Special Interests (Part III): Cross-stitching

Our “Special Interests” series takes a look at some unusual or special-interest hobbies that people have in the Czech Republic. In the latest part of the series, we spoke to Olga Popova about cross-stitching, a creative, fun, and practical craft hobby. Photo credit: Olga Popova.

Brno, May 9 (BD) – Cross-stitching is a form of sewing and a popular form of counted-thread embroidery, in which X-shaped stitches in a tiled, raster-like pattern are used to form a picture. It is usually done on designs printed on the fabric (stamped cross-stitch); the cross-stitcher simply stitches over the printed pattern.

Olga Popova has been cross-stitching for about five years. “I have always liked crafts, such as crochet and a bit of sewing,” says Olga. “I enjoy cross-stitching a lot, because it calms me down. Some people say they wouldn’t have the patience to finish an extended project, but for the type of person I am, it helps me to relax.”

In her home, where Olga lives with her partner, is a little picture gallery of classical paintings in cross-stitch. She recently finished The Starry Night by Van Gogh. “It took me 2.5 years to finish it,” she explains.

After finishing a project, she usually has it framed and hangs it on her wall, she says, “but I don’t keep all the pictures myself. I like making pictures as gifts for family and friends as well.”

The Starry Night by Van Gogh. Credit: Olga Popova.

One of Olga’s additional hobbies is to make patterns for cross-stitching, which she cross-stitches later.

“It started because I wanted to make a pattern from a wedding invitation that we got. It looked quite nice, I thought I could use it as an inspiration for cross-stitching. So I made a pattern out of it and cross-stitched it afterwards. I did similar projects with other wedding invitations later, which are cross-stitched into a nice gift for the married couple.”

There are many reasons why Olga likes cross-stitching. “It is pretty economical. If I was painting, it would go faster. Now I do several years with the same canvas.”

Besides, Olga enjoys the process. “You start with a white piece of canvas, but over time you adapt it into something big and colourful. It is also practical that I can easily take it everywhere. When you are knitting, you have to take a lot of yarn with you. A cross-stitching project is easy to take on holiday or when I just go for a coffee somewhere.”

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