Cross stitching is enjoying a revival in Toronto lately. And now you can learn how while sipping some delicious beer. Caitlin Sailor, a member of Left Field Brewery’s Tap Room Team, is bringing the craft to the bar. She’s offering a series of cross stitching workshops at Left Field Brewery. We chatted about her love of this archaic pursuit.
SDTC: So…you learned cross stitching to impress a dude? Tell us more.
CS: Yeah, so we are both big fans of the show The Office. His birthday was coming up, and I really wanted to get him something Office related, but couldn’t find the perfect thing. I then found a cross stitch pattern of the cast on Etsy. Right then and there I bought it, and went straight to Michael’s to get everything I needed. I proceeded to teach myself how to cross stitch. It took me months to finish the project, but I did, and I gave it to him for his birthday. I think he was impressed. If he wasn’t, he never told me. As far as it being the way to a man’s heart? He is now my husband, so yeah…maybe it is!
What are your favourite/least fave aspects of cross stitching?
My favorite aspect of cross stitching is just creating something with my hands. I have pretty bad anxiety, so it’s also just a great way to focus on something else and relax. My least favourite would be how time consuming it can be to complete a project. Sometimes I’m really excited about a pattern, and I just want it to be done right then and there so I can show everyone!
There’s been a renewed interest in old-timey pastimes (knitting, crochet, cross-stitch). Why do you think that is?
I think as far as cross stitch goes, people just love the idea of having something that looks like their grandma made, but it’s something more modern or funny. I also think people these days are really into the idea of creating things with their hands, instead of going out and buying it from someone else. Its a great sense of accomplishment.
What has been your favourite piece so far?
I’m not sure if I have just one! Some of my favourites have been cross stitch portraits of my friends and their girlfriends or boyfriends. For some reason I think its a lot of fun to turn people and their likeness into tiny squares. Besides that, any of my pieces that just make me laugh are my favourite. Such as a quote from The Office, “I hate so much about the things you choose to be” surrounded by pink and yellow flowers. Always makes me giggle.
How do you get your ideas?
All of my ideas come from things that I think would be fun to hang in my own home. I think of something that would be cute, and I turn it into a stitch. I like doing things that are fun and modern. I do lots of cats, lyrics, TV/movie quotes, craft beer-related things, and anything else I’m really interested in at the time. I also get a lot of ideas from my friends. Every now and then they’ll text me and be like, “OMG can you do something like this?!” and I run with it.
What are the steps to a finished piece?
I have a program that I use to make all of my patterns. It’s nothing fancy; it’s actually really old and pretty low-tech software. Think Microsoft paint, but a grid. So for every pattern, I basically have to click every square individually in these grids. The key is to think of everything in pixels, because that’s basically what cross stitch is. It’s sometimes hard to get certain things to look good in pixels, or to scale. I always start with the main part of what my cross-stitch is going to be, like a quote or an image. After that I start making a border or adding little embellishments to make it more cute.
I’m terrible at crafts. Can I really learn cross stitching while drinking at a bar? Please explain!
I myself am not that great of a crafter. I cannot knit, sew, scrapbook, or anything like that! I’ve tried, but it’s just never been something I’m great at. What I love about cross stitching is that really anyone CAN do it. You don’t have to be an artist or anything. You just follow a pattern, and sew on a cloth that is a grid! So as long as you can follow a pattern and count properly, you can cross stitch. There are tons of great pattern makers out there as well. So you can always find a cute project that you want to do. As far as being able to do it at a bar? You can do it anywhere! Beer just makes it more fun.
You can register for Cross Stitching With Caitlin here.