Interview with Bad Grandma Stitches


Craft Rocks with Jo Burgess

As the title of my column suggests, my loves are craft and music – and I love it when I find someone the same! Last year I introduced you to the fabulous Careless Stitcher, and now may I present – Alex Knoll, AKA Bad Grandma Stitches. 

The Bad Grandma herself!

Ontario based Alex was drawn to cross stitch by the time she spent gazing at cross stitched gifts her husband’s grandmother had given to family members. After doing some research she realised the potential cross stitch had to offer, and she now specialises in cross stitch patterns of famous album covers. Heaven!

Alex says, “I knew I wanted to focus on converting images into patterns rather than creating my own patterns from scratch because, well, I’m just not that kind of artist. I wanted to do something unique/niche, so I came up with this idea to stitch album covers, since I’m a big music lover and missed my days of writing album/concert reviews. I did some searching and couldn’t really find anyone doing exclusively album covers in the way that I imagined it, so I was sold!”

As a huge Radiohead fan, obviously they were the first band she turned to. Her first creation was their album cover for The Bends. It remains her favourite piece to date as it combines her love of music, stitching, her favourite band and it was her first creation. 

Radiohead’s The Bends
Alex’s Radiohead covers

However Alex said it was hard to pick a favourite really, “I love the ones with faces because I’m always blown away by how realistic they look considering the low res / small number of pixels I use. Then I love creating patterns with text cause I’m into the juxtaposition. I definitely spend the most time perfecting covers that include typography, like the album or artist name, or an entire story as in the case of Sonic Youth’s Goo.”

Sonic Youth’s Goo

Alex has even gained some celebrity fans. After she stitched Cat Power’s Jukebox, Chan Marshall contacted her and Alex’s finished piece now hangs in Chan’s house. The same thing happening with Radiohead is the dream! “I’ve stitched more of their albums than any other band, and I would be completely overjoyed to meet them and show them how I’ve transformed their discography art.”

Cat Power’s Jukebox

And like any good purveyor of musical excellence, Alex takes requests. She is always happy to make a pattern for someone if it’s doable in the pixelated scale she uses. She says requests are a great reminder of some of the fantastic music that has been released through the decades so they are always welcome. “My best request has been for In the Court of the Crimson King – a progressive rock album with an eccentric cover that was really fun to stitch,” she says. 

Court of the Crimson King

What’s that now? Why is she called Bad Grandma stitches? Good question! Alex explains that, “One day in my graduate college program, a couple friends called me bad grandma. I had never heard a more appropriate nickname for myself. I have a lot of grandma-like tendencies, but I can also be quite… saucy. So I began using it as a personal pseudonym. When I started stitching the album covers, it just made sense to translate that into a shop name/brand. I love how it both reflects my character and pays homage to my original cross-stitch inspiration.”

If you’ve not come across Alex’s work before, you can see more on her Instagram account here and you can find her Etsy shop here. The accuracy of her album covers just blows me away. As you know from a previous post, I’m a big fan of Alice Cooper and Alex has recently immortalised his Alice Cooper Goes to Hell album cover brilliantly. 

If you’ve got any requests the best way to contact Alex is by direct message on Instagram And when she’s not sewing she’s a writer (so I’m feeling the pressure writing this…) and you can find out more about that side of her life here.

Have you ever stitched a musician or album cover? Maybe you’ve already completed a Bad Grandma pattern. I’d love to hear about that or what album cover would be first on your list. Mine would be Kings of the Wild Frontier by Adam and the Ants.


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Jo Burgess

Originally from Northern Ireland, Jo Burgess is a craft crazy rock music loving gal based in England. With a career including time spent as a motorsport journalist in England, in the film industry in Northern Ireland, and working on ghost tours in Scotland, her background is as mixed up as her love of craft. Jo will try her hand at anything and loves learning a new skill with tea and cake, crafty friends and great music blasting out of her speakers. Cross stitch, electronics, sewing, beadwork, glass fusing - she loves it all, and through this column Jo hopes to pass her love of different crafts, music and (of course) cake on to you. Craft rocks!

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