if you are going out to buy something, this is a good all-purpose size.
- 3 “embroidery hoop: This design fits into a basic 3 inch wooden hoop, which you can then display as the finished piece, if you like!
- Embroidery needles: Get at least two, you will almost certainly lose one. Look for an eye large enough to slip on easily.
- Embroidery thread: Standard DMC embroidery thread, or whatever else you have around you. If you want to buy a starter variety pack, these colors will almost certainly be in it. If you want to get individual ones, there are recommended shades on the pattern.
- The scissors: A pair of scissors. I have a nice pair of bird embroidery scissors you can literally use anything that cuts.
1. Cut your Aida fabric into a square approximately one inch larger than the 3 “hoop.
2. Secure the fabric in the hoop. Place it on the small (inner) hoop, then pull the outer hoop on top, sandwiching the fabric. Make sure the fabric is taut like a drum – this will help make sure your stitches are even.
3. Cut a length of the first color you are working with, about 15 to 18 inches long. I make this pattern with 3 strands, out of the six strands that make up the standard embroidery floss. You can also do it in pairs, it will be just a little less full. Take your cut piece and gently pull three strands apart. I recommend starting with red.
4. There are several strategies for dealing with thread ends. I tend to make a double knot at the end of my thread, about 1/2 to 1 cm from the end. You can also leave it untied and hold it in place manually while you make the first stitches so that the thread does not pass.
5. Thread your needle!
6. While many patterns recommend starting in the middle to make sure you don’t run out of space, this pattern is pretty straightforward and you should be able to start at the top left – leave 3 empty squares at the top and left before the first one. row of Q.
7. Start sewing! Go forward from behind so that your knots are hidden. Each point will become an X, but start with half points (/////) to create the shape, then work back (\) for the second half of the X. That way you just need to actively watch a model half the time and more easily pay attention to the TV / audiobook / meeting you are doing this.
8. Color change: cut the remaining thread leaving about 2 inches behind. If you cut it too short, you risk it falling forward. Start with a new color.
9. Finish! Cut a long thread (about 24 inches) of a light color that you have in addition, tie a knot at the end and pass the border on the outside of the hoop at the back. Do this about an inch from the hoop. Each point should be somewhere in the range of 1 cm to 1 inch. Once you’ve made a full circle, pull firmly to tuck in the excess fabric. Make a few loops with the yarn so that it stays at the very end, then cut the tail short. (If you have a different preferred finishing method, go for it).
10. Once you are done, take a moment to cut the long tails off the back (but not too short or they will fall through the fabric!). Trim the edges of the fabric to round off, leaving about 1 to 1 1/2 inch of border.
11. Display or offer your beautiful creation!