In an increasingly tech-obsessed world, more and more people are finding joy in simple handmade crafts. With mental health struggles on the rise, it’s perhaps not surprising that cross stitching has soared in popularity to become one of the trendiest hobbies around. So, what’s so great about stitching tiny crosses on fabric, and why is it so addictive?
1. IT’S EASY
Cross stitch is a hobby that’s straightforward to learn and ideal for beginners – even if you’ve never picked up a needle before. Unlike more complex forms of embroidery, the grid format of cross stitching fabric makes it easy to achieve neat results, with no artistic talent required. Just take your time and remember to count carefully. Once you’ve mastered the art of a simple X, the world’s your oyster!
2. SUITABLE FOR ALL
Whether you consider yourself to be creative or not, cross stitch is accessible to almost everyone and its benefits extend to all age groups. Learning to stitch helps children to count, improves hand-eye coordination and encourages them to develop a sense of pride in their handiwork. Later in life, it can be a useful way to maintain dexterity and keep the mind sharp. And it’s not just for girls – with the rise of lockdown stitching, more and more “sew bros” are joining in on the action.
3. NO POWER REQUIRED
Craving a break from constant notifications? Cross stitch is a hobby that requires no electricity or internet connection, making it an ideal activity for a digital detox. Natural daylight is all you need to enjoy hours of blissful stitching. With so much of our time spent online, cross stitch allows you to totally disconnect. No wifi? No problem! Once you’re a stitcher, you’ll always be kept entertained.
4. IT LASTS FOREVER
One of the best things about stitching is the satisfaction of creating something tangible that you can keep forever. All those hours of work will result in a beautifully unique piece of art. There’s a glorious permanence to cross stitch – unlike baking, for example, where the fruits of your labor are quickly devoured with nothing but a few crumbs left to show for it.
Cross stitch is more than just “something to do”. Keeping your hands busy helps to reduce anxiety and breaks the habit of endless phone scrolling. The repetitive zen- like rhythm of stitching can be a useful mindfulness tool, which calms the mind and encourages you to focus on the present moment. Many people find cross stitching to be a form of therapy that helps them to relax at the end of a long day. Studies have shown that enjoying some screen-free time before bed can improve sleep quality, making it an important part of your self-care routine.
6. PICK IT UP, PUT IT DOWN
Got five minutes spare? Get cross stitching! Unlike many other crafts, there’s no lengthy set-up involved. No need to haul out the sewing machine or set aside an entire afternoon – a cross stitch project can be easily picked up (and put down) whenever you have a spare pocket of time. Even better – there’s no dreaded clean- up operation afterwards. Forget piles of mess or rinsing out paintbrushes – after a stitching session, all you need to do is park your needle until next time!
7. IT’S CHEAP
With no fancy equipment or expensive gadgets required, cross stitch is a hobby that won’t break the bank. Just a few basic supplies are all it takes to get started, making it super accessible for people from all walks of life. When you consider the hours of pleasure gained from a single kit, it’s an activity that scores highly on a cost-per-hour basis. While there are plenty of fun accessories you can splash out on, all you really need is a needle, fabric and thread.
8. YOU CAN MULTITASK
There aren’t many hobbies you can do in a coffee shop while chatting to friends. Whether you’re feeling sociable or longing for a little peace and quiet, cross stitch is the ultimate multitasking hobby. Feel productive by stitching as you watch TV, listen to music or catch up on podcasts and audiobooks. Once you’ve picked up the basic technique, it’s a craft that requires just enough concentration to be satisfying, while freeing up your mind to enjoy other things at the same time.
9. IT’S PORTABLE
The joy of cross stitch is that you can do it any time, anywhere! It’s a hobby that’s ultra-portable. Small kits are ideal to pop in your bag and stitch on the go. Most projects can be easily stored without taking over your entire living room. Stitch on your lunch break, on the bus or while sitting in a waiting room. With no bulky workboxes or noisy tools, it’s a silent and discreet craft that can travel with you wherever you go.
10. SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
Forget frilly borders and chintzy florals – modern cross stitch designs have something for everyone. From activism to off-the-wall humor, it’s a hobby that allows a new generation to express themselves through stitches. What’s more, the internet makes it easy to instantly download a chart and get stitching straight away, so there’s never been a better time to jump on board!