Subverted Cross-Stitch Sampler


Contemporary needlework, as Mr X Stitch readily reminds us all, needn’t stay synonymous with the outdated imagery of cute country cottages or faded florals: of female family members sewing traditional, twee, or even – dare I use the word – ‘nice’ designs.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?



  1. OMG. Genius!!!

  2. That is so clever! I hadn’t realised they were logos until you mentioned it but i do recognise a lot of them

  3. really, really, I love your work… you inspire me. Cross stitch was the first stitch, thing I learned. It is wonderful therapeutic to do, but not all the designs with little bears and violets and roses. But what then? You make me think in a different way. Ideas will come. In the meantime: this is fabulous. 🙂

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