The Cross Stitch Bug

Sunflower Pillow-Debbie Monachella

Confessions of a Cross StitcherHello everyone, my name is Debbie and welcome to my wonderful world of cross stitch!

Growing up I was an embroiderer, crewel stitcher and did stamped cross stitch too because that pretty much was all there was to do back then. And then, over thirty years ago, I was bit by the cross stitch bug and was never the same again.  For the rest of my life I pretty much spent my free time eating, drinking and even dreaming about cross stitch.  While my family and friends would puzzle over this severe case of XS disease, I would go about haunting every craft, sewing and cross stitch shop I could ferret out for new finds to add to my overflowing stash of kits, floss, needles and everything else related I could get my hands on.  I went as far as dashing to my local cross stitch shop on my lunch hours, not easy believe me, due to the distance.  I even dragged relatives with me to their local cross stitch shops when I would visit.  There was no challenge I couldn’t surmount when it came to this malady.  And just when I was getting into a cross stitch routine, the Internet happened!  Oh joy, joy, joy!  Now I could chase my beloved cross stitch around the globe and that is exactly what I did.

So here I am now, all these years later, and I am still captivated by the versatility of this amazing needle art and pursuing its many dimensions and variations.  I have stitched on just about every conceivable type of counted stitch cloth and used as many different fibers to boot.  I have made up my own patterns and stitched them and am now experimenting with using other media with it.  I was, and still am, blown away by how this art is still evolving and that is why I am here, to discuss contemporary cross stitch and to let you in on discoveries I have made about it and continue to make.  So if you have been bitten by the XS bug, you are in good company, because there are a lot of us that are just like you and would never think of taking an antidote.

I Love You Bears-Debbie Monachella
One of my early pieces from a purchased pattern. It was for my daughter when she was young and into teddy bears.

To get started, let’s talk about the big “why?” of doing cross stitch.  Sure, in the beginning, I did the requisite patterns and kits, and usually had a purpose in mind for it being made for someone I was related to or a friend.  I loved doing that for a while. I even won a 2nd place ribbon at the Oklahoma State Fair one year for an entry, that yes I gave away later.  But then, I began to modify patterns I purchased to suit my own preferences and style. That is when I realized that I could do patterns too.  What an epiphany! And not only could I make up my own patterns but I could push the boundaries by adding different media to it.  It is a complete creative package.

Counted cross stitch is so much more than just a nice gift or something to hang on the wall.  It is the creation of something worthwhile by hand, that is the true draw of this work.  You have a blank piece of material and you are going to make something wonderful on it, your creative muse has called and you answered the phone.  Good for you!

Sunflower Pillow-Debbie Monachella
I love sunflowers and my studio is done up in them. This was a piece I actually kept for myself!

I have seen a lot of trends come and go in over 30 years and they were all great fun to explore.  But now, at this point in time and beyond, I can’t believe there is a better time to be cross stitching.  We have access to so much more now with the Internet and connect to so many other creatives of the same ilk, that the possibilities really are mind-boggling.  That is contemporary cross stitch, the ability to use it here and now with a different twist or slant.  Now here’s the thing, pushing boundaries of tradition doesn’t have to be expensive and you don’t have to wait on the top of a mountain top for inspiration, you can do it with as little or as much as you like, you just have to be adventurous and willing to try something new.  I have accumulated a lot of good things and information over the years and I want to share it all with you so you can all carry on this amazing art and have a ton of fun doing it.

Valentine Box-Its Designed by Debbie Monachella
I designed these as possible patterns for a local shop that would require limited stitching and basic floss as a quick and cheap project for stitchers. I called them “Windowsill Box-Its” because they are just wide enough to fit on a windowsill.

Whether you are a stitcher that thrives on the intricacies of a large involved piece that involves a lot of confetti (different color stitches all over the place in a pattern), or someone who just loves smaller patterns with luscious bright colors, believe me, there is something out there for everyone.  Do you want to add a little pizzaz and texture to your work or do you have a pattern of your own in mind?  Piece of cake with all the fibers, baubles and beads we all have access to these days.  Cross stitch in mixed media? You betcha, it is nothing short of awesome what stitchers are doing with media today and you can too.

See Also
BlingFu - Thom Yorke Portrait - Cross Stitch

Heart of Beads-Designed by Debbie Monachella
I am constantly experimenting with media and I designed this heart to see how the beads would hold up on 14 count Aida. Around ten years later the beads are still gorgeous and the fabric never distorted in any way from the weight. Since then I have to incorporate beads into almost all my designs.

My love of this art goes way beyond what I make.  Because it can be done by young and old, men and women and transcends borders and languages, it offers the world today so much in creative currency in return for whatever effort, money and time we want to allow it.  In these tumultuous times it is an important link to a vast network of creatives worldwide that all share a common language of X’s and the rhythm of life in the passing of the needle in and out of the cloth.  The passion we share binds us closer than anything that pushes us apart and that, at its core, is its greatest gift. A worldwide stitch-along? I can see it happening!

Ladybug Lake-Designed by Debbie Monachella
When I designed this project (which is currently ongoing) I wanted to use a variety of materials such as silks, floche, linen floss, and blending filament. There is even fabric marker used on the branch!

So be prepared, because exciting stuff is going to happen here monthly and I sincerely hope you will join me to explore more x-stitch and all its wonderful wonderfulness.

Until next time, Keep Creating!


Cherry Parker Cross Stitch
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