I love cross stitch and I love anime and manga. That’s why I made Manga Cross Stitch, a book that shows you how to combine the two and make your own, original, Japanese-inspired needlecraft designs. And that’s why I was so happy to hold a manga cross stitch workshop at S-Con.
A dozen brave congoers signed up for a two-hour workshop. (Anyone else hearing the theme tune to Gilligan’s Island?) Four had previous stitching experience, the rest were total novices. But everyone had some uncharted territory to explore, because this workshop wasn’t just about stitching. Oh no, everyone designed their own project, charted it on graph paper, and chose their own colours before starting to stitch.
Using thread and needles kindly donated by DMC, who sent me a parcel of stuff back when the book first came out, and some of my enormous stash of fabric, novices and experts alike dived in to their projects undaunted. Everyone picked up the basic stitch really easily, and the most complex thing we attempted in technical terms was the half and three-quarter stitch, but cross stitch is so easy to learn that anyone can soon get stuck in to actually making something.
All around the table there was a lot of sharing, with old hands passing on tips to newbies – once we got everything going I was hardly needed, which left me free to wander round the table being impressed, offering a bit of advice and encouragement when needed but mostly just being impressed. When someone sets their creative self free, it’s always amazing to watch. One person finished their project at the workshop; everyone else promised to finish theirs.
When I got home, there was an email waiting for me with a photo of another finished piece. Perfect end to a perfect day.