Subversive Cross Stitch

I finally got to do one!

I learned to do cross-stitch when I was very young. My mom does it and she used to do micro-cross stitch and sell them. They were these gorgeous little earrings and things the size of a pencil eraser and my mom was able to stitch little designs into them.

Anyways, I have a cross-stitch board on Pinterest because I like the idea of cross stitch but I also hate how long it takes me to do a full design. If I don’t have a purpose for a piece, there is about a 90% chance that it will not get finished.

But then the day arrived that I realized one of my close friend’s birthday was coming up! And I wanted to do a piece for her. She is such a sassy and amazing person, I knew I had to do a subversive cross-stitch. For those of you who don’t know, there is this huge popularity of subversive cross-stitch right now. Subversive cross-stitch is mostly sassy or bratty sayings and can be anything from “don’t do coke in the bathroom” to just some pretty flowers that has “fuck you” in the middle. Most people think of cross-stitch and they think of like grannies and things and while I do enjoy those types of patterns, they aren’t my own personal style. My mom actually made me a cross-stitch and sent it to me when I moved in. It’s very nice. It has some sweet thing like “the best gift is a hug cos it’s one size fits all” or whatever. She framed it and it’s in my donation box. It’s not my taste at all and I will never set it out in my home.

Anyway! Onto my friend’s present! She is my hype girl and often finds it hard to hype herself (how often is that true of basically anyone?) so I decided to hype her with this piece! And here we go!

Here is the pattern that I used. It was a free pattern and just thank God that my printer was able to print it without the black ink working haha. The numbers on the side correspond to the suggested floss colours. I have a collection of floss from previous pieces so I started to dig around in the box to see what I had. I had enough to match 5 of the 8 colours, and when I was done this was my first line up of floss:

The grey in the middle was supposed to be for all the lettering and I knew instantly that it was not going to be enough. So I made a switch to a lighter grey.

And then I got started. You have to measure the fabric, and I will fold it into fourths and mark the centre with a pencil. This washes off when you wash the piece after working on it. It’s easiest to find the middle and then do your counting from there because the pattern should also indicate where the middle is. I started with the letters since they were closest to the middle of the pattern.

After the letters were done, I switched to the flower petals with the blue colour. But I was only able to do the top flowers before realizing I didn’t have enough floss left to do even half the bottom ones…

Now, for anyone who doesn’t know about cross-stitch, you basically tie off each section after you are done. For those 4 petals close together in the middle, I would keep the floss going for one half (top and bottom) then tie it off and start again on the other side. So in order to remove all those stitches, I had to literally cut them all out and throw away all the floss. It was impossible to save the floss. I literally just had to turn it over and cut all the knots and stitches as much as possible without cutting the cloth and then rip all the stitches out one by one using the needle. Which took an entire night after work. The same amount of time it took to stitch them all in.

Once I was back to a good starting place, I needed to take a second and figure out my colours before moving forward. I needed a new blue for the flower petals and I wasn’t really loving the fox colours that the pattern had suggested. I was able to get either the exact match or just one or two colours away from the suggested colour for all three colours. I send my mom a picture and asked which set of colours she would choose for a fox. Here were her choices:

She picked the second one, which I think worked better too. It was the change to that more orange foxy colour that I really enjoyed. But then I needed to pick colours for the petals and the hearts that all worked well together. I ended up with these:

And after getting her eye of approval, and confirmation that the yellow would in fact be enough for what I needed it for so I wouldn’t have to rip those stitched out as well, I went back to work.

I did the greenery first this time!

And then moved on to the foxes. As you can see, I like to work with a hoop – it keeps the cloth stretched out and is just easier for me to work. The foxes took two nights.

Then I finished up the top by adding in the flowers.

Then onto the bottom! The flowers took another night, and then the hearts took one more.

I put it into a mesh laundry bag and threw it into my hamper for a week. It needed to be washed Friday night before mailing it to a friend on Saturday. But as the weather often dictates my weekend plans, I needed to hand wash it Thursday night so that it was in my work bag to mail on Friday after work. I washed it up, tidied up the edges and then I realized that the bottom flowers were about 2 stitches off centre to the left and then I wanted to set it on fire!!!!

But since my friend’s birthday is on the 19th and I didn’t have another week to focus on making it over again, I still sent it and I am hoping that she won’t notice HAHA even if she does, I know she is going to LOVE it!

4 thoughts on “Subversive Cross Stitch

  1. I’m catching up on my *December exploded into a chaotic maelstrom with no time for blog reading*, blog reading, lol. I wasn’t going to comment on them all (but had to with this one. You knot off your threads? I have been cross stitching for 25 years and have never once tied off a thread in a cross stitch. I just run the thread underneath the stitches. Same for starting, I either fold the floss in half and create a loop for the first stitch, or I stitch over the thread to hold it in place. Just saying so you don’t have to cut and throw out floss in the future. (it looks so pretty by the way, I bet your friend loved it!).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha I was taught to do that, and will start my threads that way, but for my own piece of mind I knot them after. I’ve had a piece half fall apart in the wash from a thread not secured so I tend to be overly cautious about it now


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