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7 Essential Cross-Stitch and Embroidery Sites

September 30, 2008
by Colleen Brondou
With the days of hand-stitched bunnies and solemn proverbs firmly behind us, cross-stitch and embroidery are riding the wave of the alt-craft revolution, employed in bold subject matter that blurs the line between craft and art. Here are seven sites that offer sassy patterns, irreverent kits and fun and accessible demos and instructions, as well as commentary, inspiration and a whole lot more.

Cross-Stitch

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If cross-stitch is your thing, then Subversive Cross Stitch is your site. You’ll find lots and lots of kits for sale, but not with slogans like “Home Sweet Home” (more along the lines of “Bite Me,” “Irony Is Not Dead” and many more that we can’t reproduce here). The helpful “how-to” section has simple animated instructions to get the novice cross-stitcher off to a good start, and a cross-stitch text generator that transforms whatever phrase you enter into a pattern on graph paper that you can print and stitch.

Radical Cross Stitch is “the home of seriously subversive stitching” and the Melbourne Craft Cartel Market and Podcast, a community of crafters making irreverent objects with recycled materials or innovative methods. Expect to find cross-stitch with a political bent: think pieces celebrating women’s rights, alternative energy, the environment and more. The site is a bit confusing to navigate: try browsing the drop-down menu of archives or the tags listed on the right of the homepage.

Not satisfied with the patterns you’re finding online? The Web site microRevolt offers knitPro, a web application that takes digital images and transforms them into knit, crochet, needlepoint and cross-stitch patterns. Simply upload your favorite image in gif, jpeg or png format, choose your craft of choice and the site generates a nifty pattern. Visit the microRevolt reBlog to find even more patterns using the search field.

Embroidery

If you’re new to embroidery and don’t have someone to show you the ropes, it can be frustrating when you first get started. Needle ’n Thread comes to the rescue. It’s not a hip site, but it gets the job done with a complete video library of more than 50 embroidery stitches. Each video is narrated by Mary Corbet, a lifelong embroidery practitioner, as she demonstrates the techniques. Even if you do know how to embroider, you’re likely to pick up a few new tricks.

Sublime Stitching
takes embroidery to a whole new level of cool. Look for affordable patterns depicting sushi, pirates, sexy librarians, vital organs and so much more. The site also sells kits and all the tools and textiles you need to get stitching, and the “How-To” section has a glossary of needlework terms and a “Total Beginner’s Article” for the uninitiated. Don’t miss the “Customer Gallery” to see what your fellow seamsters are up to and get inspired by their creations.

Embroidery as Art is the blog of Jenny Hart, founder of Sublime Stitching. Hart elevates embroidery to, well, an art form. Though the blog itself is rather spare, don’t miss the links on the right to her site and her Flickr portfolio. You’ll be amazed by the painterly quality she achieves with needle and thread as she creates portraits of such varied characters as Iggy Pop, Edith Piaf, her mother and Dolly Parton. The blog also introduces other artists working with thread, both on fabric and on porcelain, providing even more opportunities for inspiration.

Feeling Stitchy is a group blog devoted to embroidery that’s loaded with photos of projects that are as varied as the contributors themselves. Look for embroidered buttons, ironic slogans, sinister kittens, fabric collages and tons more. The links on the right are a gateway to a treasure trove of information: find tutorials, more blogs, interviews with other stitchy artists, how-tos and a label cloud that lets you browse content by words like “inspiration” and “freebies.”
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