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The Snarky Sweet World Of Subversive Cross-Stitch
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The Snarky Sweet World Of Subversive Cross-Stitch

The World of Subversive Cross Stitch

A quick Etsy search for “cross stitch pillow” brings up all sorts of horrible, sickly-sweet results. There’s a vintage Mickey Mouse pillow edged in lace that’ll give your children nightmares forever. There are about ten million floral-edged versions of “Home Sweet Home,” or even worse, “Welcome to our nest.” (Tweet!) There’s even something called “Mr. Sammy Snail” that we don’t speak of here. This is what cross stitch is, right? Cheesy, saccharine, vaguely Amish-themed home decorations that look like they belong next to a big, dusty vase of plastic flowers.

Wrong. And the world of subversive cross stitch is going to blow your mind.

Sassy, dirty, totally anti-Establishment cross stitch is basically a visual oxymoron. At first glance, you notice the ornately decorated borders and florid fonts that we’ve come to associate with traditional cross stitch, but if you can look past all that, you’ll be absolutely shocked. You’ll find pillows with attitude and wall-hangings with an axe to grind. You’ll find sentiments like “Don’t be a dick,” and “Misandry.” And this isn’t just an isolated crazy person stitching “~@#*!” onto a piece of linen; it’s a whole new trend.

Start out slow with a cross-stitched bag from Asos that just says, “Pretty Sure I’m Not.” Soon enough, you’ll be ready to move on to wall art: cross-stitched bras, cross-stitched Beyoncé lyrics, cross-stitched insults. If you want to get rid of visitors forever, toss a little Bite Me cross-stitched pillow on your couch, and direct them to your “Bitch Bitch Bitch” wall-hanging if there’s any confusion.

Addicted yet? Good, because while the world of sassy cross-stitched goods is still limited, the world of sassy cross-stitched patterns feels almost endless. And since the basic cross-stitch stitch is literally making an x-shape with thread—using holes already in the fabric—you can probably handle it. I’m a fan of this DIY pattern that teaches you how to stitch a rainbow unicorn above the immortal words, “Whatever, Bitch,” but you might prefer a more intellectual Sartre reference, “Hell is other people.” Either way, you’re a cross stitch rebel.

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