In March, I visited the Knitting & Stitching Show at Olympia in London, where my friend, textile artist Anne Kelly, was exhibiting.
Whilst there, I saw work curated by a chap called Jamie 'Mr X Stitch' Chalmers, the kingpin of contemporary embroidery. I was delighted to see embroidery with an edge, rather than the traditional country cottages and flowers that seem to be the cornerstone of all cross stitch patterns. Instead there were t-shirts embroidered with the cast of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and stitched kittens with glowing eyes.
A few weeks later, I was watching BBC's MAKE! Craft Britain where Jamie was teaching cross stitch as a method of self expression and mindfulness. On a whim, I contacted him, asking if he would teach a workshop here in Cranbrook, and he agreed.
On 16th September, Jamie visited the shop, taught tips and techniques for perfect cross stitch, and talked us through some of his hilarious and subversive adventures in the world of embroidery.
Twelve happy workshoppers then took part in his (Not Very) Top Secret Xmas Xstitch Bauble project. Having curated an exhibition at Standen House, Jamie is also organising their Christmas installation. This collaborative project will see Standen's 20 foot Christmas tree covered in hundreds of cross stitched baubles from embroiderers around the world.
We are delighted to now be stocking Mr X Stitch's quarterly cross stitch magazine. If you are looking for the best cross stitch patterns from a huge range of design talent, then XStitch Magazine is for you. Each themed issue brings together a mix of new and established designers, who respond to that theme in their own creative ways. The magazine also features thought-provoking articles, book and product reviews, stitching advice, letters and fabulous photography.
If you would like to take part in Mr X Stitch's collaborative project, pop into the shop for a pattern or download from his website here.