Old-Fashioned Hobbies: Cross Stitch

When we are sourcing items for our shop, I'm always on the lookout for embroidery. I love it, personally (and I do tend to stock items I love), and it sells pretty well both in-store and online.

As with many handcrafted items, such as crochet and quilts, it's rare to sell an embroidered item at a price commensurate with the labor it requires to create. Unfortunately, unless you're a true artist, you'll have a tough time crafting for profit. To be honest, there's more money in creating patterns and teaching people to make these items.

However, most crafters aren't in it for the money. They do it because it's an enjoyable pastime; it relieves stress and boredom. Crafting can be practical, too; quilts keep you warm, crocheted doilies and antimacassars protect furniture, and they all enhance the beauty of our homes. As we stitch, maybe we think about the item becoming an heirloom to be treasured by the generations to come.

Cross stitch is a particular type of embroidery, mostly made of, well, crossed stitches. Thousands and thousands of little "X" stitches. They can be any size, any theme, and any level of complexity from simple geometric patterns to intricate work resembling a painting. The earliest cross stitch was blackwork, created with black thread on white fabric, dating back at least to the 16th century, maybe even before that. Later on, young girls made cross-stitch samplers to practice and show off their sewing proficiency.

Collectors love antique cross-stitch samplers! So do I, but they're not easy to find. Reproductions, on the other hand, abound. In fact, here are two I just picked up last week, for sale in our shop. They're not old — one is dated 1980, and the other one has a date hidden behind the frame: 1995. I still love them, though. Aren't they lovely?

In fact, I love them so much that I decided to make one myself. As a beginner, I bought a kit, which comes with the cloth, pre-cut thread in all the right colors, and a grid pattern. It's kind of like paint-by-numbers. This is what it's supposed to look like when finished:

Here's my progress thus far:

It's not a craft for those who enjoy instant gratification — this is taking forever! It's rather addicting though. In fact, I can't think of a better message for my first cross stitch sampler than the one on this piece, can you?

If that goes well, I may try out some more traditional embroidery techniques. Isn't it amazing what people could accomplish before the days of TV and computers?

There's a reason that people enjoy making handcrafted items — sewing, candle making, woodworking, knitting, and any number of other hobbies, despite the fact you can buy most of these items in the store already made. In doing it yourself you ensure it's done well, and you can express your own personality and creativity through the process.

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Lamplight Antiques                                                               LamplightAntiques.com
55 S. Main Street                                                                   Facebook.com/LamplightAntiques
Springboro, Ohio 45066                                                        pamela@lamplightantiques.com
(937) 748-9270


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