Millinery Operations with Emily Moe

Several months ago I wrote a couple of posts about the troubles that milliners are having on Etsy (The Category Problem and Etsy vs The Milliners). It’s gotten quite a lot of attention from makers of all kinds, organizations that help those makers and from Etsy itself. The latter (actually) responded with a letter trying to make the case that Etsy is for us, not against us. But the letter also told me that I was not to share its contents with anyone else. I guess I can’t share the letter. Of course this lack of transparency is probably the most important and disturbing problem with the whole organization, but it’s very hard to talk about that because whenever it comes up in conversation on the site, HQ has a tendency to shut that conversation down.

Nonetheless, it is a vital conversation to have and one that could help the milliners, Etsy and the whole of the maker community. A pity that it can’t happen within the Etsy community.

But it can happen off of it.

As I said, since writing the infamous post, I’ve had communications with a host of people and organizations that want to help. The one that’s really stood out is the Academy of Handmade. Their mission statement is pretty great:

Our vision is a thriving handmade economy, where makers are celebrated, respected and successful as not only artists, but as businesses. We aim to honor those who make with skill, artistry and love.    

Our primary goals are to:

  1. Celebrate and recognize those who are making significant contributions to the handmade economy. 

  2. Strengthen beginning and existing handmade businesses.

  3. Connect the handmade business community through meaningful relationships.

To that end, tomorrow, January 26, I will be participating in a panel discussion moderated by Sharon Fain of the Academy of Handmade along with other milliners who have been involved with our fight. I use that word “fight” with great care. We have been advocating the needs of the milliners to HQ for years. Literally years. I think it’s been at least five. That’s a fight.

We’ll be discussing the unique needs that milliners have on Etsy and off, what can be done to fill those needs and what the future holds for us. Obviously these are big questions that will prompt other questions which will prompt others… This discussion will end up as a post on the Academy of Handmade’s blog, available for all to read. Ready for the world. When it is up and going, I will write a quick follow-up on this post in the comments to make sure that everyone who gets to Mr X Stitch can find their way to this extremely important discussion.

In getting ready for that event, I’ve been doing a lot of research on Etsy and research also about criticism of Etsy. I have found that sites that criticize quickly and suddenly go dead. I have also heard of critics’ shops being shut down on Etsy. The people participating in this discussion are aware of problems that may arise for us personally by speaking out. We’re going to speak anyway. I hope that Etsy reads this post and that discussion as constructive criticism. Many of us are trying to find ways to sell in other venues because selling on Etsy has become increasingly problematic. We desperately want that to change. We want to remain on Etsy. We do not want to run away or be forced to close.

But know this. If there are any negative outcomes to any of the people that do speak out, I will let the audience of Mr X Stitch know. Ask my husband. He’ll tell you how impossible it is to get me to keep my mouth shut.


Mr X Stitch presents Phat Quarter Finds

The Phat Quarter is our Flickr group where you can share pictures of your best stitcheries!

It’s also the place where we host our legendary swaps to coincide with our Fifth Friday Festivals of Fabulousness!

Here’s the latest 20 pictures that have been added. Why don’t you come and join us?

Please specify a Flickr ID for this gallery


Nuido It Yourself - Japanese Embroidery with Madeline Scharpf

In my world, there’s nothing better than a Japanese craft book. The first one I tried many years ago was a cute crochet book, full of adorable sweets shaped cozies. What kind of person doesn’t need a chocolate cake tissue box cozy?!

Crochet on Mr. X?! Say it ain't so!

Crochet on Mr. X?! Say it ain’t so!

This would be my first experience with crochet charts. I know we aren’t in a knitting circle here at Mr. X but the point is, these books have universal charts so anyone can use them. Be it beading, yarn, thread, needle felting or sewing, you don’t need to know an ounce of Japanese to be able to use these fabulous books. They’re a rarely tapped resource of creativity and I’m going to dispel your worries about the language barrier.

Simpler than it looks!

Simpler than it looks!

The book I want to show you today is Ayako Otsuka’s Flower Embroidery. I picked up my copy at a Tokyo bookstore but you can order one from Etsy, where you can see more photos. This book uses textures beautifully to create realistic looking flowers. While flipping through this book, I felt as if the flowers were magnificently complicated but the book uses basic stitches, and you’re probably familiar with all of them. In the back you’ll see she includes a clear tutorial with some familiar English.

All you have to worry about is the part that comes before the 'S'.

All you have to worry about is the part that comes before the ‘S’.

To follow the instructions, just match up the Japanese with the English. This book offers translation for all 15 stitches used. For example, both the stem and the leaf of the Cornflower use アウトラインS. The ‘S’ part tells me this is the name of a Stitch. Look at the back pages for the same series of characters and you’ll see, ‘Outline Stitch’. アウトライン = Outline ステッチ = Stitch

Detailed instructions and English for each stitch.

Detailed instructions and English for each stitch.

The Cornflower uses a stitch that hadn’t tried before, the Smyrna Stitch. Have you tried it? I hadn’t tried it before and after consulting Google Sensei, I discovered this is related to a rug stitch called the ghiordes knot.

It's a loop and a back stitch.

It’s a loop and a back stitch.

After a little trial and error, I think I’ve got. If you’ve never tried a certain stitch before, I recommend that you try a go ahead with a test swatch.

Once again, I’m embellishing the old denim jacket that I used for my Boro article.

Jacket collaredit

Trim and fluff. I had really enjoyed this project and decided to add the little bee, also. I have many Japanese books and they all contain some English and lots of pictures making them usable for anyone, no matter your language. So why don’t you try a Japanese embroidery book?

Finished jacketedit

Are you on Pinterest? I keep a Nuido It Yourself board with references to everything that I write about here. If you need more Japanese Embroidery, check it out!


Madeline Scharpf

When she’s not gallivanting overseas (usually to Japan) Madeline is making things at home in the Oregon countryside where she lives with four dogs, a pig and her human family. You can keep up with Madeline’s endless fiber projects and find her travel blog at as well as visit her Etsy shop.


The Big Comic Relief Crafternoon!

by Mr X on 24 January 2015

The Big Comic Relief Crafternoon Projects

I’m really excited to share news of a fantastic magazine that comes out next week – it’s called The Big Comic Relief Crafternoon and it’s brought to you by the fine folks at Mollie Makes. It’s on sale in Sainsbury’s and iTunes/Google Play on 29th Jan, next Thursday and costs £7.99, of which five whole pounds goes to Comic Relief to support their wonderful projects in the UK and Africa.

The magazine features loads of gorgeous tutorials from lovely crafters such as Tif Fussell, Attic24, Jodie Carleton, Lynda Lewis from the Great British Sewing Bee, Oh No Rachio! and some wiseacre called Mr X Stitch! Yes, that’s right, I’ve got a cross stitch design for you to enjoy – Guinea King!

Guinea King - the exclusive design by Mr X Stitch for The Big Comic Relief Crafternoon


One of the main themes in the mag is Guinea Pigs and with the help of my good friend Emily Brady from Footloose Comics, it seemed only natural to create everyone’s favourite luchadore – Guinea King!

There’s a load of crafty ideas in the magazine, from knitted beards to crochet red noses and from DIY craft themed dinner plates to messenger bags made from vintage pillowcases. There’s also a guide to running your own craft fair so readers can make an entire troupe of felt guinea pigs or a nursery full of Spring posy brooches and sell them to make more crafty cash for Comic Relief.

You can follow The Big Comic Relief Crafternoon on Facebook and on Twitter - I hope you’ll get a few copies to share the crafty love around. It’s for a great cause and I’m really honoured to be a part of it!



Mr X