I've been doing cross stitch for a long time and have heard all kinds of generalizations about us stitchers. It's kind of sad to hear all of these false assumptions about me and my fellow stitchers and our favorite pastime. So not long ago, I decided to do a survey. A very informal, non-scientific survey, but my questions got some interesting answers. My survey was done on the 1-2-3 Stitch message board, which I like to visit. I asked three very straightforward questions hoping to debunk some of the meaner myths about stitching and got 95 replies.
Myth #1: People who do cross stitch are all old ladies. Sorry, I'm not buying this one. My survey showed that my respondents had an average age of 54. That's not an old lady age, especially since 50 is the new 40. I keep telling myself that. The youngest person surveyed was 23 and the person with the most birthdays was 84. I also know for a fact from working at The Stitch Store and from blogs that I read that there are quite a few women in their teens and 20's who share our love for cross stitch. Plus, I've noticed that there are some stitching guys who participate on the message board. So, sorry, cross stitch critics, you don't win this one.
Myth #2: Cross stitch is just a passing fancy and not something that you'll be interested in after this phase is over. Hah! is all I have to say about this one. The participants in my survey have been stitching for an average of 29 years! Sure, there were a few beginners in the group with less than 10 years (not really a beginner), but many had been stitching for 30, 40 and 50 years! Two of the most experienced had been working with needle and thread for 60 years! A phase? I think not.
Myth #3: Cross stitch is a silly pastime. I couldn't just sit there and do that. I have more important things to do. I've heard this one from a few people, and I'm sure that other stitchers have too. Quite a few years back this lady came over to my house for the first time. I had just framed three very small finished pieces of little garden scenes that I did on 18 count Aida. I was very pleased with the way these had turned out. She went right up to where they were hanging and asked me if I had done these. Then she looked closer at them and said, "Oh, that's so tedious." And then nothing. Nothing nice to say.
The answers to my question "Why do you stitch?" were all answered with obvious enthusiasm. There was a common thread (pun intended) running through all of the answers. I read the words "relaxing", "soothing", "stress-reducing" many times. Also, many participants said that they liked to stitch for an artistic outlet and to watch something grow and take shape. And there were those who liked to give gifts of something they made themselves. Then there were the answers that touched me. Like one lady who said that doing cross stitch keeps her mind off of her constant pain. Or those with health problems who said that it helps get them through some tough times. One lady is caring for her father who has Alzheimers and stitching takes some of her stress away.
I had to smile at the stitcher who said she can stitch while on her exercise bike! And how about the 84 year young lady who said "I enjoy it and I can still do it!" I want to be like her.
Sounds to me like cross stitch IS the "more important thing to do". We go out of our way to do it. We arrange get togethers, camps and just stitching with friends days. We plan our next project(s). We seek out fellow stitchers on the internet and Facebook and join groups. I share a lot of the reasons why people stitch, but another reason I'm glad I stitch is because of the many friends I've made through it.
Thank you to all who participated in my survey. Your overwhelming response served to show what a great group of people cross stitchers are! So keep on stitching and try to get others interested in it. And, naysayers, say what you will. But it would be easier just to join us. You know you want to.