On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast we’re talking about cross stitch with my guest, Jamie Chalmers, also known as Mr X Stitch.
Jamie took up cross stitching fifteen years ago and he’s never looked back. Since establishing the Mr X Stitch website in 2008, he has been showcasing new talent in the world of textiles and stitch and has curated a number of stitch-based exhibitions in the UK and Ireland.
Jamie is an accomplished and internationally exhibited artist in his own right, and the curator of PUSH Stitchery (affiliate link), part of a series of books published by Lark showcasing the work of contemporary embroidery artists from around the world.
Watch Jamie’s Tedx talk.
Jamie is an active leader in the online stitch community and what he has dubbed ‘the new embroidery movement’. He loves introducing new people to the benefits of embroidery from a creative and wellbeing standpoint and is proud to be an ambassador for the craft.
Hear how Jamie first got interested in cross stitch and what it is about needlecraft in general that continues to enthrall him. Jamie has run a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to launch his new magazine and he talks about how he approached that project. He also has over 30,000 followers on Instagram and gives us the details of his Instagram strategy. Mr X Stitch is a multi-contributor blog and Jamie explains how he runs a site like this. The site often features artwork with racy or politically controversial themes and Jamie explains how he filters what to include and what to reject.
Jamie has a new book out, The Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch (affiliate link), published by Search Press. And be sure to check out his new magazine, X Stitch: A Cross Stitch Magazine for the Modern World.
And, of course, I ask Jamie to recommend great stuff he’s enjoying right now. Jamie recommends:
- Stack magazines
- the Aeropress coffee maker (affiliate link)
Keep up with Jamie on Mr X Stitch and follow along with daily inspiration on Instagram.
This episode is sponsored by Needle and Foot, Fine Fabrics. This on-line fabric shop opened in January of 2017 with an ever-growing collection of modern fabrics. You will find a delightful collection of fabrics produced by Art Gallery Fabric, Andover and Windham Fabrics among others. Specializing in curated fat quarter bundles, Needle and Foot makes it possible to collect your favorite lines without breaking the budget. Bernadine Kringel, owner of Needle and Foot, treasures her customers and welcomes inquiries and requests. Let her help you put together just the right bundle! Use the coupon code WhileSheNaps15 for a 15% discount on your purchase (valid through the end of September 2017).
You can listen to this episode by clicking on the green arrow below, or subscribe to the Craft Industry Alliance podcast in iTunes or on Stitcher so you never miss an episode. If you enjoy the show, tell a friend about it! Thank you so much.
As craft is often treated as a feminist issue (as in is it anti feminist to craft at all – are we selling out?), I find it interesting and frustrating that men always create a buzz when they take part in things seen as belonging to women. They tend to shoot straight to the top of the tree. If you are a male single parent you are amazing (where women are not) if you are a male teacher (where the majority are female), you will find that a disproportionate amount of head teachers are male. It all makes me sigh more than just a bit. So it may be unfair of me but I don’t care much about male male knitters, quilters, sewers or cross stitchers etc and don’t really care to see them propelled forwarded. Who does this propelling forward? In many cases women. Although it might be argued that gender shouldn’t matter in crafting or anything else, it frequently does. Until women are given full and deserved respect for the work they do, I’m not falling over myself to give men an extra push forward when they don’t need it. So this podcast is not for me.
I’ll accept that despite what I have said, there will be men who point out how difficult it is being accepted in a perceived female environment and what a struggle it is to be accepted. No doubt they are right if that has been their experience. Overall though, it seems to me that being male gives them a head start. Just like in the rest of life. Case in point, would Mrs Cross stitch work for me as a woman? I somehow think not. I doubt if any woman would take kindly to another woman calling themselves that.
Crafting is important. It seems that we need men to tell us so before we hear the message and find it acceptably true.
I think people’s work speaks for itself. Here’s someone who has worked tirelessly for a decade to promote and draw attention to the beauty and joy of needlecraft and you’ve shot him down based on his gender. That’s super unfair.
You may rightfully consider it so, I see that as a fair point to make especially when the issues I raise are of gender. However, I consider the issues of gender unfairness related to me myself as a woman and to others of my own gender as being even more important (and very evidently unresolved in the world at large) and yes even more unfair.
I also consider the name Mr X Stitch to be an arrogant one. The more I think about it the more outrageous I find it actually. It isn’t exactly modest is it? It certainly is putting other male cross stitchers in their place too. I didn’t know crafting was meant to be hierarchical as well as patriarchal.
I think dismissing someone’s entire body of work – nine years of blogging, four books, a self-published magazine, dozens of workshops and speaking engagements – based on their gender and the name of their business, without taking the time to listen to their story, is mistaken. I would not want to be judged that way.
Abby, I really enjoyed the interview. Jamie’s spirit of community, experimentation, sharing the spotlight with others, mentoring, etc. are clearly part of why he’s built a following. Also, he’s really funny and your banter with him was delightful. I can’t wait to see the cross-stitch done in ice that was described. Thanks for sharing his perspective and work.
Thanks so much for taking the time to listen to the show, Sharon. I really appreciate it!
I have been following Jamie since his days of podcasting and was really excited to see him featured. He has been generous with in so many ways-from sharing his information and teaching to taking the time to respond to commentors on instagram. Thank you so much for interviewing him! I look forward to all of his newest projects!
Great interview. I do needlepoint, and I have been a fan of Mr. X Stitch for a while now. I really connect with the well-being aspect of needlepoint, and I admire how enthusiastic he is about needlecraft. It’s really inspiring how he has advocated for needle arts not only as a hobby, but also as a vehicle for social change.
Yes! I totally agree.