Contemporary needlework, as Mr X Stitch readily reminds us all, needn’t stay synonymous with the outdated imagery of cute country cottages or faded florals: of female family members sewing traditional, twee, or even – dare I use the word – ‘nice’ designs. This is perhaps especially relevant within the medium of cross-stitch, many people’s ‘go-to’ genre upon the contemplation of needlework, and one which has more than its fair share of the cute, kitsch, and – well – uncorrupted.
This growing ethos of the slightly subversive, something I enjoy bringing to a lot of my work, inspired me to re-engage with my childhood passion for cross stitch. It was the first needlework I ever learnt to do, and although I was never personally made to painstakingly work a traditional ‘sampler’, the counted-stitch sampler nevertheless retains a prominent position both historically and in the plethora of patterns available today.
My sampler represents a contemporary take upon this format, complete with alphabet and poem. It was stitched over a single square of 28ct eavenweave using one strand of DMC, the finished dimensions being just a little under A4. I charted the whole thing myself on graph paper (lacking a good quality digitalisation computer software!), a complicated process yet one which I felt inkeeping with the ‘historic spirit’ of the piece. Amidst pages and pages of squared paper with a biro kept close at hand, the pixelated logos piled up until I had enough to comprise the entire alphabet from. The Nintendo ‘N’ was particularly dificult to fit, whilst remaining recognizable, into the allocated space. Can you name them all?