Cross Stitching My Heart Out


I am quite the nervous Nellie, panicking Patsy, anxious Angela type. I spend more time looking at my to-do list than actually accomplishing things on it. To center my thoughts I usually have to do something detailed or tangentially productive before I can get to the guts of my day. This usually manifests itself in the form of doing dishes, scrubbing the bathtub or organizing the bookshelf by color. Lately, I have found cross stitch as a way of gaining focus. Concentrating on the tiny x-shaped stitches brings me to a relaxed state.

Back when I was 7, my mom bought me a maroon colored sampler hand towel, some pink thread and a couple appliqué roses. I spent the better part of our car ride to Maryland embroidering my initials across the towel. Although it’s taken me 15 years to return to the craft, I enjoy the bits of nostalgia as I remember working mercilessly on my towel as we wound through the Shenandoah Valley.

Port Republic battlefield in Shenandoah Valley

These days, cross stitch is experiencing a comeback along with many other fiber arts like knitting and crocheting. Designs have grown from granny-style floral samplers to more modern hipster-ish incantations like sushi, Queen Elizabeth’s profile and a Polaroid camera.


My favorite cross stitch purveyor is Slipcover Your Life over at Etsy. You can buy a complete kit with hoop, thread, pattern and all or simply download a PDF file to get started right away with your own materials. I just nabbed the Keep Calm and Carry On Kit. Let’s hope it will help me cross more things off my to-do list!


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