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My Perfect Hobby: Counted Cross Stitch

This has nothing to do with travel, but it’s a big part of my life that I don’t talk about a whole lot, so I thought I would share.

From 2010-2015 I spent a large part of my time living out of suitcases. It was a crazy exciting period of my life, where I got to travel far and wide and have amazing experiences, but I didn’t have time for many hobbies. When we got our first apartment in Seattle and committed to being real people again, one of the first things I did was start looking for something to occupy my hands and brain when I wasn’t constantly working (this is also when I started enforcing the concept of workdays and weekends after years of workaholic life).

I love to cook, but you can’t spend your whole life in the kitchen. I wanted something I could do while watching TV because, well I really like watching TV. I also wanted to do something creative, but I’m not a very artistic person. My friend Erica suggested I think back to my childhood: what did I like to do as a kid?

That’s when I remembered cross stitch. I used to do tiny little projects for a couple of summers-  stitching little animals from kits. I remembered really liking it. So I bought myself a small kit to test and an addiction was born.

One of my first stitching projects

Now almost every evening  you can find me  with needle and thread in hand, quietly creating pictures across cloth. It soothes me: it’s so orderly, so organized, yet so exciting watching the pictures come together. Focusing so intently on making one tiny x after another is almost meditative. It’s  the perfect way  to quiet my brain after a long day of writing, working, chasing Marcella and general adulting.

Cross stitching takes patience. It can take weeks, months, sometimes even years to complete a project. You can work for a solid three hours and the difference will be barely perceptible. It’s easy to make mistakes and not uncommon to spend an hour stitching, than another hour tearing out what you just did because you were off a row. Some may find it tedious, but for me it’s very rewarding.

I’m also pretty  good at it, if I say so myself, and that feels great. I’ve created wedding samples, baby gifts, landscapes and funny words of inspiration. I love giving people art that I’ve worked so hard on. At the same time this year I’m trying to make more for myself and my house.

So here are some of (but by no means all of the pieces I’ve stitched over the last five years).

Christmas present for my mother, 2018. It says “Love is knitting for you” in Italian. She loves to knit.
Baby present for a friend
Italian landscape for my inlaws
For a sick friend
Baby present
Wedding sampler
quick little political stitch
Another gift for an ailing friend.
Christmas stitch! I want to make this into a pillow.

I have about half a dozen projects in various stages of production now, some of which might take years to fully finish. I don’t mind though. Like so many things in life, stitching is about the journey just as much as the destination.

current work in progress

2 Comments

  1. Krystal on February 13, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    These are all so beautiful! I used to cross stitch; it was so much fun. I haven’t done it in years, though. I’ve recently taught myself to crochet and it’s quickly become my new obsession. I am always finding new interesting stitches to try out! My goal for this year is to start an afghan that uses a different stitch every few rows, like an embroidery sampler, all in one color so it’ll look intentionally chaotic. I just need to find just the right yarn (another quickly growing obsession – so many options, but so hard to really choose the right thing when you prefer to avoid synthetics!). I can’t wait to get started! I can easily understand your love for your cross stitch. 🙂

    Embroidery thread is probably easier to cart around on travels than skeins of yarn and a half finished blanket though lol. I’ll have to consider that if I ever want to travel with my hobbies in tow.

  2. Luisa Gioffre Hughes on February 15, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    I didn’t realize you did so many! they are all so beautiful!

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