I frequently get responses from new folks who sign up for our newsletter, and someone recently sent me an email all about how they’ve loved cross stitching since learning as a young girl and haven’t been able to stop! I love this attitude.
It got me thinking about how many people there are out there who love to cross-stitch, yet it’s not the most “popular” hobby out there. It is truly the unsung hero of crafting.
Here are three reasons you should be cross-stitching:
1. Cross-Stitching is Good for You
When cross-stitching, you’re focusing on one thing – the pattern. It’s easy to let other worries slip aside when you sit down to work on a cross-stitch project. Alternately, when focusing on something like cross-stitch, one’s mind seems to be able to sort through the information of the day more easily, and begin to compartmentalize and relax.
A recent trend in meditation and de-stressing has cropped up: coloring for adults. My mom gave everyone in the family colored pencils and coloring books for Christmas this past year because of the mental benefits. Turns out, the same is true for embroidery!
According to an article at BodyandSoul.com, “Dr. Marlies Alvarenga, director of the Monash Clinical Psychology Centre at Monash University, says embroidery is known as logic relaxation.” (And there is a big plus, with this added benefit: “Alvarenga says focusing on a task for a long period of time has been shown to improve concentration levels and hand-to-eye coordination.”)
Here is another great article all about it.
2. Cross-Stitching is Creative
Creation is, I believe, in our “spiritual DNA.” Whatever your belief system, it is undeniable that humans are meant to create. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to run to the local piano dealer and begin composing a multi-movement orchestral masterpiece, or paint the next Mona Lisa. But it can certainly be argued: we are predisposed to creation. Think about it!
Humans create art, yes, but we also create systems, create other humans and more; buildings, scientific theories, novels, recipes, music, laws, gardens, technology, and families. We create routines and habits. We’re constantly creating.
Cross-stitching is such a wonderful way to satisfy the instinct to create. Whether you choose to starting from scratch, and make your own patterns, or follow the existing patterns others have made, cross-stitching is a beautiful marriage of color and texture that results in a fantastic sense of accomplishment, along with a beautiful finished piece of art.
Cross stitching reminds me of the Tibetan Bhuddist tradition of creating sand mandalas. They painstakingly create beautiful, colorful mandalas by pouring colored sand into intricate patterns. If you haven’t seen this done, you should Google it and watch it. It’s incredible. Then, because it’s a religious ritual, they systematically destroy the mandala. Now, unless you’ve made an error in your cross-stitch pattern and you need to get out the seam-ripper, we’re fortunate not to have to destroy our finished artwork! But YOU know the time, effort, and sometimes painstaking patience that went into your cross-stitched piece and it is DARN satisfying.
3. Cross-Stitching is “Me Time”
One of my favorite authors, Brené Brown, has done extensive research on the topics of shame, vulnerability, and guilt, and how these things get in the way of what she calls “wholehearted living.” She’s basically an expert on the subject of “how to be happy.” Pretty cool, right? Well, here’s what she has to say about love (something humans need to survive):
“Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.” – Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection
That’s pretty powerful stuff. Love can’t exist between two people if it doesn’t exist within each of those people, individually. We must learn to love ourselves in order to love others. What better way to get in touch with who you are, get to know yourself, and learn to love yourself than to spend time with yourself. You know – – “me time!”
Cross-stitching is a creative, calming activity highly conducive to a thoughtful atmosphere. A thoughtful atmosphere is highly conducive to constructive reflection. Learn to love yourself. Allow yourself the opportunity. Take time for you. And if you have to use the excuse “I’m stitching this as a gift for someone else!” then USE that excuse. Just sit down, and get reflective!
Whatever your reasoning may be, cross-stitching is a wonderful hobby. The unsung hero of crafting. Something wonderful, quiet, beautiful, and under-appreciated. If you know how, but haven’t stitched in years, start again! If you don’t know how. Learn! (Our free Cross-Stitching 101 Guide may be good for that!!)
It’s simple. It’s not bulky – you can take it with you in a purse! And it’s good for your mental health.
Why do you cross-stitch? What draws you to it? What do you like best about it? Let us know in the comments below!