A Minor Obsession with Subversive Cross Stitch

A Minor Obsession with Subversive Cross Stitch

WARNING: language — but you probably knew that already, you smart cookie.

Last year I found myself pinning cross stitch and embroidery images.  Wildflowers and birds are a favorite, but it didn’t take long for me to discover subversive cross stitch.  I love them.  Their snark speaks to me!  But I’m not really a cross stitcher so I pinned without a plan (as if that’s something strange to do, hah!).

Then it was summer, my husband was gone on a business trip, and I had an impulse to just do it.  I had floss.  I had Aida.  I had needles.  (This is what happens when fiber arts are your jam!)  I printed out a free pattern and was off to the races.

Domestic Cross Stitch in progress

The beauty of it was hearing friends and family reminisce about stitching they’d done and how they’d like to do it again.  And cheers from my cross stitchers.

I Put the Mess in Domestic Cross Stitch

My tasteful, funny declaration worked out just fine!  Cross stitching went faster than I expected — and I anticipate that one could go even faster with experience.

Behold! The Cross Stitch Pattern to Rule Them All!

But this wasn’t really what I wanted to make.  I wanted to justify buying a pattern that I had been eyeing for months.  It wasn’t expensive, but as a knitter I know how slippery the pattern buying slope is and I wanted to make sure cross stitching wasn’t a hateful way to spend my craft time before I committed cash to a project.

Behold the Field cross stitch detail

This one took longer.  I made more mistakes.  But I stuck with it and eventually finished.

Behold the Field cross stitch

This piece speaks the secrets of my soul.  Now you know.

“Where Are You Going to Hang It?”

Many people who saw me working on it thought it was funny.  Several silently nodded and moved on.  People were really curious about what I was planning to do with it.  Were they worried I would give it to them?  Kudos to my sister-in-law Abby, who offered to own it if I didn’t want to keep it.  But no, this beauty is all for me!

Things I Learned Whilst Subversively Stitching

I learned that I don’t want to do larger pieces.

I learned that I love doing letters!

I learned that filling in shapes was boring.

I learned that I am not going to wake up one day and exchange all my yarn for floss.  But I might indulge in a little X-X once or twice a year.

Have you done any subversive stitching?  Got your eye on any patterns?

A Minor Obsession with Subversive Cross Stitch

The Shawl Collar Cowl Is a Hug Around Your Neck

A photo of Matt modeling his new Shawl Collar Cowl

Earlier this year I started a Pinterest board for my knit-worthy family members to pin things they’d like me to make them — primarily knitting, but there are no rules … and no guarantees.  I got the idea from my friend Tiffany after hearing that another friend of hers started a shared board for people to pin things to that they wanted Tiffany to make for them.  Tiffany obligingly follows through, good soul that she is.

My Make for Me board is a lot of fun for me to look through.  It’s interesting to see who is pinning to the board and what is catching each person’s eye.  If you are on Pinterest, I recommend setting up a shared board or three.  Matt and I also use a shared board for recipes and that has worked out well.

One of the items on the Make for Me board is the Purl Bee‘s Shawl Collar Cowl.  If you’ve been reading here during the past twelve months, this pattern will be familiar; I tried to make one for my brother last December and tragically ran out of yarn.

photo of an unfinished Shawl Collar Cowl

But the idea wouldn’t die.  Matt decided he really wanted one for himself.

That gave me the perfect excuse for a tiny yarn bender last month when Abbey and went to Ewe-Nique Yarns in Brighton for a little therapy shopping.  I knit this cowl out of Cascade 128  Superwash in loden green and beige (not the official color names).

A photo of my finished Shawl Collar Cowl laying on the table

Let me tell you, this this li’l fiction of garter rib and stockinette is no stroll in the park.  You might think it’s an easy-peasy pattern. Or you might think the tricky part is the cross over.  No, no, no.

A photo of Matt modeling his new Shawl Collar Cowl

You know what kicked my ass?  The increases.  I’ve been knitting ardently for twelve years and I was nearly felled by the four different M1 (make one) increases in the tightly knit stockinette liner.  I got holes, I got stitches slanting the wrong way, I missed increases entirely — it was a hot mess.  Repeatedly!  After ripping and re-knitting the first half dozen rows three times, I wrote out every row on scratch paper, along with a shorthand description of the increases, and then I was able to make progress.

A photo of Matt modeling his new Shawl Collar Cowl

During this ten day adventure, I got a message from a fellow knitter on Ravelry who found my in-progress cowl and asked me how my project was going and if I was having as much trouble as she was with the dart decreases.  First time in seven years on Ravelry I’ve had a message like that.  Oh the pathos!

A photo of Matt modeling his Shawl Collar Cowl

She found her way out of the woods, as did I, but I’m here to tell you that, while the Shawl Collar Cowl pattern looks modest and unassuming, it’s actually rather spicy and takes some attention to accomplish. Lesson learned: stick to basic socks for mindless knitting.